We spent the Christmas period living and working on the Gold Coast. It was an ideal time for us to earn some much needed cash for our future travels, make some new friends and enjoy the beautiful beaches.
All too quickly our time on the coast came to an end and it was time to say our goodbyes and head off on our travels once more. We spent our last few weeks getting Val ready to be our home on wheels once again and trying to visit the places we had yet to tick off our bucket list.
Up in Springbrook National Park there are millions of tiny glow-worms which light up the area by night. We took an evening trip up there with our friends Shaun and Benny to see them. We went into a cave and turned off our torches and were amazed to see the hundreds of glowing bugs lighting up the walls. On the way back home we stopped at a look out and saw views of the entire coast, lit up in the darkness.
As well as its beaches, the Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks. We got a great value pass for Wet And Wild, Movie World and Sea World, which allowed us unlimited entry into the three parks. We had been meaning to visit Wet And Wild, a water park, for some time. We finally got together with our friends Tom and Vicky and took a day trip there. Sian and Vicky relaxed in the lazy river while Emily and Tom sought out the gnarliest water slides they could find. Although rumour has it neither of them was brave enough for the biggest slide!
Since we visited O’Reilly’s Vineyard for breakfast after our hot-air balloon flight, we had been meaning to return. We persuaded Shaun and Benny to drive us up there during our final week on the coast. We packed a picnic and enjoyed a beautiful bottle of wine from the vineyard down by their picturesque river. Platypus/Platypi/Platypuses/Platypodes (the jury is still out on the correct plural term) have been spotted in the river at O’Reilly’s but did not grace us with their presence. We did however enjoy the company of several turtles who swam in the water and came up for air right in front of our picnic spot. We decided to continue the journey up the mountain into Lammington National Park. Our first stop was at an Alpaca farm where we fed and petted the funny looking creatures. Emily was quite taken with the similarity they bore to her with their crazy curly hair. However any affinity she had with them abruptly ended when one spat all over her! Luckily Benny had a spare shirt in the car so she able to change, but it is safe to say we will not be visiting any Alpaca farms in the near future.
Our next stop was at O’Reilly’s Plateau, a rainforest retreat in Lammington National Park. We enjoyed a tree top walk through the forest canopy and climbed a very shaky ladder to experience breath taking views across the national park. There are lots of brightly coloured birds that live in the rainforest, not perturbed by our last animal feeding experience we decided to buy some seeds and feed the birds (which cost much more than tuppence a bag, if you were wondering). While Emily, Shaun and Benny had a great time feeding them, Sian was less than impressed by their flapping and preferred to watch from a distance, a really long distance. We ended what was a perfect day with two very good friends with a shandy on the veranda of O’Reilly’s as the sun set.
Our final days included a farewell meal with our work friends and a trip to the legendary Panchos Mexican with Benny, Shaun, his mum Sharon and her partner Brian. We have nothing but love for all of these people and are so grateful to all of our friends who made our time on the Gold Coast so much fun. They each hold a special place in our hearts and will be greatly missed.