Indulge in a culinary voyage through Taste & Travel, where flavours mingle with adventure. Discover gastronomic delights, from savoury dishes to fine wines, while exploring diverse cultures and landscapes. Embark on a journey that tantalizes the senses, blending culinary experiences with the thrill of exploration and the joy of discovery.

A Foodie’s Journey in Queensland’s Dinosaur Country

IT’S incredible how the Outback Queensland landscape has transformed over millions of years. Back when dinosaurs roamed, it was lush forests and inland seas, teeming with food. But even though today’s Outback might seem barren to some people, it’s alive with tasty treats for we humans.

I’ve been making the journey back to my hometown of Barcaldine and the surrounding region for some years now, and every time I do, I’m struck with the contrast between the ancient past and the modern food scene. There’s something about that link between history and cuisine that keeps me coming back for more.

So, if you’re up for it, let’s explore the foodie scene along Australia’s Dinosaur Trail, starting right from Barcaldine. It’s a fascinating journey. Ready to dig in? Let’s go!

Dinosaur Trail - Outback Australia Scene

A spectacular view from the Australian Age of Dinosaurs near Winton in the heart of Queensland’s dinosaur country.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com and the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Table of Contents

Dinosaur Trail - signposts at Barcaldine.

This signpost at the Australian Workers Heritage Centre in Barcaldine gives directions north, south, east, and west.

Barcaldine, A Gateway to Queensland’s Dinosaur Country

While Barcaldine doesn’t have dinosaur museums, it’s the perfect launchpad to explore Queensland’s land of the dinosaurs. Why? Well, the town is right next to the fossil-rich Winton Formation that stretches across central-western Queensland.

Barcaldine is a crucial junction point where several highways meet. You’ve got the Landsborough Highway, also known as Matilda Way, heading north from Charleville. Then there’s the Capricorn Highway, shooting off west from Rockhampton. And let’s not forget State Route 19, snaking south from Hughenden, Muttaburra, and Aramac.

Now, here’s where the fun begins. You can kick off your dinosaur adventure from Barcaldine and take a scenic clockwise loop through Longreach, Winton, Richmond, Hughenden, Muttaburra, and Aramac before coming back to Barcaldine. Or, if you’re feeling a bit rebellious, you can start in Barcaldine, head north to Aramac, and complete the loop in an anti-clockwise direction.

Oh, if you’re rolling into Longreach on Queensland Rail’s Spirit of the Outback or flying in, you can easily rent a car and join in on the loop, starting and ending in Longreach.

Before you hit the road, it’s a good idea to plan your route. I suggest using the RACQ Trip Planner to calculate distances and travel times between each town. It’ll save you a lot of hassle.

 

Dinosaur Trail -

An open-air dinosaur exhibition stands atop boulders at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Queensland’s outback.

Unearthing Prehistoric Secrets of the Winton Formation

Dinosaur Trail

Australia in the Cretaceous period. Author Unknown.

In the heart of Queensland’s dinosaur country lies the Winton Formation, known for its incredible fossil finds. In the Mesozoic era, specifically the Cretaceous period, this place resembled a dinosaur fairytale.

Think lush forests, winding rivers, and inland seas. And the weather? Warmer and stickier than today’s average summer day.

Imagine roaming dinosaurs like the Austrosaurus and Muttaburrasaurus, tucking into a smorgasbord of ferns, cycads, and conifers, which were among the dominant plant species that provided a vital food source for these herbivores.

And let’s not forget about the rivers—they were teeming with aquatic life, while big carnivore theropods like the Australovenator prowled the shores, on the hunt for their next animal-based protein meal.

Fast forward to today, and you’ve got a whole new kind of adventure waiting for you. Visitors can dive into the world of fossils all across the Winton area.

Whether you’re exploring museums, checking out interpretive centres, or tagging along on guided tours, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the prehistoric past.

Plus, these centres aren’t just for show—they’re buzzing hubs of paleontological research and education, where the tales of ancient giants come alive for anyone with a curious mind.

Culinary Delights in the Heart of Ancient Lands

When it comes to exploring outback pubs, cafes, or restaurants, the menus found along Australia’s Dinosaur Trail rival those of many other tourism hotspots across Australia. I’m talking about classic Outback favourites like juicy steaks and hearty pies, alongside Australian specialities such as kangaroo, barramundi, and damper.

The dining rooms in Outback pubs are cosy yet spacious, oozing with character. Vintage photographs and historical memorabilia often adorn the walls, creating a nostalgic vibe. The furniture is modest yet sturdy, perfect for intimate gatherings and larger get-togethers. And let’s not forget the friendly staff who welcome visitors with open arms.

But it’s not just about traditional Outback fare. Along Australia’s Dinosaur Trail, you’ll find a melting pot of international cuisines. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian pasta or Asian fusion, there’s no shortage of options in the towns along the way.

So, if you’re hungry for adventure (and delicious food), keep reading for a rundown of the dinosaur trail’s must-visit destinations.

Dinosaur and Foodie Adventures Along Queensland’s Dinosaur Trail

1. Barcaldine

Dinosaur Trail - Hotel Shakespeare (aka The Shakey)

The Hotel Shakespeare at Barcaldine is under new management and has undergone a major renovation. A new feature is the bar next to the staircase.

Barcaldine, aka Barcy, holds a special place in the hearts of dinosaur enthusiasts like me, serving as a gateway to prehistoric Queensland. It’s not just a town; it’s the launching pad for epic self-drive adventures along the dinosaur trail. Barcaldine is also a treasure trove of history and culture.

You shouldn’t miss attractions like the Australian Workers’ Heritage Centre, where the stories of hardworking Aussies come to life, or the iconic Tree of Knowledge, steeped in the tales of Australia’s labor movement.

As a Barcy local, I’ve handpicked three of my favourite eateries that are sure to tantalise your taste buds:

  • Dinosaur Trail

    Fish Tacos are a real treat at The Shakey.

    First up, is the charming Hotel Shakespeare (aka The Shakey). This cosy spot, now revitalised, boasts a diverse menu featuring everything from classic pub fare to refreshing salads and decadent desserts. Fish tacos are a real treat! In the heart of town, it’s the perfect pit stop for weary travellers.

  • Next is Turf N Surf Restaurant at Landsborough Lodge Motel. This gem blends the finest cuts of meat with fresh seafood, offering a mouthwatering array of dishes from crumbed prawns to juicy steaks and everything in between. The Stockman’s Reef & Beef is a flavour explosion to remember!
  • Then there’s the tranquil ambience of Roses ‘n Things Tea Garden. Tucked away in a serene setting, you can indulge in a delightful Devonshire Tea or savour a hearty breakfast surrounded by lush greenery and blooming roses.

For more dining options, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

2.     Longreach

Dinosaur Trail - Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame.

The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach is one of the many attractions to see as you head to the dinosaur trail. Photo: Queensland University of Technology, Creative Commons.

Longreach isn’t just about outback heritage—it’s also a gateway to Outback Queensland’s dinosaur-rich landscapes. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame shares tales of pioneering history, while the Qantas Founders Museum honours Australia’s aviation legacy.

With its blend of outback charm and paleontological neighbours, Longreach is a must-visit for anyone fascinated by Australia’s history dating from the prehistoric era onwards.

Whether you’re in the mood for Australian classics, international delights, or a fusion of both, Longreach has something to offer every foodie.

  • At Harry’s Restaurant, named after the legendary Captain Starlight, you’ll embark on a food journey through contemporary Australian cuisine. From marinated olives to succulent seafood spaghetti, every dish is delicious. Don’t miss out on their divine dark chocolate and honey tart for the perfect sweet ending!
  • For a taste of local history and flavours, head to The Branch Cafe. Housed in a historic building dating back to the 1930s, this charming spot serves delicious meals made from local ingredients. Their sausage rolls and pies are absolute must-tries.
  • Are you craving something with a bit of spice? Little Star Indian Restaurant has a wide selection of curries, pizzas, and wraps. The mango chicken with rice and naan bread is a crowd favourite, bursting with exotic aromas and bold flavours.

For more dining options, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

3.     Winton

Dinosaur Trail - North Gregory Hotel

Step into history at the iconic North Gregory Hotel, where ‘Waltzing Matilda’ was heard for the first time in public. Foodie experiences can be had at the Daphne Mayo Dining Room, Music Fence Cafe, the Horseshoe Bar, and Banjo’s Beer Garden.

