We had arrived at Coolum Beach and were unpacking the van when this little kitty cat came to say hello. She was a friendly cat, as soon as she saw us she came running to us and smooched me. She seemed to have lots to tell me.
I patted her and she followed me up to the van. I must have turned around to talk to someone or get something from the van and when I looked back, poof, she vanished into the bushes.
Our final week in Coolum was flat out but not from all the sight seeing. There was a few little follow up issues with Goldilocks (12 volt system, fridge, fly screen replacement, hydronic jack replacement) and the car was now booked in for a bit of work and service. However, frustratingly each time we fixed one issue, it has created another.
Eventually Zone RV got it together and have been great at getting stuff sorted for the van as have the folks we have dealt with for the car. Having these follow up issues sorted in a timely manner with no fuss has been fabulous, allowing us to get back on the road. Everyone seems so layer back and cruisey, haven’t met a bad or grumpy Queensland yet! Should note there are a lot of Kiwi’s here and we always love the Kiwi’s.
We got the van back late on the Friday and after getting it cleaned and re loaded we checked into the caravan park on the Saturday. We were all thrilled to get back in the van and with the caravan park being right on the beach what’s not to love.
During this week Ken was still heavily involved with his work so it was full on for everyone.
We did manage to have an afternoon in Noosa, hire a couple of boogie boards for the kids and do a cruise on the Maroochy River.
The boogie boards were a bit of fun. Initially we just walked down the beach from our camp and the girls got in the water there. The surf life saving club and flags were probably 750m up the beach and we were just being lazy. I stayed out of the water with Lulu but was becoming increasingly nervous. The surf was reasonably rough, the girls were out there on their own and with Lulu in arms I may not be able to make a quick intervention if they got into trouble.
It had just dawned on me how stupid this was. Why was I standing on the beach fretting when we should just be up the beach between the flags where i’d have help if needed! And then, like the voice of god, over a loud speaker all the way up the beach, we were told to get between the flags. As there were no other crazy people in the water that afternoon we made the walk of shame up the beach and Ken arrived not long after. It was only then I got in the water with the girl and felt how strong the current was. It was a great reminder to ALWAYS swim between the flags and gave us an opportunity to discuss tide, currents, rips, water safety.
All that aside we had some fun that afternoon and the conditions the next day were even better. If you ask me, it was a little too cold to swim but the girls just loved it and don’t feel the cold. The Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to swim with shark nets in place and the stingers (stinging jellyfish) don’t come down this far or the croc’s for that matter, but with each day sitting in the low to mid twenty’s it was a little cool for me.
A morning cruising up the Maroochy was very pleasant and a chance to learn a little more about the area. We had dropped the car off for some work and caught a taxi into Maroochydore for breakfast. The cruise then took us up the river with commentary about the ecosystem along the way. We stopped at the Maroochy Wetland Sanctuary and had the chance to have a walk, explore and observe the mangroves and spot some fiddler crabs. Tiny little things with one large orange claw.
Treated to a Devonshire tea and the Dreamtime story of how Mount Coolum and the Maroochy River was created was a delight. I just love the Dreamtime stories about how the land was formed and created. Upon hearing the Dreaming story its hard not to feel some connections to the land or scenery you are experience. Just another beautiful part of our first peoples culture.
And that’s a wrap for Coolum. After three weeks here we have decided to move a little south to be closer to Brisbane for one final bit of maintence. Hopefully this should be close enough for Ken to just pop down to Brisbane for the day but give us more of a chance to explore more of The Sunny Coast and The Hinterlands.
Having had two wonderful and full days on the Sunshine Coast today we were visiting the Eumundi Markets. We had heard they were probably the best in the area and we were not disappointed. Being a Saturday we had no schooling, so got an early start, which also meant a chilli start. Endless markets stalls of beautifully quality food, artistry and wares of all kinds. Something for everyone and busy but not over crowded with a really lovely feel.
The kids loved the markets, food, crafts, Bonsai Trees, face painting and meeting a beautiful rainbow macaw called Jasmine. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to come back.
After three busy days we opted for a few quieter ones around Coolum. Being a Sunday morning we enjoyed a slow start before heading out for brunch. We had been wanting to try a cafe called Raw Energy. Healthy, simple but delicious. Turns out they are a franchise and there is one in Fremantle. Bec and Bruce might be making a few extra trips to Freo this year.
