I had never heard of Bert Hinkler before. It seems he is the aviator who was born at Bundaberg and who was prolific at setting flying records. Bundaberg has created a very detailed, small museum about him and his achievements. They even brought his English house, Mon Repos, over and reassembled it here.
I particularly loved the picture of his parent’s home in Bundaberg with his plane parked in the back yard.
Unfortunately I did not get long at this fascinating museum on early flight as the dog began complaining loudly outside.
From Bjelkie Petersen Dam, we came to Bundaberg. This is an industrial town and the caravan park indicated that – practical but bare. Then we found that the 2013 floods had scraped the trees and facilities from the park – it was quite lush before.
Bundaberg is famous for its sugar, and is surrounded by sugar plantations and cane train lines. So, of course, the first thing you must do when visiting this town is to see the Ginger Beer Factory.
You also should see the sugar mills – briefly. It’ll wean you off sugar!
One of the main waste products of sugar milling is molasses. This is sugar that does not crystallise. In 1880, there was so much molasses in Bundaberg, emergency measures were needed. The result was the Bundaberg Rum Factory, also worth visit. It is a bit pricey at $25 per adult, with two tasting nips at the end of the tour, but interesting.
I have no photos of the inside of the distillery. This is not so much security as the need to avoid any sparking electronics near alcoholic vapours. In fact, they would not let us in the vat rooms for fear of static discharge from our clothes. There was talk of a naked tour. despite all this, the factory is surrounded by an electric fence to prevent unauthorised tours.
What was interesting is the difference between the distilled rum before and after being aged in a cask. Before, it is a clear liquid that smells like methylated spirits. After, it takes its colours and scent from the cask and the previous contents of the cask. So there are a range of different rums depending on the cask and the amount it is watered prior to bottling. We liked the Small Batch version, which was very like cognac. The Toffee and Banana blend was very nice with milk too.