Springtime in Queesland


Ray and Mary Visit Queensland October-December 2013

We will try to update this log every Sunday evening (Sunday morning UK time).
We would like to thank our hosts Marianne and Richard for opening their home to us and looking after us so well.

We are particularly grateful to them for meeting our transport needs, enabling us to get about off the beaten track and experience so much of Queensland life.

This has enabled us to do and see an amazing number of things in our six week visit, all on quite a modest budget.

In our first week went into the hills, did a lot of shopping, saw hump-backed whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, did a lot more shopping, saw lots of birds, and looked down on Surfers Paradise, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold coast from the top of the tallest residential building in the southern hemisphere.  
In our second week we got our toes in the sand, took the train to Brisbane, visited Canungra (a town in the hills), visited Springbrook National Park, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and enjoyed a rainforest bushwalk at Binna Burra in Lamington National Park.  
In our third week we visited a Country Fair, explored the Gold Coast, visited Brisbane Botanic Gardens and explored the Sunshine Coast  
In our fourth week we visted Hinze Bam, Brisbane riverside and Science Museum, David Fleay Conservation Park and Fingal Head.  
In our fifth week we visited Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Byron Bay in New South Wales and went shopping for Christmas presents and gifts to take home. 
Check out the photo album for a quick whistle-stop tour.

Saturday, 26 October

We arrived in Brisbane in the wee small hours, having overflown the lights of Alice Springs - right in the middle of nowhere - round about midnight.
Marianne and Richard were at the airport to greet us and take us home.
Greetings Australia Fair!

Suddenly we find ourselves in a new and enchanting world.
We are enjoying early morning coffee and biscuits, seated on the balcony of a treetop lodge, way up in the hills above the Queensland coastline.
Close by to the left are the upper branches of a bright pale violet Jacaranda tree, to the right is a startlingly magenta bouganvilla, and the skyline is decorated with the upper branches of tall stately gum trees, waving gently up to the clear blue.
In the distance and way below us is the grey early morning outline of coastal buildings, topped with the glint of the waters of the Tasman Sea.

As if this is not enough assault on our senses, the accompanying sounds are equally strange and exciting; melodious, other-worldly tinkling musical phrases from mysterious and as-yet unknown and un-named birds, the raucous calls of gangs of bright-flashing red and green lorikeets and the deeper harsher cacklings of sulphur crested cockatoos. The whole vista echoes and re-echoes.  Just as the mind has adjusted to all this, suddenly from time to time we are surprised by yet another star performance of sub-tropical life - the gradual build up, rise to an ear-splitting crescendo , and the faltering decline of hundreds and hundreds of cicadas!

All this is literally a world away from our home in rural Chippenham, England, and as if to highlight the contrast, even the sun's shadows move in the opposite direction!  The long hours being herded (respectfully but like mindless imbeciles), mistrustfully checked, re-checked, examined, form-filled and processed in the airport terminals buildings of London, Dubai, Singapore and Brisbane, and the pleasures and trials of stowage-class flight are mercifully behind us and gratefully forgiven. It has all been worthwhile, and our 42-day escape from Englands' decline into winter has only just begun!

In the afternoon Marianne took us to Burleigh Heads for our first view of a Queensland beach.
Welcome to the land of the surf board. Every other person has one - the symbology is everywhere - even the seaside benches are beautifully varnished and surf board-shaped.

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