Departing Bundaberg early on Friday morning we headed south-west to Childers where we turned onto the Bruce Highway for the trip to the Gold Coast. The morning was uneventful and we travelled through the outskirts of Maryborough and stopped about thirty kilometres north of Gympie for morning tea. After our break we quickly reached Gympie then passed Cooroy and Eumundi and along the track past the Sunshine Coast and on the highway to Brisbane.
Our lunch stop was at the BP Service Centre near Morayfield where we joined a number of trucks in the parking area while we ate the sandwiches Margaret had prepared that morning. We moved on and before long we were travelling along the Gateway Motorway and across the Gateway Bridge. There were speed restrictions on the bridge as a car had broken down in the left lane half way up the bridge and a small truck was stopped right on the peak of the bridge in the extreme right lane; any traffic heading for the Gold Coast (as we were) was affected by the stalled truck.
We reached the Gold Coast in reasonable time and checked into the caravan park on the Southport Broadwater operated by the Gold Coast City Council. This is a nice park and reasonably quiet; we thought there may be some road noise as the park is situated on the Gold Coast Highway not far from Southport CBD, however, compared to the park at Helensvale where we stayed last year, this park is extremely quiet. At the moment the park is not overly well patronised and I can imagine it much busier in peak times. We have enjoyed our stay in the park and will be happy to visit again in the future.
Our visit to the Gold Coast was predicated on the basis of visiting our two daughters rather than on visiting tourist attractions of which there are many on the coast. So on Saturday morning we travelled to our eldest daughter’s home to spend the day with her doing what she chose to do. We visited Helensvale Shopping Centre and purchased a number of needed items, along the way having coffee and lunch at the Centre. After lunch we visited Harbour Town and called in to see our daughter’s partner who works in one of the shops at that Centre. Then we returned to the caravan park and spent the rest of the afternoon just talking.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and we had arranged for the whole family to have lunch to celebrate. We all gathered at the caravan mid-morning and enjoyed morning tea, scones, jam and cream provided by our eldest and chocolate chip shortbread biscuits provided by our younger daughter – all very tasty indeed. About 12:30pm we all walked from the caravan park to the Grand Hotel on Marine Parade where we had booked at Restaurant 360 for lunch (http://www.thegrandhotel.com.au/index.php/360) a very tasty meal was enjoyed by all and the venue was extremely well patronised by other families with the same intent.
There was light rain predicted so we were surprised when we woke to a bright clear day. Margaret wanted to do some laundry so we loaded up a machine in the laundry and then took a walk through the Southport Parkland until the washing cycle had finished. The Gold Coast will host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and has been busy refurbishing existing facilities such as the Southport Aquatic Centre. This centre will also be used for the Pan Pacific competition to be staged later this year and workmen are currently very busy on site with renovations and improvements.
Our youngest daughter is currently undertaking PhD studies at Griffith University here on the Gold Coast and we were happy to spend the day with her. A “Cook’s” of the university campus was part of the agenda for the day; we enjoyed a coffee at one of the facilities on campus and experienced the locations where our daughter “goes to work” each day in developing her PhD thesis. After the university it was off to one of the local shopping centres for lunch then back to the van to spend a little more time chatting. The cold and blustery south-easterly eventually won and we retired indoors after our daughter departed.
In the morning we will depart the Gold Coast heading for Kilcoy to visit friends before arriving back on the Sunshine Coast a few days later.