Winton is my first go-to spot for dinosaur adventures in Queensland, boasting iconic attractions like the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Dinosaur Stampede National Monument at Lark Quarry Conservation Park.

At the museum, I’m blown away by the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. And don’t even get me started on the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument; it’s like stepping back in time with hundreds of dinosaur footprints frozen in stone.

If you find yourself in Winton, be sure to carve out some time to experience the local dining scene—it’s a treat for the taste buds and the soul.

  • Dinosaur Trail - dinner at the North Gregory Hotel

    One of several dinners I enjoyed at the North Gregory Hotel.

    For a taste of history with your meal, head over to the Daphne Mayo Dining Room at the iconic North Gregory Hotel. Steeped in tradition since 1879, this historic gem offers a diverse menu featuring everything from pub favourites to light bites like Thai Beef Salad. With live music, a beer garden, and even a heated spa, it’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of outback adventures.

  • Next, we have the Australian Hotel. In the heart of town, this cosy spot boasts an authentic outback atmosphere and mouthwatering spit-roasted meats. From hearty Aussie classics to inventive pizzas like the Outback Roast, there’s something to satisfy every craving. Plus, the friendly staff will make you feel right at home.
  • Don’t miss the culinary delights at the Boulder Opal Motor Inn. With generous portions, friendly service, and dishes like sumptuous beef cheeks and decadent chocolate fondant, this hidden gem is a must-visit for foodies and weary travellers alike.

For more dining options, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

4.     Richmond

Dinosaur Trail - inside the Kronosaurus Korner museum.

Prepare to be amazed as you step into the Kronosaurus Korner museum in Richmond.

Richmond is a dream come true for dinosaur buffs like me, thanks to the incredible Kronosaurus Korner museum. It’s like a treasure trove of fossils, especially those of marine reptiles like the mighty Kronosaurus.

A walk through the exhibits feels like diving into ancient oceans, with each fossil offering a glimpse into prehistoric marine life. Plus, the guided tours and interactive displays take the experience to a new level. Richmond is an absolute must-visit for anyone intrigued by Australia’s prehistoric past!

Let me introduce you to two dining hotspots in Richmond:

  • At the Federal Palace Hotel, the chefs make hearty country meals with quality produce and serve them with genuine outback hospitality. Whether you’re craving a juicy T-bone steak or some crispy barramundi in Pandora breadcrumbs, this place has you covered. And don’t forget to quench your thirst with a selection of ice-cold Aussie beers while soaking in the friendly atmosphere at the bar.
  • If you’re in the mood for something a bit more international, check out the Rivers Restaurant. Here, you’ll find a delightful fusion of flavours from around the globe, prepared and served with a smile. From tasty dishes to friendly service and reasonable prices, it’s the perfect spot for a memorable evening out.

For more details, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

5.     Hughenden

Built in 2001 to celebrate Australia’s Federation Centenary, this Federation Windmill Rotunda is a testament to Hughenden’s history.

Hughenden is a hotspot for dinosaur fanatics like me, thanks to its incredible fossil finds showcased at the Flinders Discovery Centre.

Hughie is awe-inspiring—a life-size skeletal replica of a Muttaburrasaurus that steals the show. But that’s not all. There are other fascinating specimens and interactive exhibits to explore. And let’s not forget about the guided tours that highlight Hughenden’s pivotal role in palaeontology.

If you’re ever cruising through Hughenden, Queensland, and find your stomach rumbling for food, I’ve got just the spots to satisfy your cravings:

  • From the moment you step into Cheng’s Chinese Restaurant, you’re greeted with hospitality that makes you feel right at home. Their menu boasts an array of Chinese and Asian dishes, each bursting with flavour and made with love. Whether you’re craving classic Sweet and Sour Pork or a hearty Chicken Cashew, Cheng’s has got you covered. And it’s great value for money.
  • If you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned Aussie fare, check out the Windmill Inn Cafe. Picture this: mouthwatering bacon and egg burgers stacked high with fresh salads, served with a side of friendly service and a cosy atmosphere. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or a quick coffee fix, this place is worth visiting.

For more details, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

6.     Muttaburra

Dinosaur Trail - Muttaburrasaurus

Muttaburra is a big deal in Outback Queensland – the tiny town is home to the Muttaburrasaurus langondi, chosen in 2022 as Queensland’s fossil emblem.

Let me fill you in on Muttaburra. This little town in the geographical heart of Queensland is where my father, William C. Scott, was the first baby born after Dr Arratta arrived in 1925. That hospital is now home to the Dr Arratta Memorial Museum.

Muttaburra may be small, but it’s a big deal in Outback Queensland, especially for dinosaur lovers like me. This town is famous for its dinosaur tourism, thanks to the discovery of the Muttaburrasaurus.

You can check out this dino superstar at the Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre. The town’s role in dinosaur tourism highlights how important this region is for paleontological research and education.

If you’re wandering through Muttaburra and your stomach starts rumbling for some good eats, I’ve got the spot for you—a little slice of culinary heaven called Rivers & Roads Coffee Shop. Inside, it feels like stepping back in time, with its cosy atmosphere and historical charm. Whether you’re craving a brewed cup of joe or a slice of homemade cake, Rivers & Roads is the place to be.

What sets this place apart is its commitment to preserving Muttaburra’s history. Housed in one of the town’s original buildings, this coffee shop is a testament to the community’s rich heritage.

For more details, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

7.     Aramac

dinosaur trail - aramac white bull

Though not a dinosaur, the white bull holds legendary status in Aramac. At a café where I stopped for lunch, I found one of its many incarnations. With a history that involves the infamous Captain Starlight, this bull’s tale is as fascinating as most fossils.

The charming town of Aramac holds a special place in Outback folklore, thanks to Harry Redford, aka Captain Starlight, and his legendary white bull escapade.

But Aramac offers more than just tales of cattle duffers. With its friendly locals and fascinating history, Aramac is a must-stop on your self-drive adventure along Queensland’s Dinosaur Trail.

For more details, visit TripAdvisor.com.au

TO BOOK A ROOM, VISIT BOOKING.COM

Reflections on Australia’s Dinosaur Trail

On returning to Barcaldine, I marvel at the incredible landscape transformation over millions of years. From the time when dinosaurs roamed amidst lush forests and inland seas to the present-day Outback, the contrast is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Yet, amidst this vast expanse of history and natural beauty, there’s a thread that ties it all together—the vibrant food scene that thrives in this rugged terrain. As I return time and again to my home region, I’m reminded of the profound connection between the ancient past and the modern-day cuisine that awaits us.

So, as we bid farewell to this adventure, let’s carry with us the memories of flavours discovered, stories shared, and the endless possibilities that await along Australia’s Dinosaur Trail. Until next time, may your travels be filled with delicious discoveries and unforgettable experiences.

IF YOU GO:

*CAUTION: For anyone driving a car, campervan, caravan, or motorhome, if there’s been any recent rainfall, it’s essential to check road conditions with RACQ before attempting to navigate the roads. Black soil, particularly north of Barcaldine, combined with single lanes or unsealed roads in some areas can create hazardous conditions, especially when wet. Trust me … I speak from experience!

Dinosaur Trail - collage of photos

This is a small collection of photos captured during my visits to Queensland’s dinosaur country. PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts.

FEATURE PHOTO: Journey back in time over dinner amidst the prehistoric scenery of Outback Queensland in the Cretaceous period. AI Image.

Published 5 May 2024.

*All information provided was accurate at the time of publication. If you know of any changes to the eating venues mentioned in this blog, such as closures or alterations, please contact me via my contact page with the updated details.

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on this website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

A Taste of Italy and the Sea: Barrel n Vine Unveiled

EXPERIENCE the flavours of Italy without leaving Hervey Bay at Barrel n Vine, the city’s newest hotspot for dining delights. On Charlton Esplanade in Torquay, this new restaurant and wine bar blends Italian flavours and seafood in a European-inspired ambience.

The new venue is the creation of Joe and Rachael Nocera who bring a wealth of hospitality experience to the table. Barrel n Vine follows their successful ventures at Ignite by Dockside, Seasar’s Seafood on Bribie Island, and Dock n Dine on the Sunshine Coast.

