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About 60km up the highway from Hervey Bay, CHILDERS is a pretty, one-horse highway place, sadly known for the terrible fire which burned down the old Palace Backpackers in 2000, killing fifteen people. The town has moved on, however, and the site has been rebuilt as a tasteful, low-key memorial. Childers' core of old buildings offers an excuse to pull up and stretch your legs; these include the photogenic Federal Hotel, a wooden pub built in 1907, and the musty, bottle-filled and slightly dull Childers Pharmaceutical Museum (Mon– Fri 9am–4pm, Sat 8.30am– noon; $3). Just west of Childers, Flying High (daily 10am–3pm, closed on rainy days; $18) is a huge aviary with just about every type of Australian parrot and finch zipping around, squawking, or chewing the furnishings.
For farm work, the Childers Tourist Park (Tel:07/4126 1371; Price: campsite $12.40, Price: selfcat $61-75) has good contacts with surrounding farmers but it's a six-kilometre ride out of town on the back road to Bundaberg. Otherwise, the nicest place to stay in town is the Childers Hotel on Churchill Street (Tel:07/4126 1719; Price: $61-75), with very cute "country-style" rooms, a spacious beer garden and the best meals in Childers – the Laurel Tree Cottage, on the main street at the Bundaberg end of town, comes a close second with traditional fare including delightful pies.