I'm trying to write the blogs as I go but it's not always possible for me to connect to wifi in order to post them. So a few may appear at the same time.
Well the Kookaburras did wake us and it was a lovely sound to hear even at 6am. Mollie I may add slept through it and east to west across the bed! I quite often lie and listen to the sounds wherever we are. First thing in the morning and last thing at night (with a glass of wine) you can hear the best things. The latest sounds have been crickets, lorikeets, parrots, cockatoos and frogs. That's not too bad! The other thing that strikes you as you travel this way are the trees that grow and what's on them. I've taken great delight in showing Mollie trees growing in gardens and what's in them. For example in Melbourne we saw lemon and fig trees. In Fiona's garden in Coffs Harbour she had banana trees, mango trees and something else that hadn't developed enough for me to identify!!! But this brought on a conversation with Mollie about why things grow over here and not in the UK. We also tried to catch a lizard or a skink but no luck!
We only spent three days in Coffs but it was fab. Fiona has a wee labradoodle called Tilly and Mollie loved running along the beach with her on her afternoon walks. The beach was always busy. Whether it was runners, dog walkers, families, swimmers, life guard training the list is endless. The beach and parks which we have found many are always busy and full of activity. It's been brill to see. We have met many people and made friends in these areas. Usually the Aussies ask which part of Ireland I'm from?!! But it starts up a conversation.
Coffs was just lovely. The beaches, the sights and sounds were fab. The first day Mollie and I headed out into the town to have a nosey. Heaps of shops and coffees bars. I even had a chat with one of the owners of the coffee shops about Glenfiddich whisky. That was funny! People have been very friendly and sooo nice and so laid back.
Whilst in Coffs I had the chance to get my hair returned to the natural blonde it is. Mollie had to sit in the hairdressers with me during this time but she was sooo good. She spent most of the time laughing at me and the sheets of tin foil in my hair. She in return got lots of attention and her hair in braids! Hers was most definitely a cheaper thrill. I might have to be brunette by the time I get back to Scotland. Oh and I've had my hair chopped even further. I have short hair and it feels good.
So, let's sum Coffs up. Lots of shopping, gorgeous beaches, great people, heaps of nature type stuff and the highlight has to be the trip to the porpoise and dolphin pool. Here Mollie and I were pulled in to the show which was lovely. I got to feed the dolphin Ziggy some fish whilst Mollie got to tickle their tummies and received kisses from a seal and a dolphin. Kodak moment? Most certainly.
Well Friday 18th brought the return to the road trip. Where are we going? Not the foggiest. I was aiming for a place called Byron Bay. A very popular resort. However, as I discovered from Fiona, this weekend signalled the start of 'schoolies' week. This is when the seniors all finish their HSC (high school certificate) exams and literally flood Surfers Paradise and other beach areas. Byron Bay was only 2.5 hours up from Coffs and from looking in the car mirror Mollie looked quite happy singing along to The Saturdays so onwards we went. Hmm where's next on the map? Aaahh Surfers Paradise!that looks good. Let's aim for there. The drive was long but quite scenic. The names of the creeks we passed over kept me laughing. Big James creek, lemon tree creek, big shark creek, bald knob creek! Seriously! I'll stop there though.
We eventually hit surfers paradise and to say the least it was choc a bloc. Teenagers walking around with rucksacks and crates of beer (oh gawd!) I tried a few apartment type accommodations but no luck. Going by the size of the buildings (MASSIVE!) and the numbers of kids going in I'm not sure I wanted to be in there with them. I eventually stumbled across a Best Western. The owner couldn't help but he very kindly called someone in an apartment block round the corner called Montego Sands. Result! They had a room. We got directions and off we set. This place is a wee hidden gem. It's a family run resort, the owner refuses to take any 'schoolies' so it's mainly couples. Our apartment isn't huge but it has a lounge/diner, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom and a wee patio area which goes onto the minuscule pool. Fab. Oh and it's 60m to the beach!!!! Even better. Three nights it is.
So for the past two days Mollie and I have parked ourselves on the beach and built sandcastles, dug tunnels, chased crabs, (but not in the grass as we might get a nasty surprise?!!) jumped waves and watched kite surfers in the sea. Ok, so it was more of a one sided interest in the kite surfers but oh me they are good. I even got chatting to a couple. Hmm they workout alot!!!! Mollie was more interested in the wee white crabs and how fast they could run when she chased them. It has been really hot so lots of sun cream on and hat for Mollie. I'm still looking for a quality Aussie hat before I buy one :-)
Tonight has been our last night here. There is so much we could have done including movie world, wet n wild, sea world and another couple but most of them are suited to children older than Mollie and I think we got alot more out of playing on the beach and on the many parks that surround the beach area. We went out for dinner tonight and it took us nearly 40 mins to get there due to Mollie wanting to stop and play at every playground. Seeing as it was such a lovely night and I was quite happy to soak up the atmosphere Mollie had loads of play park action. The parks here by the way (sorry if I'm repeating myself) are awesome! Not just a slide a swing and a climbing frame. Nope, these are super parks with swings on a roundabout, cargo nets up a 4foot pole with a trampoline thing in the middle of the net. Twisty turny slides. I have lost count how many she has been on but they are geared up so that kids WANT to play on them. One of the parks today even has a wee mini bike tram where the kids have to cycle it round the park. It's brill. As we walked past them I noticed that lots of families had turned up with chairs, tables, food and BBQ. Yep, there were a few BBQs going on this afternoon with lots of people at each one. A good family / friend affair. We also watched many surfers heading back to apartments/homes with their boards. Nothing strange there except we saw them on skateboards carrying a board, a bike carrying a board, rollerblades carrying a board and even on a moped with the surf board tucked under the arm!
Well tomorrow Mollie and I are back on the road. I was going to do Beerwah over the next couple of days as that's where the Australian Zoo is but I'm on a race to get up to Whitsunday islands and back down again to Brisbane by 1st December (DECEMBER??? you are joking. Where is the snow?!) a challenge anyway. oh one last thing. Blooming time zones. For one day I was wandering around an hour out of sync. When you cross the Queensland border you gain an hour. I thought it was 9am on saturday as Mollie and I wandered round this huge shopping mall place called Pacific Fair. Nope 8am! Ggrrrr.
Right, yet again I have to pack the suitcase and make sure everything has been tidied up but that's ok as I know we are heading onto another stunning part of the world. Hmm fantastic