The Big Lap 2015 – The gold Coast
After an absence of travel since September 2014 we have left home again this time on a “big lap” around Australia. Unlike many grey nomads who head north at this time of year seeking warmer weather, we are heading south into New South Wales and Victoria where the weather is expected to be noticeably cooler than what we are currently experiencing in Queensland.
We have had the van serviced and the truck checked out, we’ve cleaned and packed and made arrangements in preparation for an extended journey and hopefully we have covered all the bases so as to minimise any dramas while we are touring. It’s always a challenge to decide what to take on a long trip and what to leave behind; one school of thought is to take a minimum only and buy anything else you need along the way this is fine for most things but can be a problem when dealing with spare parts or hard to get supplies. The other school of thought is to take every conceivable thing – just in case you need it – better to have too much than none at all. Hopefully we’ve achieved the right balance.
On Sunday we departed from our home on the Sunshine Coast and travelled to the Gold Coast where we will spend a few days catching up with family and friends. From the Gold Coast we will head south to explore the Hunter Valley (http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/hunter/hunter-valley?gclid=CNTN2PKQ_MQCFQIIvAodvkoAAw) then on to the Jenolan Caves (http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/) and The Blue Mountains (http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/blue-mountains?gclid=CNXyyZGQ_MQCFU6VvQodUrAAHw) before we move on to Canberra (http://www.visitcanberra.com.au/?gclid=CIejrvSR_MQCFYqXvQodwKsA8g) for a few days prior to before heading into Victoria to Lakes Entrance (http://www.lakesentrance.com/).
Once we have toured Victoria we will head along the Murray River to South Australia then across the Nullarbor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullarbor_Plain) to Western Australia where we will travel northward to explore Karijini National Park (http://www.karijini.com/). From here we will travel on to Broome and Windjana Gorge (http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/windjana-gorge) then on to Kununurra, Katherine and across to Borroloola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borroloola) then back into Queensland at Camooweal.
Once back in Queensland we will travel north and east before again heading west to visit friends in Central Queensland before heading back home around September.
Presently we are at the Broadwater Tourist Park on the Gold Coast contemplating the overcast skies following light rain overnight. A storm crossed the coast in the early morning as had been predicted and the weather seems to be trying to make up its mind as to whether or not it will rain or fine up.
With the Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast in 2018 there is quite a bit of work being undertaken adjacent to the Broadwater Tourist Park as the reclaim about 3.5 hectares of land for additional parkland on the Broadwater (http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/broadwater-parklands-stage-3-19737.html). A dredge is moored just offshore from the park and considerable works are ongoing to the south of the park to construct additional boat ramps, a jetty and associated roadways and parking. It should be great when completed and does not appear to have a high impact (at he present time) on park operations.
We met up with our daughter and her partner and braved the weather to take a trip on the “G” the newish Gold Coast light rail system (http://ridetheg.com.au/). We walked from the caravan park to the station in Southport and boarded the trip for the ride to the southern-most station “Broadbeach South”.
As seniors using our Go Cards, the total fair for each leg of the trip was $1.37 while it was much more expensive for our daughter and her partner. From this last stop it is only a short walk to the Pacific Fair shopping Centre (http://www.pacificfair.com.au/home) or a slightly longer walk to Jupiter’s Casino (http://www.jupitersgoldcoast.com.au/Pages/default.aspx).
Pacific Fair is being redeveloped and a lot of construction is being carried out; the website suggests “Pacific Fair will be transformed into a world-class shopping destination with a major $670 million redevelopment that commenced in January 2014. This investment will create the largest shopping centre in Queensland and the fourth largest in Australia.” Fortunately, quite a lot of the Centre is still operating and we were able to fill in time checking out many of the retail outlets. We were able to purchase some tasty food for our lunch as well.
On the return tram trip it was apparent that the rain had increased in intensity to more frequent drizzle and as the afternoon progressed it has become a steady continuous stream which makes for a potentially miserable evening. However the forecast is suggesting the rain will clear tonight with a fine day tomorrow.
We’ll be at the Gold Coast for another couple of days before we head off and hopefully we will have fine weather for the rest of the visit. We’ll let you know later.