Jules Lund loves a good Aussie drive and he recently enjoyed part of the scenic Great Bunya Drive which stretches from Gympie to Toowoomba in Queensland.
It meanders for 390km through the country landscapes of the Darling Downs and South Burnett. The fertile area farms cattle, pigs and goats and grows grain and cotton.
Bunya Mountains National Park
Jules set out from Bunya Mountains National Park, the half-way point of the drive. West of Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, it has freshwater dams, pastoral homesteads and rural towns. The isolated section of the Great Dividing Range has rich Aboriginal history. Formed more than 30 million years ago, it has an enormous stand of ancient Bunya pines.
Ranger Kelvin Quinn is an expert on the giant trees. He explained how nuts inside the cones are an important part of the diet of native animals and, of course, provide new trees. You'll see footholds up the trunks from days gone by when people climbed up to knock down cones to feast on the seeds.
Generations have gathered at the mountains to enjoy moist and dry rainforest, grasslands, open forests and woodlands. Its unique plants and animals include thirty rare and threatened species.
The 35km of walking tracks is broken into nine separate walks ranging from 500m to 10km. The 4km Scenic Circuit Track is a popular one with forest, waterfalls and lots of birds.
Bunya Mountains National Park will be celebrating its centenary over August 2 and 3 this year.
One of Australia's largest surviving woolsheds, Jondaryan is the centrepiece of the Historical Museum and Park. It was established in 1975 to showcase the history of the station and its role in pastoral development on the Darling Downs. There are historic buildings, machinery, equipment and collections gathered over many years.
If you fancy a true bush experience there's accommodation available. Shearers' quarters have a sawdust-covered floor cookhouse with open fire, wood stoves, hot showers and toilets.
Catering is available as required. You can pitch your tent, rent one of theirs or park your motorhome or caravan at a powered or unpowered site. If you prefer a little more comfort there are self-contained ensuite cabins with kitchenettes.
A real highlight is billy tea and damper cooked over coals. It's often served with corned beef.
Group guided tours of Jondaryan are available. You'll need around three hours as there's so much to see. Sheep shearing, working horses, blacksmithing and watching sheepdogs perform.
Wedgetail Ridge Estate Winery
Also enjoying the fertile soils of the Darling Downs, Wedgetail Ridge grows shiraz, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, viognier and durif grapes. Grapes are crushed on-site and they produce wines with a difference. Some are infused with a hint of herbs and are beautifully aromatic, perfectly balanced and smooth. They are open every day between 10am and 4pm.
The Darling Downs, 45 minutes west of the Sunshine Coast.
Jondaryan Shearers' Quarters accommodation is $13 for adults, $6.50 for children and $39 for four beds. Linen is $15 per bed. Self-contained cabins are $75 twin share. All linen is supplied. Unpowered camp sites are $10 for up to four people and $4 for each additional person. Powered sites are $13.50 for up to four and $4.50 for each additional person. Tent accommodation is $4 for your own tent, $17 for hire and site twin share and $34 for hire, site and staff will erect the tent. Tours are $12 for adults and $7 for children. Morning or afternoon tea is included.
Prices correct at July 8, 2010.
For further information
Great Bunya Drive
1 Bunya Avenue
Ph: (07) 4122 3444
Fax: (07) 4122 3426
Ph: (07) 4692 2229
Wedgetail Ridge Estate
656 Kingsthorpe Road
Ph: (07) 4699 3029