Townsville Air Show. Lots of photos today. The day was supposed to begin with a Sky Diving exhibition with the landing zone in front of where we were sitting. The wind was too strong so the exhibit…
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New ways of doing what I have done for ten years.
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Monday 25th April – Anzac Day
Over the last several years I have become more interested and involved in Anzac Day. Here at our village we have an official Anzac cenotaph, for want of a better word. We have the three masted flag-pole where the flags of Australia, New Zealand and Queensland are flown in a ceremonial and protocol regimented way. About 80 people, including some visitors at the Treasure Island Caravan Park next door, turned up for the dawn service. Those visitors were brought over in the electric buggy or they chose to walk. Rob, who was in charge of the service, connected his iPhone to ABC Radio which broadcasts the official service from the War Memorial in Canberra, our national capitol. In turn the iPad was connected to an amplifier connected to two outside speakers. The location of our ceremonial site is beside the Biggera Creek. Watching the wan dawn break through clouds as sunshine highlighted the water was just the right setting for the moving ceremony of reflection and thanks to those who gave their lives and for our current armed forces who still protect us.
I returned for the 11am service which was a mixture of short speeches, poetry reading and prayers followed by approved Anzac music. All in all it was a sombre, reflective service.
So was the weather.
This year, the 101st anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli and the beginning of the ANZAC Legend, Rob was able to conduct the ceremony, by himself. I realise when looking around how many of the men in the village are returned soldiers by the medals worn on their coats.
With the mostly miserable weather we stayed home and watched many of the Anzac broadcasts on TV.
Saturday 30th April – World Tai Chi Day.
To be a part of World Tai Chi Day we drove to Broadwater Parklands where several Tai Chi classes from around the Gold Coast had agreed to participate. The wet weather kept people away. I did not participate because I had hurt my knee the day before but I was able to take photo’s. The very wet weather kept numbers down which was disappointing. Normally the Wednesday and Friday classes we attend have about 40 participants. Today with several groups invited to attend, there were only about 20 people in the class.
A heavy downpour could be seen in big black clouds moving in from the sea
so the class was quickly moved to the nearby sound stage normally used for outdoor concerts.
After the Tai Chi we drove to McIntosh island almost in the heart of Surfers Paradise. It is an island of tranquillity in a sea of busy roads and activities.
Unbelievably parking is free and plentiful. The park has a watercourse running through and picnic shelters, tables, benches and free electric barbecues are dotted around the island. We were here to help celebrate the 5th birthday of Eloise
daughter of young friends from Airlie Beach who moved to the Gold Coast several years ago. They live about one kilometre from us. The rain stayed away, the sun wore a hole through the pesky clouds and gave the birthday girl a nice park to enjoy.
Sunday 1st May 2016
Grandson Chris had another game of Rugby League today. We drove to Brisbane in drenching rain which seemed to disappear when we got close to the football ground.
He was more involved in today’s game and really put his body into the game, tackling opponents
and running with the ball when it was passed to him.
Regrettably his team lost today.
Tuesday 19th April.
Happy Birthday to my sister Enid.
Thursday 21st April
We got underway a little before midday which is not bad really as I thought we would get away by 10am. We are on our way to my sister Enid’s house at Noosaville. It is a reasonably straightforward trip of about 210 Klms. Apart from the first 7 Klms and the final 20 Klms the entire trip is on the M1 Motorway with speed limits being 110 Kph or 100Kph. At the right time of day although there is always a lot of traffic it is moving at the same speed and with cruise control switched on it is an easy drive. Instead of stopping at a McDonald’s or KFC for lunch we drove to the Buderim Ginger Factory at Yandina.
We tried a Calamari rolled around a ginger filling, deep fried and served on a salad of shredded green pawpaw, shredded carrot and lotus root tossed with salad greens. The dressing was a ginger concoction and was accompanied by a ginger aioli. Yumm. We had been to the ginger factory several times in 2011 and enjoyed its wonderful gardens and food options. Today we enjoyed our brief stop for lunch and thirty minutes later arrived at Noosa.
Friday 22nd April.
In the morning my sisters Enid and Bev and their husbands Ken and Pete, Donnis and I went for a walk along Noosa Beach before coming home for lunch the prepare for this afternoon.
Today my youngest sister, Sandi, married Dave at a simple ceremony at the Noosa Valley Manor, a B&B located in rainforest at Doonan near Noosa.
One of the owners of the B&B is a renowned Italian Chef and is one of the reasons Sandi & Dave chose this location for the wedding. Sandi was given away by the adult children of her first marriage and the MC was a long- time friend.
The wedding was wonderful especially from my point of view as it was another occasion when my brother and all of my sisters were together again. The last time was at my birthday last September.
