Day 21 Thursday June 26th 2014 Town of 1770 to Bouldercombe
There is not a cloud in the sky. Outside our window there is a rather regal standard poodle sitting on his rug. He barely moves just guards his family and probably us too.
The Bruce Highway is much narrower now. We leave the highway to explore Gladstone which is a sprawling city. We walk around, map in hand trying to find the centre of town but there are very few shops or people in fact. It’s like a ghost city. There are large offices for the mining industry, Santos, John Holland and several recruiting specialists. I buy a new mouse, as we’ve killed two in a month, rats. We ask the stationer where the centre of town is and she says we’re standing in it. “Where do people go to shop then”? “Oh, out at Stocklands near the airport”. We shake our heads and hit the road. We cross the river and visit the rather impressive marina but once more there are few people about other than a gaggle of young mums and their kids enjoying the perfect parklands beside the water. Heading northwards we pass a large power plant and an aluminium smelter and conveyor belts crisscross the road, coming from who knows where and going to the port.
The vegetation becomes dry sparse bushland. There are continuing roadworks. By noon it is 24 degrees. We see two long heavy coal trains that have second engines in their middles. The road becomes very bumpy and a sign declares “Slow trucks carrying explosives” as we pass an explosives factory. One would expect the road here to be better. The scenery changes once more and there are dry grasslands and beside us the blue hills of the Mount Morgan Range.
Just shy of Rockhampton we decide to brave our first pub stay and turn off towards Mount Morgan and 15 minutes later we are in the little town of Bouldercombe. We pull up outside the Royal Hotel and Tracey the publican bounds down the beer garden steps to meet us. Yes, we can park out the back on the wide mowed paddock along with the other campers. “A beer in the bar would be appreciated thanks and there are $10 meals”. We camp beside M and H, a couple of Kiwi ladies travelling on their six month limit. To retain their superannuation they must return home every six months.
What a lovely spot, it is sunny, warm and dry and peaceful. We go for a beer in the pub. By the way the camp toilets are spotless, this pub stay thing isn’t bad at all.
In the evening we return to the pub for dinner. The food is cheap and good, the vegies are extra. They don’t sell wine by the glass but by the bottle, if you don’t finish it you take it with you. Max the arthritic Staffy nudges his rump up to my leg for a pat. He works the room in this fashion moving from one set of legs to the next. A bunch of cheery campers play pool. Some of the locals are still drinking on the veranda. Country music plays. This is the real Queensland.
Travelling Kms: 235Kms
2020 Note: We passed the Bouldy Pub in 2019 on our way to Mt Morgan and sad to say it had closed. One can only hope that it will be nursed back to life by caring publicans like Tracey.