Sunday, 24 January 2021

Sew Civilised!

There's sometimes a cross-over between here and my other blog, Hamby Home(in)stead. 

I made two padded drawstring bags the week before we came away, as well as a set of simple laundry bags. Our bunker trip was their first outing - and all four worked very well!

We'd stopped at a great bakery in Toowoomba on the way out to Miles, so enjoyed specialty croissants on arrival, using our owl mugs and mug rugs.  (The spotted saucers and orange milk jug were at the bunker).  

The owl mugs were used again for the next morning's late brekkie, with more excellent croissants - and often during our stay, sans croissants!

We'd used dry bags for our washing on last year's wing-it wanderings tour (and a grocery bag while on our anniversary splurge!) but I wanted something smaller/nicer for our shorter road-trips.  We'd originally packed for a four-night stay and I wasn't sure if the bags would be large enough but they seemed a good size. (They are intended for light and dark, rather than his and hers).

When we extended to an extra night, we took our washing up to the laundry.  The dark bag was full and we did that load, then went out for some more exploring.  There had been a few spots of rain as we drove back but when we reached the clothesline, most of our washing had been retrieved for us.  How good is that?!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Chinchilla Cactoblastis Monument

The Boonarga Cactoblastis Memorial Hall was built in 1936 by local farmers, to recognise the success of the moth in eradicating the prickly pear plague throughout rural Australia.  

You can read an excellent history of prickly pear, here).

We made a very quick stop at the Cactoblastis Memorial Hall on the way out to Miles.  It had been on my list since reading about it at Dalby in 2017, while visiting the cactoblastis monument.  

Usually we spot the hall as we zip past but we were more on-the-ball this time.

We detoured into Chinchilla on the way home, keen to view the "Bug Farm" replica shed, which was detailed in our "Explore Chinchilla" brochure.  

The two sites are quite separate from each other, about 17.5km apart.

It was such a great display and we were very happy to have made a visit.  

(And there was a geocache nearby also - which was another bonus, bringing our tally to 677 finds)!

"The cactoblastis moth and its larvae eradicated the nuisance plant, the "prickly pear" which covered much of Queensland's farm land in the early 1900s.  A monument and replica shed is located near the entrance to the property "The Shanti" on Clarkee's Road which operated as a Field Station to breed the moth in the early 1930s."

We hadn't previously visited Chinchilla, though we camped at the Weir on the way home from Roma in 2018.  We had a bit of a wander around the town after leaving the bug shed.  It seemed a good time to have lunch, so we did that under some trees near the art gallery - and then viewed the current exhibition when we finished our pastries.  I'm thinking we'll return to Chinchilla for a few days, hopefully soon - and have a better look around the area.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Miles Historical Village

The town's premier attraction is the excellent Miles Historical Village and Museum in Murilla Street  ..."

We've made a few rest stops at Miles on other trips, parking beside or across from the museum (top pic is from our Roma roaming in 2018) - but we hadn't visited due to time constraints.

When speaking with a tourist information volunteer (after visiting Chinaman's Lagoon), she advised the museum opened at 8:30am and an early morning visit was best, before temperatures rose.  

We liked that plan and arrived the next day, not long after the doors opened. Lots of interesting stuff to see and we spent a couple of hours looking at various displays before deciding we'd like a break in some air-conditioning!

The Historical Village is " ... an accurate recreation of a Queensland country town's main street at the turn of the century, which contains over thirty buildings including a bootery, post office, a general store, bakery, the Union Hotel, a butcher's shop and a dairy. The complex also features the old Australian Bank of Commerce, the Dalwogan siding with a steam locomotive, the Red Rose cafe (a replica of the first Greek cafe in the town which opened in 1925) and Andersen's Smithy where the famous Condamine Bell was first made."

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Chinaman's Lagoon

We made a quick stop at Chinaman's Lagoon as part of our Condamine Bell tour (previous post) but other people were reading the signage at that time, so we returned much later in the day.  

