The Aussie Holiday (5th episode)

The Aussie Holiday 2023

Thursday 2nd March/Friday 3rd March

The day has come, we’re on the way to our 5th trip to down under. Instead of flying to Melbourne as before we are exploring new ground in Brisbane.

A bit of background, our daughter and son-in-law moved to Melbourne in 2013, and we have visited them there four times up until 2019. In 2022 my son-in-law got a new job in Byron Bay, 200km south of Brisbane. So, this is our first visit to this part of Australia. So, our flight was at 20.35 (8.35 pm) and our eldest daughter took us to LHR (Heathrow) and progressed through security and bag drop having pre-checked in online the day before. Our ride was an Airbus A380 operated by Singapore Airlines to Changi, a 14-hour flight. The departure lounge was quite full so it was expected that the aircraft would be well loaded. There was a passenger compliment of 263 so not a full load. The A380 could take 600 but I doubt one has actually flown with that number. Singapore operates a daily service to Changi using the A380. Our 2nd journey from Changi to Brisbane was in an A350. There’s quite a difference between the two. The 380 is configured 3-4-3 across the body, whereas the 350 is 3-3-3, giving you less width and less length, making it less comfortable in my humble opinion. I’m terrible with sleeping on planes so I didn’t get much even though it was overnight. We were two meals, both tasty and adequate. We landed at Changi at 17:00 local (it’s 7 hours ahead of UK time) and we had about 4 hours waiting for our connecting flight. Luckily the hold baggage are relocated to the next aircraft so we only had our carry-ons with us. Since we are not entering the country, there’s only cursory security to board the aircraft. We boarded at 2130 local (2.30 pm UK) for the 8-hour flight to BNE (Brisbane). We were served one meal at 2.00 am! I didn’t get any sleep again, wriggling around trying to get comfortable in two narrow close seats (I know 1st world problems). At least I saw a movie in each leg: The Forgiven with Ralph Fiennes in the first and Top Gun Maverick in the 2nd. We landed at BNE at 07:15 local and taxied for about 15 minutes to get to the stand. As we got on board at SIN, I saw someone I knew as we passed to get to our seats, and we met again at the luggage carousel. He had been on a business trip and was flying home to Gold Coast. He offered us a lift but we had already bought train tickets to get to a station where our daughter and son-in-law were to pick us up. They met us and we drove into the local mall for breakfast. Then it was about an hour’s drive to their home in Byron Bay. We got there and at last, we stopped moving! We chilled out for the afternoon and then went out for dinner at a local pub nearby. A lively place with lots of youngish people eating. I had a pasta sausage dish which was tasty and very filling.

Sunday 4th March

Chilled morning, went to the monthly Byron market. It is massive and covers two car parks. I bought two plectrums from a guy selling those and nothing else! Wandered around and found a band playing and had a coffee under a shade; bloody hot. Picked up a mobile phone pack from Aldi and have now got a local number. Walked down to the beach about 15 minutes away; it was deserted.

In the evening visited Mike, Lauren, Dylan, and Aiden at Pottsville about 45 minutes away. Mike is a colleague of Kevin at Fliteboard. They moved up from Melbourne where Kev first met Mike when he started with Fliteboard down there. Had a lovely ‘tea’ prepared by Lauren, who is a professional baker.

Monday 6th March

Shopped at IGA, a supermarket 2 minutes walk away for the first time. An amazing array of fresh fruit and vegetables. Prices are probably higher than in the UK but the quality is excellent.

Tuesday 7th March

A really chilled day, went into Byron Bay (BB) with Teresa (TC) just to show us the town, bought jacket potatoes for dinner, and got over jetlag which is why we are taking it very easy to settle in. Their house is a two-story with two bedrooms, ours is very comfortable. They have two cats: Mouse and Fox, and they seem to have accepted us very easily. Mouse is a black and white male, three years old and the dominant of the two, and Fox is a grey Chartreau male, one year old and twice the size of Mouse. Where Mouse is a lively intelligent and resourceful cat, Fox is slower and less agile; he can’t jump and is not nearly as ‘touchy/feely’. They are inside cats as a rule, but are allowed outside under supervision. Mouse has a habit of trying to escape and has managed to jump over the garden fence a couple of times, but is recovered very quickly. Fox has never attempted to skip jail.

