It is Easter and we are on our way to Tin Can Bay, a sleepy seaside village, for a few days R & R over the break.
Even though it is a journey not requiring us to stretch our legs or do a toilet stop, (only 2.5 hours, by car), I was keen to see Gympie, an old gold mining town of the past. The town of less than 20,000 has coped with not one, but two devastating floods in the past month, (see flood marks over head high, on the Toyworld sign in the below pictures). So, I was keen to inject some money in to the local economy by supporting the local businessholders, and do a bit of sightseeing in the process. A town dating from mid 1800’s would surely offer some historic buildings and churches, if nothing else. Note the beautiful rose window through the doorway of the Catholic church below.
* The main things that brings tourists to Gympie, is the Mary Valley Rattler, a Heritage steam locomotive that runs through the scenic Mary Valley beginning at the old Railway station in Tozer Street. Locals put on quite a historic show, as well as tourist markets at the various stops en route. This was not on offer for us today.
* Visit the Mining Heritage and/or Timber Museum, located at opposite ends of the town. Time did not allow for us to do that today. Look for the large statue, honouring the gold miners contribution,which is found, in the park to the right, as you enter the southern outskirts of town, and heralds the nearby Mining and Heritage museum.
* A stroll down the town’s main shopping precinct, Veteran memorial and a light lunch at a local café. We choose this option, as time was against us. Mary Street has various shops of interest. Batik boutique has low-priced beachy style sarongs, tie-dyed kaftans, the hairdresser was offering Eyebrow waxing for $5, with no appointment necessary, and Meen Bags in the Condies arcade was a feast for the craft ladies. Meen Bags was twice inundated with flood waters from the Mary River, the first time the water went up to the roof, and the second time two-thirds of the way there. Amazingly, they still keep this wonderful cottage industry going. How could I not buy something? Green bags in all colours, perfect for groceries, hand-made at $9, backpacks for $15.00, cosmetic bags, and hand knitted cosy socks comprises some of their delightfully cute stock. Winter Owl would surely have loved the purple and blue shopping bag, adorned with owl motifs in the below photo – (bottom right). So cute! I purchased a drawstring shoulder bag, with ladybugs and bees for $15.00.
Next door to “Meen” Bags, (check them out on Facebook), is Gympie Mosaics, where you can get hands on and create your own masterpiece.
And where to, for lunch:
Jules Inn: where you can step back in time, to the milk bars of the 60’s. Frequented largely by the retired sector, a sure indication of quality food at rock bottom prices.
Coffee shop: Italian style coffee shop serving burgers, wraps, smoothies, thickshakes, and pies, toasted sandwiches etc at reasonable prices. Service and food is good, hearty and filling. Toasted cheese sandwich ( around $ 6.00) came complete with patriotic flag in situ.
Or Subway, or other junk food establishments on the main highway.
In fact, everyone was very friendly and accommodating in Gympie. The local lads even arranged for some light entertainment whilst we ate our lunch, with some teenage shenanigans on one of their mates, who hobbled along, cursing, as his mates had wrapped his arms up in bubble wrap. All in good humour, no doubt.
After lunch, we checked out the Anzac and other Armed Conflict’s Veteran memorial in the main street. It is well worth a look, and has some sobering statistics, on the human cost of War, which we should all definitely ponder about.