We were promised Kangaroos and Kangaroos are what we got. Massive ones! They arrived just after Kate had finished writing our last blog as we were enjoying a nice cup of tea. We were expecting them the following morning so it was a complete surprise that 1 showed up 12 hours early! We very cautiously approached it but it was probably more nervous than us and hopped away to a safe distance. They are actually quite intimidating when up close and could probably do some real damage to a human if so inclined. The following morning I woke early as usual and took a look outside but did not see anything so went for a walk and found 3 sitting in the shade of a tree just near our van. They were smaller than the one the previous night but having 3 made up for it! I went and got Kate who jumped out of bed straight away and we went for our photos so we now have pictures of us in our jimmies looking nervous with 3 kangaroos in the foreground.
Our next stop was Mooloolaba which was another beach resort place and seemed very popular as the campsites were full and expensive. The reason for stopping here and indeed everywhere since the turtle watching site at Mon Repos was because we got chatting to a man in a campsite who recommended (and kindly marked on our map) various 'ripper' places to stop and stay on our way down. Mooloolaba's main attraction to us was that there was a fishermans co-op which sold fresh and cooked seafood. We were both missing our fish and chip dinners so this place seemed perfect. We also chose Mooloolaba as our location to travel to Australia Zoo from as there is a free return bus from the town centre. Australia Zoo is famous for being the home of Steve 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin, who was killed whilst filming a documentary by a Manta Ray. This is a real shame because just watching his documentaries and looking at the way his zoo is set up and run show the passion of the guy and how intensely he believed in the conservation of wildlife. Whilst at the zoo we saw all sorts of Australian animals including Kangaroos, crocodiles, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Dingo's and Koalas. Kate had her picture taken with a Koala as well which she had been looking forward to for ages. What I hadn't realised was that Koalas are now getting pretty rare in the wild and the next 10 years are make or break and lots of effort needs to be made to save them. When we got back to Mooloolaba we went straight away to get our fish and chips from the fisherman's co-op. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Fish and Chips always taste so good when you are starving hungry, which we were after our long day at the zoo. I would also like to add here that although they were very good they were not on the same scale as Wrights in Ware!
Next up was Brisbane which we arrived at fairly early and spent the day looking round and visiting the south bank parklands which was very busy and a lovely place to go on a weekend. We are fairly tight on time in Australia so 24hours in Brisbane is all we could afford.
Next up was Surfers Paradise which, even if I could surf would be one of the furthest places from paradise I could imagine. We decided that a look around and a place to eat our lunch was enough and we headed down to Tweed Heads (which was slightly better) for the night. The following morning we set off for Byron Bay which is popular but low rise and quaint with a good helping of new age/hippie mixed. We are now in summer holidays for Australia so all the accommodation is busy and expensive. What we were paying for a double room in Asia was around half the price of a basic campsite pitch for our van. In the early evening we took a stroll to the most easterly point of Australia and then round the headland to a lighthouse which was much further and more hilly than we had been expecting but worthwhile. The following day we headed inland to Nimbin which is a hippy sort of place with a lots of people with long hair sitting around and a strange smell in the air! The scenery in the area is spectacular and the view from our campsite was probably the best in Australia so far. We had planned to visit some waterfalls en-route to our next location of Yamba but whenever we got close to one the road turned into a gravel track, which is not at all unusual in Australia, however we have been expressly forbidden to drive on any unsealed roads so we turned back. This was a real shame as I feel as though we are missing some gems by being confined to main roads only.
We stopped overnight in Yamba which is a small seaside town. There was a little old cinema here and we watched -Planet 51 which we enjoyed as we have not watched TV for ages. The following day we headed to the next location on our list of recommendations, Red Rock which is a tiny 1 shop village with a small campsite. We spent the afternoon on the beach and floating down a fast flowing river which was fun.
We are now in Nambucca heads which is an uninspiring sort of place and it is also raining which makes things worse.
Next stop South West Rocks…………