Apart from those two occasions I cannot recall the last time we were all together. We were treated to a belly dancing exhibition by a mother and daughter pair who are also long-time friends. The guest list was an eclectic mix of family, long -time friends and co-workers from Head Space Mackay where Sandi is manager. (headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds.) See the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Headspace-Mackay-372244686210476/
Saturday 23rd April
Today being recovery day, many of last night’s guests met in the nearby town of Eumundi. Some went to the famous markets
in the morning then we met up at the Imperial Hotel, built in 1911. This hotel has undergone several face changes in that 105 year period but a visitor from 1911 would still recognise the hotel.
Eumundi has done a wonderful job of re-inventing itself, maintaining links with the past, retaining almost all the old buildings while appealing to a quieter lifestyle…except on Market Days – Wednesday and Saturday when the town population explodes by about 300 percent. The markets have been established since 1979 and are growing each year. As readers know I am not a fan of markets. It takes me about 5 minutes to walk through from one end to another. The Eumundi markets can keep me mentally occupied, visually stimulated, well fed and socially active for anything up to two hours. On the other hand, market aficionados can’t get enough of the place.
Back to the recovery session. Our long table got longer and longer and made enough noise to drown out the four piece band playing downstairs. Food and drink prices at this pub are a bit on the expensive side but this is offset by generous meal sizes. Donnis and I shared a pizza and found it quite filling – or was that the bowls of hot chips being handed around our table?
Sunday 24th April
After a busy wedding and busy recovery day we needed this morning to recover. We joined my sister and husband Ken and my sister Bev and her husband Pete for a walk along Noosa River to the Yacht Club and back home again. We stopped at the Boat House for coffee. http://www.noosaboathouse.com.au/
After that Donnis and I further recovered by driving back to the Gold Coast while many of the wedding guests went for a recovery of the last few days, recovery lunch at the Spirit House, Yandina.
Phew what a busy weekend.
Thanks Enid and Ken for your hospitality.
Thanks Sandi & Dave for the wedding and all interesting things you planned.
Thanks for all my siblings being together again.
Monday 11th April
Heading west from Gymea we picked up the Great Western Highway. Much of the highway climbs over the Blue Mountains and passes through the fertile plains beyond the Great Dividing Range. The highway begins a steady climb through umpteen small heritage listed towns and is only one lane – both ways. Road works are an ongoing works in progress. I would call it simply the Western Highway and omit the “great”. That said the area is steeped in historical sites. More sites than we can expect to have time to see on this journey.
First up we stopped at the town of Katoomba which sits atop the range at 1050 metres above sea level. In the winter it snows here. Today however it was a pleasant 27° and winter is still around the corner. We paid the parking fee to visit the Three Sisters
at Echo Point
and gape in awe with thousands of tourists at the huge vista which are the Grose and Jamison Valley’s. It is sort of a green version of the Grand Canyon. A very steep narrow staircase leads down to an equally narrow bridge joining the sandstone cliffs to the first of the three sisters.
On this occasion my knees failed to live up to the expectation of my mind so we left the walk to braver souls.
Next on the agenda was Scenic World where the operators provide a free multi story carpark. A good thing they do as the lines of people willing to spend big dollars to be terrified meant we would run out of daylight before being able to join the Scenic Railway
which offers a 52 degree incline whilst dropping over the edge of a cliff then hurtling towards the valley floor before brakes and safety cables bring you to a stop at a platform dangling over yet another cliff above a valley floor further below. See www.scenicworld.com.au
Scenic Skyway is a cable car suspended 270 metres above the valley floor. The floor is glass!
Equally thrilling is the Scenic Cableway which descends 545 metres to the floor of Jamison Valley.
But… we had to find accommodation for the night and continued on the Not So Great Western Highway, followed the steep Victoria Pass to Lithgow, a once great Coal Mining Centre and the Military contracted Lithgow Small Arms Factory. The town still has a strong community spirit which accounts for the very modern Workies Club where we had dinner.
Tuesday 12th April – Happy ..th Birthday Donnis
Looking at a map I now realise we will have to compress our days, missing some sights, in order to use the planned route and find our way home by the weekend. We skipped the attractions at Lithgow and pushed on to Bathurst where we drove around the famous Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Panorama_Circuit Most of the track and some of the pit area is open to the public.
I have been watching the Mt Panorama Race, on television, in October each year for all my adult life. It was thrilling driving the same track, at 60 Klm per hour where the professionals are racing at speeds up to 300 KPH. How is it possible?
There is lots to see at Bathurst but we are on a mission to fit in as much as possible every day.
We picked up the Castlereagh Highway and drove to Sofala, an old gold mining town established in 1851.
