The three of us started out from Yeppoon in the morning. The rains had continued and there were many reports of flooding. We had to use some back roads as the main highway was underwater. South of Rockhampton there was a section of flooded road with about 200 meters of road underwater. We were following behind a semi and a cortina. I thought, well if the cortina can make it through, then so can I. There were about 10 cars behind. At first the water was quite low. But then we went down an unseen ramp onto the flood way proper. We all held our breaths. On the upstream side the water was up to the bottom of the left hand passenger window. For about 50 meters we continued like this. I hoped it got no deeper. But the green cortina was making it through, the semi out the other side. Then we went up the ramp at the other end of the flood-way. We all breathed in. It was only then that I realised that we all had been holding our breaths. The rest of the day was quite uneventful. There were patches of water, but nothing more than a few cm deep so the Ford Laser’s deep water capabilities were never tested again. Then at the end of the day, when the American girl was driving, we came to a section on the bruce highway. It was dark. I saw a van off the side of the road on the outside of the bend. My driver slowed down and that was good as there was much water and clearly the van had gone off the road becuase of the water.
Eventually we made it into Gympie. It was late. The highway was closed, so we stopped. We went to a hotel in the main street to get a room. I asked for a room. I felt ignored. After some time, I asked if they would give us a room. They said, no, they were going to be in at least 1 meter of water. They were busy making preparations. So we asked for directions to the highest hotel in Gympie. They gave instructions and we drove there. It was the Australian Hotel. We had a room for three with very lumpy beds.
The next day there was a party atmosphere in the town. I was surprised by this. A local man took us around to get to the good spots for taking photos of the flood. Another, staying at our hotel had an argument with his boss who did not seem to think that the fact that all the roads to Brisbane were closed due to flooding was a good excuse to be unable to get to work. What a terrible boss.
The day after the water had receded enough and we had a little convoy of people stuck in the Hotel, including the man in the 4WD with a nasty boss. We headed out on the back roads before the highway was opened to get down to Brisbane.