Tuesday 26 March 2019 – Brisbane, Australia.
It is almost six weeks after the fact and I am sitting in an Air B n B in Settle, North Yorkshire drinking a glass of cheap Australian shiraz, snarfling down chocolate and pondering catching up on a couple of incomplete blog posts; or just staring blankly at Twitter. As always, it has been a busy couple of months; though at least I have got the keys to my flat now, so there has been some good news! More on that in the next post.
in mid-March I made a last minute trip to Australia (with a side visit to NZ) to see my son, Dom. He needed to spend some proper time with his dad, time I did not had on the last couple of trips back to New Zealand. Time well spent.
I flew Cathay Pacific as it was the best value I could get for the flights and times I wanted to make. I have flown with them before, more than once, and they have been pretty good. They were not bad, but I don’t think I will fly with them again, the entertainment was awful. There was one film I wanted to watch, about three I tolerated and no TV shows I had not seen or wanted to see. Not a heck of a lot for 50 or so hours of flight time, thankfully I had books and music, and the ability to zone out for short periods.
I arrived in Brisbane early morning, picked up a rental car, then Domenic, and we headed up to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. I had rented a fairly basic beach side apartment for us for three nights. It was pretty perfect, Caloundra is not a bad spot, in fact given my hatred of Queensland it as an amazing spot. The beach is glorious, the apartment was over the road from it, there was decent coffee by the beach and some pretty good beers to be had a ten minute walk away. Things must be looking up.
We did not do a lot for the first couple of days, hung out, watched TV; I got to watch some NRL rugby league for the first time in years, which I very much enjoyed. We spent a bit of time on the beach and in the sea. The water was amazing, so warm compared to my last sea swim when I was scouting flats in St Leonards-on-Sea last summer.
I just loved the beach, golden sand, warm and soft under foot, clear warm water and small but not bad surf. I swam more times in those three days than I have in the last three years.
In an effort to keep cost down, and us out of pubs, we shopped in the local supermarket and ate in for the first two nights, only walking up to a bar near the beach in the later afternoon for one pint.
It is all pretty casual here, this is a beach town with a surfer mentality. Not used to wearing flip flop / jandal / thongs for prolonged periods I got a bit of sand / jandal rash and could not wear them for long periods without pain and bleeding. Walking barefoot on the sea front was not a problem. I liked this. I miss walking barefoot. I was the whitest person for hundreds of miles I suspect.
For our last full day we took a drive a short way inland, into the coastal hills, and the tourist road from Meleny to Mapleton. Our first stop allowed us a view over the Glasshouse Mountains.
These 13 small hills were formed million of years ago by volcanic activity. The cool thing is that these hills were not pushed out of the earth, erosion over million years left these very hard rock hills behind.
We spent half the day cruising around the area visiting a few scenic places. My favourite was the almost dry waterfall at Mapleton Falls. We took a bush walk among the trees and I really liked these massive palm trees. The name of them has long been forgotten unfortunately.
We also discovered this very unafraid lizard down by Lake Baroon.
We arrived back in Caloundra in the evening and went for a walk before heading to the pub for dinner, our one night out.
The following day we drove back to Brisbane, stopping to do some shopping on the way. The following day I flew to Auckland for a couple of days to see mum and the family and then back to London and work.
It was really cool I got to spend some time hanging out with Dom, we mostly had a good time together, talked about a lot of things and I left feeling happier about how things were going in his complicated world. We both really enjoyed the days hanging out by the beach, chilling, swimming, eating with no pressure to do or achieve anything. If only life could be like that all the time.
This post was finished a further two weeks later! I am not good at this blogging malarky anymore 🙂