Most of the original houses pre 1900 are still intact, some habited. The narrow street follows the Turon River for all the 300 metres which comprises the town.
There is so much history here but we only had time for a walk around, a quick lunch then on to Mudgee.
Mudgee is also an old gold mining town but survives today due to sheep farming. It is a wealthy town, full of attractions but many of the old historical shops and houses have been modernised and in our opinion has lost a lot of its character appeal.
We drove on to Gulgong, birthplace of Henry Lawson, arguably Australia’s greatest poet and the man who appears on the original $10 note along with some town buildings.
I have been a keen reader of the collective works of Henry Lawson. Regrettably while travelling my collection of books were stored in our garage. After 4 years in storage and several years just sitting on the bookshelf the books had become musty smelling. I did not feel like moving all those books once more only to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps never be looked again. I gave away my collection.
For those interested in why I liked the stories and poems by Henry Lawson, please refer to the following site. http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poems-book/verses-popular-and-humorous-0022000
The wonderful thing about Gulgong is that it is still old. The gutter/footpath edging is made from rough dressed sandstone.
I am so pleased they retained this feature. There is minimal attempt to modernise the buildings.
We stayed overnight at the Prince of Wales Hotel, built somewhere around 1875 or earlier and much of the old building is retained and incorporated into a newer but still old style interior.
Wednesday 13th April
Today we elected to turn more northerly and miss the large towns/cities of Dunedoo, Dubbo, Orange and Wellington. I guess my driving plans were too ambitious for the time we have available.
Shortly after leaving Gulgong we turned off on the Black Stump Way, a back road in fair condition. For those unfamiliar with Oz, the Black Stump is/was a mythical/real place in the middle of nowhere with unexplored territory beyond. To say you went west of the Black Stump meant you have gone into countryside unexplored by white man. One such town is Coolah which sits squarely in the middle of Black Stump countryside.
In fact Coolah calls itself the Black Stump capitol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Stump It is a small town and like many small towns is struggling to retain is character and to stay alive in the 21st century. It is sad to see many closed shops and knowing young people have to leave town to find work. By coincidence Donnis worked at the hospital here for three months in the winter of 2014.
The road eventually joined the Newell Highway at Gunnedah. (By taking this route we also cut out other towns such as Gilgandra (where I have a cousin – Hi Lance) and Coonabarabran. We stopped for lunch then decided to stop for the night at Tamworth, famous for the Country Music Festival in January each year. We arrived earlier than expected and drove as far as Bendemeer where we stopped for the night.
The old pub was built in 1864 and apart from a few modern touches still looks and smells like 1864. The old highway which ran through the town brought traffic and customers to the small town was diverted in 1983/84 and the town is trying to re-invent itself and find new ways to attract customers off the highway.
During dinner tonight we received terrible news. Our good friend Glennis passed away last Friday. Glennis was diagnosed with tongue cancer only a few months ago. She made the decision not to have radiation therapy so she could enjoy her remaining time as best she can.
No longer will we meet at various country locations while travelling in our motorhomes. Last Thursday she and partner Eric were married in a simple ceremony on their property in the Daintree Rainforest. Glennis died the next day.
We also heard from my cousin Bob, he has three types of cancer and has elected not to take any radiation treatment as it will only detract from his quality of life and may not give him any longer to live.
Thursday 14th April
Woke to a chillier morning than we are used to and drove to Armidale. Wow! It is even chillier here. Having lived at nearby Guyra for 5 months back in 2013/2014 I realised at this altitude (just on 1,000 metres for Armidale and over 1,300 metres for Guyra) it can be cold all year round. Two days ago we were at Katoomba also on 1,000 metres and on first getting out of the car noticed a chill in the breeze. Here the chill occurs without any breeze.
We stopped here to visit friend Greg T who is in a nursing home. Greg is only a few years older than me but has suffered Parkinsons Disease for about 10 years. Recently he acquired Alzheimers Disease. Doctors believe he now has Lewy Bodies, another degenerative disease and he needs constant care. While visiting he stayed awake long enough to recognise our presence but fell into a deep sleep and could not speak with us. His wife Linda and two of their sons, Jason and Gavin spent a good hour with us. I am sure in Greg’s subconscious he knew we were there.
Passing through Guyra we stopped to speak with Greg’s third son, Justin, before we travelled the New England Highway to Warwick in Qld before taking some back roads through to Beaudesert and Canungra and arrived home after 10 hours on the road.
Gee it was wonderful falling asleep in our own bed.
Lack of Internet facilities while we are travelling has delayed this weeks Post.
Monday 4th April
We woke to a dull overcast morning with just a chill in the air. By chill I mean the temperature was about 22°. After a summer and an autumn with 32°, 22° seems positively chilly.
