Drury Family Tour of Australia Part 3
25/07/2019 – Aussie Blackpool
Had to be up early today for a morning flight to Gold Coast, just about managed to get all our Bruny Island goodies in our bags, I think most tourists have boomerangs and fridge magnets in their luggage not huge blocks of smelly cheese and jars of pickled onions – first stop in Gold Coast (if the food survives the trip) has to be to get some nice crusty bread to eat with this lot.
Our accommodation was in the middle of Surfers Paradise – well, this place is just Blackpool on steroids, It’s a proper seaside resort with amazing beaches, theme parks and nightlife. We arrived at lunchtime, settled into our boutique hotel. “The Island”. It’s got everything, a pool, sauna, rooftop bar with live music and a couple of restaurants. The room was really nice and with all the facilities it’s a really good price.
We had a walk on the beach but it was a bit too cool and windy for a dip in the water, I’m sure it would be fine in the mid-day sun but we didn’t fancy it, in fact there was only 1 bloke in the water, why is it wherever you go there’s always 1 fat bloke in the sea that doesn’t give a shit how cold it is, although to be fair it’s often me.
I have seen a fast food chain called Hungry Jacks in each of our destinations so I decided we needed to try it for our dinner as I always like to try local food and this seemed to be as popular as McDonald’s so it must be decent. It wasn’t until I received my “Hungry Jacks Whopper” I realised that it was Burger King! Apparently when they tried to open the first Burger King in Australia there was a tiny independent burger bar already called Burger King and he wouldn’t give up his trademarked name so the whole Australian Burger King franchise had to change their name. I love this story, I’m always an advocate for the little guy!
Matt went back to the hotel for a chill out and Gill and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood, checking out the lush apartments on the waterfront and spotting local wildlife – there were a load of Flying Foxes around which was cool.
Since my proper underwater camera was broke and my cheap knock off Chinese Go Pro copy was shit I found myself annoyed that I might see something cool while snorkelling on Saturday and not be able to capture it. I decided the sensible thing to do was to treat myself to a proper new underwater camera the problem was that I now only had about 2 hours to buy it before all the shops closed.
A couple of taxis to electrical shops later and I was very happy with my purchase, until I got back to the hotel and set it up and realised it didn’t come with a wrist strap, shit! shit! shit! I had chased around to buy a £300 camera and still couldn’t use it for snorkelling!
Oh well nothing I can do now, shops are shut and we are off for a full day tomorrow. Best get to bed and dream of the fantastic photos I could take if I could tie the dam thing to my arm.
26/07/2019 – Gilly Heaven
Today is a special day for Gill, ever since she herd you could have an encounter with a Red Panda at the Australia Zoo it’s been on her bucket list as it’s her favorite all time cuddly critter. In all honesty this encounter had a big baring on us choosing Australia as our next adventure. Unfortunately I tried my best to sabotage this adventure by sending us to the wrong city, the zoo is near Sunshine Coast and I sent us to Gold Coast, oh well it was only 200KM out which in this country this size is a short trip down the lane. With the animal encounter only offered first thing in the morning and a couple of hours journey ahead it was a 4:30am get up!
We arrived in good time and were taken straight to the Red Panda enclosure for the experience. Gill looked a little nervous as we were told that “Ravi” (the panda) could be a little finicky and that the encounter was on his terms (as it should be) so if he didn’t come down from the tree they would find us another animal to meet. Luckily for us as soon as he saw us Ravi was down crawling all over us to get to his breakfast. I’m pretty sure I caught Gilly shedding a tear or two of joy. We spent about 20 minutes with him mooching around on our laps and between our legs before he had had his fill and disappeared up the tree, Matt and I thought it was brilliant so I can only imagine how Gill felt – I reckon I got some serious brownie points from organizing this one !
The Zoo was brilliant, there were keepers roaming the park with animals for you to check out, the shows were fantastic and we even got to pat and have a photo with a adult Cheater – how many people can add “Cheater” to their animal poking list!
We learned all about Steve Irwin and what he was trying to achieve. Hes one of my heroes – Matt described me as a fat British version of him, which to be honest I take as a major compliment! I spent the rest of the day annoying my family by shouting Crikey! in my best (worst) Aussie accent every time we saw an animal. This was a brilliant day, I would recommend a trip to this Zoo to anyone.
After a long day covering over 25KM on foot around the zoo Gill and Matt crashed out back at the hotel for a well earned rest. I on the other hand was still annoyed I couldn’t use my camera tomorrow so set off on a mission to find something to strap it to my arm. It was 9:00pm so all the camera type shops were all shut, I had a seafront night market and a bunch of convenience stores to go at.
With my best MacGyver head on I went to work. An hour later I came back with a bag full of crap, including a climbers clip, elasticated “no tie” shoelaces, a flotation device for a Go Pro, and a helpful shop assistants ID lanyard. I was all set to figure out how to combine these when I noticed the Go Pro thing had a detectable wrist strap, oh that was easy!. I was both pleased the problem was solved and very disappointed I had a bag full of useless crap that I didn’t get to combine into something awesome A-Team style.
