Darling Downs – Traversing Texas

There’s that grand old saying that everything is bigger in Texas and while that may be the case, the United States Texas with its big rigs, Supernatural stars and big rigs ain’t the Texas we’re talking about.

If you follow the squiggly line across the map of Australia that marks the Queensland and New South Wales border, it’s about halfway between the country’s famed sandy coastline and the straight line where surveyors gave up following the river and beelined to South Australia.

The similarities between the Texas’ are as vast as the state of Texas is wide. One’s instantly recognizable and the other is a tiny town that no one’s ever heard of, aside from mistaking it for the former.

Texas, you say?

So why would I make the podunk town of Texas the destination of the day? Well, I’m not saying that I went there because my favourite actors reside in a state of the same name, but I’m also not saying that’s why I didn’t…

What I thought might be a big vast plain of nothings nothing, I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, it ain’t no Grand Canyon, Death Valley or the Blue Mountains in the flattest country in the world, but there was a dam, Coolamunda Dam.

Coolamunda Dam

Halfway between the Darling Downs second biggest town of Warwick and the border town of Goondiwindi and just before you reach Inglewood lies this shallow dam.

It was appalling! I knew it would be low, but damn (pardon the pun), the nearest water was way off in the distance which was saying something seeing as how the boat ramp is a few metres from the carpark. If recollection doesn’t fail me from the first time I came here, I remember it was just short of said ramp. Really gives a sense of how extensive this drought was. (This was not the pleasantly surprising part)

Woman standing next to log
Coolamunda Dam – Standing where the water was when I first visited in 2013
Boat ramp leading into empty lake
Boat Ramp
Tiny pool of water in arid landscape
Water way off in the distance

Hauling ass to Texas via the road that straddled the dam rather than going to Inglewood, it was here where it started to feel like Granite Belt country, minus the granite boulders.

Wallaby
Wallaby en-roote to Texas

Town And Surrounds

Making it to the tiny town that bared the same name as the state and thankful the car hadn’t died because it was sticky 38 degrees and sweat was keeping me perpetually company, I shot up the town sign and made it known that I survived all the perilous challenges that faced me. (Honestly, it was an easy drive down a few well-kept roads but there was roadkill everywhere, and I mean everywhere along the roads, so you know, danger vibes are high here.)

Woman in front of Texas, Queensland town sign
Signing In
Car under shady tree next to a bench
Texas Apex Park for lunch
Town Of Texas, Queensland
High Street (Spirit Of Texas artwork on left)

Quickly checking out the pretty but not flowing Dumaresq River that defined the border, before going out of town the other, other way, I found myself on a rather picturesque undulating road before stopping off at Beacon Lookout.

Large pool of still water in a non-flowing river bed
Dumeresq River

It’s not the most spectacular, but it does offer some elevation and views past the town to the mountains in the south-west. Plus, there was a nice sunset happening and I wasn’t missing that.

Woman standing on a bench looking at the sunset
Beacon Lookout

Into The Darkness

In the wee hours of the morning after, when it had finally come down from the stinking hot 35-degree heat that lingered until at least 10 pm, I dragged my decrepit ass out of Texas and made my way towards the big blue splot on the map that marked Glenlyon Dam.

Making my way cautiously down the road both so I could increase my chances of seeing cute, fluffy animals while also reducing my chances of introducing them to my bumper bar, the trip up to the lake was a slow and lonesome one.

Not another soul in sight was seen in these parts at these hours, but there were many furballs by way of iconic wallaby that populated the place. I was thrilled to add spice to that cute mix by seeing three wild black pigs, one of which was a young-un as well as a deer that scared the bejesus out of me when its large form ran out in front of me, forcing me to screech to a halt. I’d seen neither pig nor deer in the wild before so that was a… wild experience (sorry!).

I also saw something off to the side that had glowing eyes like a demon (or you know, like the red eyes you get when the flash reflects in someone’s retinas) that I couldn’t quite make out, but I figured that it was probably another black pig or a wild dog, or a fluffy fox… Or a demon…

Glenlyon Scenic Lookout

Finally making it to the Glenlyon Scenic Lookout, it was a bit late for desired astrophotography as the light from the sun lingering beneath the horizon was starting to make itself known. Although the ascension of the sun wasn’t anything to write home about, it did reveal a surprising stunningly landscape.

Car parked in front of lake at night
Glenlyon Scenic Lookout at night

Aside from the dam wall and a few other bits and pieces close by, this place felt untouched and untamed. There was nothing but soft, gently rising hill after soft, gently rising hill that surrounded the low levels of the lake and was pure wilderness.

Viewing area over dam and lake
Breaking Dawn at Glenlyon Scenic Lookout

I love places that seem so pristine or at least give the illusion of untouched wilderness, especially in this day and age. I was definitely not expecting this place, which I thought of as probably being flat, over-farmed and overworked to looking like a stunning postcard. I was unexpectedly blown away.

Low mountains on the sides of a lake outside the Queensland town of Texas
Low levels but stunning scenery
Low mountains on the sides of a lake outside the Queensland town of Texas
Way off in the distance
Dam Wall and Tower surrounded by mountains near the township of Texas
The other side of the dam

Animals being animals

I was intent on visiting Sundown National Park, but this was also an obscenely hot day even though it was still early, so I decided to give the hikes in the national park a miss this time.

I attempted to visit Numbermere Falls on the north side of the park that was only a very short walk but I was met with private gates at every which way. Though that was annoying as all hell, I did see an eagle, a monitor lizard and a poor dead deer that had gotten itself trapped in a fence while I was trying to make my way to the falls.

The most fun, however, was the two sheep that were running in front of the car together before darting off to the side, then coming back onto the road to run from me again. I guess you could say I was chasing tail…

A nice little day(s) out

My mini road trip to Texas on the QLD/NSW border was an awesome day out in the Darling Downs. Though the number of dead animals was alarming as was the shockingly low levels of Coolamunda Dam, the area was also surprisingly beautiful.

Glenlyon Dam was a standout for me and seeing so many different animals, including a species of wallaby that I hadn’t seen before, was absolutely delightful. This tiny town that I ordinarily probably wouldn’t think twice about visiting had it not been that I’m a fan of two Texas boys was a wonderful little adventure away from it all.

(Side Note: I visited before all the rains, so the dams are probably brimming to the tee now.)


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