to plan the next few weeks.
We drove down from the Bunya Mountains and stopped in Roma, a few hours west,
to plan the next few weeks.
Fortunately it wasn't as cold last night as it was the night before, so we
slept much better. We were on the road by 8:30, and headed down towards
Dalby. It looked like a short distance on the map, but it took the better
part of 90 minutes, even with the road being paved all the way. Sigh.
The one good map we have of the area--"Queensland's Outback" by HEMA--is of a
scale that you could fit all of Texas on it, with Oklahoma, Louisiana, and
Then we drove west. The flat farmland near Dalby, reminiscent of the
Sacramento Valley, gave way to rolling eucalypt woodlands east of Miles.
After another 2 1/2 hours driving, we were in Roma. Here we had a few
things to do. We stopped by the ranger's office and got handouts for most
of the parks that we read about in a folder at the Bunya Mountains National Park
information hut. We withdrew some more money, and verified that our latest
chunk of money from the US was wired in correctly... didn't get such a good
exchange rate this time, something around 55.50US for each Aussie dollar.
And we moved our diving course out three days, so we start on Sunday not
We'd been planning the night before, and figured that there's no
way to rush through these parks in west-central Queensland without driving 12
hours a day. We'd like to see a few sections of Carnarvon, Blackdown
Tableland, and the Mt Etna Caves near Rockhampton. It makes an easy big
loop circuit, but there's no real way to do it in four days from the Bunyas and
still end up in Airlie Beach on Wednesday. So we're glad that we're able
to move it.
then poked around Roma... there's not much to do. I enjoyed seeing the
avenues of bottle trees. The town had planted 94 of them for each of the
94 residents killed in World War I; now they're huge squat trees, not 5 meters
high, but with bases that are 3 or 4 meters around. A picture really shows
how they look... and shows the annoying 'rear-end to the curb 45 degree angle
parking' that many country towns in Australia use. For me, it's
Later, we stopped by the Romavilla Winery,
operating since 1863, where they make quite a few wines. I sampled more
than I should and didn't buy anything, much to Chris' embarrassment. They
were just kinda flabby (the shiraz), too sweet (the ports), or just too watered
down (the madeira).
Chris then napped while I walked around the hotel and picked up seed pods
from the bottle trees (Brachychiton rupetris). I grabbed a few, but
also noticed quite a few curious beetles on them too, so I have to be careful
and isolate the seeds. Took some pictures of the beetles, too, and
collected some. Maybe I'll send them to Neville in Auckland if he's
At dark, we went to the fancy-shmancy "Big Rig" spectacle, a nighttime slide
show that the local council built to lure tourists in. Roma is the center
of a small oil and gas patch, and the show was mildly interesting, though not
really worth the $8.
We then grabbed some pizza, did some grocery shopping at Woolworth's, and
went to bed.
G'day Dan, course I am interested. Email me for more details. Glad to hear of your exploits. Say how do the Aborigines prepare Bunya Bunya nuts for eating? As we have a fruiting tree here on campus it might be fun to try them!