WHILE most of my pieces tend to be about the coastal towns we have seen as we drive the perimeter of Australia, there are times we drive further just to avoid the traffic of major cities. Today we drive from Maryborough to Toowoomba, 125kms inland from Brisbane.
The drive is one of my favourites so far. These are small farming towns like one might see in country England and the scenery change is very welcome.
Woolooga is a pop-up town appearing as if from nowhere, a typical Australian ‘one-pub’ town.
There are long sweeping valleys out here and row-upon-row of vineyards. Pumpkins are for sale at the post office and shiny tractors are displayed proudly by the roadside like trophies. Ghostly gums stretch skyward, disfigured and skeletal.
Local produce stores market themselves as purveyors of candy and carrots.
Nanango is an autumnal painting. The trees are all turning to crimson and broad leaves fall into crunchy mounds. I would have liked to just plonk myself under an oak and read all day.
I love small towns like this, where the bakery is the buzzing hive of the community and Bill knows George whose missus, Tracy, works at the post office. The local fire service’s annual charity ball posters are stapled to the notice board outside next to the home-printed ‘Kelpies For Give-Away to A Good Home’ advertisement.
When I was very young I lived in a town like this one in the Barossa Valley and the smell of baked pastry and chimney smoke take me back there in an instant. Nearing the northern border of New South Wales it feels as though we lose one degree Celsius per 50 kms we drive, as the Queensland heat fades and we approach the southern winter. I am trying to enjoy the cooler temperatures as we plan our next journey, which may take us even further north to Darwin.