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First stop: Bundaberg.
First stop: Bundaberg.
Next stop: Musgrave Island.
Stopping off at the Tropic of Capricorn.

Queensland drive

Thursday, November 9, 2000
Buckle up for a glorious drive through some of Queensland's oldest cities with Catriona.

Maryborough began as a wool port in 1847, making it one of Queensland's oldest cities. It is also the gateway to Hervey Bay, Australia's unofficial whale-watching capital.

Maryborough's main thoroughfare is Kent Street, where you will find plenty of beautiful old buildings, the Old Port Museum and a large genealogy centre. Each Thursday from 7am to 2pm, Kent Street is the scene of the Heritage Markets and people dress in either the style of the town's early days, or country and western.

About one and a half hours north of Hervey Bay is the sugar town of Bundaberg, the southernmost point of the 2000km-long Great Barrier Reef, with Lady Elliott and Lady Musgrave islands very accessible. It is home of the famous Bundaberg Rum and you can tour the distillery and sample the liquid gold.

In Bourbong Street you can't miss the Whaling Wall, created by an American named Wyland, using 1000 litres of paint. It is Number 23 in his worldwide series of 100 murals.

On the edge of the Burnett River is the Spinnaker Restaurant, popular for its meals using fresh local produce, and its great views.

Bert Hinkler, the pioneer aviator, was from Bundaberg and his family home is now a museum. Even older are the 25-million-year-old Mystery Craters, which appeared for no apparent reason.

Another two and a half hours north is Gladstone, a city blending tourism, community and industry. East of Gladstone's 150km coastline are many colourful reefs and coral cays within beautiful crystal clear waters. A town of mixed attractions, Gladstone has the world's largest alumina plant and smelter and Australia's largest cement operation. It is also the starting point to go to Lady Musgrave and Heron islands, as well as the town of 1770, recognised as the birthplace of Queensland. Lieutenant James Cook arrived there on May 24, 1770, and not much has changed since.

About an hour or so north you will reach Rockhampton, sitting on the Tropic of Capricorn. It has easy access to Great Keppel Island and there's plenty to do in the town and its surrounds.

Olsens and Cammoo caves are limestone formations, and Olsens Caverns are home to the rare bentwing bat that migrates from Mount Etna.

Cooberrie Park Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is a shaded area with barbecues and swimming and wading pools where you can handfeed birds and kangaroos and pat koalas.

The area is a golfer's paradise, with courses at Yeppoon, Emu Park and Rydge's Capricorn International Resort, which has two world-class courses.


From Maryborough to Rockhampton.

More information

Maryborough: 0413 739 622
Bundaberg: (07) 4152 2333
Gladstone: (07) 4972 4000
Rockhampton: (07) 4927 2055
Best Western: 13 1779

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