The journey from Thargomindah to St George was accomplished without incident. We left Thargomindah around 8:00am with our first stop being on the outskirts of Cunnamulla for morning coffee. We stopped on the edge of the Warrego River just near the bridge into town but right opposite a yard full of goats; not sure if they were being bred or if it was a holding yard for wild goats awaiting transport elsewhere but there was a lot of goats all with quite pronounced horns. In many places in the far west, goats wandering along the roads are a common sight and many people do capture these feral goats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_goats_in_Australia) for sale in various markets.
Morning tea finished we drove through Cunnamulla heading for Bollon. The roads were now wide enough for two vehicles to pass on the sealed section without having to move to the gravel shoulder. We knew we were moving further east when we reached the boundary between Paroo Shire and Balonne Shire and found ourselves back in the land of the white centreline on the road.
At Bollon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollon,_Queensland) we stopped for lunch and purchased 30 litres of diesel as insurance against running out of fuel before we reached St George. In the end we could have saved our money as we had plenty of fuel to reach our destination without the top up. The difference in price between Bollon 179.9 cents per litre and St George 155.9 cents per litre was significant.
We reached St George (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_George,_Queensland) about 2:30pm and finding the town devoid of any dragons breathing fire, went in search of a hairdresser so Margaret could get a haircut. An appointment was made for the next day so we bought a couple of items and then proceeded to the caravan park a couple of kilometres from the centre of St George, to set up for our stay. We planned to stay two nights then drive to Toowoomba in an effort to have our fridge repaired so it would work on gas and we could again free camp.
Wednesday morning we went back into St George to keep the hairdressing appointment. While in town I had a script filled and then we walked through the town to see what was available. There is a good coffee shop in town and we visited before having a brief look at “The Unique Egg”. The Balonne Shire Council website notes “The Unique Egg is a collection of hand carved illuminated emu eggs situated at the Balonne Sports store. Steve Margaritus was originally from Greece, but it wasn’t long after his arrival in Australia that he took to the art of emu egg carving. Apart from carving eggs, Steve is believed to be the first in the world to illuminate them, which shows off the wonderful variety of colours. The colours of the eggs range from a dark green outer layer, which becomes lighter as layers are removed. More than 150 eggs are now on display at the Unique Egg Gallery.”
Our next stop was along the riverbank in town where the Council has done a lot of work over time developing walking trails and parkland; the result is quite pleasant and a credit to the Council. There is a very nice War Memorial on the riverbank and it is very well kept.
Riversands Vineyards (http://www.riversandswines.com/) is very close to the town of St George and we decided it should be our next port of call. There is a good range of wine available including some vintage port – unfortunately there vintage port was out of stock and we were not able to purchase any. The winery also offers a pottery gift range of boots, quart pot, bell and waterbag filled with tawny port – the water bag is filled with golden liqueur muscat – the tawny port is very tasty – not sure about the muscat as I didn’t taste it. There is a nice red moscato that Margaret liked and we picked up a couple of bottles for Ron (lateron).
The winery also makes a range of grape jams and relishes and we purchased a selection of these products. It seemed like a good idea to partake of a meal at the winery and we enjoyed a Ploughman’s lunch with complimentary coffee. After lunch we drove through the vines down to the banks of the Balonne River to see quite a number of Pelicans calling the river home for a while. There was a lot of bird life on the river and we enjoyed a brief but pleasant interlude on the banks of the Balonne.
Next stop was to fill the vehicle with fuel in preparation for our journey into Toowoomba and we then proceeded to the Visitor Information Centre to check out other options and souvenirs.
The St George Bakery produces tasty bread, in our opinion, and has a unique vehicle in which deliveries are made – a 1917 T Model Ford. If you are so inclined and are prepared to make a $5.00 donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) (http://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/) the baker, Trent, will take you for a ride around St George in the vehicle.
This weekend, the St George P & A Association Inc. will host their 130th Annual Show (http://www.stgshow.com.au/wp/). The Association has a good level of sponsors and supporters also advertise in the schedule which details the various sections in which exhibitors can participate. The show has 16 sections including Horses, Cattle, Wool, Pets, Art, Cookery, Home-brew (Spirits and Beer) and Jams and Preserves. It would be worthwhile attending such a country show and it appears to be well supported.
As there was light rain predicted for the afternoon, after a spot of grocery shopping we returned to the caravan park to prepare for the next stage of our journey. As we were packing we were caught in a reasonably heavy shower but it was short in duration and we were able to finalise our tasks under clear skies before the end of the day.
We were up bright and early on Thursday morning and on the road to Toowoomba before eight.