Wednesday 8th March

After a relaxing morning, TC booked us into an afternoon film in the local cinema to see the film ‘Tar’. It’s about a lesbian orchestra conductor who works with the Berlin Philharmonic, but she wants to change personnel in the string section. Eventually, she is ousted by her male colleagues, comes back, and knocks her male replacement off the conductor’s podium. It looks and feels like a biopic of a real person but is total fiction, starring Kate Blanchette. Bought veg at the IGA and made a Thai green curry at home.

Thursday 9th March

Went to the BB farmer’s weekly market.Bought Manuka honey made in Australia, actually in BB! I thought manuka only came from New Zealand but apparently, it was Australian Aboriginals who started collecting honey from manuka plants, recognizing the wonderful qualities it possesses. Bought a lemon drizzle cake to share. Went to Aldi and got glace cherries. Had lunch at a lovely cafe Expresshead. We both had the best eggs benedict. Went home and fiddled with TCs guitar. The strings are much too thick and she has trouble playing it. I had trouble as well so I made a point of getting some new ones. Sat the rest of the afternoon on the patio, lovely and warm and sunny.

We are going out to a concert in the evening, weren’t told much about it, but I guess it was to do with my birthday which is tomorrow. I suspected I was developing gout, which can happen during the flights, so I visited a local chemist but colchicine is only available on prescription. Very helpful pharmacist Simone helped to get one after getting the OK from an online doctor. All this costs, of course, no NHS here but I hadn’t applied for the pay the reciprocal agreement so had to pay the $65 for the pills. They worked and helped to reduce the swelling. We’ll see what it’s like after a few days. Fran had a suspected DVT from the flight and got a GP appointment for Friday. Here of course you have to pay for everything as a visitor though citizens do get costs returned, through what they call ‘bulk billing’ which is funded by Medicare the equivalent of the NHS. Australians pay 2% of their taxable income towards the Medicare levy which is set by the government. If you don’t get bulk billing, you claim Medicare individually, generally the same as a private patient.

We went to the local theatre where TC had booked us to see ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, which was a quad recording of the original album released 50 years ago. They played the whole album without interruption. It also included a fantastic light show interspersed with a live band that played some tracks from ‘Wish you were here’, and ‘The Division Bell’. There were graphic images fitting in with the music on four screens, with a speaker in each corner to match the quad output of the original. It seems out of date now with surround sound but in its day quad sound was state of the art and still sounds good today. The audience mostly stood around and was encouraged to move around to get the full effect; there was minimal seating. It was a fantastic experience. We met Jaff a colleague of Kev and Sara his GP’s wife, a very nice couple. Sara had escaped the NHS in the middle of the covid pandemic.

Friday 10th March

My Birthday! 72 today eek! Fran and TC went to BB to visit an Op shop (second-hand shop), a big thing in Oz, they all love them. They came back with some bits. Then we walked over to the Docs, nearly next door to the IGA, and saw the very nice Dr Doug. He diagnosed a small DVT and referred her to the radiologist three doors down for a scan. Got it dressed by the nurse and gave her scripts for penicillin and blood thinners. The scan was an hour later and Dr Doug phoned not long after that to confirm that the radiologist had confirmed it was a DVT and to rest her leg as much as possible. TC had gone and got the prescriptions.

We drove off to Kirra to a special restaurant called Siblings. We met the aforementioned Ben (from the plane) and his wife Sam, her father Melvyn, and their 4-year-old daughter Phoenix. Ben’s colleague Josh was also there with us four. We ordered 2 small plates and a main course, which was all a bit much really, but it was Ben’s recommendation, who has a huge appetite. We came away with a doggy bag (box!). TC and Kev had cocktails, Fran had wine, and I had 0% beer and water. Getting drunk on my birthday is not on the cards these days. It was a really nice birthday though, the restaurant bought a cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday. I drove home after offering, so Kev and TC could have a drink.

