Jandowae, stinging trees and the Darling Downs – Kirsti

One of the nice things about travelling without any urgent deadlines is the joy of looking over maps; the detail of the backroads; the environment and attractions in the vicinity; and taking your pick.

“Where do you want to go today?” is really such a luxurious thing to be able to say, and we’re grateful every day we can do it.

We wanted to stay somewhere in the Darling Downs, a region in south-east Queensland with some of the most fertile, rich black soil in Australia, and home to a staggering diversity of agriculture: dairy and beef cattle, lambs and wool, pigs, cereal crops, cotton, wheat, vegetables  and legumes. All this alongside mining and manufacturing. From the air the Darling Downs looks a bit like a patchwork quilt.

So we landed in Dalby for a night, then onto Jandowae.

Little did we know that one of my oldest and bestest friends’ Mum grew up in and near Jandowae, which made us (well, Kirsti at least!) feel a little bit of a family connection!!  We attempted to find the old house, but with wet roads and a campervan, we didn’t get there.

Jandowae Dam is just outside the little town, and we pulled up to one of the nicest little free camp spots, popped the van up and proceeded to enjoy a thorough drenching! The kids loved every muddy minute of their hour long romp in puddles and raindrops.

Jandowae mud puddles1

We all felt relaxed and happy in this little camp, on the edge of a strange dam with spoonbills, pelicans and herons plus at least four species of frogs we had to avoid in the toilets at night! We explored the countryside and came upon a campdraft on one of the properties that I took the kids to the following day (Yes, we were the only ones without our jeans, boots and Akubras – must fix that), visited the Jandowae Show where Mia won an ice cream and a show ribbon for naming a gold racing pig “Malfoy”, and saw the very end of the (in?)famous dog fence that traverses 5,614 kms from where we stood to the Eyre Peninsula in SA.

IMG_1197 Campdraft Collage

We even got to see the moon toward last light, at the dog fence, on a perfect evening.

Mia dog fence Jandowae Telescope Mia Jandowae

And I turned 40!! A Friday of cards, cupcakes and cavorting in the mountains. Jez cooked me breakfast and I did school with Mia for a couple of hours. Then we headed up to the Bunya Mountains…..

Me and kids 40th cupcakes

All was delightful – the picnic spot, blind man’s bluff, lunch, the view, the first part of the walk….

Bunya Mtns blind mans bluff

Paradise Falls Bunya Mtns

I had forgotten to tell everyone about stinging trees. They were up relatively high, I thought. I’d mention them when I saw some close to the track. Oh dear. Poor Charlie found the stinging tree leaf on the ground toward the bottom of a beautiful rainforested gully we’d just walked down. And oh how he SCREAMED! After being stung by several different types of stinging tree, I foresaw the worst and we quickly picked him up and carried him back to the car.

What a trooper! The little guy puckered up and we then went onto the red necked wallaby plague at the main visitors centre (seriously – you should see how many there are!) and went home to a great dinner and the history of Australia DVD series kindly supplied by our friend Sam!

It was a great little place in a beautiful part of the country.


5 thoughts on “Jandowae, stinging trees and the Darling Downs – Kirsti

  1. Hi Kirsti, Jez, Mia and Charlie

    We LOVE reading of your adventures. The kids will never forget this time. You write so well, Kirsti, and as well as sharing it all with us, you are going to have a great record for posterity. Can I suggest you keep a hard copy? So old-fashioned, I know, but… Judith wrote the most wonderful emails from China, but the only ones we now have are the few we printed off for some now-forgotten reason. I also think of letters my grandfather wrote about his years as a young man in the early 1900s in Nigeria – not only are they precious to me, but they are history and amazing social commentary, as is your blog. His niece in Scotland had kept his letters, and I now have them. By contrast, my letters about my time as a Red Cross volunteer in PNG in the 1960s exist only in my memory.

    Life in Stace Street can’t compare, but we are all well. We have a partially completed new deck at the back and the hidden treasures have been planted in the front garden for spring. We are going to Sydney next week to see Aida on the Harbour, home in time to farewell your folks as they set off for their big adventure (must be genetic).

    Poor Charlie with the stinging trees – that was a hard lesson he won’t forget in a hurry. We look forward to Mia’s next blog and wish you continuing fun.
    Lots of love
    Helen and David

    1. HI Helen and David, we’re keen to see your new deck! Sounds like we might have to re-christen it when we get back too!
      I also want to assure you that one of the reasons we’re doing a blog is that so we can print it out in the form of a book when it’s done, so YES! We will have a copy in perpetuity! Thanks for your kind words about my writing…glad you enjoy it!
      love, Kirsti & everyone x

  2. What a GREAT time you are all having , telescopes, campdrafts, pig-naming, mud puddles AND stinging trees(they are a hard one to forget, poor Charlie Bear),Mum’s birthday and cupcakes, WOW!!
    Dad and I are busily packing, every time we turn around there is MORE stuff, we’ll be glad to get on the road.
    Your parcel arrived safely.
    Will be thinking of you tomorrow Kirst, GOOD LUCK!
    Your blogs are so good, I’m going to print a hard copy, I know ‘more paper’.
    Hope you are enjoying ‘school’ Mia.
    I look forward to your next blog Mia, maybe Charlie could have a go too.
    Lots of love to you all, P’ma and Grandpa.

    1. Hi Mum – oh, isn’t there always something else to pack?!? I hear you! Good luck with fitting it all in! As long as you’ve got your fish oil, multivitamins and water you’ll be fine 😉
      Thanks for your wishes for tomorrow. I’m nervous, but preparing now.
      Doing the interview at friends’ house, which wil be a good environment for it, so I’m happy about that.
      No school lately – easter holidays! But we’d better get Mia onto a new blog post about her birthday!
      ALl our love to you and Dad. Talk soon.
      Kirst xxxxx

  3. Glad your trip is going well….sounds like you are all having fun…..wonderful experience. Something special about life on the road. We have to get organised ourselves but have had numerous visitors and been away for a few days. Hope the folks have a great trip….glad u had a great birthday….cheers. Penny

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