We drove west from Maryborough on the 27th, stopping at Picnic Point Lookout in Toowoombah, and spent the night in Warwick, where we checked out an environmental park of scrub bush and listened to the magpies in the trees in the morning. On the way further south, we stopped at Girraween National Park in the Granite Belt, where we walked past the giant granite boulders and Sam and I climbed to the top of “The Pyramid” for a stunning view of the surrounding area. We also stopped at a winery for a tasting and pleasant conversation with the farmer/winemaker/tractor driver and spent the night in Tamworth with its giant golden guitar.
On the 29th, as 2013 began to come to a close, we headed toward our final destination—Sydney—stopping at one more winery for lunch along the way. I’m not a city person (had you guessed?) but I enjoyed my second stay in Sydney. We stayed in a fancy-schmancy hotel overlooking Darling Harbour, and spent the first day in town walking through the Botanic Gardens and the Rocks and to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. On the second day, we walked around the Darling Harbour wharf area, visited the aquarium, and went to see the Hobbit in IMAX 3D. We then collected in front of our giant window to watch two rounds of New Year’s Eve fireworks over the harbour, with an excellent view and without the noise of the crowd below us. And so we rang in the new year and called an end to our family road trip down the east coast of Australia. But my travels had only just begun.