QLD 4x4 Club @ Bundaberg Rum

Bundaberg Rum Trip Report

Report: Prado Geoff

Officially our meeting time is 10.30 am Saturday morning in Bundaberg at a secret location. However many members have chosen to drive up Friday, even this early in the weekend we have three nominees for “froggy awards” or should that be “forgets awards”.

Some  like Dave M have chosen to do  the drive twice after returning home to pick up his GPS ,others like Don forgot to check their fuel gauge and thought the orange light on the dash was an innovative hi tech cabin light and then there was Ian. He wasn’t stopping for anything, even if the only thing he remembered was his pillow…… 

I have chosen to drive up Saturday morning so I am expecting to be handed the reporters pad and pen however I am pleasantly surprised to hear that Rod & Bev are still to arrive. Whilst we wait for Rod & Bev our eleventh car to arrive Craig takes me on a guided tour of “our new club house “and camping facilities. (AKA aunty Jen’s house)

Outside members have truly made themselves at home, even setting up a small 4x4 track in thru the driveway. In the alfresco area Don and Annette are just putting up the last bits of their camper trailer, I’m told they have been working on it solidly since arriving early last night. Definitely getting faster at it! Oli & Natalie have picked the furthest most point of the yard, we’re told it is for the noise but no one has said whose noise ours or theirs. Adri and Rudi are set up on the concrete, with Adri being kept busy running guided tours thru the new van.  Rudi is also conducting walking tours around the “New Ranger”  which has also been set up  on the concrete concrete for display purposes only.( no test drives today can’t be getting mud on the tyre)   Jeff and Kim have parked their Mobil Hilton beside the carport with sweeping views  of the  4wd track.

Inside Jacquie & Craig are staying in the “presidential suite” others have turned bedrooms into family rooms or dorms whilst Anthony and my self-opted for the budget swag on the lounge room floor option.

With Rod and Bev now set up it is time for the weekend briefing, first item is our trip to 1770 for lunch then a drive down the coastal track thru deepwater national park. Dave is concerned some of the creek crossings may be over the road, but we have an abundance of kids to send thru as depth markers so this is not considered a problem.  After this we’ll head back to Bundy in time for dinner before heading out to a secret location to hopefully see some turtles. But wait there’s more, on Sunday we have booked in for a tour & taste of the Bundy rum factory before we head home, what a big weekend!

Craig has asked me to write the report as Rod is a man of few words, I am told his trip reports are very brief so brief in fact that no one can remember reading them. Think I will have a chat with rod about my pruning needs for the rest of the year...

With a bit of effort we have managed to organise ten cars into a convoy with Dave at the head and Craig at the rear, the new ranger is staying on the concrete so Rudi & Audri are back seating with Jacquie & Craig. First thing to do with any convoy is run a radio check, did I say Rod was a man of few words. In this case he was a man of no words. Eventually the problem is sorted when Jacquie calls Rod’s Mobil and leaves a message on his pager. Anthony also misses his cue on the radio check, apparently he couldn’t hear us above his car karaoke……..eventually Craig is able to catch his attention between sets.

As an ex local Dave is acting as an excellent tour guide  providing a running commentary on the surrounds showing us the high points of Bundy ( otherwise known as the areas that didn’t flood)

Having negotiated our way thru town we make our way to the 1770 road turn off, the indicator board shows that all the roads are open, looks like the kids won’t be swimming today. After a pleasant drive broken only by Ian’s moaning about Dave’s crooked wheel cover we arrived at 1770 for fish and chips on the deck.

With lunch done we head back  on to the coastal road, Jacquie tells us about a nice walking track that is nearby but Anthony is quick to point out that we are a 4x4 club not a walking group….we keep driving.

When we reach the start of the track Dave gives us the option “to air down if you want”, as Dave is not jumping out of his car we figure he knows something we don’t. We decide not to air down, rather we will let Dave stay up front and wait until he “can proceed no further”  

With it sounding like an easier drive some of the ladies take the opportunity to swap into the driver’s seat,  in fact the recent rain has compacted the sand into a highway grade road making for an easy pleasant drive. (At least we have the track back at camp for those that want to dirty their cars!)The track takes about an hour to traverse with a couple of pit stops and reccies on campsites. The undoubted highlight is the flooded causeway at the end of the track. We send Dave through first, success he is not washed away so we all follow in a  quick procession  and the cause way is forgotten ( if it’s flooded forget it………)

On the way back to HQ we stop to pick up some dinner provisions, Dave also picks up a couple more “froggy” nominations….cars don’t drive well with the hand brake on and we are on “ channel 15”….

Back at the house dinner is a pot luck share around with the odd chocolate or two, the big decision is whether we walk to the beach so we can have a drink with dinner or don’t drink so we can drive. Anthony quickly reminds us that we are a driving club……………… Meanwhile the little kids are having fun around the muddy track. By the time dinner is finished most of the small kids are covered in either mud or chocolate.

After a soak in the bath the kids are clean enough for the parents to recognise them then it is time to go hunting for turtles. With everything that a parent has to do to get kids strapped into cars etc. it is not surprising that Oli forgot to shut and lock his rear jerry can holders and drove off with them swinging wildly in the breeze, good thing Craig was behind him to record this moment ……..

Down at the beach the turtles aren’t coming out to play tonight so we all head back to camp for the usual nightly chat & beverages.

Sunday morning after breakfast and packing up it is time to shuffle cars and trailers out of the yard and then patch up our 4x4 track. With the yard restored and all evidence of our presence carefully concealed we move to the Bundy distillery. Outside the distillery Ian is running around trying to solicit shoes, while some of the couples are in deep in discussion about who will be the designated driver. One of the discussions looks like it is turning physical with fists and slapping but no they are doing paper scissor rocks…..

Our tour guide tells us the distillery came about as a by -product from the local sugar industry, and how the  area is renowned for Bundy rum,( what about Gin Gin?) at one point in time alcohol was so prevalent in Bundy that rum was literally flowing through the streets and down the river ( ok they may have had a small fire at the distillery at the time).The tour finishes in the  “ Bundy shop” where we are all offered two free samples however  some of us manage a few more sample ………………. We can say that the Bundaberg economy received a significant boost from our time in the shop.

With nothing more to do and every one in high spirits it is time to bid farewells and for the designated drivers to take the wheel for the trip  home. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend, special thanks to Dave & Mel for putting the trip together and to Craig and Jacquie for organising the use of Aunty Jen & Uncle Pete house.

On the trip home I can say a little Bundy definitely lifts the quality (or is that volume) of car karaoke….

Prado Geoff

Bundy Rum with QLD 4x4 Club  Enjoying the Bundaberg Rum Experience  The Bundaberg Rum Bear