Between our house sits we managed to squeeze in a long weekend exploring more of the south east corner of our state. I love that even though we’ve lived here for over 25 years and had many weekends away we can still find pockets that we haven’t yet explored. I had an early finish from work for our 3 day weekend which enabled us to explore some back roads heading north west to our first nights destination of Cooyar.
We travelled via Lowood & Coominya before going up the range to Hampton and on to the free camp site at Swinging Bridge Park a fairly large area so plenty of room for us and the other campers some who used the $5 power (pay at the pub). We wandered down to the pub for a relaxing beer with the locals – decided not to dine in although it was tempting however we’d some lovely meat to cook that we’d bought on our way through Crows Nest.A peaceful night and although cold outside we were nice and snug in W3.
The next morning it was still cool but nice to wander round the area and read the history of the area including the huge flood that came through in 1988 destroying many houses and taking 2 lives, so hard to believe that this town with such a small creek could be so devastated with very little warning. We’d heard the locals recommending to other travelers that rather than taking the highway north there was an alternative route over Mt Binga so of course we took this route through lovely country and large avocado orchards I kept a look out but sadly no roadside stalls. Back on the main road we headed west, with Rob reminiscing of all the car rallys he drove in this areas, we stopped for morning tea at Harland Park another free campsite just east of Yarraman. There was a motorhome tucked down by the river but not a sole in sight.
Oh I forgot to mention apart from heading to Swinging Bridge campsite we had no plan for this weekend so just made it up as we went along. We headed next to Kumbia a small township with just a few shops and you guessed it another free campsite this one including free power courtesy of the council but no it was too early to stop so on we went taking Manar Road where again we reminisced about coming up here to the 4wd park. After passing the park and a herd of cattle we suddenly stopped wow the most perfect campsite for the night right by a quiet stream. We took a bet on how many cars would pass between set up and off to bed – ha I was right none how perfect is that. We had a lovely evening just relaxing by the fire and listening to night birds and “other” animal noises.
A misty morning which was lovely by this small river and we loitered for ages just watching the mist move and the birds become active as the morning warmed up. Back on the road we went first to Munduberra where we had a nice walk by the river and didn’t find out why there was a table for many set up. Heading south we took the turn off to Auburn River NP, this was well worth the stop with a BBQ lunch chatting to some locals and then a walk down to the gorge. There was some campers here and would be a good option to stop however be warned the road in would be quite rough if you were in a 2wd particularly after rain. From here we continued west and checked out a free campsite area from our book but no not for us this time although by the river in the summer would be rather nice. We turned south travelling through many farms and then through the Barakula SF and into Chinchilla. A great drive reminding us in parts of our trip to Cameron’s Corner a few years ago.
Chinchilla we fueled up and checked the book for free campsites oh we were spoilt for choice so checked out the nearest one by the Weir less than 10 minutes from town, it was very late afternoon so as expected quite full of nomads but there was room for us in a spot others had avoided with fear of being stuck. It had clearly rained there recently although the ground was dry with more rain it could become boggy ah but no fear with the 4wd. It was nice to wander round with the sun setting talking to other campers before settling down with a wine by another campfire. Actually it was quite amusing watching others out to cook dinner then scurrying back inside to watch TV in the warm.
Another misty morning – good photo opportunity – and a leisurely start before heading back to Brisbane. Normal highway all the way except I took us on a different route through Toowoomba seeing some of the older houses which are just lovely and the gardens are amazing – one chicken run to avoid a low bridge. Down the range and we stopped at a roadside stop for lunch and read the info board which pointed us to Helidon. Oh how many times have we driven this highway and never turned off. Interesting to read the history boards in this small township before heading home.