Blog Archives

East coast family and friends

08/10/13
The Three Monkeys
West End, Brisbane

I am sitting in a cafe I am very fond of in Brisbane with just two days left in Australia.

My back hurts, my shoulders are sore, I am tired, I have just cried a little bit into my iced coffee and I wondering if I just tried to achieve too much in the last 3 weeks here.

Since leaving Perth I have raced up and down the East Coast trying to fit everyone in and keep everyone smiling.I’ve travelled on trains, planes, buses, cars and even a taxi. I have pulled 23kg + my laptop + my backpack around (and listened to EVERYONE tell me it’s too heavy, ask me why I have so much, and tell me I will hurt myself. Very helpful comments and questions kind people – please note this – NO tired traveller who has painstakingly given and thrown away many many things wants to ever hear this!) and I have not slept more than 4 nights in one bed, which used to be fun, and now at 29 it’s just exhausting!

As I sit here in Brisbane with watery eyes waiting for painkillers to take away the pain that is wriggling across my upper back, I worry that I have tried to do too much and have potentially made my two week Bali adventure an uncomfortable experience.

But in the name of optimism and good blog stuff let’s look at what I HAVE managed to get done over here recently.
First of all, three and a half lovely days with my new-never-met-before-Maltese-Italian-Aussie family that was filled with food, laughter, stories, love and more. I met so many wonderful people that I even rearranged my last few days in Australia to see them again.

Then a train ride from Brisbane through the NSW hinterland back to a much loved home from home on my lovely cousin’s organic farm. Four blissful days were spent cuddling cows, playing with dogs and horses and laughing till I cried, in some favourite locations too.

Spartacus

Poppy and Venus

Poppy

May I say that these four days might have been four of the most memorable in Australia? And let’s not forget the food feasts! I was staying with an incredible cook and also a chef, yet I won our rendition of Come Dine With Me, with my Spanish themed evening – and even got a certificate! One of my proudest moments!

Images from Bundjalung National Park

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Then there was another early departure and a terribly emotional bus trip north as I realised, as one does unexpectedly sometimes, that such a lovely experience as that would never be repeated again and the many fond memories I have started to build up will soon be nothing but memories. Of course I have known ever since arriving that the end would come, but it is sad to leave a place you have been back to a number of times, knowing it’s your last.

I arrived in Brisbane transit centre and sat there for over an hour as my connecting bus was delayed. All I really wanted to do was put my head on someone’s shoulder and go to sleep, but maybe not wise to do that to a stranger!

A little later than planned I arrived at Nambour and was met by a great uncle, who confessed he couldn’t remember meeting me! When people make such a fuss about you spending time with them, it’s a little disconcerting when they say they can’t remember what you look like.

Three days were spent on the Sunshine Coast, filled with plenty of stories, spectacular views and glorious food. Highlights include my 77 year great uncle beating me to the surf at Mooloolaba, a lunch at the magical Secrets on the Lake and some very cheap, yet delicious fish and chips!
Kondalilla Falls
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Lake Baroon
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After my time in Bli Bli I was taken up the coast to Noosa and handed over to a friend for the weekend. My cattle station friend ( we’d met when I was “doing my time” on the station) and I had plenty to catch up on and did this eating copious amounts of cheese, drinking too much beer and chilling on the beach in between.

I sadly never made it to Noosa Heads, as thanks to a public holiday parking was almost impossible.

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A drive down to Caloundra for lunch at another great uncle’s and thanks to a lift in the land cruiser life was made easier. Thankfully I didn’t attempt public transport twice that day as because of a “new” public holiday the Translink website was mistakenly telling me and every other commuter in Queensland the WRONG information. So after a relaxing few hours in Golden Beach, catching up with another relative, I had a rather sticky and stressful commute back to Brisbane.

Since arriving back here I have had another Maltese-Italian banquet and met more family members! I have had a wonderful lunch with another cousin, and yet to come morning tea with my bush family mum and dinner out with another cousin, then lunch with more relatives.

I will be unable to do anything other than sit on the beach once I arrive in Bali!

Caloundra

Caloundra

This trip has been interesting so far in many ways. Firstly I am experiencing a new love: one for Australia that has been continually growing within me. It’s a love that sometimes just bubbles over and makes me giddy with joy when I look out of the plane window for example as I am coming in to land, or when I meet a stranger who treats me like a friend, or when I am sitting on the beach watching the surf and I just feel very happy to be where I am. That’s what travelling is all about isn’t it? Finding happiness in the places you visit and learning more about the world and yourself as you go along.

So the first destination on my 10 day reprieve from the bush is Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast to visit my grandmother’s brother who I last saw about 10 years ago. My uncle (B) referred to his street as “God’s waiting room” and when I asked him what people did in Caloundra, his response was “retire!” That should give you a clue about the people and their lifestyle in this seaside destination. I found it rather a pleasant place to live, but it does have an alarming number of retirement villages, luxury apartments and mobility scooters buzzing around. Perhaps it was because I spent time with the elderly for two days that I noticed more elderlies than I otherwise would have, or maybe there are just no young’uns there.

It has a big fishing and boating lifestyle and only 5 minutes after meeting B’S neighbour I was invited on a fishing trip that evening! It seems anyone who isn’t out catching the surf is either fishing or just boating around. A little walk along the waterfront in front of B’s house and I learnt a remarkable amount about local flora and fauna that I otherwise wouldn’t have paid attention to.

The climate is temperate and the sun nearly always shines on the Sunshine Coast, so there’s little to complain about in a town as such. B told me there is a saying about the weather on the Sunshine Coast which says it’s fabulous one day and marvellous the next, or words to that effect. It’s near enough to Brisbane for those that need a city hit now and again and far enough away to enjoy life on the water’s edge. It made perfect sense to me why so many of my relations journeyed across the world to the Sunshine Coast to resettle for a sunnier kind of life.