From Byron Bay to Mermaid Beach
|As we leave Byron Bay I see a girl who is dressed for Walmart. She has her skirt tucked over her bra in front. William says maybe she just is poor and has no shirt. Maybe?|
We head up to the light house early and pay the $7 for parking . The view is great and we meet a couple from Ohio. Rather younger than us. Their children are 13 and 16. They do look a bit older than our kids. They are vacationing without children.
|The wind picks up|
Time to head to Nimbin. This town is at the end of a winding secondary road. It is a cute place that achieved a degree of fame in 1973, when it was the site of an Age of Aquarius music festival. Sort of an Australian Woodstock. Some people stayed and bought small farms and started small businesses. It is a really hippie looking town. I copied down a few craft ideas for Jasmine.
|at the Rainbow Cafe for lunch|
|Barry thinks about checking out the Hemp Bar|
Then down the mountain to the beach. We are heading for the Gold Coast of Australia. Past towns called Palm Beach and Miami until we get to Mermaid Beach.
After checking into our room we head down to the beach. Wow! You can really see the storm damage here. There is a twenty foot drop off from the entry to the beach to the remains of the beach which is totally covered with water at high tide. The beach used to extend out another 150 feet.
|Barry goes for a ride|
The wind is high enough to blow sand as we walk along the “beach” for a ways. We hear that there is another cyclone headed this way. Southern hemisphere name for hurricane. The lifeguards in training are hard at it. Some look no more than 14, but they run into the surf with their paddle boards and head out to the break. Then head back at a signal from their trainer, drop the boards and run a length down the beach. They do this over and over.
We decide to go to dinner at the Surf Club. Another member for a night deal. This club donates funds they raise to the local lifeguards.
From Mermaid Beach we head to the Australia Zoo. This is the Steve Erwin, crocodile hunter, zoo. His family continues to run it since his death in 2006. It is a great zoo that remains true to how he wanted it run. We had a great time. Since it was mid week in a slow season the zoo was not crowded. Lots of opportunity to pet all the soft furry friendly animals. Lots of the birds and lizards just run loose through the park.
|William with the Erwins|
|William and a kangaroo|
|A roo so sleepy a lizard walks on her|
|William and his lizard friend|
|a close-up of the lizard|
|William and lizard|
|Wombat going for a ride|
|William wrestling the giant croc|
|petting a koala|
After we check in to our room in Caloundra we go for a walk on the board walk. It is always high tide or almost high tide when we go for our walks. The water is almost up to the breakwater rocks. There is no appearance of beach loss here though. The wind is high. We hear that the cyclone is far out at sea and will just cause rough surf and winds here.
|I choose to walk on the board walk|
|William chooses the rocks|
|At our room Barry thinks about the pool, but only William and I take a dip.|
This is mostly a driving day with a couple of scenic stops. From Caloundra we head to Noosa Head. A head means a headland. We walk out on a breakwater and see that some beach has been lost here. As in Mermaid Beach locals tell us there are plans to get sand to replenish the beaches.
We drive through Gympie which we hear has had five floods in the last twelve months. No real signs of floods except for the signs that say this road subject to flooding and depth markers at the side.
We pass a couple of trucks hauling tires for mining trucks. We are the only ones passing in the overtaking lanes as these tires take up one and a half lanes. Scary, as I am on the side looking at these giant tires in this left hand drive country. There are too many slow drivers who speed up in the overtaking lanes which are very short. William grows frustrated.
We lunch next to the sea in Hervey Bay. The picnic table scavengers have long beaks.
In Australia there are frequently emptied green trash cans and clean restrooms with lots of toilet paper at every group of picnic tables. Also the ubiquitous syringe container.
We have a hard time finding our lodging as it is in a sugar cane field outside of Bundaberg and off the detail map. As the navigator I have a bone to pick with Aussie road signs and maps. The road you are on is never signed. I can kind of see their point, if you are on the road you must know where you are, but, not necessarily. Also, if the road has a highway number, that is seldom on the map. We finally arrive when we take the turn I suggest and the road to the B&B magically appears. This is a nice place, but arriving at five PM was not the plan.