February 11th – February 13th
Normally I start to write each of my blogs at around six o’clock in the evening, but as we’re making a four hour drive from Bundaberg to Rockhampton, I thought I’d start to write it now. We’re currently listening to Foals, with around a hundred kilometres to go, and it’s raining heavily and thundering louder than I’ve heard before and lightning is striking intermittently and it’s just brilliant fun.Luckily for whoever is reading this, and for me as well, not everything over the last few days has been brilliant fun, or else I might have to write a sensible blog about all the wonderful sights that Australia has to offer. And I really don’t want that. I want you all to know how miserable we are out here.
After leaving Rainbow Beach, we decided that it was high time I had a go at driving the campervan. Fifteen minutes and several drives round the same block later, we decided that it was definitely not high time I had a go at driving the campervan. With Paige firmly (and hopefully permanently) back behind the wheel, we set off for our next stop, managing to miss the turning for one of only two noticeable landmarks on the way. Eventually we made it to the second of these landmarks, after deciding we didn’t want to turn back for the first, which was Tin Can Bay. Realistically the name is a little misleading, as there were no tin cans in sight, but the bay itself was lovely, and as the tide was in, several trees were half underwater, which is a bizarre but nonetheless interesting sight to look at.
After a brief stop here, we drove on through to Maryborough, a place that we’d heard little about, but was the next logical overnight stop on our journey. We tried two different campsites that we’d looked up previously, but to no avail. One was located in between a set of railway tracks and a derelict looking shack (we couldn’t see a single space to park our van), and the other was a car park. Not even with large spaces; it was a run-of-the-mill car park on the outskirts of town. We’re not fussy about where we stay, but we had slightly higher expectations than that. Fortunately the rest of Maryborough was just as disappointing as the campsites, so we decided in the end that we didn’t want to stay. It’s fine if you like old buildings with no substance, and even more old buildings with even less substance, but it really wasn’t for us.
We decided to drive on to Hervey Bay, a place that we originally hadn’t planned on staying in, but were thoroughly glad we did. Hervey Bay is similar to Rainbow Beach in the sense that people tend to stay there before leaving for Fraser Island, but it was much larger and much more built up, which was exactly what we were after.
We ended up pitching next to a lovely adult couple (I say adult as if I’m not one, but to me an adult will always be someone around my parents age; I’m merely a big toddler), who were more than willing to share their Sauvignon Blanc and wisdom with us. Turns out they’ve been all over the world and have been travelling across a multitude of different countries since September. The conversation must have been decent, as me and Paige didn’t end up going to bed that night until eleven o’clock, which is genuinely the latest we’ve stayed up since arriving in Australia, by about two hours. We even managed to spot what we think was a possum but could just as easily have been a giant rat or something.We spent the next day relaxing by the beach and feeding ducks, before spending the evening in the Beach House, eating steaks and BBQ ribs. I’ve had worse days.
The next day we drove to Bundaberg. I find it difficult to describe this day/location as being anything other than incredibly disappointing. The towns and cities that we’ve visited in Australia (other than Brisbane and Sydney), all have the same, boring quality to them. Bundaberg was no exception. The only worthwhile thing to do in Bundaberg, other than visiting the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, is to throw yourself in the river to put yourself out of your misery. We spent our day in McDonalds, trying not to do just that and even went to the cinema, but had literally missed the only film that they were showing that day by ten minutes.
The day wasn’t all bad though. The campsite we stayed in is full of permanent residents, all of whom are available for some amusement if the river doesn’t look too appealing. We sat and eavesdropped a twenty-something year old hippie and a seventy-something year old woman discuss procreation and video games, in between snippets of another man talking about his unsuccessful application to work at McDonalds. Another man spent the evening shouting “Sharky” at the top of his voice, and to top it all off, there was a one-legged man using a hockey stick as a cane, and hitting the same rose bush every time he walked past it. Apparently this is what happens if you stay in Bundaberg for too long, so we got out of there pretty sharpish the next morning.