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Archive for the ‘Gold Coast’ Category

On our way North from Burleigh we spent the day at a conservation park which was named after the guy who opened it, David Fleay.  David did a lot for the native animals in this area and was involved in several projects including the breeding of duck billed platypus’.

The park was lovely, like a mini zoo but with a nicer feel to it.  We saw all sorts of animals including emus, tree kangaroos, koalas, snakes, cassowaries, wallabies, crocs and of course the lovely DBPs which we were lucky enough to see hunting live shrimp in their tank.

Although not a huge place, we had a really nice time here and enjoyed taking our time to watch all the animals.  My fave was probably the saltwater crocs (salties).  They had two and they were massive!  Being so close to these creatures was an amazing feeling, there is no doubt that they are top predators and truly magnificent animals.  I can’t wait to see them in the wild.  From a distance.

Croc tastic

Croc tastic

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After staying with Vicky and Allan we headed back down the Gold Coast to Burleigh Heads, another great surf spot that was also supposed to be the quiet part of the coast.  It didn’t disappoint.  Burleigh was like a tiny, sunny Cornish village with  a lovely headland and nice beach.  I did lots of looking around for surfboards but couldn’t quite find one that was right for me, however, we did watch some of the surfers catch a few small waves from the headland rocks and enjoyed several days chilling out in the sun.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh will always have a special place in my heart, not only for being lovely but also for being the town in which we discovered the Aussie pizza chains do cheap Tuesdays making pizza affordable!  This is not only a result because pizza is one my favourite foods but also because none of the hostels or camp sites have ovens and so any oven food is a luxury!

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The main reason that we had gone to the Goldie was to see my friend Vicky, who is an ex-colleague from Poole Hospital. Vicky left England about three years ago to go travelling. She met a guy (called Allan) in Oz, got sponsored as an OT and has been out here ever since. I had not seen Vicky since she left so I was really excited about seeing her, meeting her man and seeing her Australian life.

She twisted our arm to come and stay in her flat with views over Southport, a comfy bed, a pool, sauna, spa and gym and of course Vicky’s home cooking. How could we resist?

We stayed with Vicky and Allan for the weekend. They showed us around and gave us the low down on Surfer’s Paradise. We ate, drank, slept and swam. It was lovely. Vicky and I had a great catch up and I am fully armed and ready to report to our joint friends when I return home. Allan was very friendly and made us feel at home.

As Vicky lived so close to Surfer’s Paradise we didn’t really need to stay there. We discussed it with Vicky and Alan who gave us the impression it was great if you were single, had money to spend or were 17. None of which we are so we decided that a day trip was enough!

Surfers skyline from Coolangatta

Surfer's skyline from Coolangatta

Our stay was a welcome break from the cold snap of camping and gave us a real relaxing weekend. Southport and Surfer’s were a lot nicer than we had expected especially when our tour guides took us to the nice quiet spots. We had a great time.

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Like Bournemouth runs into Poole, Coolangatta (or Cooly as it’s known) seamlessly links into Tweed Heads.  The odd thing about this is that Cooly is in Queensland and Tweed Heads in is New South Wales.  Cooly is a little beach town with some world class surf breaks which are home to Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson.  Unfortunately the most famous break is Kirra which, due to the sand pumping programme from the nearby river, has had its reef covered and is mostly ruined.  There is a big campaign here to ‘Bring Back Kirra’ though and sort the problem out.  As it is on the Goldie (Gold Coast), Cooly is a bit more built up with high risers than the other small towns we’ve been too but it isn’t as bad as Surfer’s Paradise which you can see across the water.

Tweeds is a little more industrious and didn’t have the laid back feel of Cooly for us.  It also has class surf at Duranbah which was very busy whilst we were there.  This was great to see as surfing on the Goldie is legendary for being hectic in the water.  I counted over 50 surfers and this was on a quiet day!

Watching the surf at Duranbah beach on the Tweeds Head / Coolangatta border

Watching the surf at Duranbah beach on the Tweeds Head / Coolangatta border

It is possible here to be stood in both NSW and QLD at the same time! There are several monuments around the town which show the border between the two states. This picture is of us under the Captain Cook lighthouse shows Ruth in NSW whilst I’m in QLD.  When walking around, we also found a street where one side of the street is in NSW and the other is in QLD, crazy!

We had a great stay here but got hit by a freakish cold snap that got most of the East coast – it was freezing.  UK in winter freezing!  Luckily we have great sleeping bags and the campsite had an indoor room we could sit in to warm up a bit.

We loved Cooly and were sad to leave but there is so much more to see we thought we’d better move on.

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