Saturday 11th March

 Today was 2-year-old toddler Van’s birthday party. His birthday was on Thursday. Van’s parents are Leah and Nathan, he is from Essex originally; he’s lived in Oz for 10 years, and Leah is Aussie. They invited us along with Kev and TC, who provided coffee at a park not far away. Leah provided food and the rest of the party stuff, other guests bought along various snacks and stuff. Talked a lot to Lilah who is Leah’s mum and is Danish but has lived there for 30 years.  Nice lady, chatted about Denmark, drank coffee, ate cakes, and had a nice party for Van. Had a chilled-out afternoon, and went out to dinner at a restaurant in BB.

Sunday 12th March

Chilled out all day at home with a BBQ in the afternoon. Watched Kev play the Last of US (TV Show) on Xbox.

Monday 13th March

Kev went off to work and TC spent the day as an extra at a film shoot in Byron. We went out and bought pies in a specialist pie shop nearby for dinner. We walked around the industrial area a bit and stopped at a falafel stall and bought our lunch to take home. Delicious.

We had the pies for dinner.

Tuesday 14th March 

Went to the local Bilongil beach, about 15 minutes walk away, for a swim.

TC and Kev had friends Ian and Janna around in the evening for dinner and to watch the last episode of The Last of US. We had watched the penultimate episode the week before. They were all big fans and wanted to watch the last episode together. We were supposed to have gourmet burgers but the place had closed before Kev could get there so we had pizzas instead. We sat at the dining table to eat then crammed into the ‘TV’ room (actually the converted garage) to watch the programme with them. Didn’t mean much to us because we hadn’t seen the other 20-odd episodes. Afterward, I picked up TCs guitar and had a play but the strings were awful and needed changing, which I did later.

Wednesday 15th March

We relaxed during the day and in the evening we all went to the Kirra Spa in Mullumbimby (Mullum for short). It was a fantastic experience, with several spa baths, a sauna, a steam room, a quiet magnesium spa and a plunge pool. We tried it all and it was a very pleasant experience. A throughly enjoable hour. Afterwards, we went to the ex-service/bowls club for curry, which was lovely. We had a blow out meal and I drove home during a thunderstorm with loads of thunder and lightning because Kev, TC and Fran went through nearly 2 bottles of wine! I don’t drink anymore. Quite an experience!

Thursday 16th March

Did the farmers market early doors, we went to Ballina for shopping and for TC to register and chip the cats in NSW. It’s a requirement because they were previously registered in Victoria.  Went to a really nice shopping centre and had a late brekky. Found a cCotton On shop and bought some clothes, swimmys for me. TC found a hearing test place and they were giving free hearing tests. TCs hearing is good and persueded F to get hers done. Lots of probs, so they booked her in for a full one hour test next Wednesday. Went to another Mall fir TC to register the cats and I found a music shop. Chatted to the owner and bought TC a new set of 10s for he Fender acoustic. Saw the big prawn (well known local landmark, must be 40 feet tall) Great day out. Dinner at pizza place in Byron.

Friday 17th March

Teresa had been called for more filming in Bangalow. She drove there and left us to it. Went up and down the main street in this little town, saw their men’s shed from the outside and walked down to the creek, it was all delightful but bloody hot! Went past an eclectic range of shops, all very expensive, then watched some filming at the top of the street, but didn’t see Teresa. She was an extra in a few of the scenes, it was set in the 70s. Had lunch in Woods a lovely outside space with a ‘nourishing bowl’ which is pretty big in Australia at the moment. It reminded us of Linda’s bar in Faro, Portugal; run down and shabby chic. TC had arranged a meeting with someone she met from Monday’s film shoot about a possible internship with his company. We went to the Chrystalbrook Resort Hotel near Byron where she dropped us off to meet ths guy. It was supposed to be at the hotel but he changed it to his office. Had a cup a tea and a drink, waited two hours for TC, who apologised profusely for keeping us waiting for so long. We all went for walk around the resort part, it was like a jungle.

In the evening we went to night club/restaurant in Byron called Casa Luna (Moon House?) for the 7, yes 7 course multi-taste menu and TC got 50% off from a local app. Billy bargain. Lovely food from all over the world and as people left we were surrounded by lots of dancing young girls (it was a high table, and we were on stools). It was hell! Left there and went to Frankies for their delicious ice cream.  So many different flavours. Went down to main beach to look at the sea and the sand and the lighthouse which was on. Superb evening.

