Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gold Coast to Brisbane cruise

If you are keen for a relaxing day on the water at low cost, this trip is just for you. There is no input required, except to kick back and soak up the magnificent scenery along the intricate waterways between the Gold Coast and Brisbane (you can do the trip in reverse if you wish). The trip we took was cruise from Coast to Brisbane with coach return in the afternoon. Morning and afternoon snack, and lunch provided. We had been meaning to do this trip for years and will definitely do it again; it was just such a nice day. This is the boat we went on.

Boat Cruise between Gold Coast and Brisbane
There were 70+ people on board but there was no sign of any crowding, as you can see from these pics. Some chose to sit under cover inside for the whole trip, others wandered in and out.

Two undercover decks
Outdoor undercover area

This cruise (click here for details) has been in operation for nearly 30 years. The crew really know their way around these waterways. Interesting features are pointed out along the way; commentary not intruding on conversation. Morning and afternoon tea is served as well as an excellent barbeque lunch.
You travel between two large cities, through the World Heritage listed Moreton Bay Marine Park  and see high rise, huge waterside homes, camping and mooring sites along the water's edge, sea birds and ... Oh yes, and the occasional dolphin or dugong.

The route meaders between islands that lie between North and South Stradbroke Islands and the mainland; passing well known island such as Peel, Russell, St Helena (former jail), Lamb, Goat :) and dozens more. You do get a detailed map showing many geographic features.

We had lunch outside to keep enjoying the view. It was fabulous.

Lunch with view and pleasant conversation
Safe mooring

The boat was peacefully quiet as it glided along. We said next time we'll bring a hammock and really get into the relax mode. The cruise took about 6 hours. We were never bored.
Once in Brisbane, the coach was waiting to bring us back to the Gold Coast.
This was an excellent venture for a Sunday Drive.

If you have a day spare, do yourself a favour and book this cruise.

Have a great day on your next Sunday Drive

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day of fun. Council sponsored free activities.

Gold Coast activity
Sand sculpting anyone?
The Gold Coast has a list of activities too big to detail. From free to super exotic and expensive. Today we share the fun we had at a free activity sponsored by the City Council as part of its popular Active and Healthy Program. This program has fantastic activities throughout the year, right across the Gold Coast. For the latest program of events, go here. You will find something to suit all tastes and all ages.

We had a fabulous day out. If you have kids, this event is for you. There was free facepainting, gymnastics, classes on painting, knitting and sculpting, drum classes to make loads of rhythmic noise, plus more. Who wouldn't want to go? Even the big kids had fun watching all manner of performance, set around a peaceful lake next to the Nerang River, right in the heart of the Gold Coast.

This site is a must for all

Crowd spoilt for choice of what to do, what to see
Scrunch a balloon into your favorite animal
Bash a drum rhythm and relax
Painting multi-colored anything

Aerial daring
With such a fun filled afternoon on offer where just about everything was free, how could you not have a great time? Kids' time filled. Adults relax. I spent some time sitting under a tree with coffee in hand just watching the day go by. Snoring blissfully.

Fun activity, free, kids' entertained
Painting by the Nerang river
Chill with a drink and bite to eat. Relaxing music

Events like this are run all over the Gold Coast. This one is annual, as are some of the others. Most are run weekly or monthly. If you are a visitor or local, it is well worth checking out the website to see what is on around your area. This event was in the centre of the Gold Coast, accessible easily by bus or car.

Have fun

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cruising Gold Coast Canals

We discovered this great activity. If you are staying anywhere on the Gold Coast, try this. Catch a bus into central Surfers Paradise and get on a boat for a canal cruise. We went on a lunch time cruise with Blue Water Cruises for the fantastic price of $29 which included a one and a half hour cruise and lunch of fish or schnitzel, both with salad and chips when we finished the venture. They offer cruises at all time of the day, even private party cruises can be booked, so check them out for times and prices.

Blue Water Cruises
Ready to board for a leisurely cruise
Seating on board suits everyone, even in showery weather; the whole top deck is open air, then there is a large undercover seating area, and a smaller area undercover at the rear of the boat.

Outdoor undercover seating with relaxed passenger

Open air top deck
Undercover lower deck seating
Cruising was at a leisurely pace. We travelled through an amazing canvas depicting a chunk of the Gold Coast lifestyle and amenity: schools, luxury mansions, resorts, moorings securing all manner of craft, and much more. A friendly, unobtrusive commentator tied it all together.

Gold Coast Arts & Cultural Centre
Mixture of residential buildings

Luxury riverside home

View along Nerang River
Huge yacht moored in Broadwater

A wing of Palazzo Versace - 6 star accommodation
Moorings near Southport Yacht Club
A section of the trawler fleet

So relaxing. The cruise really overviews the Surfers Paradise to Spit part of Gold Coast life. Visitors can get the feel of what it means to live on or visit the Gold Coast.
Then slowly we glided along the canals back to central Surfers Paradise and lunch.

Two relaxed travellers, fully chilled

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gold Coast - Springbrook - Purling Brook Falls

If you really want to get rid of the concrete scenery, only half and hour west of Mudgeeraba in the center of the Gold Coast is the heritage listed Springbrook national park where you can enjoy the magnificent walks that surround the Purlingbrook Falls; the waterfall is the centerpiece for most visitors.  You can walk a few hundred meters to a viewing platform but by far the best views are had as you go along the walking track.

First view of the Purling Brook Falls waterfall along the walking track

The walks track along the valleys of the park and so are best done in comfortable walking shoes such as sandshoes.  The most popular walk is about 4km and is best taken in a clockwise direction.  You can walk right behind the waterfall.  If there has been a lot of rain, there may have been some rockslides that have closed sections of the walk but this is well signed at the top of the walk.  The beauty of this region is there are so many other choices; Natural Arch, Hinze Dam, Beechmont, Canungra, Best of all Lookout ...
Along the way. Water going over a waterfall.