The rain woke us several times. The rain was heavy. Geoff was amazed to find 100 mils of rain in the gauge overnight. On the news we were informed it was the heaviest rain for several years, achieving a month’s supply of rain overnight.
During the morning, rain fell in little drizzly gasps never really getting to the heavy falls experienced during the night.
We drove to Wollongong via the Princes Highway taking the infamous Bulli Pass from the top of the escarpment.
Bulli Pass was built by loggers in the 19th century in an effort to find an easier way to get their timber to Sydney.
The alternate routes were via the vagaries of ship or Mt Keira or Mt Kembla roads. Both were much longer and steeper. Bulli Pass is noted for car and truck accidents and land slip in prolonged heavy rain. It is still only two narrow lanes hugging the escarpment while the bulk of traffic to and from Wollongong travels via Mt Ousley a long and not so steep two lanes each way. (I recall as a boy when as a family we travelled to the south coast my parents speaking in awe about having to take the Bulli Pass – in those days there were no safety barriers on the edge of the road.) We arrived in Corrimal to spend a few days with Errol, Nicole, Amelia and Hannah. Errol was not well having caught a bug either at work or passed on to him by his daughters Amelia and Hannah. Nicole was not feeling 100% either.
Tuesday 5th April – Happy Birthday to my daughter Melissa.
Woke to a sunny morning. Yay!
Nicole is still in bed…sick. Boo Hoo!
In the afternoon we went to the beach to take Walter the dog for a run and to fly my kite.
Naturally Amelia wanted to fly the kite but the wind was quite strong and it was likely to pull her along the beach.
Several kite surfers were in the water, one, when walking past with his board and kite commented that it was about time I graduated to a bigger kite.
Wednesday 6th April
Hmmm. Errol & Nicole still not well, Amelia at school and Donnis wants to stay at the house to be useful.
Sooo. Today I have decided to get out and about to visit Wollongong Harbour (also known as Belmore Basin named in honour of The then NSW Governor, The Earl of Belmore in 1868) and take an historical walk around. Many years ago I worked in Wollongong and often at lunchtime would visit the harbour and daydream about sailing away – who doesn’t? I did end up with a yacht but most of my sailing was done around Mackay and The Whitsunday Islands.
The first item which caught my eye is the last remaining original timber bollard used to tie sail cargo ships to the harbour. If this was the U S of A the bollard would be preserved in glass and given due reverence.
Next came the stonework around the harbour, much of it rough dressed and built around existing rock features.
Although giving the appearance of sandstone it is definitely not. I cannot find any records on what rock was used. Most of the coastline from around Coledale to the north to Gerringong in the south is volcanic in origin. I believe the rock is from a volcanic source quarry. The nearby escarpment is definitely sandstone and is quite different to the rock in the harbour wall. (I believe it could be basalt latite over sandstone found around Kiama / Minnamurra) Perhaps a knowledgeable reader can pass on the information. Many of the boats in harbour are old fishing trawlers and I do mean old. One with a for sale sign is lucky to still be afloat.
Wollongong is the only harbour I am aware of which has two lighthouses. (Both of which are de-commissioned) One sits on the edge of the harbour wall
while the other was more for ships at sea and sits atop Flagstaff Hill. Just below the Flagstaff Hill lighthouse are the two 68 pound muzzle loading cannons installed in 1879.
The lighthouse on the harbour mouth was used as a symbol of safety icon by the Illawarra Mutual Building Society (a safe place to borrow or invest savings) for many years.
On the western hill above the harbour is a gun emplacement which was called Smith’s Hill Fort, comprising two 36Kg muzzle loading cannons.
Built in 1891 in response to feared attack from Russia, the guns are still in place but the underground bunkers and magazines are sealed off to the public. Original timber is beginning to rot.
Below the fort are two salt water rock pools. One was known as the men’s bathing pool (the women’s bathing pool was at the base of cliffs below Flagstaff Hill and was accessed by a steep pathway).
The other rock pool is in fact two Olympic sized pools side by side. Saltwater is pumped into the pools unless big seas pound over the concrete wall faster than any pump.
A cutting through the cliffs once was used as a railway line by Mt Pleasant Coal and Coke Company to bring their product to the harbour for shipping to Sydney. The railway lines have been removed and the path is now a walking and cycling track.
Phew!!! What a day. The temperature was about 32°
Thursday 7th April
Today we drove the 50 or so Klms from Corrimal to Gymea where we will spend the next few days with sister Bev and husband Pete. In the afternoon sister Sandra arrived from Mackay and sister Enid arrived from Brisbane while her husband Ken flew in from the Sunshine coast. We are all attending the wedding of Bev’s eldest son David, an IT guru, to Jacqui.