Saturday 18th March

TC had an appointment in town so we walked to Bilongil beach and had a paddle; so hot!! Chilled out in the PM (mostly reading books) and in the evening went to Mike and Lauren’s again for a BBQ to celebrate Lauren’s 45th birthday. Lovely grub cooked by Kev with salads and other accompaniments, with cakes made by Lauren; all delish. Sat around chatting, then I got TCs guitar out. I’d changed the strings the day before and it was playing much better. Sang a few from my songbook, accompanied by Mike and Teresa. Adapted Jo’s 70th song with words for Lauren.

Sunday 19th March

Fliteboard day! Kev had fetched two Fliteboards from work and we were kitted out with life jackets, helmets, strange rubber shoes (nothing kinky!) and if we wanted, wet suits; I declined. We drove off to Brunswick Heads about 15 minutes away to Fliteboard in the river estuary. It was a fantastic experience, difficult to start with but I soon got the hang of how not to fall off. Basically, a Fliteboard is a motorised (by electric motor) surfboard. It is controlled by a Bluetooth hand controller which has a lever on it to accelerate away. You have to climb on the back, stepping on the aerofoil under the water and try to slide yourself up the board to get a sense of balance.  Mine had an enclosed jet propulsion system, the other one had an exposed propeller. I stayed for 2 ½ minutes at one stage but hit the river bed with the aerofoil and got thrown off. Luckily the water is warm, approx 21C. Fran did well, 2 stints and about 50 yards, game girl!

Totally knackering, my shoulder ached after wards. We had brunch in a nice cafe then walked around town looking at circus which was in town and bought pies for lunch and went home. TC prepared meat balls we bought at the market with a tomato sauce we had bought at the earlier market on Thursday, with tagliatelle. We were all knackered so snuggled down to watch Kev play a video game on the TV, and we both nodded off! It was 8 0’clock!

Monday 20th March

Spent the early morning gardening, strimming the grass (no lawn mower, see later), sweeping dead leaves and generally tidying up. The garden looked splendid. TC is out for the day with her internee job, and we had smoked fish paste and salad for lunch.

Later TC suggested we go down to Town Beach for a swim followed by fish and chips. Gladly! Went for a swim, Kev met us and we went for another swim off the beach. I tried to snorkel but failed; Kev said did I see the fish: I didn’t. Then Kev went to the beach car park fish and chip place and we ate that on the beach in the middle of a blanket sharing. Then we went for a drink in the Beachy (The Beach Hotel), Kev rode home (he went to work on his bike so TC could have the car). We went home with Teresa, abso knackered, early bed.

Tuesday 21st March

TC went to yoga in the morning and we met her at Barrio for brunch. We all had pancakes with marscapone, blueberries with bacon – delish!

Teresa wanted to study so we decided to go into town on the heritage railway which goes from North Beach to the town centre. It’s a $10 return journey each so good value on a solar powered 1940’s train of two coaches. It’s a lovely trip and takes about 15 minutes. We wandered around BB, went to various shops then ended up paddling on the beach and saw the wreck! It’s a ship that got dashed against some rocks over 100 years ago and is still there. Had an ice cream and caught the train home again at 4.15 Only a 10 minute walk home from the station. Put the bins out (I did this every Tuesday I was there), chopped back some foliage and we BBQ’d veg and sweetcorn for dins – rain!

Wednesday 22nd March

Went to Ballina early doors in their car for Fran’s hearing appointment. Went well – she’s a little deaf! Walked over to K Mart to 3x cat beds for Mouse and Fox. Had brunch in the mall, got home about 12.30. Had a chilled out afternoon, and dinner at home. Hearing test results showed Fran’s hearing is quite poor, needs to see an audiologist when we get home, may need hearing aids.

Thursday 23rd March

Stayed at home most of the day, went to a nice cafe in the industrial area for late brekky. Visited the local Op Shop (2nd hand shop) and Bunnings DIY ( equivalent to B&Q). We saw a Water Dragon there, a completely harmless lizard about 12 inches long. Looks fearsome though.