Next to the Beach Motel, the new restaurant occupies the premises previously tenanted by various establishments, including Playa Concha, Seaside Cafe and Restaurant, the Tangy Pickle, and most recently, Soprano’s Restaurant and Bar.

Barrel n Vine - Exterior view

Savouring Coastal Charm at Barrel n Vine on the Esplanade in Torquay.

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***Affiliate Disclosure: Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. Clicking on links on this website and making purchases may earn us a small commission, supporting our mission to provide you with great content.***

A Taste of Tradition at Hervey Bay’s New Dining Spot

During our Monday evening visit, the restaurant buzzed with activity, having already successfully established itself as a favourite among locals and tourists. The welcoming staff greeted us with a friendly smile, and “Poppa Bear,” a family patriarch, kindly shared anecdotes about the restaurant’s history.

As we entered the modern interior furnished with elegant black dining tables and chairs, our attention was captured by the vintage black and white photographs gracing the walls. Among them were fascinating scenes such as a Venetian canal, an Italian kitchen, and a vintage car winding through an alpine road. We speculated that the latter photograph might have been captured in the northern regions of Italy, known for their picturesque alpine landscapes and scenic routes.

Classic hits from Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, and Olivia Newton-John enhanced the nostalgic tone, giving the ambience a comforting familiarity. This playlist added warmth and relaxation to the atmosphere, making for an inviting experience.

Perusing the menu, we were enticed by the diverse array of offerings, showcasing the best of Italian cuisine, seafood, and drinks. The selection of cocktails, including the Mediterranean Margarita and Lemoncello Spritz, promised a delightful start to our dining experience.

One highlight that caught our attention was the Seafood Plate for 2, featuring a combination of Black Garlic Bug, Saltwater Barramundi, Calamari Fritti, and more, accompanied by house-made Tartare and Boozy Seafood Sauce. The option to elevate the experience with Gin & Shiraz Salmon Caviar intrigued us further.

As we delved deeper into the menu, we discovered a tempting variety of dishes, ranging from traditional Italian pizzas to sumptuous seafood delights. The Prawn Fritti and Porchetta stood out as must-try options. Additionally, the Coconut Chilli Crab Linguini sounded like an irresistible fusion of flavours, offering a unique twist on a classic pasta dish. With options like Diavola Pizza, Rib Fillet Steak, and Tiramisu rounding out the menu, there was something to satisfy every craving.

Our Culinary Journey at Barrel n Vine

We decided on Chicken Milanese and Veal Scaloppine AI Funghi for our main courses. The Chicken Milanese offered a delightful twist on the classic schnitzel, originating from northern Italy. It was perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The Veal Scaloppine AI Funghi, a timeless Italian favourite, featured tender veal smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce that was rich and indulgent.

As we perused Barrel n Vine’s wine and beverage list, we were impressed by the extensive selection. After much deliberation, we settled on glasses of Pino Grigio Delle Venezie Capitolo 06 from Veneto, Italy, and a refreshing Kaapzicht Pinotage Rose from South Africa. Both wines proved to be excellent companions to our meals, enhancing the flavours of our dishes.

To conclude our Italian culinary adventure at Barrel n Vine, we couldn’t resist indulging in dessert. We opted for the velvety smoothness of Panna Cotta, topped with luscious honey and passionfruit. Each spoonful was a perfect blend of sweetness and creaminess, providing a satisfying finale to our meal.

As we savoured the last bites, we reflected on the exceptional dining experience we had enjoyed and looked forward to our next visit to this culinary gem in Hervey Bay. For anyone seeking a trip down memory lane paired with exquisite cuisine and wines, this new restaurant is an unmissable destination.

Barrel n Vine in Hervey Bay is open Thursday to Monday for dinner, and Friday to Sunday for lunch.

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Barrel n Vine - a collage of photos

If you go:

Barrel n Vine
Italian | Seafood | Wine Bar
473 Charlton Esplanade
Hervey Bay, QLD,
Australia.
P: +61 (07) 4334 0892
W: barrelnvine.com.au

***

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

***

Where to next?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

 

***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Explore Maryborough’s Food Culture

MARYBOROUGH, Queensland, has a foodie scene that has me hooked! Here’s the scoop: I’m part of a Maryborough dining group that meets for a Girls’ Night Out every month, visiting different spots around the city to show some love to local venues.

Our annual grand finale in December? That’s reserved for the Portside Café & Restaurant. Trust me, it’s more than just a meal—it’s an experience. The setting, the history, the service, and let’s not forget the unique cuisine—they’ve got it all.

But there’s more to my Maryborough dining adventures. I’m also part of the Wide Bay Beefsteak and Burgundy Club. We meet at the Old Sydney Hotel every month to sip on wine and dive into some seriously good food.

When people ask me about my favourite spots to dine in Maryborough, it’s like asking me to pick a favourite child—I just can’t! From cosy cafes to lively pubs, each spot has its vibe that keeps me coming back for more. So, I’ve put together a list of our top picks, covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in no particular order.

Oh, and Maryborough has more than restaurants, cafes, and pubs—there are also bakeries, coffee shops, and clubs—you name it. But for now, let’s focus on our favourite places where you can relax at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and treat your taste buds to something special. Click the links for more about each venue, including the menu, address, and phone number.

Affiliate Disclosure: Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. Clicking on links on this website and making purchases may earn us a small commission, supporting our mission to provide you with great content.

Portside Café & Restaurant

Maryborough dining - Portside Cafe & Restaurant

With accolades like the Fraser Coast Business & Tourism Award’s Best Restaurant or Cafe in 2021, Best Restaurant in 2022 and 2023, and TripAdvisor’s 2022 Travellers’ Choice Award, Portside Café & Restaurant is a real winner—and it’s no surprise why.

Tucked inside the original Customs House Residence of Maryborough, dating back to the 1800s, Portside oozes history and charm. From its prime location overlooking the Mary River and Queens Park to its intricate architecture, this spot is a real gem.

During the mid to late 1800s, this precinct served as one of Maryborough’s bustling ports, welcoming over 30,000 new settlers and South Sea Islanders as a primary arrival point.

With Portside’s menu blending modern Australian flair with Southern Californian/Mexican influences, there’s something for everyone. Their chicken tinga tacos, nicoise salad with Tasmanian salmon, and pina colada crème brûlée are among my favourite dishes.

Let’s not forget the quality service and friendly staff who cater to everyone’s dietary needs. So, whether you’re a local or just passing through, dining at Portside isn’t just a meal—it’s an experience.

Location: 103 Wharf Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://www.portsidecafeandrestaurant.com/

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Sails at McNevins Maryborough Motel

Maryborough dining venue

At Sails, I experienced some of the most mouthwatering dishes I’ve ever tasted. The smoked barramundi stood out, boasting a delicate flavour with just the right hint of sweetness. The smoking process elevated the natural taste of the fish, adding a subtle yet delightful smokiness that perfectly complemented its flavours. And, let’s not forget about those lamb shanks on another occasion—tender, succulent, and melting in my mouth with every bite.

While menus may change over time, if you happen to come across the smoked barramundi and lamb shanks at Sails, trust me, they’re worth a try. Sails isn’t just about the food though—it’s the whole experience. With a fully licensed 100-seat fine-dining restaurant and a welcoming bar, it’s perfect for any special occasion, whether it’s a wedding, corporate event, or just a night out with friends. Plus, their friendly staff is available to ensure everything runs smoothly, leaving you free to enjoy the culinary delights.

Location: 188 John Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://maryborough-motel.mcnevins.com.au/fine-dining/

La Familia Pizzeria

Maryborough dining venue

La Familia Pizzeria, a fresh addition to the Maryborough dining scene, has quickly become a favourite eatery in town. After our first visit to this Great Gatsby-inspired spot, we were hooked. So much so, that we broke our usual routine and went back the very next month!

Winning the Fraser Coast Business & Tourism People’s Choice Awards in 2023 was the cherry on top for La Familia Maryborough, and it’s no surprise with the glowing TripAdvisor reviews pouring in.

Just take it from Johnnyrocket2013, who raved about the authentic vibe, stellar service from Kimberly and Blaine, and mouthwatering dishes served piping hot. Brad R. couldn’t get enough of their Greek lamb Calzone and Gambino Pizza, while Melissa B. gave top marks across the board for location, venue, service, and, of course, the food—deliziosa!