Friday 8th April
With much manouvering for bathrooms and last minute wardrobe decisions we somehow managed to get seven of us away on time. Pete had hired a small bus for us to collect the youngest son Mitchell (an Air Traffic Control officer at Melbourne Airport) and his girlfriend Sam to arrive at Belgenney Farm at Camden for the wedding.
The farm is an historical estate, listed on the National Heritage Register, and is now owned by the NSW State Government. The land, of 5,000 acres was granted to John & Elizabeth MacArthur by Lord Camden in 1805. John MacArthur brought the first Merino Sheep to Australia and with specific breeding created a wool of superior quality and quantity. That stock spawned a world renowned industry demanding this superior wool. The Australian climate also proved conducive to growing lamb for meat. Many of the original buildings, built by convict labour, are still in place today, some being used as originally intended. For example, the stables.
The wedding went well with about 80 guests and the reception was held within the old Grainery building. The historic buildings provided a great backdrop for wedding photos. Considering the wedding started at 4pm, with a wonderful buffet style meal, dancing and drinks. The last guests left at 11pm. Pete drove us all home and it was well past midnight when our tired heads hit the pillows.
Saturday 9th April
For a change of pace today we all walked to the nearby railway station and caught a train to Cronulla Beach then a ferry to Bundeena. Cronulla Ferries operate a small fleet of specialist vessels. The MV “CURRANULLA”operates an hourly return trip 365 days per year.
The delightful old timber ferry has been in constant use since 1939. Tickets are only issued on board and only one way tickets are available. The deckhand is also the ticket issuer. The leather conductor’s pouch he wears around his neck has also been in use since 1939.
On arrival we trudged to Jibbons Beach and followed the beach and track above the cliffs to arrive at Jibbon Point about 3.2 Klms return. We stopped to look at the Aboriginal Rock Carvings (reported in Post 405 January 2015) Today’s walk was every bit as taxing as the walk last year. This time there were seven of us to share the walk. This area of National Park is wild and the sandstone cliffs are open to the winds and waves. Looking around with nothing but steep cliffs, ocean to the horizon and thick bush it is hard to image there is a town less than a Klm away and a city of near five million people just across the bay.
Once we were back to Gymea and after a hot shower we just about had enough energy to enjoy dinner at a Thai Restaurant. Donnis was so tired she ordered soup. When it arrived the rest of us wished we had done so as well. Huuh! Too tired to eat? We were.
Sunday 10th April
Today we visited our 93 year old Aunt Gwen in the small flat she has lived in for the last 27 years.
After lunch we drove Ken to the airport then headed back to Bev and Pete’s house for a relaxing afternoon.
Wednesday 30th March
Hmmm! I got myself tangled up in the plans we had made for this week. In my mind I thought we would leave home on 31st March which I thought was Friday. Not so. Thursday is 31st March and that is the day we travel south.
The i30 was booked in for a 15,000 Klm service. As well as the service the good people at the car yard washed the car and blackened the tyres.
We partially packed i30 before going to bed as we planned to be up early and on our way by no later than 8am.
Thursday 31st March.
As usual the departure time came and went and we were still madly packing the car with last minute stuff. We got away by 8.30 so considering we had been awake since 5.30 we were almost on time. We drove onto the M1 motorway and continued on the Pacific Highway once we crossed into New South Wales. We encountered some rain and for the most part the first half of the journey is on wonderful newly opened highway but dreaded roadworks slowed us somewhere north of Coffs Harbour. Roadworks continued off and on for the rest of our journey slowing our average speed and stretching the time of arrival at Tony and Dawns house at Port Macquarie.
Thank you, Tony & Dawn for your hospitality, dinner and wine. You know you always have somewhere to stay when you are in the Gold Coast area.
1st April – April Fools Day.
We had a relaxed breakfast with T&D then packed i3o followed by coffee and we were on our way by mid -morning. I had fuelled i30 before leaving the Gold Coast. Cost was 99.9 cents per litre. Petrol stations in NSW yesterday were between $1.14.9 to $1.18.9. Some fuel prices in Port Macquarie this morning were even higher, up to $1.22.9 per litre. We still had enough fuel to get to Forster, our next destination but past experience has shown fuel prices are higher on the coastal town which is off the Pacific Highway. After travelling over 500 Klms on the one tank of fuel we pulled off the highway a few Klms to a little town called Kundletown. Fuel here was $1.08.9, the cheapest we have seen in two days.
Arriving in Tuncurry, the sister town to Forster we bought a take away lunch and took it to the northern arm of the breakwater. After lunch Donnis took a swim in the enclosure formed by a break in the umm err breakwater. A net is placed across the gap and is intended to keep nasties out.
