Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Gold Coast and the Green Behind the Gold too!

It is not hard to see how the Gold Coast of Australia got its name.  The sandy beaches stretch on for miles and are littered with blond surfers catching waves.  Not only is the coastline golden, the ‘green behind the gold’, known as the sub-tropical rain forest, is a precious gem as well.  The border of New South Wales boasts the largest volcanic caldera in the southern hemisphere, a natural beauty forming the Mount Warning Shield Volcano. Of course this meant that we would be spending a day climbing and exploring.  Surfing, tanning, hiking and mountain climbing, what more could anyone ask for.    
I think everyone starts surfing here when they are “knee high to a grasshopper”, although that may not mean much to the Aussies considering their grasshoppers are huge!  The beaches are so beautiful and the waves are long and smooth keeping the surf crowd occupied for hours.  I always considered surfer types to be laid back folks who slept in until after lunch in their vans, surfed all afternoon and partied until the wee hours of the morning. After living on the coast for a week I learned that surfers are morning people.  Cabarita Beach had a great little cove where tonnes of locals came to surf.  As soon as the sun came up, the water was speckled with tanned bodies floating on their boards, waiting for the right wave.  I suppose I should have known that the best waves are found early in the morning, I did watch Soul Surfer after all!  We spent hours on a steep headland watching the surfers of all ages.  In the middle of the day the beach would clear out, only to be busy again after dinner until nightfall.  Mark enjoyed playing the bagpipes for the surfers who seemed to enjoy having some tunes on their rides. The girls built on their Florida surfing skills while at Surfers Paradise and caught some nice waves too.
We spent many hours at the top of the headland in the distance, watching the surfers.
And a few hours doing this too!
Mark attracting an audience again.  I actually couldn't hear Mark when the girls and I went out to find him.   We headed over to the beach and heard a woman on her cell phone talking about a guy bagpiping down on the rocks, she was asking for directions how to get down to see him…we decided to follow her - how many bagpipers could there be on the Gold Coast? 
Ally at Surfer's Paradise
Meg catching a wave!
Along the boardwalk.  
The sub-tropical rain forest is referred to as the ‘green behind the gold’, as it is located a little inland from the coast.  Giant Fig and Gum trees, stunning waterfalls, colourful parrots, lush vegetation and the famous kookaburra were highlights during our afternoon hike.  Although we were walking along the cool, damp, forest floor the air was warm and humid.  All of our senses were alive as we took a treetop walk through the canopy, high above the forest floor. Mark and the girls ventured up even further into the treetops for a better view 30 meters above the ground. 
We couldn't believe the size of the trees.
While Mark was capturing a photo of these parrots...
one flew up and landed on his head.  Since he was holding the camera the shot is a selfie
but at least it captured the moment!
Kookaburra sits in the old Gum Tree, merry merry king of the bush is he...
Another beautiful waterfall, and of course a beautiful family too :)
You can't see me, but I am wringing my hands down below on the platform that is already
suspended way too high above the ground for my comfort, and these guys are going up another 30 metres
On our way up to Mount Warning we came across a family of wallabies.  The road was very steep and winding, but was nothing compared to the climb we had ahead of us.  The trek through the rain forest was beautiful and again we experienced it with all senses.  Two kilometers into our hike we came to the base of the steepest part of the climb. There we found a chain heading straight up the rocky slope, and a notice to beware. What a climb!  At the top we were rewarded with a beautiful view and an up close and personal look at a python, sunning itself on a tree branch.  All I could think about on the way back down was how many more pythons there were hanging in the trees above my head that we weren’t seeing!

Unfortunately, these little guys are really speedy and this was all I was able to capture!
We are hot and sweaty and feeling mighty proud of our hike so far, then we came to this...
What….did you see how sweaty we were in the previous photo?
Us Mitchells do not give up…so here goes! This was only the beginning, but so much fun.
I'm still debating whether it was worth the climb when this was the view I got at the top…did
I mention I really do not like snakes?
The Gold Coast was amazing and like many of the places we have visited, we could have spent a great deal longer here.  The lifestyle was relaxed and if you were wearing shoes you were overdressed!  We did as the locals did and spent as much time as we could outside and barefoot.  There wasn’t much more in the Gold Coast we could have asked for except perhaps a couple of teaching jobs! 

Yes, we could live here, no problem!
A big thanks goes out to Bill and Joy who allowed us to use their apartment. We had an amazing week at Diamond Beach!

1 comment:

  1. Once again, thanks for the super photos and story of your latest adventure. Looks like you are particularly enjoying this leg of your adventure. How will you be happy going back to boring Lake Erie after all this? Aunt Carole


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