With feedback like that, it’s clear La Familia is a must-visit spot in Maryborough, whether you’re dining in or grabbing a takeaway pizza for a cosy night in. The reviews speak volumes.

Location: 8/373 Kent Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaFamiliaMaryborough/

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White Lion Hotel

Maryborough dining venue

During the Covid pandemic in 2020, the White Lion Hotel seized the opportunity for a complete makeover, breathing new life into this historic pub. Now, it not only welcomes its loyal regulars spanning decades, but also draws in a fresh crowd seeking modern dining experiences. Conveniently located within walking distance from the Brolga Theatre, it’s a popular pre-show dining spot too.

Established back in 1864, the White Lion Hotel is steeped in history, adding to its charm for both locals and visitors alike. From delicious seasonal dishes to classics like wood-fired pizzas and traditional pub fare, there’s something to please everyone’s palate. With a dedicated chef and team pouring their passion into every dish, satisfaction is practically guaranteed. Whether it’s a hearty steak, fresh seafood, or indulgent desserts, you’re in for a treat at the White Lion Hotel.

Location: 37 Walker Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://thewhitelion.com.au/

Indian Diamond Maryborough

Maryborough dining venue

Indian Diamond is our go-to spot for indulging in authentic North Indian cuisine. Since its establishment in 2012, this family-owned venue has been serving up mouthwatering Indian dishes that keep us coming back for more. Whether dining in, grabbing a takeaway, or opting for delivery, the options are vast. Plus, it’s BYO wine, so you can sip on your favourite bottle while savouring the flavours.

And we’re not the only ones singing its praises—TripAdvisor reviewers can’t get enough either. Eleise8100 raves about the perfect balance of spice, with the Lamb Korma stealing the show, while ZinnyandFi hail it as their favourite Indian spot across Wide Bay.

With glowing reviews like these, it’s no wonder Indian Diamond remains a top choice for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re craving a flavourful curry or some crispy samosas, this place delivers every time.

Location: 3/133 Lennox Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://www.indiandiamondrestaurant.com/

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Cocky’s Grill at the Lamington Hotel

Maryborough dining venue

At the Lamington Hotel’s grill restaurant, choosing a favourite dish is a tough call—the menu is bursting with options!

Fun fact: the venue got its name from a feisty cockatoo who lived behind the hotel for over 25 years, and was known for its colourful language after dark.

Cocky’s Grill is a hit with hungry guests, and the bar/lounge is the perfect spot to unwind with a drink. Situated on Ferry Street on the northern side of the Mary River, next to the iconic Lamington Bridge, this historic hotel has been serving since 1864.

Originally named the Ariadne after the ship that brought the first settlers in 1862, it was rebuilt and renamed to honour Governor Lord Lamington and the new bridge post-flood in 1893.

If you’re eyeing a meal at Cocky’s Grill, better book ahead—it’s a hotspot, and seats fill up fast!

Location: 33 Ferry Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/p/Lamington-Hotel-Motel-100063510974239/

Granville Tavern

Maryborough dining venue

While I haven’t made it to any of our Girls’ Night Out gatherings at the Granville Tavern yet, the other ladies have all given it rave reviews and can’t wait to go back. They say it’s a warm and welcoming spot with the chicken schnitzel stealing the show.

And the full menu? Well, it’s got everything from calamari to steaks, fish, and seafood baskets—a feast for sure! The portions are generous, prices reasonable, and the chips? Apparently, unbeatable.

Fun fact: When the record flood of 1893 hit Maryborough, the original Granville Arms and Fig Tree Hotel were washed away. But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the hotel was rebuilt on higher ground at its current location. It’s weathered a few rebuilds since then but remains a bustling social hub, especially during floods when the Granville Bridge is cut off and the suburb turns into an island.

Location: 23 Odessa St, Granville QLD 4650
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GranvilleTavern/

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Alowishus Delicious

Maryborough dining venue

While recently exploring Maryborough for photo opportunities, I popped into Alowishus Delicious for a quick lunch and ended up spending an hour catching up with long-time friends. That’s the kind of welcoming atmosphere you can expect at Alowishus.

In the city’s heart, it’s the perfect spot for a light meal or snack while reconnecting with friends. A two-time winner of the Countrywide Cafe of the Year in 2019 and 2020, Alowishus has been a staple in the community since its establishment in 2011.

With a commitment to local connections and exceptional service, they strive to provide great value to every customer.

Their full-service kitchen offers a range of breakfast and lunch options, from classic brunch dishes to indulgent burgers and salads. Don’t forget to treat yourself to one of their delicious gelato flavours while you’re there.

Location: 232 – 244 Adelaide Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://www.alowishus.com.au/

Harry’s Thai Food

Maryborough dining venue

Nestled among the shops at Tinana Shopping Centre on Gympie Road, just south of the Lamington Bridge, is a gem perfect for group gatherings like ours. Say hello to Harry’s Thai Food. With a cosy atmosphere and authentic Thai flavours, it’s a winner every time.

Their menu is a treasure trove of Thai delights, from barbecue pork and satay chicken skewers to mouthwatering curries, pad Khing, and more. Plus, their chef’s passion for food and top-notch service ensures a memorable dining experience with every visit.

Dine-in or takeaway—whatever suits your fancy. Harry welcomes you to kick back, relax, and savour the delicious flavours of Thailand right here in Maryborough. And here’s a tip: why not grab an extra dish to enjoy at home later?

Location: shop 4/26-34 Gympie Rd, Tinana, 4660.
Website: https://www.harrysthaifood.com/

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Old Sydney Hotel

Maryborough dining venue

The Old Sydney Hotel, where the Wide Bay Beefsteak and Burgundy Club holds its monthly dinners, boasts quality cuisine tailored to the club’s discerning palates. While these menus are exclusive to club members, there’s still plenty for you to enjoy.

Situated just a stone’s throw from Queen’s Park and the Mary River, the Old Sydney Hotel is a Maryborough staple. From a cosy front bar to a vibrant sports bar, it’s got all the makings of your favourite local pub. Its menu celebrates the best of Queensland produce, with modern dishes and classic pub favourites to satisfy every craving.

Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite with your mates or settling in for a family lunch, the spacious bistro has you covered. As you dine, take in the rich history of Maryborough through the black and white photos adorning the walls.

So, whether it’s a casual catch-up or a special occasion, the Old Sydney Hotel is the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy quality pub dining in a relaxed atmosphere.

Location: Cnr Ellena & Richmond Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://www.oldsydneyhotel.com.au/

Happy Days Diner

Maryborough dining venue

Would you believe it? Happy Days Diner, an American eatery in Maryborough, Qld! Stepping inside feels like a journey back to the fabulous 50s, with classic tunes, retro vibes, and of course, American fare.

And it’s not just me who’s impressed—TripAdvisor reviewers can’t stop singing its praises. Glen B. loves the retro-style burgers, shakes, and loaded hot dogs, while Jarrad recommends the Mars Bar Milkshake for a real treat. Brad A. sums it up perfectly: cool vibes, amazing food, and friendly staff.

So, if you’re in town or just passing through, do yourself a favour and swing by Happy Days Diner. You won’t regret it—it’s an awesome experience you won’t soon forget!

Location: 1/92 Ferry Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://happy-days-diner-american-restaurant.business.site/

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Carriers Arms Hotel

Maryborough dining venue

The Carriers Arms Hotel, a Maryborough landmark since 1882, holds a special place in the town’s history. Back in the day, it was a hub for bullock wagons travelling westward, offering respite for both weary travellers and their trusty steeds at the nearby Ululah Lagoon. Today, it’s a cherished family-owned establishment, under the same ownership since 1980.

Renovations over the years, including major updates in 2019, have kept the Carriers Arms fresh and inviting. With a menu boasting well-priced options and tempting specials for both lunch and dinner, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re dining as a couple, with family, or in a large group, there’s plenty of seating to accommodate.

For families, the dedicated kids’ entertainment room guarantees a hassle-free dining experience, with PlayStations and games to keep the little ones entertained while you enjoy your meal. With its blend of classic pub favourites and modern dishes, the Carriers Arms Hotel is a must-visit for food lovers of all ages.

Location: 405 Alice Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Website: https://carriersarms.com.au/

Federal Hotel

Maryborough dining venue

Good news! After a temporary setback due to Covid, the Federal Hotel is back. Now offering dine-in and take-away options Monday to Friday for breakfast, lunch, and everything in between, there’s no excuse not to visit them.

