Trip Start May 08, 2008
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Monday, June 16, 2008

GYMPIE - 16 -19th June 2008

A very pretty drive from the Gorge to Gympie. We stopped at Goomberi for lunch and found the most amazing cheese shop - Motza's Cheeses so we stocked up for our happy hours.

Caravan Park left a bit to be desired as it was very basic with some strange characters living there. We have been a bit spoiled by the standard set early on, but we wanted to have a look around the Mary Valley and Gympie was the best location for this.

However, we did meet some really lovely people there - one couple from Brisbane and the other couple from SA. It is great talking to other people who have been travelling around in a van a lot longer than us and getting all the tips and tricks. Everyone is just so friendly and helpful with advice on where we should stay, helping out with maps etc. It is great.

We were within walking distance of the RSL so we headed off there for dinner on the first night. We find by the time we have driven a few hours and then set up camp, wo don't feel like getting dinner ready.

The next day we walked around the town to check out the old buildings. It is a very historic town with some beautiful heritage buildings dating back to the 1800's.

Then went to "Highbury Mountain" a Swiss restaurant in the mountains. It had beautiful 360 degree views and we could see right back to the Glasshouse Mountains. We had yummy home cooked pastries for lunch and fantastic coffee. The hostess and chef was a delightful lady call Pia and we got talking to her about the down turn in the hospitality industry up north. She has only had the restaurant a couple of years but has noticed a decline in patronage, which is such a shame, and she also commented on how few caravans there are now heading up further north.

After lunch we enjoyed a walk around Lake Alford Park which was just beautiful.

Wednesday we awoke to a very strange smell in the air and were told it was coming from the Nescafe factory which was not far from the park. There is also still a working gold mine in Gympie run by Eldorado Mine Limited which still mines 25,000ozs gold per year.

Our plan today was to ride "The Valley Rattler" for a day trip through the Mary Valley.
The restoration of the steam locomotive and all the carriages was down by volunteers and the staff on the train are all retired volunteers but real train buffs.

It was in 1910 that a railway to Mary Valley was approved and construction of the line began in 1911, but was officially closed in 1994/95. The Mary Valley Heritage Railway commenced operations in 1998. We had a lovely day and the neighbours from the park were on the train as well as another very interesting couple who were from NZ. He had previously been a police commissioner in the NT so he had some very interesting stories to tell.

Lunch was at the Railway Pub at Imbil and the afternoon tea stop was wine and cheese!

It was a very scenic ride, but (and I am sure we are biased) the train trip to Sydney from Wollongong, or the trip up to Robertson is just as scenic, if not more so. We sometimes do not appreciate what we have at home.

We had happy hour with the new acquaintances which was very pleasant.

Tomorrow Thursday 19th we are off to Rainbow Beach for 4 nights to just fish, read, walk and relax. It is still just a little too cool for us to hit the surf.

See ya Kevin & Carol
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