I wandered around enjoying the late summer sun knowing it is Autumn and a change in the weather will not be far away.
After arriving at Al and Raes house on a hill at Forster, we unpacked and Al and I went to nearby One Mile Beach to fly my stunt kite at the foot of Giant Sandhill. There was plenty of quirky wind to teach Al how to fly. I forgot the camera!
Forster (pronounced Foster) and its twin, Tuncurry are both situated on a spit of land bounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by Wallis Lake. The mouth of the Wallamba River splits the two towns. Both are popular holiday destinations and provided the sun is shining, which it does most of the year, the water always seems an impossible shade of Turquoise Blue and the sand whiter than white. Forster and Tuncurry are linked by a long straight bridge with humps at either end to allow larger boats to pass beneath.
To the south there are several more lakes, all picturesque and just waiting to be explored and exploited.
Saturday 2nd April
This morning we drove to Al & Rae’s son Brian and his wife Grid house on Forster Keys a canal type suburb on Wallis Lake. They own a pair of Hobie Mirage Revolution II canoes.
These canoes are propelled primarily by foot pedals connected to a pair of feathering fins. Many light years ago, in my surfing days, Hobie was known as a quality surfboard maker. Over the years through research and development, Hobie also makes a range of Stand Up Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, sailcraft – single hull, catamarans and trimarans – all with innovative designs. After an hour of exploring a tiny part of the canals and lake we headed back. Both of us suffer from back problems and we both know our canoe and kayak days are long behind us.
The afternoon was devoted to resting.
In the evening Brian and Grid arrived for a barbecue and a promise of a breakfast treat tomorrow.
Sunday 3rd April
Brian collected us at 7am and soon we were driving along a sandy bush track to Tuncurry Beach.
After driving onto the beach a table and chairs were set up, a barbecue fired up and we were soon eating bacon and egg on breadrolls.
Back at Al & Raes we packed, had coffee and were on our way by mid- morning.
Thank you Al & Rae and Brian& Grid for your hospitality over the last two days. It was a great visit with you and we look forward to seeing you soon.
We continued on the Pacific Highway through to Sydney and joined the M2 into the Lane Cove Tunnel and the tunnel under the Harbour and Sydney Harbour Bridge. On arrival at La Perouse we took a little detour before arriving at Geoff and Margarets house. We took the road to what must be one of Australia’s premier golf courses, the NSW Golf Club.
On one side the course proper skirts the spectacular sandstone cliffs overlooking the ocean. The other side overlooks, LaPerouse, Congwong Bay, Bear Island, Kurnell, Botany Bay, Mascot Airport and the container ship terminal at Port Botany.
I have an affection nicely quarried sandstone blocks on many early houses, banks and Government buildings around Sydney. As well there are many many samples of quarried sandstone retaining walls around the suburb. This old club has used unquarried sandstone rocks for a retaining wall in the carpark. The wall appears to have been in place probably as long as the club. Although the wall has a haphazard appearance I still enjoy the use of rock in this wall.
Beside the gold course is a protected piece of land controlled by NSW Parks and Wildlife called the Botany Bay National Park. Inside the park is a cemetery with lots of old graves dating back more than 100 years.
The walk continues to and along the sandstone cliffs with breathtaking views across Little Bay, Long Bay and beyond.
It is an easy walk and can be traversed all the way to Maroubra Beach at least 10 Klms to the north. The full walk from Bear Island off LaPerouse is now on our “to do” list for sometime in the future.
We finally arrived at Geoff and Margarets in time for happy hour followed by a walk to Frenchmans Bay
to watch the sunset and the gathering heavy rain clouds approaching from the south.
As always Geoff and Margaret looked after us. Thank you.
Monday 21st March
We had a long day of travel today. Alecia has only a few days whilst in Australia so a visit to her 92 year old great aunt Peg who lives in Toowoomba was in order. Toowoomba is somewhere around 200 Klms by road from The Gold Coast, it was founded somewhere around 1816. It is known as the garden City as is has an annual Festival of Flowers. It is also called a University City – University of Southern Queensland conducts a campus there. There are a large number of cathedrals and heritage listed buildings.
Aunt Peg still drives a car, still spends time on the computer sending email jokes and is a fervent fan of The Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Team and the State of Origin Rugby League series. It was a long day of travel. Aunt Peg is still as bright as the last time we saw her around ten years ago.
Tuesday 22nd March
Today Alecia wanted to catch up with her Aunts, Rosslyn and Sara both of whom live in Brisbane. After visiting them we drove to The Hyperdome and had sushi for dinner with Regelyn and Chris. Afterwards they had 4 games of Tenpin Bowling.
It was another long day of travel.
