Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Gladstone to Marlborough

Now that school holidays are over, the roads are quieter. Rockhampton was our destination. As we arrived we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.

And, hey, another botanic garden!. This one had a rather sad zoo, one of those old-fashioned ones where all the birds and animals are in cages. However, it also had a great specimen of a bottle tree,

and even better, an enormous banyan under which was an outdoor cafe. My photo shows only a small part of the vast canopy.

There was a decent dry garden,

as well as a Japanese garden which was chiefly remarkable for the sign at the entrance:

Downtown Rockampton was deep in Sunday languor. It was as if a neutron bomb had gone off in the CBD. There were some grand buildings, like the Customs House

but no people on the streets, no cars other than a few stationary ones. Nothing open, not even the big commercial supermarkets.

Was it a normal Sunday, was it the 35ÂșC heat, or could the Rugby League final have something to do with it? (Curses! The Melbourne Storm won over NSW's Parramatta Eels)

Wait a minute - the Art Gallery was open. And well worth the visit, too. Downstairs an exhibition of fabulous gowns crafted by a local seamstress, now with a national and international reputation. Beautiful garments pieced from many scraps of old silk and embroidery. Upstairs a small but good collection of work by well-known Australian artists: Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Geoffrey Smart and others.

Partly because the town was so dead and partly because we were beginning to think our pace was too slow, we decided to keep going. There's not much along the Bruce Highway at this point. Essentially, a lot of wide brown land. Nearing dusk we arrived in Marlborough, which consisted of a pub, a servo (gas station), and...a caravan park. Pretty basic, but good enough. We don't like driving after dark because of the likelihood of hitting a kangaroo which would be bad news both for it and us.

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