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.
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.
We even got to see the moon toward last light, at the dog fence, on a perfect evening.
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…..
All was delightful – the picnic spot, blind man’s bluff, lunch, the view, the first part of the walk….
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.