We've been back almost a week from our trip up north to S.E. Queensland so I thought I should get around to this. Ryan (as will come as a surprise to none who know him well) is having an afternoon nanna nap so I have free access to the computer and a little bit of enthusiasm to get it done! It's been a long first-four-days-of-second-semester though so I am not promising to be coherent.
We set off obscenely early on the 11th of July, arriving in Brisbane at around 10am. Of course, after staying up far too late the night before and packing once again at about midnight, all we wanted to do was nap! We checked into our hotel and proceeded to do just that, getting up around 3pm, watching some cable (we miss cable :) ) and then went out to explore a little before meeting some friends for dinner. It was great to meet these girls that I had met online, planning our wedding more than three years ago. Ryan was happy to know that they weren't very committed axe murderers, posing as newly-marrieds. We ended up walking across to the South Bank with my friend, Anita and her husband, Arthur, then walking down the river and through the QUT city campus before heading back for a good night's rest. The next day, we wandered around Brisbane, taking in the sights. We went down to the mall and did some window shopping before visiting the Art Gallery and the Museum. Later, we met up with Anita and Arthur again who cooked us a lovely dinner at their house and then took us to see the new Harry Potter film.
On the Friday, we checked out of the hotel and trundled down to pick up our rental car. We drove down to Surfer's Paradise for breakfast and a glorious walk in the sunshine, down the beach and through the shopping area. We then drove down to Burleigh Heads, stopping at a Wildlife Park where we especially admired the biggest crocodile I've ever seen!
We then went for a walk through a mangrove area and a bamboo plantation - beautiful. The bamboo is bright yellow for some reason in this area of Queensland which makes for lovely photos.
Later, that day, we drove up to Oxenford where we stayed for the night, before driving to Mt. Tambourine and Lamington National Park.
The area is amazingly beautiful. It's thick forests have lovely walks and the mountain views are stunning. There are lots of little gourmet cafes to stop in at too!
We did a great walk in the afternoon to a natural rock formation called Natural Arch. You can actually walk into the cave, behind the arch and stand almost underneath the waterfall. There were some crazies swimming in the pool but the temperature's supposedly pretty arctic so we gave that a miss!
After that, we drove up to Toowomba, a surprisingly busy country town where we stayed the night and saw what a kickin' place it is to spend a Saturday night. However, being old, we were tucked up in bed by 10pm with our books! :)
The next day, Sunday, was our big driving day - about 5 hours. We drove most of the day away, with some unsuccessful attempts to reach a few National Parks along the way. Who would have thought that major roads to National Parks that were marked on all the tourist maps would have been unpaved, dirt roads?! Not this little rental-car-driving black duck! All in all, it was a little frustrating, but arriving back on the coast in Hervey Bay was wonderful. We got there in the late afternoon and had a lovely walk around the marina area.
We considered going on a cruise to Fraser Island but decided to save that for a trip when someone who is excited by dolphins is with us (hint hint, Robin!). Instead, we drove to Noosa Heads which was absolutely gorgeous. It's a cute little resort town with a stunning beach
and a little national park with a short, but lovely rainforest walk. The walk overlooks the coastline and it was all just gorgeous!
We then drove further down the coast and back up into the mountains to an area called the Hinterlands. We stayed at a gorgeous B&B for two nights, spending the day wandering in the local towns of Maleny and Montville, eating yummy food and doing the occasional walk up hills to admire the view. All too soon, it was time to head south again, back to Brisbane, stopping on the way to admire the Glass House Mountains. No climbing this time - we just admired from a distance!
(Yes, we also drove past the Irwin family's Australia Zoo, but no, we couldn't bring ourselves to pay the exorbitant entry fee!)
Arriving back in Brisbane, we hastily checked back in to the hotel and then set off for a final dinner with our now good friends, Anita and Arthur :) also meeting up with Tanya who I taught with in London and her new husband, Steven. After a yummy Greek meal, we ended up chatting away at a pub on the South Bank, before heading off.
Our final day was spent wandering again in Brisbane. We took the City Cat to New Farm, wandered around the shops there, found the Powerhouse and its collection of amusing signs and then pottered around at South Bank again. Soon it was time to head off home again to our very cute furbaby, who was exhausted after staying with my parents and their far-too-energetic border collie! And I'm going to add one more picture, just 'cause Jessie's so cute when she's plum-tuckered. :)