After leaving Carnarvon, we thought it would be prudent to call the campervan company and let them know that the van was broken. After much deliberation and at Adam’s insistence that we did not need a tow truck, they directed us to a little town called Springsure, which has a nice name, but is one of those towns that I would rather be killed by any means of slow torture than to live in. We were directed to a Toyota dealership where the manager of the shop who looked to be about 12 or 13 tried to solve the problem of not having the correct parts while the older gentlemen in the back tried to rig up a temporary fix without said parts. While this was happening, we were sitting on a rickety white wooden bench in the shop which was the only thing in it, and watching what was going on outside. There was a grocery store across the street (I’m guessing it was THE grocery store) and everyone who pulled up there knew at least one other person who was coming or going. Now to some people this sounds nice and quaint, but I don’t like people all up in my business especially if I don’t like them, and I could tell by watching these people for a few minutes that if I knew them, I would feel something between contempt and annoyance for them. What was eerie was that all of the women of each age group looked almost exactly alike. Age group 30-40 was overweight, pear-shaped, and frumpy with a young child (who was the cause of all three of these conditions) in tow. Age group 60-70 had a slight hunchback, a ridiculous hat, and a penchant for loud floral patterns. It was all very depressing. The funniest thing was that after waiting for quite a while on the bench, Adam looked up and said with a look of dismay, “That was our mechanic on that scooter!”
And indeed our mechanic was scooting away to who knows where.
We headed to Rockhampton (“Rocky” as the natives call it) because we thought we would have better luck on the coast and because we were supposed to rendezvous with a mechanic who might have the correct parts to fix the van. Well, we didn’t get the van fixed, but Rockhampton is not entirely without merit. What caught my eye was the botanical garden and zoo which was FREE. Free zoo! The map of the town that we picked up said that the zoo had, among other things, a wombat which I have always wanted to see. Besides having a funny word for a name, wombats also happen to be adorable. So we drove over fairly early in the morning (thankfully, since the people with children started coming in droves around noon) and had a look around. The free zoo was what you would expect a free zoo to be like. There weren’t a lot of animals, and those that they did have were sort of random. I’m thinking that the baboon may have been acquired by an illicit nighttime exchange in the parking lot. Most of the animals were native to Australia, so the usual suspects were present. What was good about the zoo is that it allowed you to come really close to the animals (probably too close in the case of the emu). I was so close to the koala bears that I could have reached out an petted them if Adam hadn’t read my mind and prevented me. What was bad about the zoo was that there was no wombat. At first I thought that the wombat may have died, but after guessing at the financial situation of the place, I think that they may have had to sell the wombat to keep afloat.
However, the botanical garden was mightily impressive for a relatively small city like Rockhampton. It was about as good as the one in Sydney which is saying something. There wasn’t quite as much diversity in the Rockhampton garden, but it was still well worth the time spent looking around.