Friday 24th March

Fran went for her 2nd Drs appointment who booked a scan for next Thursday. Went to lunch at a Japanese takeaway and got it there and ate outside, lovely warm day. In the evening met Ben at a pub about 45 minutes away, chatted and had lovely fish and chips. Drove home.

Saturday 25th March

Rested morning, then after doing some washing left at 1.00am to drive with Kev and TC to Brunswick Heads (where we did the Fliteboarding) for a Brazilian afternoon with BBQ and Samba band at the Brunswick Hotel. Started with sushi which was lovely followed by Brazilian style steak sandwich AND a Brazilian style pizza. All delish but a bit too much maybe. Band were excellent, and the whole place was rammed, so many people having a great time and it was so vibrant. Left there at 4.00pm to go to the ‘village’ near home. It was a former garden centre turned into a chill out space with a mobile bar and food outlets. Loads of seats and there wasn’t too many people there, but apparently, it livened up in the evening. A really laid back atmosphere, met Suzanne one of their neighbours at No 7. Her son died in the aircrash at the new Nepal airport in January.  Many causes as to why, which are still being investigated. Also chatted to Nathan, their next door neighbour at No 4 who with wife Leah have bought a house North of Brunswick at a knock down price from $1.8m to $1.3m because the owner was trying to pass it off as a 5 bedroom house, but it was only within code as a three bedroom. They are very happy. Relaxed at home in the evening.

Sunday 26th March

Busy day planned. We got at 11.15 and drove to Tyalgum, a lovely little town near the mountains we could see all around. Actually, the ring of mountains is called a caldera which is a ring thrown up around an erupting volcano. Kev has booked lunch at The General Store which had a BBQ  and a guy playing a guitar and singing some laid-back tunes. I had ¼ chicken with roasties and cole slaw which was absolutely delish. Lovely listening to the music and relaxing long after we finished lunch. Looked around the town (actually a village), there were small eclectic shops in arcades, all very country and back in time. We then moved on to Natural Bridge, just near the border with QLD (Queensland). Fantastic walk around a paved walkway to look at a waterfall coming down over the natural bridge under which was a cave full of bats.

Then it was time for ice cream. Kev loves his ice cream! We tried in Mullimbimby but that one was closed, despite it saying it was open, so we drove back to Brunswick Head and got one at In the Pink, delicious! Walked around the block in town, a bit different from the day before. TC suggested we went to Kirra Spa again and of course we agreed. So we drove to that for 6.00pm and spent an hour in the spa. Went home and cobbled a salad together out of leftovers. Watched Kev play his xbox for while falling asleep. If it sounds like our time revolved around food and where to get the next lot, you’re right, it did.

Monday March 27th

Went to BB to TC and Fran could get their toenails done. I walked around town waiting for them, had a coffee  then we met up and went for lunch at a shabby chic cafe. Had ‘nourising’ bowls, veery nice and filling. We decided to have a quick look at the famous Lighthouse, just a drive by. Looked fantastic, in lovely nick. Bought BBQ stuff in Aldi, sat in front of the TV watching the Mandorian; Star Wars spin- off.

Tuesday March 28th

Had a light breakfast then drove to the lighthouse for a proper look. Spent nearly two hours there, fantastic views of the bay area and a challenging walk, but well worth it. Went to Byron Fresh for lunch, really nice. Did a bit of shopping at the IGA.

Wednesday 29th March

 Staying at home all day – rain. Got my hair cut by Fran, went to IGA to get stuff for a spag bol. Put in slow cooker, watched the film Point Break (about surfing!).

Thursday 30th March

Got up early (!) to go to the farmers market in town. Got some nice manuka honey to take home,  had a bacon and roll. It rained heavily overnight so the ground was a bit soggy. Went with TC to the bird sanctuary nearby. It’s a water treatment area and plant. Beautiful quiet place, nobody around. Stopped in the bird lookout for a while and walked around the whole area.  Did 10000 steps! Got pies from the Byron Pie Emporium for dins. Watched another episode of the Mandalorian (Star Wars spin off).

