TL;DR – Today, I take a wander around Gladstone and its many surroundings.
Disclosure – I was not paid to visit any of the locations shown here, and all Queensland Government COVID requirements were followed, including the use of masks.
Exploring Gladstone –
In this Covid world, one of the hardest parts has been the isolation from friends and family, I know people have had it worse, but I have had to cancel family get-togethers five times because of surprise lockdowns. To the point that it has become a running joke with my friends every time there is a lockdown. Well, there was a moment of stability (not that there wasn’t a scare the week before that made me think it would all unravel again). So, when you have the chance, you take it, and with that came the exploration of the many faces of Gladstone.
From Brisbane, Gladstone is about a six to ten-hour drive depending on the time of day, whether you get stuck behind a caravan/boat that only gets up to speed in the overtaking lane, and how many stops you can make. For safety, you should be making stops to rest, and our first one was at the town of Tiaro. We stopped here because you can get a mean burger, but also because their butcher is known all up the highway for its bacon, which will become important later. It also has the oddness of having a pedestrian crossing over the main northern highway in Queensland, the Bruce.
One of the joys of the dive up is that you get to see some truly gorgeous scenery punctured by the clouds rolling over the horizon. It is a long enough drive that you get to catch up with the world, listen to music, and 100% cry in the back seat while listening to John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed: Orbital Sunrise. It was a long drive, but we eventually made it to where we would be staying for the long weekend.
The following day it was time to do what the whole trip was planned and meet up with the family down at the Gladstone Waterfront, which was time for my generation’s iconic meal, avocado on toast at Auckland House. After that, we had a walk along the coastline, looking out to the islands across the bay with the weather being warm enough that you could go shorts and a t-shirt, but not so blistering that the Sun becomes your enemy.
That afternoon it was time to drive south from Gladstone to the idyllic bayside suburb of Tannum Sands. Luckily, we were up in town for the BAM (Beach Arts & Music) Markets. The markets wind along the park behind the foreshore and, as described in the label, were full of markets packed with arts and crafts and live music. To be honest, I was more interested in the many different food trucks they had, and when someone asked you if you wanted some German sausage? Well, you have some sausage.
The following day you do what you always do when a large family are in one spot. You eat copious amounts of food. In this case, it was a giant breakfast of mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, halloumi, freshly made bread, eggs, and of course, the before mentioned bacon (I said that would be relevant later)
Travelling inland from Gladstone to Benaraby, we swap the salt for the fresh in one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Awoonga Dam sits along the Boyne River and creates Lake Awoonga, a stunning water feature. Walking along the lakeside, you get these little picnic tables hidden in the bush. I loved just sitting there and watching the clouds fly over the water.
After a day of adventures, we returned to where we were staying, and as Gladstone is at the heart of the Capricorn Coast, spring had already hit hard. This warmth meant that the flowers surrounding our accommodation had erupted into view.
But alas, I wish it had been longer, but one has so much leave, and home was beckoning. While getting to Gladstone was by car, the trip home was by plane, the first plane trip I had taken since the pandemic started. This time, my ride was a Dash-8 400, which meant there was some oddness and a lot of fascination being stuck behind the propellers. You also get to see just how much humans have shaped and moulded the landscape from the air, which had been in the back on my mind since The Anthropocene Reviewed. But a short plane ride later and a more extended cab trip after the driver didn’t listen to me and got lost, and I was back home. It was nice to get out of Brisbane and visit somewhere fresh, even just for a weekend.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images are by the author