ROAD TRIP FROM BRISBANE TO SYDNEY

DAY FIVE

Mount Tamborine to Byron Bay

The first stop was at Surfers Paradise Beach – Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The three kilometre strip of golden sand between Surfers Paradise and the Pacific Ocean is Australia’s iconic beach. It is a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate and has become widely known for its surfing beaches, high-rise dominated skyline, theme parks, nightlife and rainforest hinterland. After a windy walk along the seafront it was apparent that the storm had blown through this area the previous evening. Montmartre by the Sea, Surfers Paradise, was our cafe of choice for morning coffee.

Next stop was at Kirra Beach, Coolangatta. There are variations on what the word Kirra actually means, but some believe Queensland Aborigines named it after a boomerang. This makes sense as Kirra wraps around the bend separating Coolangatta and Kirra beaches and in front of Kirra Hill. Surfers still flock to Kirra bend for its world-class breaks. This was our place to stop for a late lunch and this time our choice was Tupe Aloha where Hawaiian meets Mexican in a vintage tropical atmosphere.

Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-north-eastern corner of the State of New South Wales. It is located 772kms north of Sydney and 165 kms south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. The lighthouse was built in 1901 to protect ships passing along the coast. Operated by resident keepers until 1989, its now automated light is clearly visible from Byron Bay Township. As at 2018, the town is reported to have around 5,000 permanent residents, while being visited by over 1.5 million tourists each year. The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. It is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.

My accommodation for one night in Byron Bay was in a Cabin at Glen Villa Resort (approached from Shirley Street!). This Resort, with a mix of accommodation, is located next to the Cumbedin Swamp Nature Reserve. The self-equipped cabins were spotlessly clean and set in very neat grounds. Late in the afternoon Erika and I walked the streets of Byron Bay with many other tourists but, as it was Sunday, many businesses were closed. We found a Supermarket open and the Information Centre (Erika’s favourite place) closed, but we did locate the place recommended for breakfast the next morning so all was well. Back at the girls’ Motel room we found Nadine and the three of us walked through Apex Park to Main Beach to watch the sunset before they chauffeured me back to my cabin where I enjoyed  a shower before sleeping well in a very comfortable bed.

ROAD TRIP FROM BRISBANE TO SYDNEY

DAY FOUR

Another day on TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN – this place of beauty and tranquility is 550m above sea level, 30kms from Gold Coast and 70kms from Brisbane, Australia. At every turn there is breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife and clean mountain air. There is a strong cottage industry including many local arts and crafts, a host of natural and man-made attractions, award winning wineries and top-class restaurants, country markets and festivals and a host of accommodation choices. The day started early for me as I drank a coffee while sitting on the little balcony adjoining my room. I once again enjoyed the magnificent views over the hilltops and valley.

At 8 o’clock the girls arrived and we went back to Witches Falls Cottage to enjoy the array of goodies from the breakfast basket that had been delivered to the room. A bush walk was planned for the morning so we were on our way at 10 o’clock into Tamborine National Park. The Park protects large areas of rainforest. At first the path was clear and level but not for long. We were soon making our way through branches across the path left from the storm of the previous evening and could hear chainsaws in the distance as other tracks were being cleared and we were going down, down, down into the valley. It was very humid and it was on my mind that what goes down has to come back up again, certainly not a place to fall, so take care Shirley!! This was a beautiful place . We came to a viewing platform where we could take in the magnificence of distant hills. After a short rest it was time for the uphill climb, this time aided by a strong stick.

 

Another walk in the afternoon was at Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, probably the best, and easiest, way to get one’s head around just how beautiful Mount Tamborine is. The setting is 30 acres of privately-owned rainforest beside the crystal clear rock-pools of Cedar Creek. We wandered among the treetops over steel bridges and followed the 1.5km path that gradually descends to the lower canopy past the rock pools to the cantilever bridge that stands 30 metres above the valley and offers views for miles.The walk takes about an hour, including a stop at the Rainforest Eco Gallery which explores some of Mount Tamborine’s local and indigenous history. We, of course, stopped at the Birdwing Cafe for refreshment as we took in the view of the treetops from the balcony.

Erika and I had a late afternoon walk and thankfully were on our way back and not far from the cottage when the sky darkened and the thunder began to rumble getting closer by the minute. We were back under cover when the storm came to the mountain. It was quite spectacular with gutters overflowing and the day still warm. It was a unanimous decision to stay in for dinner as we had enough leftovers in the refrigerator and were checking out in the morning. We enjoyed  our picnic in the outdoor room experiencing the sight and sounds of the storm.