Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published May 11th 2021
Coast to West Queensland, an outback driving adventure
Queensland, you engulf me! With clear blue skies, pastures that reach the horizon and roads that mirage the distance ahead, freedom from city life, I escaped on Queensland roads for a country adventure.
Long Stretch of Road - Adventure Awaits (Author's Photo)
As my holiday commenced on a public holiday and I was going into western Queensland, I decided that once I came across a town with a petrol station, I would fill up, even if only a quarter of a tank was used. I did not want to get caught out or worry if I had enough to get fuel to the next town. If you are passing through Kilkivan, I suggest filling up at the BP Service Station, as Rob will give you old-fashioned service by filling up the tank for you and a friendly chat to send you on your way.
Obviously going on any holiday, research of the areas is vital and will give you an idea of the regular tourist and historical spots, but there will always be a few that are not planned, so allowing extra time is also something to be considered. My destination was Cunnamulla with an overnight stay in Roma.
Out west, highways seem to travel right through the smaller towns without having to make any turns and Goomeri, Murgon, Wondai, Tingoora, Ballogie, Durong, Miles, Chinchilla, Dulacca, Jackson passed away before I stopped at Yuleba cemetery for a spot of family history and a stretch of the legs, arms and a bite to eat. Just before Roma, I came across Calico Cottage on the highway at Wallumbilla. Selling drinks, homemade sweets, cakes and handmade arts and crafts from local supply, the Calico Cottage was a pleasant stop. There is a large plaque outside the cottage giving a review on what other points of interest the small town had to offer a tourist.
Finally arriving in Roma and with a schedule to adhere to, I only had time to visit Roma's largest Narrow Leaf Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestre), before settling in for the night and an early start in the morning.
As palm trees are a coastal yard favourite, the Bottle Tree is the favourite in Roma yards, as well as lining the streets everywhere. This particular tree was transplanted in 1927 from a local property outside of Roma. It stands six metres high, a girth of 9.1 metres and a crown of twenty metres. It is said that the tree has reached its full maturity, however, the trunk is still growing one centimetre per year depending on the season. These trees can live to well over 200 years of age.
Muckadilla, which is situated on the Warrego Highway, is best known for its Whistlestop Railing Siding and native gardens beside. The locals call it "Mucka' and why not as Aussie's shorten everything! Muckadilla is a nice place to stop for a cuppa or lunch while travelling. Across the road, tree trunks were painted a bright blue colour representing a reminder to "check on your mates", Blue Tree Project. If you are a grey-nomad and travelling this way, there is a donation only campsite behind the Railway Siding, and the area was full of caravans and motorhomes.
Check On Your Mates Project, Muckadilla (Author's Photo)
Next stop - Amby and a sign caught my eye of a historic site. A sacred Aboriginal Site depicting the Scar Tree and its significance to the Gunggari people of the area due to their strong spiritual and cultural connections to the land. Trees such as Australian native Box or Red Gum are used to make canoes, spears, shields, water containers, baby carriers etc. The scars of the wood removed from the trees can still be seen after 200 years.
Amby Scar Trees (Author's Photo)
As I drove further toward Cunnamulla and just west of Morven, I came across the Angellala Railway Bridge, which is a heritage-listed bridge and also the site of the 2014 truck explosion. I can remember the incident being on the news when a truck carrying fifty-three tonnes of ammonium nitrate caught fire, crashed and then exploded. Being at the scene, seeing the damage and reading about the incident on the sign makes the event much more real. The effect of the blast was felt thirty metres away and a police car travelling to the scene was damaged 200 metres away. The Angellala Railway Bridge had stood since 1897 and is now destroyed. Fortunately, no one was killed.
I was impressed by the continual signage along the highways advising travellers how many kilometres before the next fuel stop, whether the road will be unsealed for a portion of the travel, if the road was unfenced and to be aware of cattle and wildlife crossing, RV Camps and what road routes were open to drivers. There was no need to search the internet as connection in some places is limited.
Road Signs - Getting the Message Home to Travellers (Author's Photo)
My favourite stop along this route was Morven. A small town of approximately two hundred residents in the Shire of Murweh, Morven has a historical museum, a miniature museum and a yard full of old farm equipment and trackers including a hut made completely of kerosene tins.
Historical Flatten Kerosene Tin Hut (Author's Photo)
Although I knew my grandfather had lived his youth in a house with an ant-bed floor, I had never heard of houses where the walls had been constructed by using flattened kerosene tins. These buildings were commonly erected during the Depression years of the 1930s and were homes for many people living on the poverty line through those harrowing times. It is inspiring to realise people could still have a roof over their heads and the idea of recycling has never been a new concept.
Spending a large amount of time here was easily done as there was so much to see and read, especially in the Miniature Museum, where hours of painstaking and tedious focus could be seen in the making of miniature buildings from the past. Through fire, drought and disrepair from time, the buildings of yester-year have been carefully reconstructed for our understanding and education of what it was like to live in the bush many years ago.
Buildings in the Miniature Museum (Author's Photo)
Just outside of Morven is Rock Pool, a beautiful place to camp for the night and enjoy bush scenery. There were heaps of caravans and motorhomes parked along the Rock Pool enjoying the serenity of the bush.
If you are travelling solo as I did, you need to check in each day with someone, if not family, then a work colleague or neighbour. It you have a Facebook or Instagram page, then make a note each day of the places you have been and if you are staying at a property for a period of time, tell them where you intend to visit the next day. It is also advisable to have a Navman or similar as some remote areas do not have a good iPhone range and you need to know where you are going and the approximate time it will take you to get there.
Check the Road Conditions (Author's Photo)
Things to remember to do or take as extras to your clothes and essentials are:
Check Insurance is up to date
Water and juice
Fruit / snacks
Pen and paper
Food, for example bread, milk and cereal, you never know where you may end up for a night's rest.
Toilet paper, Sanitiser wipes
Disposable plastic bags
Oil for your vehicle
Blanket/ Sleeping Bag
First Aid Kit and Fire Extinguisher, Tool Kit
Fishing Gear if applicable
Going for a holiday in the bush makes you very appreciative of the city in which you live, as all facilities are close by, however, it is an experience never to be forgotten and always to be enjoyed.