For this trip , I went old school by recording our thoughts and adventures with a pen and paper. This was to save time and space during the trip by not having the laptop around to gawk and half edit images that I know I will be re-doing when I get home anyway. I have to say that in retrospect, it did leave me having a much more restful holiday despite the activities that we managed to squeeze in! The only piece of new gear we were looking forward to trying out was a go pro hero7 with underwater housing for Marianne’s planned dives.
We left Adelaide on a balmy winter’s morning travelling in a maxi cab that was probably the equivalent of our UberXL experience last trip. No dramas with check in to Brisbane. The kids had their customary playground session at the airport before boarding the plane with their customary excitement that lasted for the entire trip this time! Two hours on the plane was easy for everyone save for Charlotte’s ears. Before we knew it, we were back on the ground and heading off in our rental Nissan X trail courtesy of a smooth pick up from alpha rentals.
Our first hiccup of the trip , though rapidly resolved, occurred when we were trying to check in to our accommodation at Upper Coomera booked through getastay. Apparently, since they had allowed us to use the house for 3 nights instead of 5, they booked us in for the wrong 3 night block of the 5 nights. This meant that they weren’t expecting us for another 2 days! Thanks to some understanding behalf of the hosts,as it was our mistake, we were still able to use the property, albeit later that afternoon than anticipated.
We took that opportunity to have our customary ‘can’t be bothered’ Maccas lumch on arrival followed by some supplies shopping at the Westfield Coomera. Then, finally, we checked in to our house which was huge for our purposes and complete with pool table and arcade games deck! Oohh boy did we spend some time playing the likes of Donkey Kong, Galaga and Dig Dug!
That evening, after a brief shoot at Coomera River where the sun created some great rays and golden light, we had a great pizza meal courtesy of Don Angelo’s Pizzeria (well, takeaway since it was full beyond bursting despite the torrential downpours)
Saturday June 29:
At 5am amdist some rapidly changing skies, I drove to Fingal Head in hope of some good conditions. It was eerily similar to our 2016 visit. It seems that each time I go there, I end up getting drenched on as the heavens opened up just after dawn on this occasion. In timing with that and some splash action, the A7R2 decided to malfunction at a critical moment ….thankfully it recovered quickly for the rest of the trip.
When I returned home, Marianne told me that the girls had been chatting to each other all night and Charlotte’s cough had developed a hacking quality to it along with bouts of continuous sneezing ….hopefully some kind of local allergy rather than flulike illness??
Within the hour, we had eaten breakfast, packed and headed off to Seaworld for the day. In all honesty, I felt that it was starting to show its age as my memories as a teenager back in the 1990s seemed to correlate exactly with what I was seeing in 2019 ? It was still a great deal of fun and the girls’ best memories of the days were of the seal and dolphin shows. The shows were ironically the weakest point for me. I wonder, is there anything wrong with providing entertainment for purely entertainment’s sake /value these days? Seaworld does well to provide education , especially for young children, but perhaps the subtlety of a blunt axe isn’t needed for all ages! During the day Charlotte also loved her first experience on a full sized roller coaster while Jaime enjoyed her Manta Ray feeding experience despite having her finger nibbled on. Bigger rides for both girls next time , height permitting!
After a brief rest at home, I headed to Ouyan street for a sunset shoot of the Surfers Paradise skyline. Somehow I ended up assisting with fixing someone’s tripod in between a couple of long exposures but it ended up being a win-win situation. There was some ‘hangriness’ (hungry/angry is a term we use a lot at home!) when I returned home which was exacerbated by a long wait at ‘My Friends Asian takeaway’. Unfortunately the food was not worth the wait either so that place will not be high recommendation at all.
Sunday June 30:
It was a great morning down at Southport where joggers, photographers , cyclists and surprisingly few surfers all congregated pre-dawn. The light ended up being quite beautiful and being not so far away as Fingal Head, it meant that I returned home in good time for breakfast with the kids and Marianne.
The rest of the day would be spent around Mount Tamborine and driving through the Gold Coast Hinterland. There was great natural beauty , however the heavy traffic was definitely off putting after 10am. Our first stop was Curtis Falls which in the morning, was not yet crowded. Eventually, more people would stream in (some wearing some pretty inappropriate clothing). Thanks to the previous days showers, there was reasonable flow in the waterfall. I ventured barefoot on the downstream side of the falls away from the barricaded areas and managed a couple of shots before leaving.
Next stop was the Tamborine Skywalk. The entrance fee was reasonable for the experience but honestly, I’m sure the ground sections were equivalent to any of the trails in the area. The price of commercialism and regulating access to sensitive environments I guess. On our way out from the skywalk, traffic had really started to build up as I presume visitors from the Brisbane area started to filter through. We had planned to have lunch and explore the Cedar Creek Falls area but were unable to find a park in the overwhelmed and far undersized car park. Instead, we randomly parked anywhere we could do so legally and had our packed lunches on some random rocks. While we eating, quite a number of visitors turned around also unable to find a park.
After lunch, we decided to drive back to the holiday house to get clean, pack up and chill out before departing for Vanuatu. Dinner was again courtesy of Don Angelo’s and by 630pm the girls were in bed attempting to get an early night’s sleep ahead of a predawn trip to the airport.
Monday July 1
4am start, pack-up and off to the airport. I think time has accustomed us to this routine and there were few gripes from the girls. Even at 5am albeit on a Monday morning , the highways into Brisbane were already starting to suffer from congestion but not enough to delay our rental drop off. Alpha car rentals had a very smooth and efficient drop off process and overall, I’m sure I would rent from them again given that their prices were very competitive compared to the other major rental companies.
The airport side of things was again smooth with no interruption and again, without fuss, we ended up on the Air Nauru plane bound for Port Vila!