What’s it all about?

This week I take a very different day trip as I head to the famous Bundaberg Rum Factory, where you can find the World’s Best Rum (2017). Though my time in Bundaberg was short, I had an eventful few days. From sampling rum to finding unexpected visitors in the toilets, this week makes for an interesting read, so if you’re intrigued, read along to find out more!

Bundaberg: Getting there

From Mooloolaba to Bundaberg it was only around a 3 and half hour coach trip but it felt long! Throughout the coach journey I was very aware of how much I was drinking and conscious of needing a wee along the way. No one wants to be that kid at the back of the coach with their legs crossed over and asking – ‘Are we nearly there yet?!’. I was relieved when we had our pit stops to get some snacks and to go for a much-needed toilet break. During one of our stops, whilst on the toilet, I noticed something blue hanging near the toilet roll. When my eyes eventually focused I realised that what was in front of me was a blue and red spider. With spider man in the forefront of my mind, this was a VERY quick toilet stop for me.

Bundaberg: An Unexpected Visitor

Throughout our travels, it was only during this move that for the first time whilst I’d started to feel like we were constantly on the move. As we were only spending a few days or up to a week in each place, time was passing pretty quickly. Which was also very tiring at times.

We arrived in Bundaberg and I was surprised that one of the local taxi apps that we had been using quite regularly during our travels, didn’t work here. Instead, we used our Australian sim to access the internet and phone a local taxi company. Our taxi man then had the difficulty of finding our accommodation. As we’d booked through an online app where you can stay in people’s homes/ rented accommodation, we were not able to give much guidance to exactly where the property was. As a result, we got a good tour of the neighbourhood from our confused taxi driver. Bundaberg was different to all the other places so far. It seemed more dated and had a very laid back, country vibe.

Having finally made it to the accommodation, the first thing on my mind was (again) using the toilet facilities. When I’m in need of the toilet, I’ve got this bad habit of just dropping all my bags and running to the loo and this occasion was no different. As I hurried to the toilet, I lifted up the lid to be taken aback. As I lifted it up, I noticed something quite large and dark at the bottom of the pan (not the thing that you may be expecting to find in a toilet). I quickly shut the lid but still needing the toilet was curious what it could be and if I could clear the unknown object so that I could use the toilet. I went to lift the lid for a second time, this time much slower than the first time I’d opened it and as I did I soon realised that what I could see was a frog. There was a tree frog, which seemed to sleeping, in the toilet! Part of me thought that perhaps the owners were playing some kind of practical joke on us and it wasn’t real, but it seemed pretty life like. I shut the lid again and after getting advice from my partner, flushed the toilet. Now, you’d think that would help move the fella along…but no. I slowly opened the lid to see that he had now moved and his eyes were wide open! Quickly, I slammed the lid back down and decided that I was so desperate for the toilet, all I could do was flush the toilet again and hope that this time I was successful. Thankfully, I was. After doing a bit of research about tree frogs, I found that this is actually quite a common occurrence. I just hoped, that it would not be so common whilst I was staying there as I now had to check the toilet every time I used it.

Bundaberg: The famous rum factory

For our first proper day in Bundaberg we decided we would visit the rum distillery, home to Australia’s world-famous rum. There were a few different booking options available for the tour here. We decided that we’d look around the museum there before being taken on a tour of the factory.

***TOP TIP***

If this takes your tipple, book your tickets for the tour online to save yourself some pennies! You’ll pay extra if you go to the factory and book on the day.

Our first stop along the tour was to the molasses and I have to say, I was not a fan of the taste of this! Molasses is a viscous refined sugar product and normally that would sound fantastic to me but this was not the usual sweet taste I was used to. To me, it tasted harsh, almost like liquorice! My partner on the other hand, who doesn’t have as much of a sweet tooth as me, loved the taste and was very welcoming of the samples we received. I was however, impressed at the sheer quantity of it. It was being stored in what looked like a farm outhouse building that was just filled with the stuff! These buildings we were looking at the molasses in were actually the distillery stores and they each stored around enough molasses for the entire year.

