this past weekend I had my sister visiting from Sydney. i haven’t seen her since she moved to australia in October 2009, so it was nice that she came to visit so soon after we arrived here.
now, the weather the past week and a bit has been pretty dreary – rain, rain and yet more rain. now, it was nothing on the scale of the rain that queensland experienced last year in january when brisbane flooded, along with many other small towns and communities. seeing all the videos on the news in the 2nd week of january still doesn’t put into perspective how badly it flooded. today on our way back from a meeting, anne pointed out to me the extent of the flooding in the Brisbane river – we drove over a bridge which was approx 6m above the river level – and the bridge was actually totally covered and the hills up to about another 3m! that is INSANE! some of the images we saw was of the river walkway that was built on the river washing down the river! craziness. so you can imagine with all the rain how the people that lived through it last year felt. there were lots of areas flooding in and around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.
so, with my sister visiting, it was raining and that limited our options of what to do. usually if it’s sunny, we would have gone to one of the theme parks or go lie on the beaches (some of which were actually washed away). but we had to make other plans to maximise the fun of the long weekend 🙂 (thursday was Australia Day, a public holiday – and i was given friday off – so it was a nice long weekend). first things first – off to collect Melanie from the airport. she was supposed to land at 10pm at the Brisbane domestic terminal, but of course, with all the rain she was delayed by an hour from Sydney. now, Brisbane domestic terminal is one giant ass construction zone – so needless to say it was messy when arriving there and trying to figure out where to go. in south africa at OR Tambo, everyone goes to the same counters and the same gates to get to departures. here there are 3 distinct areas – Qantas arrivals and departures, JetStar arrivals and departures and right at the far end, Virgin Australia which Melanie flew. very messy and disorganised.
anyways, when she finally got off the plane, we were off! it had managed to stop raining wednesday night so it was nice to drive home. when we got home, antonio and i set about pumping up the air mattress with a foot pump! it took us like an hour to get it done! quite a leg workout! (And then of course we had to re-pump it every night because it seems to have a slow leak 😦 ). we eventually went to bed after midnight… thursday morning arrived – dull and dreary outside BUT not raining! so first thing we did was buy tickets for a show for Friday called the “Australian Outback Spectacular”. once we ate a hearty breakfast, we quickly got ready to tackle the weekend and try to make the most of the break in the rain.
first thing we decided to do was to go to Mt Coot-tha. Mt Coot-tha is the highest point in Brisbane being 287m above sea level and it offers a great view of Brisbane. It’s a nice drive up to the top (and of course there was a traffic officer with a radar gun checking speed – which is 50kph), and once at the top, there is tons of tourists! obviously everyone had the same idea as we had to make the most of the dry. Other things to do at Mt Coot-tha is to visit the botanical gardens and the planetarium, and for the health conscious, there are quite a few hikes in the area.
after we took the obligatory snaps of the CBD and the surrounding areas, we decided that the next place we were going to visit was Mt Tamborine and go to the Skywalk. Mt Tamborine is just south of Brisbane – in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Had a lovely drive on the winding roads, lush green fields, TONS of horses, creeks etc. Very scenic and idillic. really pretty! the drive up to the Skywalk is stunning and EXTREMELY twisty! can’t really drive more than 30kph for fear of driving off the side of the road – but it’s really great 🙂 once we were up at the Skywalk, you pay a couple of dollars entrance fee and then you just follow the path. we were there for almost 2 hours – it’s just so nice walking through rainforest, listening to all the insects making noise, listening to the river running through it. i was a bit disappointed that i didn’t get to see any koalas or wombats etc (but i’m guessing we’ll just have to go to a zoo to see them). we saw some amazing ferns growing in trees, lovely orchids and vines that have twisted their way around other trees… just so pretty.
i have too many pictures to upload, so these are just a snapshot. once we were done at the Skywalk, we drove down Mt Tamborine and off to the Gold Coast again. We went for a quick walk on the beach – even though quite a lot of sand was taken by the sea and the seas were quite rough. It was nice to just walk on the edge of the pacific ocean and see how people were enjoying the break in the rain. from there, we drove back home to go rest – otherwise you wipe yourself out before you’re even halfway through the weekend! 🙂
well, that’s it for part 1. i will post the rest of the weekend in separate posts – depending on how much time i have to write it all up 🙂