Friday 31st March

Went to The Brewery – Stone and Wood for brunch, had a lovely share platter; really nice. We drove off to a beach near the lighthouse – Cape Byron Conservation and swam in the warm sea. Loads of surfers about. Climbed up to the lookout and took in the views, you can see for miles. Homoe and we’re all going to the North Byron Hotel to meet the neighbours; some turned up and left but Owen stayed. Had pizza and went home for drinks, Owen joined us. Chat turned to music, Owen fetched his didgeridoos from his house next door but one and we all had a go at playing the three of them, quite difficult (much hilarity). Then sang a few songs with me on guitar Teresa on cajon and Owen on didgeridoo. Made up a song with the ‘Byron Bay Band’ with me singing and playing guitar, Owen on didgeridoos, TC on Cajon, Fran and Kevin on maracas and filming. See below for the songsheet. Went on till 1.00am.

Chords: D G C F

This is the Byron Bay Band

We have Owen on Didgeredoos

Teri’s on Cajon

And Clive on guitar

And additionally….we have Kev and Fran

On Maracas

Try saying that when you’re sober!

This is the Byron Bay Band

We like to play together

It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t rhyme

This is the Byron Bay Band

We like to play a load of rubbish

And it doesn’t matter

Fade out.

Saturday 1st April

Relaxed in the morning then drove to Bangalow via St Helena to visit Whitney and Drew who invited Kev and us to their house for drinks and nibbles. Lovely couple from the US with their daughter and her friend from San Francisco. Drew is starting a company called Rhubarb which aims to encourage the growth of vegetables at home to ease the world food shortage. Whitney is part of the company and is really lovely. Teresa is hoping to work with Drew in her field of app development. Went home and walked over to The Habitat (a housing development surrounding the commercial area) to visit Jess and Tara, who have a very modern one bedroom apartment. They are both unemployed at the moment but are hoping to start something soon. Late night for us. Clocks went back here now 9 hours between us and the UK.

Sunday 2nd April

In town for the morning, went to Aldi for a look. Drove over to the Farm, just outside Byron; a huge area with a restaurant. TC invited Mike and Lauren and her friend Tereza to join us, a total of 9 with Mike and Lauren’s boys Aiden and Dylan. Superb food, we all shared all the choices with dinner, a great afternoon. I volunteered to pick up the bill – $844! Oh well, it’s only money honey. We made arrangements to meet M&L when they visit London at the end of May this year on their visit to Europe. Then we walked around the farm and saw sunflowers galore! And hens. Went home late afternoon, had a chilled evening.

Monday 3rd April

TC had the car to go to her internship in BB. We had a quiet morning and said we’d meet her in town. So we caught the solar train again, $5 each into town from North Beach Station. Went to Aldi, Reject shop and Woolworths (yes, they are still alive and kicking in Oz!). met TC in the aborigine goods shop in the entrance to the theatre. Bought a map of Australia. Met Kev ni town and went to Fishheads on main Beach. Me and Kev had a superb large fish chowder, TC had a small one and Fran had fish and chips. Drove home.

Tuesday 4th April

Got up and went with TC to Barrio in Habitat for breakfast. Lovely poached egg on toast with bacon. TC went to circus arts for her training session and we joined her to watch only! Dinner was jacket spuds with (hot) chicken tikka masala from a packet. OK-ish.

Wednesday 5th April

Went by car with TC to the cafe ‘Folk’ for breakfast, totally veggie. I had two two egg roll with trimmings. So did TC, Fran had toast. Went into town to visit Byron Music. TC thought she’s like to buy a ukelele because she was struggling to get to grips with the guitar despite changing the strings. The sales guy suggested she tried an electric guitar because the uke is fundamentally different to play. She had a budget of $250+ but instead spent $400 on a Fender electric copy and amp, plectrum, capo, the lot. Nice guitar and amp, she didn’t tell Kev straight away, took it home and gave it a try. Nice action. Left home to pick up Kev from work on the way to the Kirra spa (3rd visit). Really great spa (3rd visit): 2 x sauna, 2 x magnesium spa, 1 x steam room visit. Left there and went to Heritage Dining in Mullim (2nd visit) for a fantastic curry. Get home and Kev was gob-smacked that a ukelele had turned into an electric guitar! He had a go and liked it, and wants to learn! Chilled evening, fairly late at night.  

