Shady Rest Motel

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Looking for something different? How about Camels, Cakes & Cuddles

There’s camel rides, good vibes, delicious cakes and lots of cuddles available at Camelot Dairies

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Are your kids bored? Try Gold Panning at Deep Creek, Gympie

Try your luck in Gympie’s gold-bearing gully at the Deep Creek Fossicking Area for some fresh air fun in search of treasure.

In 1867 a discovery of alluvial gold in a gully near the Mary River began the first major gold rush in Queensland and resulted in the establishment of the mining town of Gympie.

Is there really any gold left?

Gold in the fossicking area is derived from weathering and erosion of the Columbia, Smithfield, Monkland, Never Mind and Russell reefs.

No records exist of the early alluvial diggings to indicate the depth of the alluvium or its gold content.

The area was extensively worked in the first couple of years, but it is likely that gold may still be found as a result of reconcentration over the years or in pockets missed by the early miners.

The most likely places are along the banks and bed of the creek, in particular on the inside of the creek bends.

The alluvium there consists of silty sand, which incorporates sand and small rock chips from old crushing batteries upstream.

Depth in the creek banks exceeds 1m and in places may reach 5m.

The good news is that panning is the simplest method and the most fun too.

What you need to know

You are going to need a Fossicking Licence but they are cheap and available online or at the Lake Alford Visitor Information Centre. 

Equipment hire is also available from the Centre (picks/shovels and pans).

Camping and pets are not allowed to avoid disturbing stock grazing on surrounding land.

How to get there

Deep Creek is at the southern entrance to Gympie, between the Bruce Highway and Brisbane Road.

From the south, exit the Bruce Highway at Brisbane Road or Jubilee Street and proceed along Araluen Terrace to Counter Street.

From the north, exit along River Road and Graham Street to turn right into Victoria Street.

There are 2 entrance turnstiles, one each at the ends of Counter Street and Victoria Street. Yellow metal posts mark the boundaries of the fossicking area; please do not go outside these.

Have fun and let us know if you find your pot of gold.

Go Wild at Barnacles Dolphin Centre in Tin Can Bay

Don’t miss this rare and magical opportunity to interact with a pod of wild Australian Humpback dolphins in a stunning location.

Mounded foreheads, long beaks and elongated dorsal fins giving a humpbacked appearance distinguish these dolphins from others. They like to hang out in the tropical waters of the west and east coasts of Australia but there is a special pod of 9 are particularly fond of Norman Point in Tin Can Bay.

The History of the Pod

It started back in the 1950’s when an injured dolphin beached himself on the sand at Barnacles Cafe. The locals took pity on him, started to feed him, and named him ‘Old Scarry’. Once he was well enough Old Scarry returned to the wild but regularly returned to the bay to visit the locals and enjoy a free meal.

The second was a female, also called Scarry, who arrived in the bay with a calf named Mystique who continues to visit on a daily basis as the third generation to carry on this tradition.

Mystique is the alpha male of his pod, also scarred from his many battles, including a battle with a bull shark in December 2007. Once again a dolphin sought refuge in the cove at Barnacles with volunteers feeding and caring for him around the clock for 10 days. Once he was able to hunt for himself, Mystique thanked everyone with an aerial display before heading out with Patch to return to the wild.

Patch is a female member of Mystique’s pod who started to come into the Cove to feed after the disappearance of Scarry. She is thought to be in her mid twenties and weigh just over 200 kg. In comparison to Mystique she has very few battle scars and she is throwing a pink colour as she ages.

More recently another young dolphin known as Harmony began visiting regularly with Mystique. Harmony is a juvenile male thought to be about five years old. This makes the fourth generation of dolphin to feed with the locals and visitors to Tin Can Bay. Harmony is also quite scarred for one so young and appears to be holding up the family tradition of liking a good fight. Harmony is very inquisitive and likes to check out his human visitors from a distance.

Pod Stars

Today there are 9 members of the resident pod, all with unique characteristics and personalities.









White Fin

What to Expect

You need to be up early to visit these beautiful mammals as there is only one feeding session a day at 8am. The Dolphin Centre opens at 7.00am with viewing time between 7.00 – 8.00am.

