Friday, January 3, 2014

Australia...the land down under

Gold Coast Beach
Gold Coast Skyline
Remember those crazy "foreign" songs we learned as kids...the ones to make us seem more "worldly"? Yeah, we'll, I finally know what a kookaburra looks like and what a gum tree is.
We spent our first afternoon driving up the Gold Coast area, and extremely popular tourist area, particularly surfers. The beaches are gorgeous and extensive and people line the shores in the summer. Fortunately we were there just before the Christmas holiday starts so there was a lull...we won't be so lucky next week when the tourists show up in droves. Julie and I took off for some shopping she needed to do...omg I could totally live here. The number of organic markets is phenomenal! Naturopaths are available everywhere. I was able to easily pick up a few things I was running low on. We wandered through some really cool paper shops as well as some high end art galleries. Gorgeous stuff…for a price!
Kevin, the Kukaburra
The cockatiels were huge!
Roeland and Julie live at the top of a mountain at Mt. Tamborine. Their place is easily a walking place: few minutes to a small shopping area-two different directions, a walk or bike ride away from the main city...yeah, small main city...but with pretty much all the services you need. It's really a beautiful place. Love sitting out in the deck watching the birds that Roeland is befriending with bribery.
Roeland and Julie
We hiked down to the village of Mt Tamborine the following morning. Trails exist everywhere, taking us along the highway and through the rainforest to get to the village (40 min) where we had to try out Hillbilly Coffee before heading on to another hike to Curtis falls. I must admit, the falls suffer from a lack of water at this moment but there are promises of lots of water to come. Every January the rains come, monsoon type rains. There are signs everywhere warning drivers that if it's flooded, don't try it. Cars get carried down creeks and rivers by the fast running water. They even had to go to some pretty drastic measures to protect the house...the basement flooded yearly.

The area here is mostly rain forests and the hiking takes you up and down through the terrain. There were a large number of trees that looked like there were a bunch of roots, because there are. The strangler fig sends out its seeds that settle on an unsuspecting tree. The seedling gets its nutrients from the tree as the roots are sent down to the ground. Eventually, the original tree is strangled and all that’s left is the strangler! The water is unbelievably clear, producing stunning reflected pictures. If my hiking partners hadn't wanted to move on, I could have snapped a hundred shots! 

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