Published: May 8th 2010May 8th 2010
We thoroughly enjoyed the Billabong Koala Recovery Centre near McQuarry Park in the Blue Mountains. We were given little cups of corn kernels to feed the animals and allowed to walk among the wallabies and kangaroos. Barry got a picture of one roo that had a gangly baby hanging out its pouch. There were birds, dingoes and reptiles, as well as the adorable-looking koalas. We were surprised at how fast the koalas walk. They're really bow-legged but they can really hurry along from one tree to another.
After we left the Blue Mtns. we went through more beautiful country, this time filled with banana plantations. Then there were sugar cane plantations for miles and miles. The roads through many of the towns like Nambucca and Woolgooga and Grafton along the coast were just terrible, the worst we've come across in our whole trip. At one point Barry just stopped the motor home (at the side of the road) for a while in order to get a break from the slamming and banging of our 'home'. The road through the Nullabor Plains was excellent in comparison. We had one full night and day of pouring rain which actually
cooled the temperature a bit. I had my raincoat on but was still wearing shorts and sandals!
We made arrangements to be back with our friends Ben and Mandy, who live near Brisbane, on May 5th; they're the friends we stayed with when we first got to Australia. Early that morning we drove towards Brisbane along the Gold Coast which is about 45 km. long. The views of the beaches are incredible. We think that coastline looks a lot like Hawaii - towering condos and hotels and multi-million dollar homes are built overlooking the ocean and it's tributaries. We took an elevator up to the top of the Q Tower in Surfside which was the 20th tallest building in the world when it was built in 2005. From there we could see for miles up We got royally lost getting to Ben and Mandy's house because our wonderful GPS didn't know about all the new highway and interchange changes that are under construction. we also didn't have a good map of that area. We made it, though, and had another wonderful dinner with our friends. We only stayed one night at their house but they're going to be in
These wild lorikeets landed on the picnic table to nibble at Barry's fingers and check out his water bottle.
Canada soon and we hope to see them again on our turf.
Barry and I had a shock one day when a woman who looks identical to a friend of ours (she lives in Victoria, BC) walked by us. She didn't recognise us and she was talking with an Australian accent so obviously she wasn't the woman we know. It was a freaky thing. That same day as we were driving along we noticed a plume of smoke hanging above a reforested area of trees. Then we realized there were several fires at the base of the trees, skipping along the ground. It was probably a brush fire and help hadn't got there yet. I couldn't find any news about it on the internet later.
We went golfing in Caloundra (this section of coastline is called the Sunshine Coast) yesterday. The course was designed by Greg Norman, the Aussie professional, and it's a gorgeous course. Much too long to walk, we had a golf cart. We zoomed along in the cart and must have seen twenty kangaroos sunning themselves in the afternoon sun. Barry got a bit impatient with me; I went running off down the fairway getting
pictures of the roos and he needed to keep traveling on to the next hole. Hey, we may only be in Australia once.
Today we were at a fabulous outdoor market, the biggest in all of Australia. It's in a small town called Eumundi. There were thousands of people wandering among hundreds of stalls. The quality of the hand-made items was exceptional. For those of us who live on Vancouver Island - it's like a much-bigger AND FREE Filberg Festival. No hot-dogs at this market; there was food from all over the world. We tried Dutch, Tibetan and Italian. The market is on twice a week and well worth visiting.
Tonight we're in a caravan park in a seaside village called Coolum. The white sand beaches stretch for dozens of miles and the surf is almost deafening. There's a constant mist of spray over the beach. We asked for a site away from the beach so we could sleep! As we've found with others, this caravan park is quite empty. I was told today by the park's manager that the Gray Nomads (Snowbirds in Canada) haven't started their journey north to this area yet. They'll be coming mid-May
when the winter temperatures in the state of Victoria drop to 10 and 12 degrees C. Apparently they come in droves to these seaside towns and stay for three full months. Barry and I think, once again, we're glad we came in the fall. It's still warm (28 today) but really quiet in the caravan parks because the rush of retirees hasn't started. Oh, and all the kids are back in school.
We've got lots of time now to relax as we make our way towards Cairns. I'll talk to you again soon!
There are more photos below