Thursday 24th March.
A delightful walk along the Broadwater then Donnis and Alecia swam in the sand enclosure. Before we knew it, we had to leave for the airport so Alecia can fly to Sydney and spend a few days with her brother in Wollongong.
Friday 25th March – Good Friday
Today we travelled to Noosa to Visit sister Enid and hubby Ken. It was a good thing we did not travel yesterday evening as the traffic was queued up for hours bumper to bumper heading north. It was the same heading south. As it was, traffic was relatively heavy although there were no delays. As usual when we visit Noosa, Enid tries to pack as much activity into the day. We went to the mouth of the Noosa River and the breakwater river mouth. Ken and I both took kites, my stunt kite and his strange looking kite. Mine simply could only get a few metres off the ground before sliding back to the beach. There was too little wind. On the other hand Ken’s kite soared to the end of the single line and stayed there until he wound it in. Noosa and particularly the Noosa Woods and river mouth are noted for traffic jams and parking is hard to find. Today was no different.
Saturday 26th March – Easter Saturday
We were up early and down to Noosa Beach before the crowds. The crowds got there before us. No matter Ken dropped us off with all our gear and went to look for a carpark. Ken went off for a surf on his longboard, Enid and I Boogey boarded while Donnis body surfed. The water temp was ideal, just cool enough to be able to splash right on in without gasping for breath.
For those readers who are unfamiliar with Noosa Beach, let me add some details.
In 2011 Travellers Choice Magazine readers poll placed Noosa Beach in the top three beaches in the South Pacific. Hmmm.noosa-headland-map
Noosa Beach is at the extreme northern end of the Sunshine coast about 90 minutes drive from Brisbane. The main shopping street, Hastings, follows the beach line but is the only thoroughfare to Noosa Woods and the river mouth. Two other streets feed into Hastings via a pair of roundabouts, creating the worst kind of bottleneck. As the beach is on a peninsular surround by the sea, the river and several creeks there is no land to build alternate roads. The bottlenecks will always be a problem.
Leaving the Noosa River mouth was frustrating bumper to bumper grind along a narrow tree and bush shrouded road taking us over thirty minutes to move one kilometre.
Thank goodness for a wonderful barbecued chicken dinner expertly marinated and cooked by Ken.
Sunday 27th March – Easter Sunday
Although not as early as yesterday we were still on our way before 8am. Enid had planned a 4 Klm walk along bush tracks in the Noosa National Park on the Tanglewood Track to Noosa Headland.
It was another hot day but once back on the coast section of track there was a gentle, very gentle breeze from off the ocean. We saw big black clouds gathering on the horizon and could see rain falling far out to sea.
We walked back to the beach at Noosa Woods for a cooling dip before the big fat heavy drops arrived. Within minutes it was a soaking rain and people were rushing off the beach to find their car to join the bumper to bumper to get home or back to their campsite.
After a late lunch Donnis and I headed home, expecting to beat the traffic jam. Because of the rain many people left a day early. We got caught in traffic and the journey took another hour on our usual average time.
Next week we follow the New South Wales Coast to Sydney on to Wollongong then western districts before heading north and home. It should be good fun.
Wednesday 16th March
When I arrived at the Pain Management Clinic for a two hour session of “Turning Pain Into Gain” I noticed the Pre Polling Booth at Southport Community Centre was open.
Let me explain.
Throughout the State of Queensland there will be elections this Saturday. The elections are for.
Local Government to elect a local representative for each Ward.
Elect a Mayor for each Council area
The State Government has cannily decided to also hold a referendum at the same time. (having a referendum at the same time as a Council election saves money by not being conducted separately) The referendum is to decide ,”should politicians be elected for a fixed four year term” OR to continue the current system of elected State politicians are elected for roughly a three year term and election dates are decided by the State Premier.
Australia has a polling system of allowing Postal votes, Pre Polling in selected venues and Absentee votes – that is votes when you are away from your home area. Voting is compulsory in Australia for ALL Elections.
Saturday, the day of the Poll, Donnis daughter Alecia is arriving from Canada and we are collecting her from the airport. We have a lot to do Saturday morning and do not want to get tied up in queues of voters who all seem to arrive as soon as polling stations open.
We decided to drive back to Southport and cast our vote in a pre- poll station. As usual we had to fight our way through volunteers wanting to hand you their “How to Vote” for their candidate literature. Some even want to engage you in conversation so they can explain their candidates virtues and convince you to vote their way.
OK, that’s done. Our civic duty has been completed and we have Saturday free of any other impediment to our day.
Donnis is sooo excited.
Friday 18th March.
Alecia arrives tomorrow and her friend Sarah arrives for a visit on Sunday. So… Donnis baked three cakes for the occasion. I am on a diet and not allowed to taste test the cakes.
