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Miscellany

Australia – Toowoomba to Maleny

I left the Sunday Motel before 08:00 and headed for the Japanese gardens which feature in the tourist blurb. It was strangely in a housing estate on the edge of the city. The gardens are Ju Raku En (roughly translated means ‘to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place’) were opened on 21 April 1989 by Mr Yoshiharu Araki from the Brisbane Consul-General of Japan. I chose the wrong time for a visit as they were not that peaceful a gales was blowing and the gardener was shaping the shrubs with a petrol hedge strimmer. I didn’t stay longer than it took to walk around and take a few pictures.

On the way out of the city I grabbed a coffee and wrote a few postcards. I hadn’t appreciated how high up the city is, as I left there was a steep motorway with views across the plains below. Lorries were warned to use a low gear and there were two emergency escape lanes one which had been used, based on the tracks. Towards the bottom a few lorries were going really slowly, despite the hill leveling out a bit, I theorised that they had hot brakes or something.

I stopped for another coffee at a rest stop at the bottom then made the mistake of trying to take a country road. It was a good gravel track to start but about 15km in it dwindled down to a narrow track, I decided was too off road, so I had to double back. The countryside was flat and agricultural for a while and on a couple of detours I passed through some small towns with the traditional high street and not much else, Lowood was a good example and I stopped to take a look around.

Phil had recommended a route cross country to the east of the waters formed by Somerset Dam. I found the route despite Google complaining, and climbed steadily, then I was in rolling hills for a while. I passed through a very small village with a Coronation gall and a shop, there were a lot of trailers with powerful speed boats on trailers. I stopped to investigate, they were there to fish in the fast flowing waters of the river which was swollen by the rains and the Dan just up stream generating electricity, it was in full flow. I’m not sure how speed boats and fishing mix but there were boats promoting fishing magazines and tackle.

Next stop was Kilcoy, another small town far from the previous town. I’m figuring that the reason these towns can support small independent shops, is the distance to the next town, although I got the impression some were hanging on by a string.

Maleny was an interesting place, there was a spiritual hippy feel to the place. I wandered up and down the high street and bought a second hand book. In a local artist cooperative I managed to find that elusive gift I had been searching for for Helen, no clues as to what it might be here ;-).

I had already passed her my accommodation was, so it was easy to find Sienna Chalets, which turned out to be a B&B. The room was clean and comfortable, breakfast was included. Accommodation is more expensive than the UK so it always felt like the accommodation was slightly shorter version priced, either that or I am a tight arse. I settled in and started to process two days worth of photos, then headed down to road to Brouhaha brewery for something to eat. The beer selection. Was great although a little bit less fizz and not so cold and I think they may have cracked making a good beer. I had broadbean falafel for a starter and a seared tuna salad for main, the most healthy meal for quite a few days. All tasted and went down nicely. I was in bed early as I had booked a 07:30 breakfast, I had a mountain to climb and a giant pineapple to visit the next day. Watch this space.