Established in 1884 and built to stand the test of time, the Federal Hotel has long been a favourite among local foodies. With its rich history and recent reinvention, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a meal in Maryborough.

For updates on their offerings, check out their Facebook page or swing by 270 Kent Street to see what’s cooking. With a reputation for excellent food, you won’t want to miss out on what the Federal Hotel has in store!

Location: 270 Kent Street, Maryborough, Qld, 4650.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/p/The-Federal-Hotel-Maryborough-100041828301229/

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Maryborough Clubs

If you’re keen to explore what the clubs in Maryborough offer foodies, follow these links:

From Pubs to Pizzerias: Maryborough Dining Gems

Maryborough, Qld, offers a vibrant dining scene that caters to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. From cosy cafes to historic pubs, and authentic Asian cuisine to classic American diners, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether it’s a Girls’ Night Out at a local favourite like Portside Café & Restaurant or discovering hidden gems like Happy Days Diner, residents and visitors alike are spoilt for choice.

The rich history and unique character of each venue add to the charm of dining out in Maryborough.

So, whether you’re indulging in delicious Thai dishes at Harry’s Thai Food or savouring classic pub fare at the Carriers Arms Hotel, one thing’s for sure—every meal is an experience to remember in this quaint Queensland town.

All information was correct at the time of publishing – 13 February 2024. If you know of anything that’s no longer relevant or correct, please leave a comment below. Stay tuned, too, because venues currently under renovation are expected to open in late 2024.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay

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Where to next?

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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Japan and New Zealand

Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Japan, 2019.

THE allure of the Land of the Rising Sun was undeniable when my eldest son invited me to join him, his wife and their then-toddler daughter on a journey to Japan in May 2019. The country offers a plethora of sights, from the lively cityscapes of Tokyo to the tranquil landscapes of Kyoto, and from the ancient temples of Nara to the innovative architecture of Osaka.

Little did I know this adventure would lead me to discover the cultural significance of cherry blossoms and the unexpected joy they would bring me later in the year.

As we embarked on our journey to Japan, keenly aware the cherry blossom season would likely be over by the time of our arrival, I still hoped to glimpse the fleeting cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms in the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.

Hanami Harmony: Embracing Life’s Transience

Cherry blossoms, native to Japan and known there as Sakura, are delicate and ephemeral flowers that symbolize the transient nature of life. These iconic blossoms usually grace the Japanese landscapes in spring, creating breathtaking displays of pink and white hues. The blooming period varies, but it generally occurs between late March and early May.

The cultural and religious significance of cherry blossoms in Japan has deep roots. These flowers represent the beauty and fragility of life, a concept embraced in various aspects of Japanese culture. In Shinto, the indigenous spirituality of Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the impermanence of all things and the importance of embracing the present moment. The practice of Hanami, or flower viewing, reflects this philosophy and holds a special place in Japanese culture.

Hanami involves more than mere flower-watching; Families and friends gather under the blooming trees, enjoying picnics and celebrating the arrival of spring. The cherry blossom festivals held across Japan during this season further highlight the cultural significance of Sakura. These festivals showcase an array of Japanese traditions, from traditional tea ceremonies to performances and parades.

The association of cherry blossoms with warplanes may seem unexpected, but during World War II, Japanese pilots painted Sakura on their kamikaze planes. The symbolism was both poignant and tragic, as these pilots embraced the fleeting nature of life and the sacrifice they were making for their country. However, in the contemporary context, cherry blossoms are no longer associated with military or self-destructive purposes. Japan has transitioned from wartime symbolism to a more peaceful and celebratory embrace of Sakura.

As we navigated Japan in May 2019, my anticipation for cherry blossoms turned into acceptance as I realised the season had bid farewell. However, the unexpected delight awaited me in September of the same year when I visited the South Island of New Zealand. To my surprise, cherry trees adorned with flowers in full bloom greeted me, adding a touch of magic to the landscape.

Finding cherry blossoms in New Zealand, far from their native Japan, was a testament to the global reach of these beautiful flowers. While Japan is synonymous with cherry blossoms, other countries, including the United States, South Korea, and China, boast cherry trees. Some of these nations even host their own cherry blossom festivals, celebrating the beauty and symbolism of these delicate blooms.

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Cherry Blossoms Inspire Journeys Beyond Boundaries

My pursuit of cherry blossoms in Japan and New Zealand was a source of inspiration, revealing the universal appeal of these flowers. As I reflect on the experience, I invite others to embark on their own journeys to witness the magic of cherry blossoms. Whether in Japan during the spring festival season or in unexpected corners of the world, like the South Island of New Zealand, these blossoms have the power to captivate and inspire.

In planning your travels, consider aligning your trips with the cherry blossom seasons in different regions. Embrace the cultural richness and natural beauty these blossoms bring, and join the global celebration of life, impermanence, and the sheer joy of witnessing nature’s fleeting wonders.

The beauty of cherry blossoms transcends both location and time. They remind us to appreciate life’s transience and find joy in the surprises that bloom along our journeys.

Cherry Blossoms - Queenstown, NZ

The view of cherry blossoms overlooking Queenstown, New Zealand, from the front door of our accommodation.

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Q & A

In what seasons do cherry trees blossom in Japan and New Zealand?

Cherry blossoms (or Sakura) bloom in Japan from late March to early May. In New Zealand, particularly the South Island, September is the prime season for these delicate flowers.

What other places in the world to see Sakura?

Apart from Japan and New Zealand, you can catch cherry blossoms in various locations globally. Washington D.C. in the United States boasts a stunning display, as does South Korea, Taiwan, and China.

Where is Sakura celebrated with festivals?

Japan takes the cherry blossom festival cake with its renowned Hanami celebrations. South Korea’s Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is another must-see. Even in the U.S., the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. is a vibrant celebration of these ephemeral blooms.

More stunning displays of cherry blossoms in New Zealand’s South Island.

Cherry Blossoms in the New Zealand regions of Akaroa, Arrowtown, Christchurch and Queenstown. Photos: Jocelyn Watts, 2019.

 

Where to next?

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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Discovering the untamed beauty of Taieri Gorge

CAPTURING the earthy hues of rugged cliffs and bursts of yellow wildflowers cascading down the rocky slopes kept me enthralled for the entire Taieri Gorge journey on New Zealand’s South Island.

In September 2019, standing on the platform of a passenger carriage, every twist, and turn of the tracks unveiled a panorama of untamed wilderness, inviting me to capture its natural beauty.

As the train wheels created a rhythmic beat, the Taieri River meandered through the gorge, setting the stage for a grand adventure.

Read further to discover the journey, noting that the Taieri Gorge Railway company has since undergone a transformation and is now recognised under the new identity of Dunedin Railways.

Dunedin Railways - scene

Embracing the beauty of New Zealand’s Taieri Gorge train tour, where vibrant yellow wildflowers are in full bloom.

Affiliate Disclosure: Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. Clicking on links on this website and making purchases may earn us a small fee, supporting our mission to provide you with great content.

Spectacular journey with Dunedin Railways

Our journey began at the Dunedin Railway Station, a fine example of Renaissance revival architecture that stood as one of the city’s most fascinating landmarks.

With anticipation in the air, we stepped onto the train, which pulled away from the station and into the South Island countryside. As the train traversed areas inaccessible by road, we learned about the railway’s construction and other interesting facts from the onboard commentary.

As the lengthiest tourist railway line in New Zealand, this track follows the path of the former Otago Central Railway, spanning from the four-kilometre marker on the Taieri Branch to Middlemarch, a journey of about 60 kilometres.

The route along the Taieri River’s banks ventured through 10 tunnels and over a dozen viaducts, each unveiling a new chapter in the story of this vast landscape.

The Wingatui railway station, with its restored original building and signal box from 1914, marked a moment to appreciate the region’s history.

Crossing the Wingatui Viaduct, a 197-meter marvel that has stood as the largest steel structure in New Zealand since its construction in 1887, was a highlight of our journey after going through the Salisbury Tunnel, the longest on the line. With its riveted truss structure resting on seven concrete and masonry piers, the viaduct was a testament to engineering prowess.

