2013 Our Down Under Trip travel blog

Macadamia Castle

Coolangatta Beach

Surfers Paradise condo living room; beach view

Surfers Paradise condo river view

Surfers Paradise condo our bedroom view of beach

Melanie (Herb's daughter); Herb's granddaughters Taylor & Abby; Chantelle (Melanie's niece)

Balcony view

Balcony view downtown Surfers Paradise

Balcony view of the moon

Robin on the harbor cruise boat in Surfers Paradise

Harborside home

Surfers Paradise; view from the boat

Harborside home

Robin and Dave on the harbor cruise

Yes, the building curves like that!

Surfers coming in

Robin and Dave at the Australian Outback Extravaganza

Outback pre-show; Country-Western singer

Phar Lap photos and memorial

Outback Spectacular arena

Outback Spectacular seating

10/21/13, Monday.

Off we go again; with the first stop at the Macadamia Castle. Although a touristy place with an Australian animal petting zoo, they had macadamia nuts of every kind for sale. We bought a few roasted nuts and got back on the road. We drove through Byron Bay where we could see the lighthouse that we visited the other day. Then we came to Tweed Heads, a town on the border of New South Wales and Queensland (two of the 7 states in Australia). (Remember Australia is as big as the USA, but only 7 states.) Entering Queensland, we had to set our clocks back an hour because, like Arizona, they do not recognize daylight savings time. Driving through Queensland, we passed many interestingly named towns such as: Billinudgel, Murwillumbah, Cudgera Creek, Bogangar, Chinderah, Terranora, Bilambil and Coolangatta. They are all aboriginal names and very hard to pronounce... Correctly!

This time our destination was Surfers Paradise, a beach town on the Gold Coast that reminds me of Hawaii. The beach was lined with high-rise condos and hotels, many restaurants of every ethnic type and a gorgeous beach that stretched for miles and miles. There were surfers all over as this is (as the name implies) a VERY popular place for them.

We stayed in a nice condo on the 18th floor. On one side, we had a balcony and faced the ocean with an uninterrupted view (about 180 degrees). On the other side of the condo, we faced the river and mountains (much like the Ali Wai canal and mountains). It was a 2 bedroom & bath, with kitchen, dining and living rooms; spacious and nicely furnished.

We drove around town a bit (very difficult because they had many roads blocked due to construction and to preparation for the Grand Prix. We ended up at an Italian restaurant named Amor Pizza and Pasta. It was great. The owner was very nice and made all his dishes from scratch. We watched him hand knead and roll out the pasta for a calzone for Robin which was awesome. I had fettuchine alfredo with chicken and it was among the best I have eaten. Les had a seafood marinara that he said was excellent.

Back to our room. A full moon was out peeking in and out from behind the clouds and throwing a river of light across the ocean. It was beautiful and very romantic.

10/22/13, Tuesday.

Les stayed at the room to relax, Herb dropped Robin and I off at the docks and he went to the casino. Robin and I took a harbor lunch cruise which turned out to be fabulous. They had the largest prawns I have ever seen for lunch plus salads, wine and various other items. VERY GOOD! We sailed past many harborside homes/mansions, many selling for over $10 million with beautiful yachts tied up at their individual piers.

When we returned from the cruise, Robin and I decided to walk around the shopping district of Surfers Paradise. We enjoyed the sights, window shopping and buying a few t-shirts. Then we decided to walk the 11 blocks back to our condo. That hurt!!

Tuesday night we went to the Australian Outback Spectacular. Most of the people we spoke to said it was a "not to be missed event" and they were right. The current show is the "Spirit of the Horse and Tribute to Phar Lap", on of Australia's greatest racing horses of the early 1900's. Everyone was given Australian Outback hats (like our cowboy hats); there was a preshow of country-western music (Australian style); the meal was wonderful and hot. In short, it was a great evening!!

Back at the condo, we sat outside on the balcony for a little while enjoying the moon over the ocean and the cool breeze.

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