With a squeeze, we managed to get everything bundled into our new motor home and made the short journey to Burleigh Heads, a place that holds very fond memories for us from previous holidays. Had we been members of the surfing fraternity we would have known the Gold Coast Open was happening there that very weekend! The place was pumping – that is everything apart from the surf! It must be difficult to compete in a surfing competition when the waves were few and far between. No such problem in Byron Bay where there were plenty of waves but oh so many people to have to dodge!
We’ve made good use of our bikes this week and cycled to Base Camp at the bottom of Mount Warning (a volcanic plug whose height would easily qualify it as a Munro back in Scotland). We hiked up through the rain forest, in the rain, but only managed to get half way up before reaching signs saying we should not attempt to reach the summit if it was after 1 p.m. It was after 2 p.m. – our late start being the result of our Let’s Go motor home deciding to Let’s Not Go!
The ice cream served up at the Cold Slab in Burleigh was as we remembered, truly scrumptious, and Surfers Paradise was still an over rated concrete jungle (in our humble opinion).
We hit upon some free food this week and it wasn’t of the bush tucker variety. Our first freebie came when Mike ordered two coffees and a scone. The chap serving us came out with our coffees and two date scones. He explained they’d warmed up two scones by accident and did we still want them at no extra charge. “Oh alright then!” we said, especially since they came with extra jam and cream! Next we went off to the supermarket to buy some groceries to restock our new mini-fridge. I planned on making a chilli to use up store cupboard tins and try out the home made chilli powder Jake gave us. As the cashier was totting up the vegetables I noticed the one red chilli I had bought scanned through at $4.75. I asked her if that was indeed correct because if it was £2.50 for just one chilli I’d say forget it and add in more of Jake’s chilli powder. She checked and it came out the same price which she agreed was a bit steep! The cashier then looked at the other veggie items she’d scanned and felt a clove of garlic for $5.50 and cup mushrooms for $1 a piece was probably not right either so she deducted the cost of all the fruit and veggie we’d bought! Good fortune is supposed to come in threes and our friend Colin is probably hoping we’ve bought the McLaren sports car raffle ticket we spoke about! Flowers from my daughter Jenny on Mother’s Day topped everything off beautifully.
We are now back in New South Wales with only about 800 kilometres to go. With four weeks to complete this we can afford to take things at a slower pace. After leaving Mount Warning we drove to Brunswick Heads. This pretty little seaside town has more boutiques and coffee shops than anywhere else we’ve visited together with the dearest Caravan Park. In every sense of the word they are away with the fairies (check out the fairy boxes outside the fire and police stations).
Byron Bay was always on our list to visit as it is the most easterly point on Australia’s mainland. I had planned to do a skydive until the weather changed but we enjoyed the steep walk up to the lighthouse. Despite the sun being in our eyes one minute, it was raining the next and we got absolutely drenched on the 20 km cycle ride back to Lennox Head where we were staying. We managed to get a game of mini-golf in today before the rain started and hopefully the weather forecast correctly predicts we’ll manage to complete tomorrow’s Park Run in Ballina before the rain kicks in again. All good for acclimatising us to the British summer!
Thoughts are turning more towards our return home and what that holds for us. We are grateful we still have a number of different options but it has been a difficult week of adjustment. It will be wonderful to see family and friends again though and before too long I’m sure we’ll be planning our next road trip!!!