We left Toowoomba on a very cold morning (4 degrees) and were grateful for the warmth of the car air-conditioned and the sunny weather. Our route took us through the streets of Toowoomba to Mt Kynoch and then on to Highfields and Cabarlah. This area has developed extensively in the time since we lived in Toowoomba.
In the 1960’s Margaret and I were both in a scooter club – The Vespa Club of Toowoomba; one of the activities we undertook was scrambling (a bit like BMX) on the hills and valleys of a farm at Cawdor. With the development in the area it is unlikely that the farm even exists these days. At Cabarlah we stopped to take a picture of the old hall in the village; it was in this hall on 4th November 1965 that Margaret and I attended a country dance together – we have been together ever since.
We drove on to the town of Crows Nest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crows_Nest,_Queensland) where the statue of Jim Crow stands; it was community market day on Sunday and parking was at a premium so we drove on to Cooyar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooyar,_Queensland) where we stopped opposite the hotel for morning tea.
From Cooyar we drove through Yarraman, Nanango and Goomeri and reached Ban Ban Springs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_Ban_Springs) where we stopped for lunch. There is quite a good roadside rest area here and we decided to have a free camp for the evening rather than driving on to Bundaberg; only problem was we were too close to the truck rest area and had trucks stopping (and leaving their motors running) or departing and starting their motors at various odd hours through the night.
Monday morning we drove on to Bundaberg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundaberg); as we crossed the Regional Council boundary we noted the signs suggesting we should “Discover our spirit”; I’m sure they don’t mean that famous spirit synonymous with Bundaberg – Bundaberg Rum (http://www.bundabergrum.com.au/), but that product no doubt plays a part in the City. There is quite a lot to see in the Bundaberg Region and the tourist can find plenty to do (http://www.bundabergregion.org/) in the Bundaberg area. We didn’t really come to do the tourist thing we came to look up friends that we hadn’t seen for a while.
Our first stop in the Bundaberg Regional area was in the town of Childers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childers,_Queensland) where we stopped for morning tea. There is a neat parking area at the rear of the CBD in Childers, this parking area caters for not only cars but coaches and caravans as well. Sighted only one street back from the main street, the parking area allows visitors to utilise the services of the businesses in Childers without having to fight for a place to park a larger vehicle.
We checked into a caravan park on the southern side of the city. This is a good park with large sites, two very large amenity blocks, plenty of grass and concrete annexe pads. We checked in and were assisted in parking the van and told we could wash the car and the van with untreated non-potable water and to use as much of this water as we liked. Consequently we spent Tuesday doing just that – Margaret looked after laundry and internal van cleaning and I spent the day firstly cleaning the exterior of the van and after lunch washing the truck.
On Wednesday we arranged to catch up with an old friend – Bev. Bev’s late husband Ray was one of my mentors and a very good friend during the period I worked in local government. Ray had a very positive attitude and time for everyone. Sadly he was struck down in the prime of life and we have been without him for a number of years. When we are in Bundaberg we try to catch up with Bev and this trip was no exception. We enjoyed a very pleasant lunch at Cafe 1928 – a venue in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens (http://bundaberg.qld.gov.au/discover/local-visitor-attractions/botanic-gardens). Hinkler House (http://hinklerhallofaviation.com/hinkler-house), the relocated home of Bert Hinkler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_Hinkler) the famous aviator has been reconstructed in the Botanic Gardens after having been transported from England.
Thursday we had booked the vehicle in for a major service and we had to be in town by 8:00am; the vehicle was tied up for most of the day so we spent lots of time in the heart of Bundaberg City checking out the scenery and shops until the work was completed in the afternoon.
One of the people we had hoped to catch up with in Bundaberg – Dean, was not in town as he had returned to work after a good result from major surgery. We arranged to catch up with Gail – Dean’s wife and agreed to meet for lunch at a local eatery “The Spotted Dog” (http://publocation.com.au/pubs/qld/bundaberg/spotted-dog-tavern). We enjoyed a great lunch – good food and good company. After lunch Gail gave us a cook’s tour of her home renovations and took us to one of the local shopping centres for a coffee. After more interesting conversation we took our leave to return to pick up our truck and return to the Caravan Park to prepare for our departure for the Gold Coast the next day.
 The club to which we belonged is long defunct but I noticed on a website (http://www.scooterproducts.com/catalog.php?page=12&category=Veapa%20Stickers) that one can still purchase stickers pertaining to the club – quite bizarre.