This year, I prebooked a tour to the Falls - a coach ride to Killarney to explore Queen Mary Falls and to enjoy lunch at a local hotel, followed by a little bit of history about the area. For only $30 I figured it was the bargain of the ones on offer.
Rest days traditionally run a little later than a typical day, which means I could sleep in as breakfast wasn't available until 7.00am. But no, that annoying little internal clock of mine had me up and wide awake at 5.45am just like every work day. There was nothing for it than to get up, have a steaming hot shower (a luxury on rest days is that we can shower in the morning).
Cleaned the tent, threw out some junk, made a list of things to get today, in any shop I could find on our trip, had some breakfast (French toast with banana) and dutifully trekked to the side gate to get onto our very comfortable coach, ready for a day of exploring.
As we drove to Killarney, along a very familiar road travelled by bike in CQ11, there was plenty to see. Birdlime is abundant out here and I not only spotted the familiar - pink galahs, white cockatoos and white galahs, but also, soaring majestically above the trees a lone pelican, no doubt heading for the Killarney Lakes, which, due to the drought are now more puddles than lakes.
We travelled through farming country, with crops that included canola, sorghum, chick peas and lucerne. Sheep farms also dot the scenery, interspersed with cattle farms. Off in the distance, the mountains are shrouded in fog, waiting for the sun to burn off the night's chill and retire clear blue skies to their rightful place.
No stopping in Killarney on the way in, we proceeded direct to the first of the scenic lookouts, Dagg Falls, then onto Queen Mary Falls, where we did the walking circuit down to the bottom of the falls and the climb back over the top. After last night's rain, the falls were flowing strongly and were a thing of beauty to behold. A bit more bird spotting as we walked, as well as a lucky glimpse of a very friendly water dragon near the bottom of the falls.
As we finished the walk, the people in front of us pointed out a bower bird's nest, identifiable by the abundance of blue in its nest - pegs, straws, bits of cloth - anything blue and this little fella collected it. They didn't think the birds would be back during the day, and no sooner had they said that, than the male, a very dapper satin bowerbird made his appearance and just sat preening himself in the trees above. No chance of seeing the female we were told, you were lucky to see the male. Two minutes later, here comes the female too! Add to that a collection of king parrots and some other unidentified parrots and the bird lovers in the group were well satisfied.
Back in the coach and a precarious journey further up the mountain for Carrs lookout, where you can look back across the Scenic Rim, Gold Coast Hinterland and right back to Mt Warning. I know I've said it before, but totally breath-taking views. Worth the day trip out this way and some great little cafes as well - just don't come on a Tuesday cos that seems to be the day they are all closed!
Lunch was spent in Killarney, where the pub was inundated with cyclists. Two great things about the pub - a counter meal that featured fresh vegetables, because all we've had at camp seems to be salad, and I just don't do salad, and the second - real toilet paper. The kind that is soft and comfy to use. Yep, sometimes it is the small things in life that we appreciate in life the most!
The trip home featured a scenic drive through Tamawole (have to check that one), a once thriving coal town now reduced to a few residences and not a pub in site, Yangan, a former agricultural and timber hub that still has a pub but is now just a shadow of its former self, and then onto Scots College where an original church from the centre of Warwick was relocated brick by brick to make way for the new shopping development. The sandstone was all sourced locally from one of the quarries that we saw from the bus.
And so back to camp, a bit of a rest, some tucker (Hokkien noodles with lamb, followed by bread and butter pudding) and now tucked up in my sleeping bag in anticipation of 4 degrees overnight. Lovely cuddling weather if you're travelling with a good mate, but a bit cooler for those of us cycling solo!
We are off to Leyburn tomorrow, and with no more rest days, every day is pack up day. But I have a 30 minute massage booked tomorrow, so it ain't all bad.
See you in about 80km.