Off to the Bunya Mountains

Where are we now ? http://goo.gl/maps/Ga3UZ
Tuesday 25 June 2013 (Day 77 – 18,623 Kms)
After a couple of days in Brisbane including a visit to Australia Zoo and spending time with our Brisbane family we rode out with them this morning from Brisbane in convoy (2 cars plus our motorbike). We headed out through Toowoomba on a crisp sunny morning toward our rented mountain lodge in the Bunya Mountains where we plan to spend the next three days. We turned off the Warrego Highway midway between Toowoomba and Dalby toward the mountains. The road was single lane  bitumen for much of the way through picturesque rural country. Our worst fears for the entire round Australia trip came to pass as we were travelling at about 80 km/hr along a narrow road with dense bushland close to the road on both sides. Four kangaroos in full flight burst from the bush on our right hand side heading across the road just in front of our bike. We managed to take evasive action (ie swerve and jump on the brakes) and managed to narrowly miss the first three but the last one saw us at the last second and tried to stop causing it to fall directly in front of our bike. It struck us low down on our front wheel which passed right over the unfortunate animal. We went through a heart stopping couple of seconds with the bike careering all over the road and in very real danger of coming down. We somehow managed to stay upright and come to a stop. The unfortunate (medium sized) kangaroo was killed outright. The irony was, that if it had kept on its original course and not tried to stop we would have probably avoided it. There was no apparent damage to the bike other than the ABS system which was indicating it was no longer functioned. We had ultrasonic kangaroo warning devices fitted to our bike with much general debate in motorcycle circles whether they are effective or not. I am now firmly on the side of the “or nots”. We gingerly travelled the remainder of the distance to our lodge winding up the very narrow and steep road to our destination. Our luxurious lodge was perched on top of the mountains with spectacular views from the veranda. We lit the fire and all nine of us settled in for a much anticipated three night stay somewhat shaken but very thankful for our narrow escape.

The view from our Bunya Mountains Lodge

The view from our Bunya Mountains Lodge

We made use of our daughter's photographic skills to get a few pics of us "on the go"

We made use of our daughter’s photographic skills to get a few pics of us “on the go”

South to Brisbane

Where are we now ? Brisbane
Distance covered so far =  18,383 Kms
Number of days since leaving home = 74

Wednesday 19 June 2013
The morning was a cooler 17c as we set off from Mackay headed for Rockhampton then out to Yepoon and the Rosslyn Bay Resort (we just had to stay there! after Mr Wotif came to the party again.) The first 100 ks or so out of Mackay through Sarina (where Ethenol is produced from sugar cane) was similar cane growing country to what we saw for most of the previous day. We then left the cane behind and settled into some good ole generic Australian bush for the rest of the 380km trip. This is the type you could see anywhere. The road was fairly straight and, with a 100 km speed limit most of the way, it  was not the most exciting bit of road we had ridden recently. We had several close shaves with the local upholders of the law but narrowly managing to keep the slate clean for the trip so far. The day was fine and sunny again but was decidedly cooler reaching a max of just 22c. We have now started to replace our warmer layers and gear as we move further south toward the cold. Our run of fine weather has continued however (touch wood). Our stopover spot for the night is the very pretty Rosslyn Bay on the coast out from Rockhampton which is the jumping off point for Great Keppel Island.

A majestic Brahma Bull in command of his paddock along the road to Rockhampton

A majestic Brahma Bull in command of his paddock along the road to Rockhampton

Farewelling Rosslyn Bay after our brief stay.

Farewelling Rosslyn Bay after our brief stay.

Thursday 20 June 2013
We encountered a continuous series of road works on our 450 km ride today from Rockhampton to Maryborough, our next overnight stop. It seems the Qld Government has decided to install a series of passing lanes along this section of the Bruce Highway and work seems to be proceeding on each one of them simultaneously. We were stopped by lollypop persons, sometimes for up to 15 minutes 15 or 20 times during the day. There was also a fairly heavy stream of traffic in both directions pulling our average speed for the day down considerably on what we had become accustomed to and making the ride today a little tedious and long. We also well and truly hit the colder weather as we crossed out of the Tropic of Capricorn at Rockhampton. It was almost as if there was a weather gate we passed through from warm weather to cold weather as you crossed the line. The average temperature today would have been no more than 17c, a far cry from the mid to high 20’s we have experienced for the last month or so. Our good fortune, however with the lack of rain has continued although it did look a little threatening in the afternoon. We have managed the whole trip so far without any serious rain (while we have been riding that is !). Lets hope our luck continues.

Friday 21 June 2013
Our hopes for continuing fine weather were in vain with winter and the wet weather well and truly catching up with us with a vengeance today.  A bleak wet day and a chilly 14c greeting us when we opened our motel door in the morning. It was good in a way because it meant we were finally going to make use of the wet and cold weather gear we had been carrying with us, mostly unused, since leaving home. (I would have rather not used it at all though!)  We had been invited to stay with some motorcycling friends of ours who live in Mapleton and were to ride from Maryborough to Gympie where our friend was to meet us and take on the scenic route back to their house at Mapleton. The 90 Km ride to Gympie was wet and cold with lots of highway traffic although we were spared the never ending road works we had experience yesterday. Passing B-Doubles in the pouring rain was not a lot of fun but necessary, as to remain behind them, reduced our visibility to almost zero. We met up with our friend at Gympie with the 100 km ride scenic to Mapleton indeed, very scenic albeit wet and cold with the temperature staying below 14c all day. We were made very welcome by our friends when we arrived and enjoyed a very pleasant overnight stay with them along with the opportunity to dry all our saturated riding gear. We plan to take another scenic tour around this lovely part of the country tomorrow headed for a family stopover in Brisbane to spend a week with our Daughter, partner and four grandsons for the next week. This will be a real treat for us as we have not seen them for quite a while.

Packing up in the rain at Maryborough

Packing up in the rain at Maryborough

Saturday 22 June 2013
The day was fine and sunny with no sign cold wet conditions we experienced yesterday. We were treated to  leisurely bacon and eggs breakfast by our hosts who had also managed to dry all our sodden riding gear for us. They then escorted us on a conducted tour of the beautiful surrounding area including a great view of the Glasshouse Mountains. We rode through Montville and Maleny before farewelling our wonderful hosts and tour guides over coffee at  Woodford. We followed their directions up over Mount Mee on the scenic route to our next stop in Brisbane for our family stopover. We only covered a modest 160 km today but it was all high quality riding and scenery, a day we enjoyed immensely.

Our Mapleton Hosts and tour guides

Our Mapleton Hosts and tour guides

The Glasshouse mountains

The Glasshouse mountains

We plan to hang around Brisbane for a few days before heading to the Bunya Mountains for a mini holiday with our Brisbane family before resuming our journey south.
The bike is still running perfectly and has been fantastic for the whole trip. Many thanks Mr Honda !

Bye for now

Ros and Dick