Last weekend we decided to go for a drive, to get out of town for a little while. We found a place on the map we figured might be interesting – Coalstoun Lakes, not too far from Gayndah and Biggenden, about 140km away. We’d never been there, and maybe there’d be, you know, a lake. Scenery to look at. Maybe some wildlife.
We had some fun confusing the basically dreadful navigation system on the Merc. To start with it wanted us to go to Childers via Torbanlea, but we headed to Maryborough instead. Undeterred, the girl in the console suggested that we should drive to Maryborough, then take the Bruce Highway to Childers, then go inland from there. If we had intended to go via Childers, we would not have gone to Maryborough first. That would have meant a hairpin bend in Maryborough to almost retrace where we’d come from. But I have to say, she’s a persistent little critter. In Maryborough itself she tried to persuade us to go around the block for ages. Even when we headed inland, crossing over the Bruce Highway onto the Biggenden Road, she tried to divert us back to the Bruce. To give her fair due, though, going via Childers would have been shorter. But who wants to drive on the Bruce if you don’t have to?
She gave up eventually, and worked out what we intended to do. She probably sulked.
Anyway, back to Coalstoun Lakes. It’s supposed to be a town just past Biggenden. Judging by the name (as you do) we were kind of expecting a Lake. Maybe two. Or at least a dry area where a lake used to be. But no. No lake on the Merc’s nav, no lake on Maps.Me on Pete’s tablet, no lake on the paper map (admittedly not detailed), no lake on Google maps (see above) – and (surprise!) no lake.
UPDATE: There are lakes! Two, in fact. Volcanic crater lakes. Well, golly gosh. Maybe we should have asked Google BEFORE we went out. Coalstoun Lakes NP.
We pootled around a bit, drove through Biggenden which was NOT jumping on a Sunday afternoon, tried a couple of side roads that led to farm gates, shrugged our shoulders and headed for home. It is pretty country, though, with a range of hills that kind of rear up from the plains. I took a couple of pictures (see above). We’d had a spectacular sunset the previous evening, harbinger of the cloud bands in the photo, part of a front that brought the area (and us, as it happens) welcome rain.
On the way back I noticed a side road on the nav system that would cut off quite a long triangle of road – about 20 km, in fact. We could bypass Goomeri to get to Kilkivan. It was marked on the map as a minor made road, so we decided to give it a try. And this is where the essential not quite accurate nature of both our navigation systems let me down. (I’m the navigator, you see). We came across a left turn from the highway, and judging by the position of the little blue icon that represented our car, I decided this was it. We chucked a u-ey (having already driven past the turn-off) and went down the narrow bitumen road. Our first choice of a fork ended up at a farm gate. The second choice took us into rugged country. The bitumen petered out and the track started to snake around, and cross numerous gullies. Eventually we gave up and resigned ourselves to the main road, including that triangle via Goomeri that we were trying to avoid.
Back on the blacktop we drove another couple of kilometres – and lo – there was a sign which read Kilkivan 27 km! And so we went that way. We arrived home in Hervey Bay just before the rain.
I have been sacked from navigation until I have completed the re-training course.