One of the blessings which evolved from the current situation is the fortune and freedom to explore our own backyard. Heading out west on the road to meet our stockists I found a lot more gems than were marked on the map, true characters of the outback.
Amazing scenery, which I’d never seen before, even though I’ve lived here most of my life and never got around to exploring locally. To be in the outback during wintertime opened my eyes to the beauty of the south western plains of Queensland. Discovery of little-known secrets, there is also plenty of side trips and if you had the extra time and were not travelling to an appointment schedule, it is easy to be drawn into the whole experience of the outback charm.
I did four days of comfortable driving, even when I lost radio reception it did not matter, because the vast unspoilt views of the outback entertained my imagination for hours.
These were the country towns and places I stopped because of our Naudic stockists. Thanks to them I was included in the local chit chat about what they loved most about their town and also was able to experience firsthand their top class customer service, some of these stores have been operating for many years, even through harder times than now.
In one store in particular, the owner is a flying nurse. She travels all over the country in a light aircraft looking after sick people, all the while running a small business which was super busy when I dropped in. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet her on this trip, but from what I hear she is a dynamo.
The drive was made up of stops into these towns. From Brisbane to Toowoomba, Toowoomba to Dalby, then Chinchilla, off to Roma to stay one chilly night in a warm country motel. A long drive to the next stop Charleville via Miles, one night there in Charleville. Next Cunnamulla, St George, Goondiwindi, Warwick, then home - by then I was happy to hop out of the car.
The trip was made up of these highlights:
- Meeting the real locals, the heart and soul of their country towns, everyone knows everyone, and they are there to support each other, customer service was outstanding and genuine.
- Country Hospitality, the warm arrival when you check into one of the many country hotels, usually run by a family, greeted by kids running from the dinner table to check me in.
- The countless local cafes, some converted from pawn shops, rundown old halls and lifestyle stores. Most were painted in the traditional Queenslander colour schemes or stunning antique white on high Queenslander ceilings with motifs.
- Country pubs, in each of the towns, there was always a big country pub standing grand on the main street corner, followed by the Post Office tucked away but usually just around the corner, another area where locals looked like they were just catching up, while collecting the mail. A sense of a slower pace, taking time to have a chat.
- Enjoying the true outback sky, looking through a large Celestron telescope on site at the Evening Star Tourist Park, even though the drive there was a bit scary and I did not hit a kangaroo, thank goodness. Plus I was kindly escorted back to the main town when they saw my car wasn’t really outback worthy late at night.
- Warm firepits burning with a strong smell of wood, either outdoors in the camping grounds or indoors at one of the country pubs
- Heroes Avenue, a heritage listed avenue, featuring over 140 bottle trees, a tribute to the fallen heroes from the Roma area who lost their lives in WW1.
- Driving through an area called Mt Abundance and pulling over to take photos of the finest countryside images I had ever seen in Queensland, little bush homes, with water tanks, chimneys with smoke, sitting independently in fields of wood and hay.
There is so much more to see and experience. Check out the calendar of events for the outback, mark diaries for outback races, rodeos, flower festivals, arts and culture celebrations.
Stay in friendly camping grounds, sitting alongside lakes and lagoons, where you can enjoy a sundowner with friends, or sip mulled wine beside a roaring fire. Antique stores for a hit of unique shopping experiences. Farmers markets with locals smiling so proud of their produce.
You won’t find strangers out west, just good people you haven’t met yet.
Four days was plenty to ignite the spark to return again, to slow down and breathe deep the life in the country. This place is all about reconnection.
Love Always, Emma