Thursday 6th

Packing day! Went to the new sustainable bakery in Byron Fair where the IGA is, for lunch. Started packing. Leah from next door visited with Van, 2, and chatted about looking after the cats while we’re away in Brisbane with TC and Kev. Lovely girl and Van is a great kid. Went to IGA in the afternoon for a few supplies, then had the rest of the afternoon at home. Left at 17.45 to go to Brucnswick Heights. TC had booked us into a cabaret at the Bruns picture House. There was a French creperie operating in the front, and we all had delicious crepes. The show started late at 7.30 and included acrobats, singers, circus acts and other assorted cabaret acts like comedians and ‘exotic dancers’. Great show. Chatted to the owner/MC afterwards; did 10 years in the West End! Walked around around Bruns looking for an ice cream (again), but ended up driving to BB to look for one. Found in the Pick Ice parlour, wnet home.

Friday 7th

Fliteboard/scooter day. Drove to Bruns to try and Fliteboard on the scooter. Spent 1 ½ hours trying it out, much easier than the flat board! Fran did all right but came off quite quickly. I lasted about 2 ½ minutes but was scared sh*tless all the time, and the look on my face shows that. Great fun.

Got home to walk across to the commercial area to see an art exhibition in the Habitat (Jefa Gallery) Very interesting, watched a guy called the Space Cowboy who painted all these fantastic artworks and animation which could be accessed by scanning a Q code and watching the painting come to life on your phone. Later went to Lilium Love General store for a meal: it was in the middle of nowhere. Lovely food , but little of it, bit scary in the dark in the middle of the forest; quite an experience. Went home to BB.

 Saturday 8th

Brisbane day! Final packing, then we all got into the car for our weekend in Brisbane. Went via Robert Sowter Park lookout in the Tamborine mountain area, parked for a while in a hang gliding launch area, with beautiful views. Then on to Curtis Falls for the waterfall, which was spectacular and a coffee.  Looked around the strip and bought some souvenirs. Then drove on to 401 Brunswick Street in Brisbane for the Air BnB, a 2 bed apartment, perfectly placed near the city centre (well booked TC!). We bought stuff in the local IGA. Settled in, then went for a walk into the very lively city centre and finally settled for dinner in the Superbowl Chinese restaurant. Good food, except Fran’s food arrived well after ours when we’d nearly finished! Walked home via an IGA to get breakfast then home to bed.

Sunday 9th April        

Got up to drive to the South Bank car park and walk around the South Bank. First, though we went to lunch at O Brasilaro for lunch. TC and I had Fejouda, Kev had steak and Fran had Fejoida.

Then we walked up and down the South Bank. There was a swimming pool just back from the river and 2 beaches. Home for tea and bikkies.

Monday 10th – Last Day

Left the appt and walked around to the IGA for picnic stuff. Drove into town and parked near the Botanical Gardens. Set up on a converted park bench and had a delicious picnic lunch. Lovely, sunny and warm. Packed up and walked around a street market nearby, had a coffee in the cafe near the Calile Hotel then drove back to the apartment.  In the evening we went down in the lift and slouched in soft cussions along side the river with drinks and snacks from the nearby bar. Walked up and down the North Bank sidewalk, very long, before watching some jet skis racing around the river in the dark. Walked back, did the final packing and left for BNE. Went through security after waving goodbye to TC and Kev. It was very easy, no probs and waited for our call. A350 to SIN and it was full for the 7-hour flight. Boarded and took off at midnight. Landed in SIN, about 4 hours there, and caught the SIN-LHR flight, about 14 hours. I had picked up a chest infection somehow and coughed most of the flight. Landed at 15.30, a bit early. Charlotte picked us up and took us home in the Alphard. She had trouble starting it the weekend before but got it sorted. Glad to be home after the journey, but miss BB already!


About cliverh

Retired aerospace engineer, first with the Royal Air Force and then BAE Systems. Now enjoying a variety of activities and not getting bored. I was a Games Maker Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics and a volunteer at the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. I was also a volunteer at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in Southampton. I intend to blog about what interests me.
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