I read about the water lilies, though it seemed to me there were some blue ring-ins flowering with the rare pink variety!

In the summer and early autumn the lagoon puts on a spectacular display of rare pink water lilies (nymphaea gigantea), a variety of lily that usually only appears as blue or white. These pink lilies are so rare that they have been classified as rare and endangered.

The lagoon was named for Sam Ah Sun and his story is included on one of the large information boards.  Although we were amused by some of the visual humour of the anecdotes shared there, the reference to opium use and charges was new information to us, so prompted further research afterwards - and we've learned some sad facts as a result of those investigations.  

Condamine Bell Tour

We were awake much earlier on our second morning, so did a 4km loop walk around the property before breakfast. It was good to see the many bunkers - and be able to view an empty one, left in it's original state.  

The owners live in a larger 40-foot bunker, ours and two other 20-foot bunkers are available as accommodation, there was a games room and disused dining room also.  (Others were used for storage).

We'd enjoyed the wildflower tour so much, we decided to do the Condamine Bell Tour.  The drive followed standard sealed roads and although there were interesting facts along the way we much preferred the previous day's exploring.  Yep, give us dirt roads and make us happy!

We returned to Miles from Condamine, rather than traveling on to the Caliguel Lagoon and then an extra 80km to view the Myall Park Botanic Gardens.  We'll save those sights for another trip.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Conloi Bore

We slept in till 10am on our first bunker morning - because our bedroom was much darker and more quiet than we were used to!  By the time we woke it was too late for an early morning walk to see the other bunkers, so we contemplated the day over breakfast.

A brochure detailed several self-drive maps and we opted for the wildflower tour because we turned onto the trail right from our driveway.

We didn't expect to see wildflowers but the country was very interesting, with many vegetation and landscape changes as we drove along.

There were a number of bentonite mines in the area and our brochure referred to one mine's product being processed into kitty litter by a plant in Miles (though no-one we asked knew of it's existence, so prap our information was outdated).

Bentonite is a white clay product derived from volcanic ash.  It has many uses beyond kitty litter and my first thought of clay facial masks!

The conloi bore was around the same area and we stopped to investigate. I found some neat graffiti on the side of the oil holding tank.

I decided to climb the ladder.  I'd packed proper shoes but left my new orthotics at home so wore speciality thongs most days - and they weren't ideal for ladder-climbing.  Thongs aside I'm not good with heights, so only made it part-way up.  Nick then climbed to the top and took some footage of the tank's innards.  (There is some information about the bore on the sign in the first collage).  

Further along the track was a plateau with clumps of spinifex and many grass trees.  It also had phone reception, so we appreciated an internet fix after our wander.  The full wildflower tour was 106 kilometres.  We had our late lunch back at the bunker.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Miles away ...

I became aware of Possum Park's bunker cabins soon after our relocation to Queensland, praps during our first trip to Dalby in 2017.  

We almost got there as an extension to our anniversary splurge but cancelled due to the lockdown weekend.  Once that was over, we booked again to stay four nights - and then added an extra night after arrival. 

There was no menu planning or pre-cooked meals this trip.  The extent of my prepping was to pack several small containers of my porridge blend for a few breakfasts.  

We shopped in Miles at the butcher and food market for some groceries to last the first three nights, then topped up provisions during our stay.  

The bunker had a full kitchen and we dined well from our joint cheffing.  Although we took a small picnic case, we hadn't packed our stove, kettle or a thermos - and it was pretty hot - so we came back to the bunker for lunches, tea/coffee (and afternoon naps)! 

We really enjoyed our stay away from the world.  (We slept in till after 10:00am on our first morning due to the bunker being so quiet and dark)! Our non-Telstra phones didn't have reception on site, so weren't a distraction.  

The TV stayed off and we played Scrabble several nights. When not winning Scrabble (!), Nick played his guitar - and wrote a new song. It was a very laid-back time, which we really appreciated. (There was some exploring but I'll post of those outings separately).