Mary Valley tourist drive (Queensland, Australia)

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Waffle On at Montville is one of our favourite places to eat. Annie and Adrian cook up the best Dutch food this side of the oceans. There’s croquette and friekendel speciale and poffertjes. There’s also Bratwurst and waffles from countries near The Netherlands. All delicious and served with a smile. And a great place to pick up from where we left off on our day trip last week and to pick up on the Mary Valley tourist drive.

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A short walk from Waffle On takes us to Chocolate Country, another of our Montville favourites. It would be so easy for us to buy one of everything in the shop but we settle on sharing four chocolates between us. With flavours like finger lime, lemon myrtle, cinnamon, lavender and all the regular favourites like strawberry and salted caramel, there’s something here for everyone. And the chocolate is gorgeously smooth too.

We follow the Obi Obi road down the mountain where we drove up the other day. The descent has a long gravel section with no few guard rails and a steep drop. It’s not for the feint hearted but perfectly doable in a regular car. I think the road is just closed to caravans.

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We don’t stop in Kennilworth today because we stopped here last week. Instead we turn north, following the road through a steep-sided valley and climbing up a range. There’s a bushfire burning at the entrance to the valley and local families are standing on the street watching the water bombing helicopters fighting the blaze. Of course they are concerned because if the blaze isn’t contained it will race up the steep sides of the valley, taking out their homes. It’s 43’C (109’F) out here today so there’s a real risk of this happening.

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Crossing the range we enter the Mary Valley proper. A massive bluff looms over the valley but the photos don’t turn out. The cattle standing in the fields don’t seem to care much about the extreme heat nor the views of the bluff.

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I last visited Borumba Dam a few years ago when it was the venue for an adventure race. Today we stop at the lake to take some photos and enjoy the view. I’m tempted to go for a swim but I don’t have any swimming clothes and we are going to see Paul’s sister later in the afternoon so I should be dry for that. I’ll come back on a day off to have a swim and kayak the lake now that I remember it’s here and that it’s less than two hours from home.

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The nearby town of Imbil is a conglomeration of historic buildings. The Mary Valley Rattler steam train comes here and it’s clear to see why. It looks like every building on the main street is from the olden days. It’s gorgeous. Most shops have signs on them saying that the staff are across the road in the pub. It must be the only cool place to be on this stifling hot day. Besides, this is country Australia – the pub is the most important building in town. The place where people come together to share stories, laughter and care.

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Amamoor is an even smaller town that doesn’t even have a pub. I’ve seen it signed from the Bruce Highway every time I’ve driven north through Gympie but only thought of it as the location for the annual Gympie Muster country music festival. That’s it’s claim to fame. Despite this claim to fame there’s not much here. But it’s worth a stop to admire the historic railway buildings and maybe buy a cold drink at the general store. The setting is picturesque and it’s a good escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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We end our adventure in Gympie where Paul’s sister lives. We hang out for a couple of hours before watching the sunset from the hill near the hospital and driving home.


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