Great friends and time had, with beautiful view and weather ranging from sunny to massive rain storm. And so long and thanks for all the fish …
Day one : 14/10/10 :
At Ian’s place up in the hills to the west of Brisbane we got settled in as the frogs started to chirp up. Boy, can a little thing like that make some noise. Zoe hunted down and showed us the little creature that was making some of the racket. As the Biting Barstards started to home in on us we headed in for a yummy dinner, pasta carbonara with asparagus, and and chatted until late.
Day two : 15/10/10
The next morning Ian gave us a great tour of the farm, aka huge garden. The great house is on top of an ant hill, which was to Ian’s great amusement when I’d earlier asked if we could pitch our tent there. I was lucky to get to know one of them when the BB (biting bastard) bit me on the ankle – ouch. There was plenty of green stuff to look at (from my point of view I’m not sure what was good stuff or what was bad stuff as it was all green). We then had a good walk down to the creek which ran along the bottom of the garden.
Oh yes, upon arrival Peli quickly was designated the official stick thrower by Toby, the family’s dog. Yes, this dog has two families, though now spends more time at Ian’s. Toby would come up with a stick ranging in size from a big tree branch to a tiny splinter dangling off his tongue, and would stare at it until you threw it for him. Hours of fun were had.
And then Peli found the massive trampoline in the garden, where she spent most of her free time, while Toby patiently stared down at a stick, waiting for her to get bored of bouncing and play with him again.
The whole family then took us on a fantastic outing to the D’Aguilar National Forest which is around 30min drive away for a great walk around in the rainforest. We were lucky to find a fig tree which had fallen in the recent storms, and we were able to ‘walk’ (balance) all the way to the top of it: not a place many people get to see. Phoebe and Zoe made balancing on the branches (and even doing the splits in the air) look easy while we grabbed on for dear life, they are not gymnasts for nothing.
Three hours later we were back home and the BBQ was fired up for a great Australian BBQ aka feast: chicken, sausages, chops and veges (as vegetables are known here).
In the evening Ian took me into town, while Peli had a good old sleep, and showed me the only bar in town (and a real Aussie bar it was, too) for a few scooners.
Day three : 16/10/10
Got up earlish to say goodbye to the girls as they were on their way to water polo and other such sporty activities. Thanks again Ian, family and Toby for a great and entertaining stay, sorry it was so short.
Adam arrived around lunch time and took the scenic route to Gympie with a stop over in Woodford for lunch. Here, I tried a mince meat pie with mashed potato and cheese on top, yummy. I hope I can hunt that down in the UK. If not, I’ll have to invent it! To follow, we had a caramel macademia nut slice with more nuts than you could shake a stick at. For dinner Adam knocked up a yummy pumpkin and harissa risotto … while we chatted and watched some hilarious stand up comedy on the box. Their lovely cats Indigo and Mittens took a shine to us, and didn’t seem to make Peli sneeze… they must breed hypo-allergenic kittehs here Down Under.
Day four : 17/10/10
The vote was to go see the rare dolphins feeding in Tin Can Bay, which meant a 6am start, yawn. But it was worth it: two dolphins were in (the alpha male, and one of his females) and ready for feeding. The omelette was worth the early start, too. Then we had a walk on the pretty Rainbow Beach and saw the next generation of life savers (tiny tots) being trained: rather fun.
Then it was back to Adam’s to catch up on some sleep before we headed into Brisbane to meet up with SandyV for some Tukka. For starters we had a taster board with kangaroo, emu and crocodile and a good mix of various wild berries and delicious damper (bread) made with stout. Then came the main course of beautiful kangaroo steak and a bite of SandyV’s crayfish. Peli had only one ravioli (a raviolio, in fact!). It was ever so yummy: delicate blue cheese and celeriac, she could have eaten about four more (but that’s cyclists for you). :)
We said goodbye and a big thank you to Adam and Anna for their hospitality (this is a running theme throughout our trip – what great friends we have!) and followed SandyV back to hers. 12 flights of stairs to climb since the lift was out, to a simply stunning 360 degree night-time view over Brisbane. A great cup of tea, cyclists’ fruit cake, and some good old natter and then to bed. With us waking up at dawn to see the beautiful sunrise over Brisbane.
Day five : 18/10/10
SandyV took us to her work where everything was ready for us to pack up our bikes in boxes in the underground garage. A quick lunch later and a massive thank you to Sandy and we were on our way out to the airport in a taxi her office booked for us. Without Sandy’s help, we would have really struggled to get through this tricky part of the journey, especially sorting out the bikes for flying. She is such a star! It was a pleasure to meet you at last, and we hope to see you again soon.
We arrived nicely on time at Brisbane International Airport, only to find that the Jetstar plane we were due to catch was six hours delayed, due to a broken down plane in Christchurch. Arghhhhh bugger. Though the silver lining was that we didn’t get charged for excess luggage, thumbs up! We decided to pass the time at the airport by taking silly pictures of each other with typically Australian items: a didgeridoo, a boomerang, you get the idea. This kept us amused for about half an hour. We then entertained ourselves by reading our books, eating free noodles (the noodle stall accidentally made Peli a chicken dish, meaning I got one free) and annoying the cafe staff with our Jetstar free food vouchers (“What can I get for one dollar?”).
Click here to see the photos : Around Brisbane