Journal

The Lap of Australia – Week Five

16th April to 22nd April

Springbrook National Park to Brisbane

This week we had a few more nights housesitting so we could only stay up in the mountains for a few more days.

Twin Falls

After a peaceful night, we checked out Twin Falls on a local’s recommendation in the early morning. It was a steep climb down to the waterfall, through caves and behind the falls themselves. I thought we’d be the only ones there. It turns out everyone knew about it and the place was packed with tourists and families. I can see why this place is so popular though its beautiful! We quickly started a craze of photos after I told Emma to climb up on a rock for a photo with the waterfall behind. People started queuing up to get their own photos!

Lamington National Park

I was a bit sceptical of travelling up to Lamington National Park. As the crow flies, it was only across the valley from Springbrook but the drive would take close to two hours. Lonely Planet warned of the road and, on Google Maps, the amount of bends almost put me off. We decided to give the drive a try instead and, whilst it was narrow and very tight, it wasn’t too steep. No problemo for old Max.
We arrived with less than two hours of light left but that didn’t stop us from parking and setting off in search of Moran Falls. I knew it was around 4km but I couldn’t remember if that was one way or return. The rainforest was already getting dark but, luckily for us, the walk was only 2km!
As we caught the first glimpse of the water falling hundreds of metres into the valley, a rainbow appeared straight through the water. We made it to the second viewing point in no time and had to fly the drone as you couldn’t actually see the waterfall. Whilst flying, with apparently nothing around, my drone’s obstacle avoidance kept going crazy at one point. I found out the next day that there were electricity wires crossing the valley exactly where I was flying. I have no idea how I didn’t crash! Maybe I should get insurance.

I’d seen a photo of Moran Falls where whoever took it was basically on top of the waterfall. Eventually, we found a cut through the fence where we could stand right on the edge. Sometimes you’ve just got to take risks, and jump across the slippery rocks, to get the best photos!

The next morning we had a quick walk around O’Reilly’s. This is a resort that has been in the O’Reilly family for three generations. Nearby there was a treetop walk which involved climbing two sets of ladders to get 30 metres up a tree. Emma passed but I thought it would be interesting. The view from right at the top was great but it was far too windy and creaky for me to stay too long.

Tamborine Mountain

We’d heard good things about Tamborine Mountain so that was next on our tour of the hinterland. There were actually a few different villages but Eagle Heights was the main one. The highlights were the kitsch shops including one in a (wooden) castle and one selling all things German. A bit out of the ordinary for Australia! You’d come here if you wanted to buy a grandfather clock or fudge.

Back to the Gold Coast

On our way back to Burleigh Heads for our housesit, we had a look around Surfer’s Paradise. This is the main resort town of the Gold Coast. At first, my impressions were good. It felt like the holiday resort we were looking for; cheap beer and a good beach. That quickly changed as we got caught by a guy selling bar crawls for at least half an hour.

The pace definitely settles down as you head down the coast towards Miami and Burleigh. I would prefer to be out of Surfers for sure.
The highlights of our last few days on the Gold Coast were a trip to Wet n Wild and learning to surf.
I haven’t been to a waterpark since I lived in Cyprus. Watermania was (and I guess still is) set in orange plantations and I’ve so many great memories from there. I’d hoped the magic of a waterpark would still be the same as an adult. I also wanted to go to Wet n Wild as Splash Planet in Inbetweeners 2 was filmed here.

Wet n Wild Gold Coast, Australia
Wet n Wild Gold Coast, Australia
Wet n Wild Gold Coast, Australia
Wet n Wild Gold Coast, Australia

We’d missed the Queensland school holidays so the park wasn’t anywhere near as busy as it could have been. I managed to get on every ride and even Emma managed all but two. It was incredible and just as much fun as when I was a kid. The only weird part was having to queue for rides by myself. By about 3pm, we were both worn out so we headed to Miami for sunset and burgers.

On our final day, I ticked off learning to surf off my bucket list. Not only did I learn to surf but I learnt to surf on the Gold Coast which, apparently, is one of the best places to surf in the world.
Once we got in the water, the waves looked bigger than me. It was only after, when I look at the photos, how small they look! It didn’t take me too long to manage to stand up but it was really difficult. Much more difficult than I thought it would be but I loved it! I can see why so many people surf here. The only downside was that I forgot to put suncream on which meant my face was like a beetroot for the next few days.

Catching a wave...

Onwards to Brisbane

Only an hour away, we made the drive up to Brisbane on Sunday morning not really sure what to do. We parked near the river so we could get the free boat right into the centre and do a bit of sightseeing at the same time. Brisbane was lovely and even had a manmade beach and pool overlooking the skyline! We only really spent a day looking around the city as we prefer places with far less people.

Brisbane Ferry
Brisbane Clock Tower
Brisbane's South Bank
Story Bridge

Next week we’ll be creating family portraits with koalas, visiting the Glasshouse Mountains and having beach days in Noosa.

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