Sunday afternoon we caught up with my cousins Bryn and Renee and their lovely little one Darcy. With our family spread all over the country and the world it is always lovely to catch up.
Monday we stayed local again, school, brunch, shopping, sorting and organizing before Mum and Dad head home the next day. We wrapped up our week together with a nice meal at home and a family talent show.
Lulu performed her sublime dance moves to her favorite tune, (still Gangnam Style), Dad gave us a couple of poem’s the last of which was more of a ditty that mentioned the word fart, the girls were a little surprised but amused. Mum and I did a rendition of My Favorite things with various props and actions to add a little flare, fun and chaos and the girls did a medley of tunes and dialogue from Aladdin. It was a memorable evening but hopefully the footage will never see the day of light.
Before taking mum and dad to the airport they minded the kids for me while I was able to pick up a few outstanding items from office works, bunnings and Howard’s storage world. I was searching for the location of these stores here on the sunny coast and noticed they were all on the same street, my lucky day. What are the chances they might be in the same complex I wondered and I hit the jackpot! Small pleasures not wasting time finding my way all over Maroochydore.
We are so blessed and grateful to have such wonder loving family around us. It was magic to spend a week here with Mum and Dad and the granddaughters just loved it. Thank you and love you very much!!!!!! So glad the weather held out during your stay and hope you recover from the head cold and lack of sleep.
With Ken not arriving back in Coolum until the next night us girls have had the next day to ourselves and after a bit of schooling I wanted to visit the wee village of Monteville in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. In my mind I imagined a quaint little village and that is what we got. What I hadn’t imagined was how cool it was going to be. A cold front was coming in again and with the elevation into the hills it chilled right off.
The that didn’t stop us from having a delightful leisurely potter about the craft stores, galleries, fabulous toy shop and other lovely little boutique stores. It was a great choice beacause Ken would have not enjoyed this pottering and I would have felt pressured to not keep him waiting in the street too long. So a perfect few hours and lunch in Monteville and then on to Melany Botanical Gardens and Bird World.
Upon arriving here I was a little surprised at the cost and realised we could have spent at least half a day here not just the hour and a half we had left. With the last aviary tour just about to start we jump on that. With Lotte not being comfortable around birds after a spring magpie swooping encounter in Perth this was a face your fear experience for her and she embraced it. I was very proud of her and she did great.
Three large aviary housing birds of differing sizes they were mostly very friendly and definitely a little cheeky. Being totally unprepared we didn’t have the correct shoes. Both Georgia and I coped a lot of attention from the birds trying to eat our sandles and they did eventually break Georgia’s. They were also keen on Gigi’s glasses but we got of lightly compared to another lady who’s jacket with press studs and zip was totally ruined by the time she left.
The gardens were lovely and the views of the Glasshouse Mountains stunning. The girls were very disappointed to have to leave. There imaginations just came to life in these gardens. Hopefully we can return with Ken.
The drive home was going to take us past Maroochydore Airport and right on time to collect Ken. The rain set in just in time for Ken’s return. He left here in the rain, coped rotten weather in Perth, and the rain was back again for his arrival. Hopefully he will get so experience some of the Sunny Coast as we have.
It felt exciting heading to Coolum. Probably for two reasons, firstly Ken and I had been here before but for only a day and secondly, the focus of the first six weeks of travels has been about getting to Coolum to have Goldilocks fixed up and all the outstanding issues sorted.
But that excitement faded pretty quickly as we were faced with the daunting task of unloading most of the contents of the van in preparation of it going into the workshop early the next morning. Arriving not long before dark, with rain imminent, and no parking near the accommodation it made this task even less enjoyable.
In the end I gave up, the now heavy rain and 100 meter walk up a steep hill each load beat my usually sunny and determined nature to complete a job and complete it well.
The week ahead saw Ken returning to Perth for work and the arrival of Grandma and Papa in Coolum for a visit, holiday and support. It was also a great opportunity to re-organize and re-evaluate the contents of the van and a high priority was to really getting the homeschooling established! So all in all it was going to be a busy week.
Ken departed and the rain persisted for the first day or two but that didn’t stop the girls enjoying the swimming in the pool. The accommodation was well laid out, as I could be standing by our front door keeping an ear on Llewella while she slept and watch the girls in the pool at the same time. The weather isn’t particularly warm but nor is it too cool either with a little humidity, low twenty’s everyday, and this is winter.
Grandma and Papa arrived in the dark to much excitement. We shared a quick meal at the surf club and then got the kids to bed before a catch up. With trying to get a schooling routine established we decided to not catch up till 10am each morning giving the girls a chance to get some work done and Grandma and Papa a little time to themselves to sleep in, walk the beach or go for a coffee at one of the many coffee spots.
The first day we just walked the main drag, visited the beach, playground, lunch at a delicious French cafe and the information centre to help us decide what we may like to do. The girls got another long swim in the afternoon with Papa supervising this time, which turned out to be a regular arvo thing.
Noosa was just 20 mins up the road. We all squeezed in the car, the back seat was pretty crowded with 3 and a baby seat, but we got there. We headed to the national park to do one of the well designated walks and work up an appetite before lunch. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and I had put the kids bathers under the pram just Incase.
It was more of a meandering stroll than anything worthy of the lunch that was to come but delightful and scenic all the way. We got to Tea Tree Bay but the white powdery sand and clear still waters were too much to pass by and we had a lovely hour or two playing, paddling and swimming in total paradise.
For lunch we ended up at the most unlikely of joints to take mum to, but Betty’s Burger Bar was bustling and appeared to be too good to pass up. We needed to see what all the hype and crowds was about. Grandma hasn’t eaten a burger and chips for years but with a Naked Betty on the menu (burger with no bun) everyone was catered for. Simple burgers done well aside from the added crunch provided by the sand still in the lettuce.
The rest of the afternoon we potter around the shops and enjoy the theatre of icecream from Nitrogenie. The lady was so passionate about the liquid nitrogen she did more than just make the girls an icecream but a whole science experiment on the behavior of the liquid nitrogen compared to water. Science lesson for the week, done!
The next day we visited the Ginger Factory in Yandina. I wasn’t sure what to expect but what a fabulous day. The highlight for us adults was the most clear, concise, fascinating and knowledgeable presentation and demonstration from the bee keeper all about bees 🐝 and what they do, make, collect and behavior. It was super, I just hope the girls took it in but when I get a moment I hope I can build a lesson around these important and talented little creatures.
The rest of the day was equally well done. The highlight for Georgia was the boat ride. An indoor attraction in which you boarded a small boat which moved along a narrow channel and as you floated along you followed the story of the ginger bread man as he runs away from 3 bakers. His journey takes him all over the world, with the bakers never far behind, but with the gingerbread man hiding or in disguise you are trying to spot him in each scene. The whole thing is done with marionette puppets to a musical arrangement that takes on the flavor of the country the Ginger Breadman is in. At first I thought gosh, this is going to be naf, but it really was well done and in the end we enjoyed it so much we went around a second time.
Other attractions was a tour and tasting of the Budrum ginger factory, the largest confectionary ginger exporter in the world. Who would have known! A steam train ride around the lovely tropical grounds of the factory and pottering around the shops in Ginger town. The food also supported the ginger and honey themes of the day but while the menu was well designed the execution was a little disappointing. All in all the Ginger Factory, in a little known small town of Yandina is punching well above it’s weight.
After the fabulous break / mini holiday in Byron it’s on to something completely different. The big smoke and tall buildings lume as we drive up the freeway, and Ken comments to me, “it looks like Manhattan”, I look sideways at him, giving the look of, ‘would you like to reconsider that?’ he pauses and looks back with a smile knowing the comparison is not quite on the mark. When Brisbane looks like Manhattan, you know you’ve been in the bush too long.
The drive to Bris-Vagas is busy and a little hectic. Gone are the empty roads of the outback I suspect this type of driving with be the norm now on the populated east coast. We have decided to put the van into storage for a few days while we stay in the center of Brisbane and take in the delights and sights of the city.
Ken has booked us into a self contained apartment on the 73rd floor of one of the tallest building in Brisbane and the view is spectacular. Looking across the Brisbane River, South Bank and the sprawling city beyond. What stikes me is the balance in ratio between green and built space. This is a hot (pun intended) topic in many capital cities and suburbs such as ours at home. No doubt the level or rainfall and sub tropical climate help but also maybe Brisbane has better regulation over new developments? Sounds like a homeschooling project to me!
Most of the day was consumed with logistics of travel, dropping of the van, getting unloaded at the accommodation and getting the car dropped off for some work it was having done while here in Brisbane. This didn’t leave much time for anything else and once the girls got to the room they were chuffed with a big bed, big bathroom, floor space to finally do some lego they bought, doors seemed to be a big hit, the view and TV!
On about the second night in the van the hard disk with all the movies and shows on it fell out of the cupboard and into a sink full of water and never recovered. Secretly I did a little fist pump as I was keen to do the trip with no TV. However if I am being very honest I have to confess the few surviving shows on my iPad have made the travel days a little easier.
While the rest of the family was content in the room I was itching to get amougst it, so once Lulu had gone down for a late sleep I found the nearest supermarket and went for a few supplies and the chance to get my bearings and a feel for the place. Wow, as I strode down the bustling footpaths, with all the workers heading home or out for drinks after work I felt a buzz, a freedom, memories of days BK. Or was it just the excitement of being on my own for a bit? Either way it didn’t last long as Lulu awoke and back to the race was one to get what I needed and get back.
Day 2 – we headed to South Bank (the Arts, Library, Muesum, parks and restaurant hub) to explore. Hoping to find a boat cruise to do a tour on giving us a history and local knowledge of Brisbane and the Brisbane river which meanders through the city. This was a lovely and informative way to see the city and with an endless supply of delisious scones, jam and cream everyone was relaxed and content.
Following the cruise we explored SouthBank more, busy but delightful and enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch, with the girls discovering the joy of Gnocchi at it’s best. We spent the final few hours of daylight in the museum, where Ken left us to go and do his EOSphere meet up. But the day wasn’t over yet, without Ken to drag around and Lulu having another late sleep in the pram, us girls hit the shop for a bit of retail therapy. Both the girls needed a little zhuzhing up before a trip to the theater tomorrow night.
By the time we dragged ourselves home we had nearly been out and mostly on our feet for 12 hours. Shattered but a great day!
Day 3 – Brisbane is the only city in Australia to still have a functioning town Hall. It’s a beautiful building and they run free tours of the building and clock tower. With a spectacular Father Henry Willis Organ and a recent $215 million refurbishment of the Hall and organ, it was a wonderful tour. Attached to the Town Hall is another museum, this one all about Brisbane, which again we enjoyed very much. Expo ‘88 seems to have been the beginning a massive boost and change in the way Brisbane presented itself to visitors and the world. They really have excelled in promoting their city and seem very proud of her history. We’ve throughly enjoyed learning about and experiencing Brisbane.
The rest of the day we spent getting lost in the city food and shops mostly, before a brief rest and out to see Aladdin the Disney musical that night. Not thinking Lulu would get through an evening performance we just booked for Ken and the girls, but when it came to it I just couldn’t bear missing out. Upon enquiry there happened to be one perfect seat directly behind them on the isle to boot so I could make an easy escape should I need to.
The girls loved the show, as we all did. The genie was super and see and hearing Georgia laugh louder and longer than anyone else in the thearter was a delight. Lulu and I made it through 3/4 of the show and saw all the best bits even if some of it was in a sound proof viewing box with some of the cast. The staff were so amazing and keen for me not to miss out, they ushered Lulu and I into the box so we could catch the amazing magic carpet scene before calling it a night.
The city has sparked a love of buses for Lulu, (it’s her new word), and she never lets one go by without everyone and anyone knowing about it. Thank goodness for all the buses about the city late at night as I tried to get one over tired little girl home. Just as the next wave of exhausted meltdown was about to being a bus would go by and I’d breath a sigh of relief and walk a little faster still.
Day 4 – Dreamworld! We had driven right past the Gold Coast and couldn’t resist the chance to visit one of these theme parks. Fortunately none of us are adrenaline junkies so we skipped all the crazy rides but had a wonderful day taking in the various shows and themed section of the park. ABC kids World little kiddy rides, Dreamworld Corroboree all about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture, Tiger Island, Dreamworks experience (Ken even got to be on stage with Alex the Lion), Lego Store and WhiteWater world.
It was a cool day but it didn’t stop the girls getting in their bathers and making the most of it. When we hit the water park they just didn’t stop. Two solid hours of running, swimming, climbing the stairs to the water slides and dodging massive buckets of dumping water. Lulu slept through all this fun so I sat back put my feet up and performed my baby mattress duties with no complaints.
And that’s a wrap off Brisbane. What a city! The last thing to make note of is how friendly, tentative, warm and helpful we have found everyone. Even complete strangers in ladies toilets offering to help as Lulu screams the place down having awoken with an nasty nappy and realizing I have run out of nappies. Humanity is alive and well!