On arrival visitors are welcome to join the volunteers in the water and get to know these beautiful mammals with a small group of people in the water at any one time.

Fish for the feeding is available on site. They have an entry fee and a feeding fee, and as a volunteer group we request $5.00 per person entry fee plus $5.00 to cover the cost of each fish purchased and our other costs.

Dolphin feeding does mean getting wet, at least up to your knees…so do come prepared!

Once the dolphins are fed they generally return straight to the wild to get on with their day so be sure to be there before 8.00am to give yourself the best chance of enjoying this wonderful experience.

Please remember though that these animals are truly wild so they cannot guarantee their arrival time or even that there will be dolphins on a given day.

However, if they are running a bit late, you can enjoy refreshments from the cafe, sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Cooloola region.

It is rare for no dolphins to visit but as with all wildlife experiences, it can happen.

Location:     Norman Point, Tin Can Bay, Qld 4580

Open:         7am. One feeding session at 8am

Cost:          $5 entry plus $5 per fish

Info:            Visit their website at

Visit the Woodworks Museum and Interpretive Centre, Gympie

This fascinating museum re-defines the Forestry Story with state of the art interpretation and live demonstrations – including a steam boiler in a Sawmill.

Australians use forest products every single day and in just about every aspect of our daily lives.

The products that we buy from the supermarket, the houses that we live in, the buildings that we work in, are all made with products that come from forests.

In fact, modern Australia would be a vastly different place without the on-going supply of high quality, durable forest products.

When you switch a light on, or turn on the TV, in most cases, the electricity that you are using has been transported to your house via power lines carried on strong, durable and renewable timber poles.

The wonderful thing about all of these forest products is that they come from a renewable resource.

Unlike metals, fossil fuels, glass and concrete, the trees that produce these products can be managed in a way that helps them to grow again or they can be re-planted, ensuring an endless supply of renewable and sustainable timber.

The Woodworks Museum was originally built to highlight the work of the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Forestry. It was originally hoped to transport the Elgin Vale Sawmill to the grounds, but deterioration meant that it was a better option to reproduce the mill from new material.

It now houses fascinating relics of forest history, lovingly restored and working in live demonstrations including a real, working steam boiler in the sawmill.

Every Friday morning, they light up the boiler so guests can see the sawmill running on steam only.

It’s a good idea to call the museum or check their Facebook page though for any Friday outages to avoid disappointment.

Location: 8 Fraser Rd, Gympie, QLD 4570

Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

Cost: $5 per person. Under 5’s free

More info:

All Aboard the Mary Valley Rattler for a Great Family Day Out

Slow done and immerse yourself in the magic of a bygone era aboard the beautiful Mary Valley Rattler as it weaves through a stunning hillside landscape

The scenic Mary Valley provides the perfect backdrop to experience the friendly laid back atmosphere of rural living at its best.

The Rattler’s 46-kilometre round trip starts at Gympie and after crossing over the Mary River, chugs its way rhythmically around an abundance of curves, across bridges and numerous gentle hills.

Your journey passes through Dagun, before continuing to the quaint community of Amamoor nestled in the centre of the Mary Valley.

You’ll marvel at the restored turntable installed at the Amamoor Station and be fascinated by the process required to turn the locomotive around for its return to Gympie.

Just make sure you leave plenty of time to explore the restored Gympie Station which houses a historic display, a gift shop and a cafe offering dine in and takeaway options.

Check out their website for details of upcoming tours and special events. They even have a VIP Club with local cheese and wine for those wanting to celebrate a special occasion.

The Mary Valley Rattler is more than a train ride. It’s a half-day adventure into history.

Tickets: Adult $59, Child $30, Concession $49, Family $155, VIP $110

More information: Call 07 5482 2750 or visit their website

Visit Cooloola Recreation Area- a walking, camping & fishing paradise

Encompassing 18,400 hectares, the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park boasts breathtaking scenic landscapes and tranquil waterways.

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Visit Mary Valley – why you should put it on your ‘must see’ list now

Looking for an adventure, a place to relax and unwind, or gourmet food? You’ll find it all in the Mary Valley…

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Visit Gympie Regional Gallery for art, culture & community

In the heart of Gympie, just a short stroll away from Mary Street’s shops, is a beautiful building full of beautiful creations.

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