Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mackay
After a couple of hectic days we slowed the pace down somewhat on our second day in Hervey Bay. Our mission was to get to Bundaberg which, being only an hour and a half away was relatively easy compared to some our epic drives that would be undertaken later in the trip. Our morning was spent taking in the sun, reading and having a picnic before heading north through the sugar cane fields. Bundaberg is probably more off the beaten track than our stops thus far, being quite a way inland and have very little to recommend it save for the exceptional rum and ginger beer it produces. Seriously, the ginger beer is incredible.
We made it safely to our little Air BnB. The boys were excited by the pool table and darts kept in the garage and myself and mum were charmed by the blue and white kitchen, figures. After some very gender specific activities occurred (the boys played pool and mum put some washing in) we did a bit of googling for our dinner location. We settled on seafood and put our faith in the trip advisor reviews from locals. Grunske’s by the river was the outright winner and its a good job as they provided some of the best seafood I’ve ever had. It was a typical Aussie establishment, simple and efficient. This seems to be the case with many of the slightly out of the way eateries I’ve been to here but you order at a till, take a buzzer and go collect your food when it’s ready… perhaps not what you’d expect for fine dining but it seems to work over here.
After being stared at by the locals, obviously not used to tourists frequenting, we found a table out of the way and made our choices. We all ended up with barramundi and myself and Mum had some delicious Moreton bay bugs (to die for), scollops and the best prawns of my life. So good in fact that, as we were leaving (very full and extremely happy) mum bought a pack of prawns to go for breakfast the next morning.
We set off for Rockhampton the next day and I believe Sam and Russell were most excited about visiting the beef capital of Australia. And it becomes clear that as a city they are exceptionally proud of their cows. The town is littered with cow statues, a little akin to worship except the residents aren’t to fussed about devouring their livestock. After a long morning of driving we stopped at the Bush Mill Hotel for some manly, huge steaks and they were very very good. Meat sweats were endured (by myself and Mum). Then our evening was spent in an Air BnB in Yeppoon watching the footy (rugby league). After a hearty breakfast provided by our wonderful hosts we made our way out of the little town and back into the heart of Rockhampton to spend a few hours in the Aboriginal Visitor Centre, a nice little break from our usual tourist activities; eating and driving. Although small and not very busy the centre was great. Full of information about Aboriginal artwork and their connection to the land, plus we got some didgeridoo and boomerang throwing experience (Sam and myself excelling at the boomerang). Unfortunately the rest of the day was mainly driving as we had a long way ahed of us to get to Mackay.
Our arrival in Mackay was fantastic with our Air BnB hosts greeting us with wine and beer and managing to make it in time for the sunset over their amazing garden. We were advised of a nice Italian on the marina where we whiled away the evening hours with pasta and card games. A relaxing end to our manic travel north.