BOWLS: A ONE and a half hour drive to Townsville. A 16-hour train trip to Gympie.
A 45-minute drive to Tin Can Bay. Total distance, 2362.8 km to be exact. All for a couple of games of bowls.
These are the lengths that Charters Towers bowler Tom O'Brien will go to for his beloved sport.
By tomorrow, Mr O'Brien will have spent more time in the car and on the train than on the green.
But for the ex-railway man and his cohort of bowlers from "The Towers”, it is all worth it.
Like the majority of players involved in the Queensland Railway Institute bowls carnival at Tin Can Bay, Mr O'Brien spent close to three decades in the railway.
He retired to the iconic north Queensland town, which is as famous for its gold deposits as what Gympie is after his career on the lines ended.
Bowls is what keeps him going, he told The Gympie Times yesterday.
There was no way he was not going to make the trip.
"You meet up with your old mates,” Mr O'Brien said.
"But there are less and less of them every year, but you make new ones.”
After first stepping on the green in 1971, Mr O'Brien has only missed a few carnivals.
He rates the Cooloola Coast's 2017 effort as one of the best he has attended.
"The facilities here are as good as any I have seen around the place,” Mr O'Brien said.
"It is a seachange from Charters Towers.
"A different air altogether,” he said.
The QRI bowls carnivals will conclude this afternoon.
Greens at Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach and Cooloola Coast Bowls club will be in operation from 9am today.
Play concludes at 4pm.