Emerging from Mullocky Gully, the route hugged the Taieri Gorge, passing through former stations with quaint names like Parera, Mount Allen, Little Mount Allen, and Christmas Creek. The Hindon station, operating as a crossing point, offered a glimpse into the heritage of rail travel.

Continuing our expedition, the Deep Stream viaduct offered photo opportunities, as the landscape ascended higher and moved away from the gorge. As we traversed Pukerangi and Middlemarch, the railway occasionally embraced the Taieri River, crossing Sutton Creek over a combined road-rail bridge.

Heading back to Dunedin, every bend in the track revealed a fresh scene, keeping the ride interesting right until we rolled into the Dunedin Railway Station.

Dunedin Railways - Hindon Station

Hindon Station: A Crossing Point that’s a piece of living history on the Taieri Gorge railway journey.

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Ride the Dunedin Rails through the South Island

The Taieri Gorge Railway expedition, organised by Dunedin Railways, immersed travellers in the breathtaking beauty of New Zealand. The rhythmic clatter of the train wheels, the vibrant hues of the landscape, and the stories woven into each viaduct and tunnel linger vividly in my memory.

For anyone eager to explore the stunning landscapes of Dunedin and the Otago region, the Taieri Gorge railway calls. Head to Dunedin Railways’ website at https://www.dunedinrailways.co.nz/ for the most up-to-date information.

More photos from the Taieri Gorge railway adventure

Dunedin Railways - montage

Photos by Jocelyn Watts, 2019.

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If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like my fiction story Murder on a Runaway Train.

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Ready for another holiday?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.

Uncovering rail pioneers’ stories

BACK in 2009, my husband, Don Watts, and I took a jaunt through time courtesy of the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tasmania. Picture this: the whistle of a heritage steam locomotive serenading us as we settled in for a journey into the past. We were on a mission—ready to dig into the tales of gutsy pioneers who once called the wild stretch between Queenstown and Strahan home.

West Coast Wilderness Railway

Awaiting our departure from the West Coast Wilderness Railway Station.

Affiliate Disclosure: Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. Clicking on links on this website and making purchases may earn us a small fee, supporting our mission to provide you with great content.

Chronicles of the West Coast Wilderness Railway

West Coast Wilderness Railway - man panning for gold

Don Watts panning for gold at Lynchford.

Our adventure began at Queenstown station, where we stepped aboard the Woodcutters Carriage. The plush upholstered seating and the promise of wine and nibbles set the stage for a luxurious experience. As the wheels started turning, we found ourselves transported not just by the train, but also by stories of the past 200 years.

Our first stop, Lynchford, a bustling frontier town in the 1880s, had faded away by the 1920s, leaving memories of a bygone era. We disembarked and treaded on the same soil that gold prospectors had once hoped would yield fortunes.

The Queen Hotel, a two-story weatherboard structure, loomed beside the station, witnessing the comings and goings of timber-cutters. Its kerosene lamps once illuminated the lively conversations of those seeking respite after a day’s toil. The town’s fate took a turn with the introduction of hydroelectricity in 1914, marking the end of the woodcutters’ era and the beginning of Lynchford’s decline.

As the train ascended above the King River Gorge, the landscape revealed the challenges those who built the railway faced. The construction started in 1894 and demanded resilience from the labourers who battled the unforgiving terrain and relentless weather. Rainfall of up to 150 inches (3800 mm) a year, hidden gullies, and rising rivers tested the mettle of the workers. Their camps had to perch on high ground, a strategic move against the unpredictable whims of the King River.

For almost seven decades, the West Coast Wilderness Railway was more than just the scenic route it is today. It was the Lyell mining district’s lifeline, ensuring copper ore transportation from Queenstown to the coast for global markets. The return journey brought essential supplies like timber and later, coke, for the smelter fires. The wagons also carried the pulse of daily life—milk, newspapers, mail, and, in a macabre twist, even the departed.

West Coast Wilderness Railway - historic timber bridge

Don and I were able to walk around one of the historic timber bridges as part of the West Coast Wilderness Railway adventure.

Tracing Tasmania’s rich history

Our journey on the West Coast Wilderness Railway was more than a scenic tour; it was a glimpse into Tasmania’s rich history. Lynchford’s rise and fall, the perseverance of those who built the railway, and its role in sustaining the mining district unfolded before us like pages of a captivating novel. As we disembarked in Strahan, I couldn’t help but feel a profound connection to the pioneers and workers whose spirits still lingered in the hills and valleys of Tasmania. The West Coast Wilderness Railway, now a tourist attraction, stands as a living monument to the resilience and tenacity of those who shaped the history of Tasmania’s untamed land.

CLICK THIS LINK TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE WEST COAST WILDERNESS RAILWAY.

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More photos from our West Coast Wilderness Railway adventure

West Coast Wilderness Railway - montage of photos

Photos by Jocelyn Watts, 2009.

  • With thanks to West Coast Wilderness Railway for generously hosting us for this journey. 
  • If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like my fiction story Murder on a Runaway Train.

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Ready for another holiday?

Don’t miss out on discovering your next destination with Booking.com. With countless amazing deals on accommodation and more, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for. So, why wait? Click the links here to explore BOOKING.COM today and plan your next trip.

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Discovering Scenic Rim’s Spectacular Waterfalls

UPDATE: Keep up-to-date with the latest closures at Tamborine National Park at https://www.facebook.com/ScenicRimSESUnit/

NOW is a great time to seek spectacular waterfalls in the Scenic Rim, named by global travel authority Lonely Planet in 2022 as one of the hottest destinations to visit!

Located just an hour’s drive from Brisbane and 30 minutes from the heart of the Gold Coast, this breathtaking region stretches from Canungra to The Lost World, Beaudesert to Boonah, Tamborine Mountain to Kalbar.

It is not only recognised for its proximity to major cities, but is also home to the ancient World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, six historic national parks, charming towns and villages, adventure parks, farm stays, craft breweries, boutique wineries, ecolodges, gourmet experiences, world-class camping, and glamping.

The Scenic Rim boasts over 4,200 square kilometres of rich volcanic soil surrounded by ancient mountains and is dotted with three dams – Lake Moogerah, Lake Maroon and Wyaralong.

With the recent rain filling the region’s rivers and creeks, Mother Nature is in full performance mode, creating an ideal setting to explore the many waterfalls, some requiring a decent hike through ancient rainforests, and others just a casual walk from the car.

So, fill your water bottles and lace up those boots, as we guide you through 11 magnificent waterfalls for your holiday bucket list in the stunning Scenic Rim.

The breathtaking beauty of Moran Falls in the Lamington National Park, nestled within the Scenic Rim region of Queensland. Photo: Visit Scenic Rim.

Affiliate Disclosure: Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. Clicking on links on this website and making purchases may earn us a small fee, supporting our mission to provide you with great content.

1.     Cedar Creek Falls at Tamborine Mountain

An easy day trip to Tamborine Mountain gives you Cedar Creek Falls. There’s parking and the short walk gives wanderers a range of great viewing points, looking down from the first platform is breathtaking, and further down gives views up at the majestic 15-20m waterfall. Stay at Cedar Creek Lodges in a choice of stylish self-contained lodges and holiday cabins set amid the lush rainforest or glamp, and take the rock pools walk as well.

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2.     Witches Falls at Tamborine Mountain

The Witches Falls section of Tamborine National Park was declared in 1908, making it Queensland’s first national park. Witches Falls Circuit takes wanderers through the lush rainforest before reaching a lookout over the waterfall with inland views of the Great Dividing Range.  It’s a 3.1km circuit, and easygoing. Bonus: visit the Witches Falls Winery afterwards for local wine and cheese!

3.     Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park

One for all ages, stages and abilities. In the heart of Tamborine Mountain, Curtis Falls is fed by Cedar Creek all year round. The circuit is an easy stroll at 1.5km, about half an hour in total. Set amongst the super lush rainforest, there’s the Curtis Falls Café for a bite before or after the walk. To see another, add on the Joalah Lower Creek Circuit – it’s quite spectacular right now. Tamborine Mountain has a wonderful range of accommodations, from quaint guest houses to bed and breakfast places, hotels and more.

4.     Cronan Creek Falls in Mt Barney National Park

About 100m off the beaten path–in this case, the Yellow Pinch trailhead–there’s the “secret” Cronan Creek Falls. From the Yellow Pinch Reserve, follow the Cronan Creek Track past stunning views of the Great Dividing Range and Mt Barney. Pack spare socks, water and a charged phone or camera for this 13km, four-hour round trip.