Along the way. Vertical.

Monarch of the forest. Grand nature in Springbrook national park

To access this getaway, head to Mudgeeraba on the western fringe of the Gold Coast.  From here there are clear signs to Springbrook.  It is a scenic half an hour drive away; bitumen all the way.  There are all manner of cafes, museums and craft places along the route.  A large sign says you have reached Springbrook.  Once you reach the observatory, look to turn left.  There is ample parking, an area for the kids to run around a bit, barbecue and toilet facilities, and a cafe at the entrance. 

When you get out of the car you will notice the air is cooler than on the coast.  It feels fresh.  When you see the sign, go to the left path and follow the circuit.  Pace yourself.  It snakes along the valley, gradually working down and round to the base of the falls.  Sights and sounds along the way can disappear if you concentrate too much on the path, so make sure you stop to soak it all in.  It is awesome.  You can see the massive volcanic origins of this area all along the walk.  You wander amongst a staggering variety of vegetation and views; ancient plants, ancient geology.  When you reach the valley floor, you can extend the walk an extra 2km by taking the branch that leads out to the Waringa Pool and back.  Most just keep walking to the waterfall. 

Along the way.  Waterfalls, cliffs, rainforest

When the going is a bit steep, there are concrete steps, so footing is good all along the way.  There was no point where we felt we would slip over.  We saw kids in thongs doing the walk; even a fellow with bare feet.  Wouldn't recommend that footwear but there you go. 

A python enjoying a snooze in the sun

First glimpse of Purling Brook Falls

Nature's perfection

You can hear the falls long before you get there.  Then there it is; tumbling over 100m from a spot in the sky.  Down past trees, ferns and sheer volcanic cliffs; stunning.  Massively worth the walk.  More exciting is the walk behind the falls if the track is open; it usually is.  Rainbows appear and disappear at various points as you move around the base of the falls.

How's this for a magic scene?

Water falls from sky high cliffs at Purling Brook Falls

Enjoy being there.  Then head back up to the top.  We are not that fit and didn't have any trouble walking up to the top.  The track has been carefully planned so as many as possible can enjoy the experience.  There is a platform to take in the view from the top.  And ... you don't feel guilty indulging a bit at the cafe after burning up all that energy.  A wonderful, relaxing walk and beautiful destination. 

The hard bit about writing this story was choosing the photos to leave out.

The track behind the waterfall. Spectacular.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gold Coast - Burleigh - Headland Walk

Do you feel like a change of pace, slowing down a little, but still want to jump in the ocean or go shopping, even have a restaurant meal?  Head to Burleigh beach; easy to reach by bus or car. It lies in the middle of the Gold Coast beaches.  Beach safety is supported by a surf club at either end of the beach and a lifeguard tower in the middle.  A beachfront park with a concrete path wide enough for walkers, joggers, skaters, covers the entire distance.  Shady trees, shelters and barbecue facilities are dotted along the full strip. 

At the southern end of the beach, you will find why Burleigh is so popular with locals and why they would prefer it to remain off the tourist map.  Enjoy shopping in stores that are less touristy and lie in a couple of blocks of laid back village atmosphere, few high rises blot the horizon here.  But this story is about the walk around the headland.   Shops and beach will come later.   The beach has a beautiful national park headland.  Sit on the hill and watch the surf or take the peaceful, level stroll around the headland; over the top if you are feeling more energetic.  The whole walk takes a leisurely 35-40 minutes, no rush.

The best way to do the walk from the headland is to start by walking down the hill, turning left at the traffic lights and walking along the highway.   This first bit along the highway I always find the best section to get over first because the rest of the walk is a peaceful, easy walk along a bitumen pathway through trees alongside a creek and then beside the ocean.   Along the highway you reach Tallebudgera Creek, another popular spot with locals, especially for those with younger children.   To walk around the headland, turn left just before you cross the creek.

Turn left past the old movie theatre arcade. Main
 Burleigh shops straight across road at traffic lights
Tallebudgera Creek. Popular swimming spot on
opposite side to Headland walk. Caravan park to right.

The trail is easy to follow.  Just a short way in you will see the track that leads over the top of the headland.  It is not too steep but the one around the creek is just about level all the way and so very easy to do.  You can hear the chatter of birds all along the path.  It is cool and shaded, relaxing. 

View from pathway

The path is easy to walk, shady and cool

Mouth of creek and ocean
View to ocean

At the end of the path, you come out to the most stunning views along the Gold Coast and the world famous surfing beach of Burleigh Heads.  You will just want to sit and take it all in; ocean, beaches, the highrise Surfers Paradise, people fishing, surfers, joggers.  It is a fantastic spot.  At the bottom of the hill is a coffee shop.  Take away coffees and a seat on the hill is one of the most refreshing activities and one of life's pleasures; makes you feel good with the world.

Shady park and walkways. Surfers Paradise in background

Beach, cafe, reading under a shady tree.  Serenity
It is easy to cruise through the hours and totally unwind.  The walk through the National Park surely helps that.  Follow up with all manner of calming persuits from dawn to dusk.

Stunning sunrise
First light at the headland

Moonrise over ocean
Moonrise over seagull :)

A definite for those whose holiday is speeding too much.  Easy trip to Burleigh to get your spirits back together and ease the pace.  Buses drop you off right next to the beach so access is no trouble; even leave the car back at your hotel.  Fish and chips on the Headland; what a treat.

Views around the Headland