Saturday 19th March
Alecia arrived on time at Coolangatta Airport. She had a long flight from Canada and although tired insisted on staying awake as long as possible so her body clock attunes to Oz time. After lunch – Caesar Salad with my own anchovy based dressing we drove to Southport Beach.
By now a strong southerly was blowing people off the beach but we persisted in a walk along the waters edge being splashed by waves on an incoming tide. We gave Alecia a tourists view of The Spit
and the Gold Coast Fish Co-Op
followed by a barbecue of Salmon and Asparagus.
Part way through a movie Alecia was sound asleep.
Alecia backpacked around Europe and worked as a nurse at the Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver with her friend Sarah who arrived today for a visit. Donnis prepared a cheesecake for Sarah’s birthday and we drove to Springbrook
where neither had been before.
After a snack lunch we looked at several waterfalls and walking tracks along the top of the escarpment.
Tomorrow we plan on driving to Toowoomba.
Monday 7th March
Dear reader, this blog, as I and you know it, will soon change. WordPress has been the Content Management System and Domain Provider for thousands of blogs, including mine, since I started way back in 2002. Over the last few years WordPress have been pressing me to establish and pay annually for my own Domain and unique blog address. I have resisted their attempts but have come to a cross roads which will very soon require a decision. I would appreciate some feedback from readers.
If I keep the blog as it is, it will soon be stopped in its present format and a new address established requiring readers to make the switch then store the new address in their browser.
If I take the option to establish my own paid web address it can be more professionally upgraded and will allow video to be included in posts. It will also mean paid ads will be seen on the post. I expect they will not be intrusive but could be used to pay the annual fees to maintain the site.
May I have your thoughts??? Leave as is and possibly require a new blog and blog address. OR keep the blog with only a small change to the address but this means ads will appear more often.
We spent a lazy Monday morning then joined Tony and Dawn while they looked at a new high rise unit at Labrador overlooking the Broadwater and some views of the Gold Coast Seaway.
The views are delightful but that is tempered by constant, loud, annoying road traffic noise. Although the balcony views really are something special you would become a prisoner in your own unit – unless of course you could find a way to disregard the noise. It meant living inside 90% of the time and would require the use of air conditioning almost 24 hours a day, summer and winter. Dawn was keen to buy. Donnis Tony and I held back our enthusiasm which was dampened by the traffic noise.
Tony and Dawn took us out for dinner and instead of the Yum Cha originally proposed we went to a pasta and pizza franchise. That was our first and last visit.
Tuesday 8th March.
Tony and Dawn were due to leave this morning but agreed to have a look at the new Waterpoint Apartments being built next door. http://www.realestate.com.au/project-waterpoint+residences-qld-biggera+waters-600008633 Although further back from the beach than the apartments we saw yesterday, the build quality is much better and no traffic noise. They finally hit the road at 1pm and have a few hours drive ahead before they stop for the night. It was great having your company and we look forward to seeing you when we hit the road later this month. Stay tuned for details.
Saturday 12th March
Today I dropped Donnis at Robina Shopping Centre while I continued on to Elanora. I wanted to see the National Skateboarding Championships, part of the Bleach Festival and the Bowlzilla Sport Music & Art Festival at the Elanora Skate Park. The competition is part of the Australian Skateboarding Federation programme of events for 2016.
I know next to nothing about skateboarding although I will admit to making my own when as a teenager I saw skateboarding in a Surfing Movie. Friends and I dismantled our skates, screwed them to a piece if pine and away we went. After a few near misses with cars on a steep hill we drifted back to surfing which was more friendly if you fell off the board.
The actual skate bowl is well set up and challenging.
It is in good condition and is one of a handful of skate bowls which has a full pipe (tunnel). I saw a number of broken arms in the audience and some on skateboards.
Every competitor wore a yellow wristband. Look carefully and you can see almost every person in the audience wears a yellow wristband. Very few skaters wore safety equipment and the number of near misses and falls suggests some skaters have not learned any lessons. Although advertised as a family event some of the skaters threw bad language (and bad sportsmanship and manners) around in full view of spectators. I was surprised to see older skaters
alongside teenage boys and girls while even younger skaters showed what can be done when you have no fear. (Also mum and dad have to pay for the equipment and hospital fees)
It was a typical hot summer day (although it is Autumn) with lots of humidity.
Lots of action photos were taken.
Sunday 13th March
We have had rain, mostly at night, all this week. Today has been raining on and off while temperature has plummeted from a hot 31° to a less hot 28° although humidity levels are high. In the afternoon we played bouche or bolle in our park. It was a nice friendly afternoon between rain showers.