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5.     Lower & Upper Portals, Mt Barney National Park

Not exactly waterfalls, but the Lower & Upper Portals fill the wanderer’s cup just the same as a series of incredible waterholes (great for having a dip) as Mount Barney Creek cascades down the mountain between often towering rocks and cathedral-like cutaways. Both tracks follow a three-hour return route and are for more experienced walkers.

6.     Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park

Elabana Falls is another beautiful waterfall in Lamington National Park – take the Main Border Track from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and walk 3.5km–including a scramble over rocks in the creek–and wanderers will find the cascades before retracing your steps back to O’Reilly’s.

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7.     Moran’s Falls in Lamington National Park

The plunging Moran’s Falls are reached by following a descending 4.4km return track about a kilometre back from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat car park. Walks through the sub-tropical rainforest of booyongs, figs and brush box–it’s a well-marked track–and then visit the clearing or the lookout–or both–and return for a well-earned treat at O’Reilly’s Mountain Café.

8.     Chalahn Falls at Lamington National Park

Accessed via the Tooloona Creek Circuit, the Chalahn Falls walk to and from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is around 10.5km. Creek crossings mean wanderers should prepare to wade. The track can degrade in heavy rain and there are some fallen trees, but it’s the perfect spot for a picnic and an awe-inspiring view at the end.

9.     Stairway Waterfall in Lamington National Park

Stairway Waterfall is at the turnaround point of a 14km hike beginning at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, where there are plenty of places to cool off along the way, including the Blue Pool. It is a more difficult walk, but passes through gorgeous scenery. Wanderers will get wet feet as there are multiple creek crossings.

10. Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls at Lamington National Park

Off the Coomera Circuit at Binna Burra, the Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls are a 17.5km return trip that takes between five and seven hours, depending on the wanderer! Dense forests, creek crossings, waterfalls, gorges, and cliffs will all be encountered. Binna Burra Lodge has wonderful accommodation options ranging from luxe Sky Lodges to Safari Tents, as well as a restaurant, café and great coffee. NOTE: once at Binna Burra, there’s a whole range of wonderful walks from which to choose, and after this rain, most have waterfalls or cascading water involved!

11. Mirror Falls at Lamington National Park

One for the fitter wanderers, and the 20km trek to Mirror Falls is worthwhile, starting from O’Reilly’s. The views are spectacular. Accommodation at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat studio apartments and suites that all boast equally spectacular views! This is sky-high wandering at its best!

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A NOTE FOR SCENIC RIM WANDERERS AND WATERFALL CHASERS:

A reminder to walk carefully through Mother Nature’s beautiful places. Protecting our natural environment is a priority and a responsibility of every wanderer. Always plan and prepare, stick to designated tracks and go only where it’s permitted. Some activities may require proper guidance, navigation skills, special permits, or equipment, so please check with local tour operators or visitor information centres for up-to-date information and guidance.

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Story and photos contributed by Visit Scenic Rim
Feature photo: Cameron Falls at Tamborine Mountain, by Lachlan Gardiner 2021.
Published 11 January 2024

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Ready for another holiday?

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Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with Booking.com. When you make a booking through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.

 

Beyond Silence: Inclusivity in Travel

EMBARK on an immersive journey beyond sound, and indulge in all-encompassing Queensland experiences.

Statistics reveal that one in six Australians grapple with hearing impairment, while approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users face total hearing loss.

As our population ages, projections suggest that by 2050, one in every four Australians will encounter some form of hearing loss.

Queensland, however, is breaking barriers by extending a warm invitation to travellers of all hearing abilities.

In the Sunshine State, from world-class art galleries and theatre productions to ancient rainforests and wildlife encounters, there’s an array of experiences designed to captivate all the senses.

Join us on a sensory-rich exploration of eight extraordinary Queensland adventures, where the beauty of the journey lies in inclusivity.

Queensland experiences - entertainment theatre

QPAC at South Bank offers an assistive listening system. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

World-class performances in the heart of Brisbane

Brisbane’s exciting calendar of theatre, cultural exhibitions and performing arts is accessible through a range of hearing technologies and Auslan-interpreted shows.

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) offers an assistive listening system (ALS) to send audio directly to headphones, hearing aids, or cochlear implants – with ListenTech available free of charge.

Select performances are professionally signed by Auslan interpreters, with theatregoers encouraged to download the GoTheatrical app to access live captions on mobile or tablet devices.

Further down the river, Brisbane Powerhouse offers a range of select Auslan performances throughout the year, as well as hearing loops for everyone to enjoy the year-round festivities.

Queensland Experiences - Brisbane Powerhouse

Aerial view of the Brisbane Powerhouse, on the banks of the Brisbane River. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Wander through the rainforest in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

As the world’s oldest continually surviving rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest in the Wet Tropics is home to an impressively diverse environment and thousands of distinctive wildlife species that must be experienced to be believed.

The Daintree Discovery Centre is a great place to do just this.

Spark curiosity in this ancient landscape at the Interpretive Display Centre, featuring interactive touch-screen kiosks to help set bearings, before setting off on a self-guided tour.

Guides are fitted with a T switch suitable for hearing aids. Ascend the Aerial Walkway to take in canopy views, complete with interpretive guidebooks highlighting not to miss points of interest.

Queensland experiences - rainforest

A rainforest park nestled in the Daintree National Park. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Be inspired by art in South East Queensland

In the state’s capital, QAGOMA’s (Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art) award-winning accessibility program offers customised programs for low-hearing and deaf art lovers.

Free volunteer guided tours for members of the Deaf community are scheduled on the last Sunday of the month from January to November, with a NAATI-accredited Auslan interpreter accompanying the gallery guide.

Visitors with cochlear implants, hearing aids or hearing loss are invited to join a small group tour led by a volunteer guide on the fourth Friday of the month between January and November, with assistive listening devices (FM system) available.

Visitors can also enjoy rare film viewings at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art’s Australian Cinémathèque, with a hearing loop system to support those with hearing aids and implants.

On the Gold Coast, HOTA (Home of the Arts) is committed to bringing art to the hearts of all, with Auslan assistive listening carrier devices and Auslan-interpreted programs, including tours with the HOTA Gallery Artist Educator, regularly scheduled.

Queensland experiences - art gallery

A Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art guide talks with a group next to some artwork. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Queensland experiences - gallery

A family walks to the entrance of HOTA (Home of the Arts). Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Say hello to a wild world of wildlife on the Gold Coast

Twenty-seven hectares of rainforest and animal encounters await at the Gold Coast’s iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Meet native animals, tour the animal hospital, and catch the Wild Skies Free Flight Bird Show which has hearing augmentation via an assisted listening service, amplifying sound through headphones (hired from Visitor and Member Services).

Queensland experiences - birds

Daily lorikeet feeding encounter at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Festival fun on the Sunshine Coast

Art and culture shine on the Sunshine Coast during the annual Horizon Festival.

This 10-day multi-arts festival celebrates music, arts, theatre, dance and more, from the beach to the hinterland and the townships.

Bringing art experiences to those with low hearing or deafness, some performances feature Auslan-interpreted shows on select dates.

At the same time, the festival also offers an interpreting service, meaning eventgoers can request an Auslan interpreter for events, where possible.

Visitors who would like an Auslan interpreter and seating with clear sightlines to interpreters are asked to contact the festival organisers to book.

Queensland experiences - Aboriginal dn

Aboriginal dancers perform at the 2022 Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Nic Morley, Tourism & Events Queensland.

Discover the magic of the stars, planets and universe beyond

Located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at the base of iconic Mt Coot-tha, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium skyrockets wonder in space and astronomy.

Learn about the solar system and human space exploration in the Display Zone, which includes written and pictorial information, while glow-in-the-dark gloves are available for Auslan interpretation.

Queensland experiences - planetarium

A family walks past the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland.

Resonating Diversity: Queensland’s Inclusive Overture

As we draw the curtain on our Queensland exploration, it’s evident that inclusivity is the melody that resonates throughout the Sunshine State.

From the theatres of Brisbane hosting accessible performances to the ancient serenades of the Daintree Rainforest, each encounter extends an open invitation, regardless of one’s hearing capabilities.

South East Queensland’s art scene paints a vivid tapestry of diversity, while the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast amplifies the wonders of the wild.

