Day 31:

28 July 2010

This morning it was oatmeal again in the campervan.  After showering up, we packed up and drove the 30 minutes to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery for the 10:00a.m. tour.  We don't have many photos, because we were asked to leave all battery powered devices at the entry (including wrist watches, let alone mobile phones and cameras).  This is because of the explosive content of the tour.  Ethanol vapours waft from the tanks and even the slightest spark can ignite a fire which can (and has three times in the past due to lightening strikes) burn all the company profits.

Bundaberg town sign

The tour included a view of the sugar cane arriving on sugar cane trains all harvested from the nearby fields, a walk into the molasses storage building (heavenly scented!), a brief explanation of the fermenting process and, finally, the distilling process.  It takes an incredible amount of sugar cane, yeast and water to produce just one 750ml bottle of rum.  Interestingly, the not-so-pleasant-smelling by-product, called dunder, is distributed amongst the nearby farmers for them to use as a sort of fertilizer.

We very much enjoyed the tour which was interactive, informative and entertaining.  It finished with tastings in the bar.  Our favourite is the Bundaberg Liquor (with chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavours).  When mixed with cream, it tastes like coffee ice cream.  Yum!

Three in front of the giant Bundaberg rum bottle at the distillery

The writing on the wall at the Bundaberg rum distillery

After the tour ended and we spent our diesel budget for the day on tourist items, we drove about two minutes down the road to the Big Barrell, where they have the other non-alcoholic Bundaberg products (like their scrumptious ginger beer, sarsaparilla, apple ale, peachee, lemon lime and bitters and more).  By the time we finished sampling, the kids were, quite literally, bouncing off the walls.  So, we went next door and had fish and chips.  Then, we packed up again.

Three at the Big Barrell

After a quick blackwater dump, we drove about 120 kms or so further south to Hervey Bay, our stop for the night.  I ran into the Woolies (supermarket) and got fridge essentials and more fruit and veggies.  Then, we powered on to the Palms Caravan Park.  We arrived at about 4:00.  I had a rest while Rob made beef tortellini and pizza bread accompanied by salad and finishing with apple pie (again, all from Woolies).  I'm still not feeling great, so trying to take it as easy as possible.  Rob and the kids have been great.

We all cuddled up on our bed in the campervan after dinner was eaten and dishes were washed to watch Constructing Australia, an ABC film about the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Kalgoorlie Pipeline and the Overland Telegraph line construction projects.  We all learned something new (like, did you know that it took over 54 years after the Harbour Bridge was completed for the debts to be repaid?).

Tomorrow, we are booked in for a tour of Fraser Island which starts early, so I'm signing off until tomorrow night.