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Published: January 10th 2019
9 December to 18 December 2018.
In the last few weeks I have been zooming along the East Coast of Australia starting in Queensland , the Sunshine Coast , Gold Coast , then NSW and Port Macquarie and Forster and finally Sydney to finish.
When flying in to Brisbane and needing to get to Sunshine Coast there is a great bus company ConneXion which will pick you up at the airport in a big bus , takes all the punters to Aussie World on the highway and then decants you into a mini bus which then drops you at the door of your destination ....all for a reasonable amount ! Perfect. So here I was with Vikki,who I met with her friend Bobbie ( visiting her later on the Gold Coast ), when we were in Cambodia last year. Over the next few days Vikki designated herself as my guide and as she said it made her visit places new to her or she hadn’t been for years .... it’s always good to be a tourist in your own place. So there were lunches and dinners with friends .... walks on the local beaches - one of then at
7 am !!!! These Queenslanders get up early and go out with the dawn chorus. A fabulous sculpture and botanic garden in the Bushland at Maroochydore, and at the Mary Cairncross Reserve we wandered along paths in the bush with amazing birdsong and saw 4 tiny paddymelons ( look like tiny kangaroos ) who weren’t bothered at all by our presence. The huge gum trees and strangler figs as well as tropical greenery leave me in awe as I looked around . We were warned about snakes and fortunately we missed seeing the resident python who usually hangs about the tree near the entrance to the reserve .. This place has a great exhibition room which helped us identify some of the birdsong we had heard and a cafe with the most awesome views of the Glasshouse Mountains. Stunning !!!
Driving along the Blackall Range we were always in sight of the mountains and with some fabulous houses perched on the hillsides and magnificent red flame trees the views were to die for..... but we weren’t finished yet as we found Maleny Botanic Gardens ...walks among the flowers , trees , ponds and waterfalls and the biggest chair I
have ever sat in !! On to Montville with it’s picturesque main street and cute craft shops then to Mapleton to the pub for a big bowl of crisps and my favourite Aussie drink,lemon lime and bitters , before a few more kms to Mapleton Falls .... wow with great views across the valley the falls are not so wide but it’s a very long drop over the black basalt outcrop. Think Lands End in UK or in Ireland the Giants Causeway and this is the sort of columnar rocks exposed here.
Next day was a bit grey and threatening rain and guess what the boat trip we had been going to take wasn’t running - that seems to be my fate on this trip. But never fear Vikki is like me and thinks if we can’t do it in the boat we’ll drive along the coast. So off we went driving along by the narrow passage between Bribie Island and the mainland ...lots of old fishing settlements here Donnybrook with magnificent flame trees lining the street and Toorbul ...then across to Sandstone Point ( coffee at the harbour ) and to see the different sides of the island
Woorim on the ocean side where the beach was pretty wind blown with high surf and Bongaroo on the passage side which was calm and gentle . Nice surprise here , a new Museum of the Sea presented information about Matthew Flinders who travelling with the help of an aboriginal man Bongaroo Navigated and mapped the coastline here. There was also an Exhibition about an artist Ian Fairweather who ended his life on Bribie livng as a hermit . If we had time we were offered the chance to knit or craft an ornament to adorn the Xmas tree.... nice idea but on we went .
Sunshine Coast Queensland is supposed to be my sunny spot ...but it wasnt to be for most of the days here and on an even more stormy rainy day we said what the heck , never mind the weather and we set off for Noosa Heads . Dodging the rain at times we managed to walk along the beach and through the delightful streets with fab shops and admired the fabulous views from the lookout which I never would have found if Vikki didn’t know of it. Following this we did boardwalks at
Coolum beach. Back in Caloundra we went in search of the night market but it was cancelled due to the bad weather so we had to settle for a rather large gelato.
Not impressed with the state of the roads and traffic as we drove around here .... I looked back at my previous blog 2010 when I commented then on the state of the roads being “ crap”.... as Vikki said nothing has changed . More people more cars more traffic jams bad road Systems and road building schemes always trying to catch up. This was all pretty evident as we drove south past Brisbane to the Gold Coast to visit Bobbie. Staying in her cute home on Hope Island across from the water we planned our next move ... bad weather let’s go and see Bohemian Rhapsody ...what a fabulous movie with wonderful performances from all the actors.
A street party was planned for the next evening .. and it felt rather like an episode from Neighbours with various neighbours popping in and out of the house ( no knocking on the door they just appeared , ) to bring food and chairs and making all
preparations ....very heavy rain and stormy ...never mind the party will be in the carport and various awnings were rigged up from posts and the neighbours motorhomes. These Queenslanders are very adaptable!! But before that we managed a drive along the beaches to Burleigh Heads where we walked admiring the rainforest and majestic basalt columns which had fallen at our feet as well as those perched above our heads in the cliff tops ...and with notices which said NO STOPPING.. ROCK FALLS ... we just kept our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t happen at that moment. Having survived we then drove to Coolangatta where Queensland shares a border with New South Wales. The weather got worse in the evening and it was a real tropical downpour as the party took place but the planning succeeded and we were kept dry under the awnings as we feasted and drank the night away.
The rain abated somewhat next day as we visited the beaches of Surfers Paradise and took our chances for a quick paddle as the storm clouds approached once again ....so it was indoor events on the cards off... to the Performing Arts Centre HOKA for the exhibition LET
THERE BE ROCK ... this time we are not talking basalt rocks but the Rock Music scene On the Gold Coast . With some great photos of performers , posters and memorabilia it brought back happy memories of days gone by to Vikki and Bobbie. Next on the agenda I had to be taken to see one of the large shoppping malls Pacific Fair which is partly indoor and part outdoor and actually nicely designed with good seating areas. When I said I’d never been in a Tiffany’s store Vikki dragged me in and we looked at some stunning way-out-of-my-price-bracket jewellery.
So it’s thanks to Vikki and Bobbie for their hospitality and showing me their part of the Queensland coast and getting up at the crack of dawn to take me to Brisbane airport for the next leg of my travels to Port Macquarie in NSW.
To be continued .
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