Bimbling about

We chose to drive home from Queensland inland down the New England Highway, rather than the more travelled coastal route. 

The towns are more interesting and picturesque; more natural and less aimed at tourists. 

First stop the cute town of Boonah where a movie’s still called a flick. We bought an old-fashioned cream bun and vanilla slice and the shop assistant called me “love” and “darl”, even though she was at least 25 years younger than me. 

We stopped at Ballendean for our picnic lunch. Under the shade of a kindly tree, planted to commemorate the building of the community hall in 1916. If only we could go back 100 years and thank the citizens of the time. 

The old train station buildings have been turned into amenities blocks for passing travellers. See the little flap in the photo below? Any guesses what it was for?

Hint: the toilet is behind it. 

Second hint: while the flap is no longer used, it harks back to pre-sewage connection days. 

We were stopping for two nights in Tamworth. It took us the day to get there. 

There, and along the way, were flowers, butterflies, birds (some scary, many colourful) and interesting buildings. 

We stayed in a lovely BnB, full of interesting antiques and art work. It is so nice having a lovely presented breakfast of several courses. We much prefer spending our money on this rather than eating at a noisy, crowded cafe, not to mention having to get out to go to a cafe. We had the sitting room to ourselves. The first night was cool enough for a fire – you can just spy it in the top right shot. 

About an hour and a half out of Tamworth, on the final leg home, we stopped at Burning Mountain. I’ve noticed the sign several times over the past two years. Is something actually burning? Or is it just a name?

Top of Burning Mountain

Turns out it is burning. And has been for thousands of years. A coal seam 30 metres underground. The fire moves slowly and as it does the vegetation is cooked and dies and regrows, the soil changes colour from chemical reactions, large fissures open up, and in places the soil is cooked as hard as bricks. A steep 2km walk took us to the top where the smell of sulphur and the barren ground in the above photo indicates the current site of the fire. It was really interesting. Mr S, who doesn’t believe in stopping, (I’m worried if I fall asleep he’ll continue right around Australia) found it worth the break in the journey so soon.

On the freeway entering Sydney, it felt like we’d been away for weeks. We feel soooo relaxed. 

Where to next? I haven’t planned anything for the summer break. I should start on the September trip to France. But for now I will just prepare myself for the onslaught of work. 


11 thoughts on “Bimbling about

  1. What a beautiful B&B…especially the sitting room full of books. So many interesting little places and things to see on the road. It’s funny the things that can de-stress a person: it makes me feel relaxed and chilled out just to see photos of the main streets of country towns. Burning Mountain sounds intriguing…I just went off googling about it and some sites say it has been burning for 6,000 years!! Happy return to work for tomorrow!

  2. I love the old post office-in-a-cottage. Country towns are the best:) My parents retired to one about 20 mins away from me, and I swear they know everyone in town by name already..

    • I noted the demise of the post offices in the towns. For sale signs up. Some turning into other shops with a post office counter. The one in Boonah is now a chemist. Sad but with the internet no one is sending letters.

      Mr S and I talk about what sort of country town and where it is for retirement. With a flat in the city, I could do it.

  3. I cannot believe Mr Sans would continue driving around Australia – I generally don’t mind driving (I drove Chippendale – Oatley – Chatswood – Oatley – Chippendale on Wednesday), but I don’t like long haul driving. And like Mr Sans, I don’t like to stop as it’s a sense of ‘we won’t get it over with as quickly then’. It’s a shame, cause… well, it’d be good to be better at enjoying life, and the journey. And country towns sorta… bore me. Not that they are boring, but imagining living there, for me, would be boring. I wish I could detach from that and just enjoy the quirks and charm as I would if it wasn’t my home country.

    • Your Wednesday drive would be exhausting. Well, I would find it so. All that city driving.

      Easy to imagine the country towns are a different country cause they are. It’s like a different world. Much more so than the coastal towns which are just suburbs by the sea. And full of the poor and the retired from Sydney and Melbourne.

  4. Australia has the best country side, so varied and interesting. Sounds like a great holiday. Enjoy the work and especially the planing for your trip next September.

  5. Hope this comment makes it to you as this is my third attempt. Loved your photos of the Australian countryside. So much colour and variety that never gets boring. Love the B&B you stayed at in the country. You find some very interesting and relaxed accomodation.
    Start planning for France. Sounds like a great idea.

  6. Gorgeous B&B! Swooping magpies warning, for real! (I was swooped by aggressive blackbirds once; not fun). I am happy to drive through rural towns but have no aspirations to live in one. Grew up in a village of less than 1000.

    • Oh I am more scared of magpies than snakes because I am more likely to encounter a magpie who swoops in breeding season. Google swooping magpies and see the reports and videos. People are injured! It’s a wild and dangerous country here!

      There’s some funny ways people try to protect themselves. Icecream plastic tubs on their heads with eyes painted on the back. Cable ties on bike helmets like an echidna. Swinging things over their heads.

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