“Turn right in 200 meters,” my navigation instructed. The sky was full of moody clouds, the air was crisp, and I was singing along with the radio while dutifully listening to and obeying my Google maps navigation. Life was good. I was in the countryside of Queensland Australia, driving on the left side of the road, marveling at how much the countryside resonated with me. It was a beautiful drive from the Sunshine Coast to Spring Creek Queensland, an area where most Australians had never even heard of. I felt like I was really getting off the beaten path in Oz, and it made my heart soar. Little did I know that I was about to REALLY get off the beaten path.
With each instruction to turn I went deeper and deeper into the countryside. The roads became narrower, the traffic less, and soon I found that it was just the cows and me. I was excited to make the climb up into the mountains to my final destination, Spring Creek Mountain Cottages. I went to make the right turn on my last road in the navigation instructions that I had started more than 3 hours ago. I was abruptly brought out of my road trippin’ bliss with the Road Closed sign that was in my path.
What? Nooooooo! I was so close – only one road away to relaxing in the cottage by the fire. Now what?
I was in the middle of what felt like a deserted countryside, it was about to storm, and I didn’t have any good cell signal. I looked at my navigation ap and tried to come up with a plan B. Without a signal I wasn’t able to zoom in on my map, so I tried to make out the blurry pixelated lines that looked like roads and figured out an alternate route to go around the mountain the other way and then up to the cottages. I wasn’t very confident of my plan B, but I really had no other choice but to try it. The only thing I was missing was a tornado and my dog Toto as I tried to find my way in Oz.
My self determined detour led me through pastures, past abandoned homes, and onto steep gravel roads (not yellow brick ones). The roads were single lane twisting and turning up the mountain. As nervous as I was that I was going the wrong way and getting even more lost, I was equally enthralled with this unexpected adventure. Since I was the only one on the road except for the cows, it was easy for me to stop in the middle of the road and take pictures of this exhilarating drive.
As I finally pulled into Spring Creek Mountain Cottages and Café 90 minutes later, I was relieved. And even more relieved when I met Bev, the owner. She wasted no time serving me up a flat white (coffee with milk in Aussie speak) and homemade scones. Bev was the genius pulling all of the strings in the kitchen - one could even call her the Wizard of the Oz Kitchen.
Detours are a wonderful jolt to your system…so are gravel roads, cows, and women named Bev who bake scones and have a friendly smile that reminds you of your own mother. Detours are also great for photography – after all, you are already late, so what does it matter if you stop and take a few photos on your journey. You may even capture some flying monkeys you can put on Instagram!
Spring Creek Mountain Cafe and Cottages has 3 cottages perches on the mountain side. Stay over night and enjoy the wood burning fire or just come to have a delicious lunch or dinner from Bev!
Disclosure: I was invited to enjoy Queensland by the Queensland Tourism Board. However all the opinions expressed her are solely my own!