I packed up yesterday and headed north to visit my friend Dawn who has a B&B in Bargara.
Intending to park in her driveway, I was told I was to be a guest in the Fraser Room, a beautifully refurbished bedroom with en-suite and a balcony. I’m always a low maintenance guest, and thought I’d just keep out of the way because she has other people staying here, so I had dinner planned in the bus. However, I was treated to drinks by the pool and a magnificent barbecue, followed by more drinks and lots of talking and catching up. We hadn’t seen each other for two years so we decided I should stay another day.
With Dawn as my guide, we bundled into the car and headed down the road, towards town. The sugar cane is being cut, leaving rich dark red soil to colour the landscape. It’s barren but beautiful and not a cloud in the sky. We passed the flower farm, the sunflowers drying up ready for the harvest of seeds, the watermelon farm, the strawberry farm, the zucchini farm, macadamia nut farm…. so much food is grown around here.
First stop was Bundaberg, a short 15 minute drive away. It has changed since I was there as a kid. We bought some clothes, visited the chocolate shop, and then did the obligatory visit to the Bundaberg rum factory. A sugar cane train was arriving, a great backdrop and well timed for our visit. Inside the cavernous brick building there was merchandise galore and shelves stacked to the brim with rum. I gazed around marvelling at how many things can be made with rum as an ingredient! Dessert sauces, marinades, jams, etc. It was fascinating. Of course, With Australia’s obsession over ‘big’ monuments to local produce, there is the Big Bundy bottle out the front for a photo opportunity.
Then on to the Big Barrel to purchase some Bundy Ginger Beer. This was a weird experience. Every flavour under the sun offered at discount prices at the moment but you can no longer taste test. We weren’t even allowed in and had to communicate with the sales person through a crack in the door. Anyone would have thought we were buying drugs or something. It was so strange but people are living in fear of Covid. Of course, out the front were some Big Bundy Ginger Beer bottles, done in a slightly different way.
Next stop was a real treat…..a visit to Mon Repos Turtle Centre. This is placed at the beach where the turtles come to lay their eggs. Some travel from as far as South America but most of them just travel the coast of Australia. If you haven’t been there, it should be on your bucket list. At turtle hatching time, you can go to the beach and watch the babies making their way to the water. Usually there are heaps of people, but now with restrictions, it will only be 14 people, so it will almost be a private experience. Maybe I’ll bring the grand children in hatching season. We learned that global warming is affecting the eggs. Some were actually cooking last year in the severe heat of summer, so they never hatched. 😢 Now they have a sprinkler system to cool the sand, they dig some nests up and move them to safer ground, shade cloth shelters are installed and wire cages are put over some to protect them from the goannas. Wow! I learned a lot today.
Next stop was the township of Bargara for fish and chips on the beach, washed down with Bundaberg ginger beer and lemon, lime and bitters.
On the way home, we went to the strawberry farm and Dawn bought a huge punnet of ripe, juicy strawberries for dessert. Once again, there were shelves and shelves of produce made from strawberries.
Im eyeing off the hundreds of sweet potatoes ready to be plowed back into the soil at the farm next door to Dawn’s place. May have to do a quick midnight visit and pinch one or two, but right now, Im buggered and ready for a siesta.