The Horizon Festival on the Sunshine Coast is a testament to accessibility in the arts, ensuring that the cultural celebration embraces all participants.

At the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, the universe unfolds its wonders for everyone, underlining the boundless magic of exploration.

Queensland’s commitment to inclusivity is resounding – every traveller is embraced in the shared symphony of wonder.

For more information on accessible Queensland holidays, explore queensland.com/foreveryone.

Story and photos contributed by Tourism & Events Queensland.
Published 3 December 2023. 

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Revamped Motel Caloundra targets net-zero status

CALOUNDRA, a popular coastal destination in Queensland, has welcomed the grand opening of Motel Caloundra after an impressive transformation of the former Caloundra City Centre Motel.

Led by Andrew and Lucy Pink, renowned hotel developers and designers, in partnership with Scott Armstrong of Maeva Hospitality, the rejuvenated hotel aims to offer a stylish and serene experience in the heart of the city, as the Sunshine Coast’s first net-zero energy hotel.

Located opposite The Events Centre and the site of the proposed Sunshine Coast Regional Gallery, Motel Caloundra unveils as part of the Caloundra Centre Master Plan’s effort to create a vibrant community and creative arts hub.

Motel Caloundra - woman in a motel lounge room

Continuing the trend

The Pinks’ newest hotel transformation follows two highly successful restorations over the past three years.

Their first Sunshine Coast venture was the conversion of Riverpark Maroochy Motel into the immediately Instafamous Loea Boutique Hotel, and then everything old was made new again at the heritage Maleny Lodge in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

The nine-room Motel Caloundra is able to boast “location, location, location”, but had seen better days when the Pinks and Scott Armstrong began their modernisation of the property.

Motel make-over modernises the property

Rooms and bathrooms were stripped back to concrete and redesigned, new double-glazed windows were installed for soundproofing and insulation, and deluxe interiors – including king beds with organic cotton sheets – and smart TVs with Netflix installed.

Superior king rooms also have a private outdoor balcony and dedicated car parking space.

As part of the redevelopment a family suite and apartment were added. Both offer two bedrooms, living areas, private balconies, and car spaces, and the apartment also includes a fully equipped kitchen.

Guests have access to Oggy E-scooters (for rent) on-site to discover Caloundra’s coastal paths, and the motel is just a short walk to the town’s beaches, restaurants, cafes, bars, and renowned street art trail.

A feature of the motel’s transformation is the installation of a rooftop bank of 47 solar panels, which will produce 19.50kw of power during the day, and batteries which will produce a further 23kw of power during the evening, allowing the hotel to operate for most of the time without need for external energy sources.

Motel Caloundra - multiple views of the make-over

Motel plays key role in Caloundra’s development

Motel Caloundra’s developers were drawn to the property by its central location and the potential for it to play an important role in Caloundra’s future development.

“There’s no doubt that we are right in the heart of Caloundra’s future development plans, which are very exciting,” Andrew Pink said.

“To be just a short walk from Caloundra’s beaches and across the road from The Events Centre and the future regional gallery makes it even more important for visitors to have access to high-quality accommodation.

We will also work closely with The Events Centre to facilitate their requirements for VIP accommodation for performers and delegates.

“Scott and I have gone out of our way to make the hotel a model of sustainability, given the Sunshine Coast’s commitment to sustainability and its UNESCO biosphere status.”

Motel Caloundra - markets

Revamped motel poised to shape sustainable tourism

With Motel Caloundra’s dedication to sustainable practices, such as the installation of a solar panel bank on the rooftop, capable of producing its own energy during the day and at night, the hotel aims to become the Sunshine Coast’s first net-zero energy hotel.

Matt Stoeckel, the CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, praises the hotel’s commitment to environmental sustainability, aligning with the region’s reputation as a UNESCO biosphere.

As Caloundra continues to thrive as a tourism destination, this revamped hotel is expected to play a significant role in shaping the area’s future development, not only as a recreational paradise but also as a major hub for events, conferences, and cultural pursuits.

Motel Caloundra - seascape

Book your stay at Motel Caloundra

Guests can now book their stays at Motel Caloundra, with rates starting from $180 per night for a Standard King Room, ensuring a comfortable, eco-friendly, and unforgettable experience in Caloundra.

To book, click this link: MOTEL CALOUNDRA

Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

 

Story and photos contributed by Sunshine Coast Tourism. Published: 4 October 2023.

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Take a day trip to Conondale National Park

While visiting the Sunshine Coast, take a day trip to the swimming hole at Booloumba Creek in Conondale National Park. Enjoy the stunning turquoise and emerald waters, and explore the park’s walking trails, including the scenic Booloumba Falls.
For more details click here!

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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse: A Beacon of History

Cape Leeuwin - Lighthouse

AS THE warm sun bathed the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in a golden glow, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of history and gratitude.

This iconic lighthouse, perched on Australia’s most southwestern point, has witnessed the comings and goings of generations.

It has a unique story to tell, one that resonates deeply with the heart-wrenching experiences of soldiers returning from World War I.

Join me as we explore the rich history, breathtaking views, and heartfelt homecoming at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Unveiling History

Tears welled in my eyes as I imagined the emotions that coursed through the hearts of young soldiers returning from Gallipoli during World War I.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, with its commanding presence, served as their guiding light, the last sight of Australia they saw before venturing into the unknown and the first sight upon their triumphant return.

Our tour guide, Rob, stood with us at the top of this 50-meter-tall lighthouse, narrating tales that echoed through time.

The lighthouse’s range of about 40 kilometers made it the last beacon of hope these soldiers saw as they sailed away from their loved ones.

“The light was also the first thing the survivors saw, and the scent of eucalyptus was the first thing they breathed as they returned home,” Bob shared.

“You can imagine how welcoming that must have been.”

Albany, Western Australia’s oldest settlement, was the departure point for the brave Australian troops bound for Gallipoli. The lighthouse stands as a symbol of their courage and sacrifice.

Exploring Cape Leeuwin

Visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was a highlight of our trip to Western Australia.

My husband, Don, and I arrived early, at 9 am, eager to embark on this historical journey. For just $12 each, we were fortunate to have Bob’s undivided attention during the day’s first tour while others slept in or waited for subsequent tours.

Bob, an encyclopedia of knowledge on the history of Cape Leeuwin, regaled us with stories of shipwrecks and the explorers who had set foot on Western Australian soil long before Captain James Cook left his mark on the east coast.

In 1801, Matthew Flinders christened Cape Leeuwin, naming it after the adjoining area known as Leeuwin’s Land, a moniker given by Dutch navigators when “Leeuwin” (The Lioness) rounded the cape in 1622.

The cape’s name is etched in history, bearing witness to the passage of time and the tales of adventurers.

Cape Leeuwin holds another unique distinction—it’s where the Great Southern and Indian Oceans merge.

From the top of the lighthouse, we gazed in awe at the two swells, waves crashing in opposite directions over an outcrop of rocks just offshore.

The meeting of these mighty oceans is a spectacle that reminds us of nature’s incredible forces.

A Place to Discover

Easily accessible via Augusta, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse precinct is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty.

Besides the lighthouse itself, visitors can explore the well-appointed visitor center, a charming shop, and a cozy café.

Our day at Cape Leeuwin ended with a leisurely cappuccino at the café, overlooking Flinders Bay. It was the perfect way to reflect on the significance of this place, where history and nature converge.

Lighthouse a beacon for ships and soldiers

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands as a beacon not only for ships navigating treacherous waters but also for the memories of soldiers who found solace in its light during their perilous journeys.

At Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the very rocks bear witness to stories of exploration and sacrifice and the merging of two great oceans. It’s a place where history and nature harmoniously coexist.

How to get there

The iconic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands proudly at Australia’s southwestern tip, where the Southern and Indian oceans converge. As the tallest lighthouse on the mainland, it’s an unmissable attraction.  For more information and bookings, visit WesternAustralia.com

 

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First published 2013; updated 19 September 2023

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour in pictures

Feature photo (top): Indian Ocean, left, Great Southern Ocean, right.
 
Cape Leeuwin - lady at sign postCape Leeuwin - Lighthouse scene

Cape Leeuwin - Water Wheel

Cape Leeuwin Water Wheel.

 

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Ready for another holiday?

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Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.