15th December 2003

Back on the road. The wind is now not as bad as it was, but still against us. A long loop through Bundaberg gives the opportunity to get off the Bruce Highway. A tiny settlement called Baffle Creek had two campsites, both next to each other and at the creeks edge. We opted for the first, but were told we could only stay one night as it was booked for a whole week by a crowd of American students. There was only one other couple there. An offer, of a free rowing boat saw us 'up the creek' fishing. First fish was a largish catfish which went back, followed by a couple of smaller unknowns for breakfast.

This is still crocodile country and rowing a small boat among mangroves requires some caution although we still haven't seen one. Dugongs are also present, but we have seen none of these either, although Joan thinks she saw some from the shore earlier. As the area was so nice, we checked in at the site next door next morning. It had a golf course next door and a social club with verandah overhanging the creek. David took the opportunity to fish in a nice comfortable spot under the verandah out of the sun. His choice paid off with a rod bending bite and a tough fight to land a spotted Grunter Bream (we think) of about 10 pounds. This was cooked on a wood fired barbecue and eaten with pasta as is the camping tradition. 
(Chris - I have taken photos of the fish I have caught but i'm not sure you'll believe me!) ( Not surprised, it's amazing what photoshop can do! - Mark )

Off to Bundaberg, the rum capital of Quensland. Joan was too late for the free tour of the distillery and had to have tea instead. This area grows large numbers of water melons which can be bought at the roadside for less than 50p for one bigger than a football. Try carrying one of these on a bike.

The fruit growing areas encourage the influx of backpackers and others for casual work and the population of the campsite relected this.

Oh, we forgot to mention the Rugby. Most Aussies reckon it was a good match and we deserved to win, but we did find a bitter one who thought England used the rules unfairly. However, David reminds them that they never let us win at cricket or sailing and England needs to win something sometime.

On to Childers, a tourist town with colonial style buildings. One of the shops used to be an old pharmacy which was closed about 1980. It has been preserved as a museum. All the shelves and cupboards were full of old herbs and herbal remedies and David spotted some bottles of opum and other banned substances still intact. All the old laboratory apparatus, even a dentists chair were still in their original condition.

As we cycled in to Burram Heads, the heavens opened up and we got soaked although it made a change to be wet and warm. The campsite was by the beach in a small fishing village and because of the continuous rain we opted for a static van with kitchen facilities for only 10 pounds a night. Some tent sites were almost this much so it was a real bargain. The decision to stay another night was easy as the rainy weather continued. Our first bottle of Australian wine went down well with dinner in the comfort of our caravan. Surprisingly the wine here is more expensive than the same wine in Tescos. Perhaps this is not such a surprise as we found this to be the same in California where wine was at least 10 dollars a bottle.

Will it still be raining tomorrow?

The next day was a little better with showers instead of thnderstorms and we headed off to Hervey bay, a local tourist area full of motels, tourist shops etc. The wind is now better that it was, but still against us most of the time. Riding in he rain when it is warm is quite pleasant. It makes a change to be water soaked instead of sweat soaked. Joans shirt became transparent and she opted to put her waterproof jacket on top to protect her decency!

At the camp site we met a local couple having a weekend break. They live at Maleny which is on our route and offered to put us up for the night. We accepted and look forward to seeing them again. 


Dave and Joan Wooldridge