As part of the tour we also got to see the fermentation tanks. It’s insane how much of the stuff is in here! I was also surprised to learn that the molasses is actually a waste produce from the sugar mill and that it was in 1880 that farmers came up with the idea of using the waste. In 1888 they created the first barrel of rum. What I found even more interesting is that the strain that this factory produce is so unique they constantly test it to ensure that it doesn’t change and it is stored in 3 secret locations around the world!

After the distillation process is completed the raw rum is now at 78% alcohol. Wowzer! Distilled water is added to this and then stored in the barrels to soak for years to accumulate the colour and taste of the wood. I absolutely loved the look of the barrels and it’s even cooler that they are an important part of the taste process.

When the tour finally came to an end, it was time for some more sampling but this time of the 18 + type. Rum sampling time. Now, for someone who rarely drinks and when they do only has to have a couple, I have to say I found the rum strong and had to ask for more cream to be added to my liqueur and for ginger beer to be added to my rum. I did get to try the rum that has been voted THE BEST RUM IN THE WORLD (2017)! VERY Tasty!

If you like a tipple or perhaps if you’d just like to do something different for few hours of your time, I would definitely recommend a tour here. I am not a particularly big drinker but found lots of the tour really interesting! 

Barolin Beach

As we were unable to book our coach travel onwards as soon as we had hoped, we were in Bundaberg slightly longer than anticipated. So, we decided to head to Barolin Beach, in the hopes we would be able to snorkel. Unfortunately, the winds were too high which meant a lot of waves and poor snorkel conditions.  As an alternative, we decided to peruse the rock pools. I absolutely love doing this and don’t think it’s something just for kids as you can discover so many cool things rock-pooling.  As this place was called Marine Park Coral Cove, I had my heart set on finding a star fish (to no avail). However, we did find some really cool looking shells that had an almost leopard print raised patterning to them. Though the waves were crashing furiously we ensured we remained safe, yet my partner did a get a little too close whilst trying to take a good shot and ended up with a wave coming crashing down right on his head! It was like something out of a comedy sketch and I did laugh a little.

After carrying out some serious stone stacking (do not knock it until you’ve tried it), we decided to head back up the path and get off the beach. There were two options of getting back. 1 – walk up the pathway or 2 – walk up the dense plantations. Now, if you’ve read last week’s blog you’ll know my partner is very adventurous so obviously he decided to pick route 2 whereas I, fearing for what was inside and that my little legs would literally get lost in the mass, opted for route 1. When we’d made it to the top, a local had come to chat with us and ended up explaining how lucky my partner was to have walked up the hill unscathed. He informed us that sea adders live in that mass and that they can stand up to 5ft!

Bundaberg: Leaving day

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I really was starting to feel like we were constantly on the move and after only a couple of days here, we were back on the road. Before we left to head to Airlie, we headed to the local shopping area to get some cash out. Typically, none of the cash machines were working! On a positive note though, as we left to attempt to get the money, who did we see sitting out there on the porch? Only Mr Treefrog. Now, I know you might be thinking, how on earth would you know if it was the same one? But, I am convinced it was! These frogs are so cool! I could really appreciate how beautiful he was seeing him on the porch, rather than down the toilet!

What’s it like to work here?

Prior to moving here, I had checked that our accommodation offered WIFI and it didn’t disappoint when we got there. It was really easy to teach here. The area itself was also really quiet so had no disturbances to worry about.

However, what I was finding challenging was planning my time appropriately whilst moving around so much. I would definitely recommend ensuring you give yourself plenty of travel time and time to settle in. Typically, I tried to avoid working on a day I travel. It just becomes such a headache if you face difficulties whilst on the move. Instead, I try to plan ahead. So, if know I have a move coming up I try to work more the week before to compensate for this which puts less stress/ worries on myself whilst travelling.

What’s up next?

Next week we head to Airlie Beach for a few days and then I move further along the coast to Northern Australia as I explore Cairns! I feel like it’s about to get very hot in here!

If you have stories to share or want to know more, email me at – travellingteacher@iqbar.net .