27/07/2019 – Teenage Mutant Ninjas
When we went to bed last night I was regretting booking today’s activity, we were so tired after a really long day the prospect of getting up at 6am to go snorkeling wasn’t thrilling. Especially when the waves looked rough and the temperature wasn’t as warm as we would have liked.
How wrong I was, we met Keri, our guide from Watersports Guru at the boathouse on the tweed, a beautiful spot I could certainly see myself living on if the opportunity arose. She was lovely and got us kitted out in our gear and gave us a briefing, we jumped in the boat and off we went, had a thrilling 30 minute ride out to Cook Island stopping to spot dolphins on the way.
As soon as we got there and got in the water all our reservations were long gone we had only been on for 30 seconds and a huge green turtle swam up to us. What an amazing creature, it’s so cool to think that 200 years ago when Captain Cook discovered the island that turtles parent could have just been born and watched the first western humans appear, and now the offspring is swimming with us!
We spent a brilliant 90 minutes in the water swimming with turtles and spotting loads of other ocean life I was totally gutted when I got the signal it was time to get out, I could have stayed in there all day. After thanking Keri for everything we crossed over the road to the a lovely cafe for a coffee and a bacon butty – what a brilliant morning!
Well it took longer than I expected on this holiday but this afternoon Matthew finally cracked and gave in to his need to play games on a computer, he found a gaming cafe and spent the afternoon in there while Gill and I walked along the sea front and had a couple of drinks etc, Matt came back out with us in the evening and we did the appropriate seaside thing and ate a load of sea side crap pizza, churros, ice cream etc.
Sunday 28th – More Encounters
Another day, another wildlife sanctuary. I think Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary might be the last one (although we would never say never) the mission here was to have a few more close encounters with critters that we couldn’t fit into the other days. We started the day with a cuddle and a photograph with a Koala called Electra.
Next we went to a brilliant bird show, I know it’s embarrassing for the keepers but it is brilliant when the birds decide to do their own thing. There was a cockatoo called Liquorice that sat by us and it didn’t matter what gestures his trainer gave back on the stage he wasn’t moving lol.
We each had a different encounter today, Gill has a real soft spot for the Echidna which is like an Aussie hedgehog.
I had a hold of a possum (was keen to do this since that one in Melbourne psyched me out)
Matthew fed and played with Capybara (not an Aussie animal but one of his all time favourites so he couldn’t pass up the chance to get close to the giant guinea pig)
After a full day of animal related fun we finished off by feeding the wild Loraceets. Gill went first and it turns out timed her turn to perfection, enjoying having a bunch of beautiful birds sat on her arm feeding on the bowl of nectar. It was now my turn I put the bowl higher in the air exclaiming more birds would come for a better experience . . . and more did come I had almost 10 birds on my arms. . . . and then they all shit on me! So for all you out there fancying this cool experience make sure you get in for the first round of feeding or suffer the blitz.
Once we got back to Surfers Paradise Gill and I went for a couple of drinks and Matthew went to the gaming cafe to play for a few hours. There were lots of street performers on the mall including a guy juggling a running chainsaw, which was pretty impressive.
Had a look around the night market on the seafront and bought a finger painted bit of art on glass by a young girl there. She was making them while right there and they were pretty good – not a bad souvenir really. To be honest anyone that can do stuff like that impresses me I can’t even draw a stick man in proportion.
Finished the night in Seascape, a lovely restaurant on the seafront overlooking the ocean . Lots of fresh seafood on the menu I would recommend it.
29/07/2019 – Top of the World
Its a travel day today, we went out for a pancake breakfast to Pancakes in Paradise and it was pretty good, typical American diner type.
After breakfast, laundry and packing we still had a couple of hours to fill as it was a late afternoon flight, Matt wanted to go back to the gaming cafe so Gill and I decided to have a walk on the beach and then went up to the Sky point Observation Deck for a great view of the Gold Coast, it’s pretty spectacular really there is also a bar/cafe which is a lovely place to sit and have a drink taking in the views.
While we were up there a kind of alarm was going off, but they didn’t ask us to evacuate, when it was time to go we found the lift sealed off by the fire brigade, apparently it was a precaution but nothing to worry about. . . . Except for the prospect of missing out flight. I’m a be at the airport really early type person just in case, Gill and Matt take the piss all the time so each time I shave 5 minutes more off etc. I wasn’t happy that I left it later we were now trapped 77 floors up and was looking at a choice between missing a flight or doing 77 flights of stairs.
Luckily 20 minutes later as I was starting to warm to the idea of getting my steps in, they opened the lift and we got to the airport in plenty of time.
By the way in case you were wondering, there was so much food to try in Gold Coast I still have the bloody Cheese and Pickled Onions etc, had to carefully repack the jars and hope they survived another trip. Next stop is Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef!