Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published June 2nd 2014
Do you feel comfortable driving anywhere at night?
Over the years, many people have told me how much they love to travel either very early in the morning or late at night when they start off on their journey. Over the last few months I have done exactly that and concur that these times are much more peaceful for the traveller. However, if you are one that likes company and feel safer in numbers, then late at night or early morning commuting is not for you.
These days the traffic heading north out of Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and further is one bottle-neck of stop-start-car-park congestion most days of the week. On my recent trip to Maryborough, I decided to come home after work, have dinner, a shower, pack the car and head off. I left around 8.30pm, a little later than I anticipated; however it was one of the best trips I have ever had.
I should point out that if you do a lot of travelling as I do, it is imperative that you have a well serviced car, that your tyres are pumped to the correct pressure and are of good quality. You don't want the unfortunate occurrence of needing to pull over on the side of the road late at night especially if you are travelling alone.
There was no traffic, no trucks or caravans on my side of the road to slow me down, although there are a lot of road works happening at present that require a reduced speed. With the music on and time for a sing-a-long, I headed north lost in my thoughts, often wondering what is on the mind of other travellers and where their destinations lie.
It would be lovely to have a 4-lane highway all the way to Cairns and as this government and many before have talked about it, I wonder if it will ever happen in my driving lifetime. As all who frequent the Sunshine Coast know that once you get to Cooroy, the highway drops to a 2-lane and 90klm. This 90klm lasts until the north end of Gympie. We have been lucky enough in the last couple of years to have a small section of this road made into a 4-lane highway and we wait feverishly for its continuation.
A great highway initiative between Gympie and Maryborough is the use of Fatigue Signs complete with trivia questions to keep your mind active as you drive along. No matter how many times I drive that road, I still get a buzz out of the questions and also to see if I'm correct in the answers. "Where do the turtles hatch? Mon Repos, of course! What is Rockhampton noted for? Beef Cattle," and so on.
Expected night fog moves across the road around Gympie as the road winds around and over the hilly town. Gympie is notoriously known for the "Men in Blue" appearing out of nowhere if you are over the speed limit through the town. Noticeably at that time of night Lindsay Bros, Toll, various Tankers, Richers Transport and others were all heading south towards Brisbane instead of north with me; however early mornings sees that change in reverse.
Matilda Fuels at Kybong just south of Gympie provides not only fuel but also 24 hour meals at their truck and car stop. Toilets are available and many grey nomads can park at the back for a free night of camping.
Not too far out of Gympie the speed reverts to 100klms and I excite in the thought that Maryborough is only an hour away. This hour can be one of the longest as there are no lights on the highway, only the oncoming traffic dipping their high beam when they come closer. Although not common for the cooler months, Kangaroos can be seen on the road's edge so vigilance is required at all times. Look for the red of their eyes as the lights of your vehicle approaches.
Highway sign Bruce Highway
There is a lot to be wary of at any time when you drive and that is why we are reminded constantly of pulling over if we are tired. Would I drive at this time of night if I didn't know the road so well? I would have to say "No". I'm presuming that if I didn't know the road, then I would then be a tourist and be too interested in stopping for a photo shoot to miss any valuable sights during a night drive.