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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Burringham to Boston-My 2003 World Trip-Part 2-Queensland

Moreton Bay ,Queensland

     Departed Perth at 1.35pm Thursday the 5th June 2003 on QF598.The flight was in daylight for the first couple of hours and having a window seat I got a rough idea of what is meant by outback. Just seemingly endless nothingness.
         Arrived Brisbane at 10.30pm to be met by Colin Flint and his wife Isabella. Isabella is Ella Polatajko ,a sister of Ed in Singapore and thence another first cousin of mine. Ella was our pioneer into the world outside our village of Springfield.
            They live in Clontarf, Redcliffe, a suburb of Brisbane half an hours drive out of the city and sitting on the breathtaking Moreton bay.

“The City of Redcliffe is home to approximately 50,000 people and is located 45 minutes north of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane (Queensland is a state of Australia). The city contains the suburbs of Redcliffe, Clontarf, Scarborough, Woody Point, Rothwell, Kippa-Ring and Margate. Situated on a peninsula, the city is only 37 square kilometres in area so travelling from one part of the city to another is a breeze.”

         Colin is an Englishman and a gentleman, and he and Ella who have just recently become official pensioners have been renovating the house they brought in Clontarf .They've done a beautiful job of it and as in Rockingham, I had my own lovely bedroom. They have one daughter Sharon who is married to Scott and they live out in the countryside half an hour to the west.
            Colin and Ella have done their fair share of globe travelling, and they may eventually settle down and take things easy. Sharon and Scott have plans to buy a small farm in Tasmania, and Ella and Colin will sell up in Queensland and join them down in Tasmania.

Me and Ella Redcliffe
         One thing at the back of my mind before leaving the UK was  how would I get on with the people I hadn't seen for 30 or 40 years and how would their respective families see me. I needn't have worried ,Colin and Ella as with everyone else I stayed with were very warm and friendly and I was treated as a family member. Over the next two weeks Colin and Ella took a rest from the renovations and gave themselves up to making sure I had the most wonderful two weeks during my stay in Queensland.
            My first full day ,a winters day, only 26 degrees Celsius
(Ella says it gets too hot in the summer, Tasmania further south is going to suit her more),summer weather for a pom, was being shown round the beautiful Redcliffe Peninsula with seaside names like Margate and Scarborough. Not a cloud in the sky anywhere and only a haze above the industrial and docks area of Brisbane. Lots of Pelicans and other seabirds completing a picture of another tropical paradise.
         That same afternoon, we went to the wonderful Mount Coot-tha, with spectacular views of the city of Brisbane, the Brisbane river and the Glasshouse mountains.
A plane was skywriting, advertising 'Queensland week’, his handwriting was spectacular.

Mount Coot-Tha

After a drink in the cafe on the peak we headed down past all of Brisbane’s TV stations to the wonderful Botanic gardens and Planetarium. I don’t think I ever saw bigger cacti anywhere.
That evening after dinner we also found we had the same musical tastes, and that we were partial to liquid refreshments labelled 'Bottled in Scotland'.
             I have now decided to revert to a diary type account, to try to speed up this  project and try to get this to the printers before 'old timers disease' sets in. This may cause me to have to omit some observations and comments, which may in fact be cheerful news to some readers!!Anyhow;
Saturday today and my first trip into Brisbane. We’re at an annual charity book sale in the South Bank Exhibition and Convention centre. Never seen so many books. We came away with bagfuls.
       Then a walk along the south bank, with parks and fountains and wonderful buildings of amazing architecture, beaches and swimming pools on the river with swimmers and sun-worshippers(must be tourists since this is winter)and food stalls, where we ate and drank and I filmed.
Then onto the Goodwill pedestrian and cycle bridge, from where we could look at Brisbane’s extensive river traffic, and new and old craft of various shapes and sizes in docks, and Colin being an old sailor explaining the refinements of the K377,was it a corvette I cant remember.

Goodwill Bridge

Along the river past the Queensland University of Technology and some wonderful old colonial buildings whose purposes escape me(I had Queensland tourism brochures which went missing in New Zealand ,so no reference books) and a trip to the Treasury casino on Queen St for a drink and a few games on the pokies. Australians like their little flutters. I won a few dollars in Sydney one time.
              Back over the Victoria Bridge to the car and back to Clontarf, for a nice relaxing evening, and catching up on 40 years.
                Sunday and we're heading for the Sunshine coast, but calling on friends Brian and Margaret for tea and biscuits and to see how they're settling into their new house. I think Brian's an old shipmate of Colins. Anyhow they seem a great couple, Margaret’s certainly a bundle of fun.
               Next stop is the Ettamogah pub for lunch. Its a big rambling wooden structure with a pick up truck on the roof, whose walls are festooned with crazy saying, placards, cartoons, coin collections and anything totally wacky. I remember an old moonshine still and a souvenir shop, and out the back leads into a dance hall eatery where they were serving spit roast and listening to a man with a guitar playing country music. And beyond that a fun park with a big wheel and stalls.


On to the coast and Mooloolaba on the way passing Steve Irwin's crocodile farm. An average of seven hours sunshine daily makes this a popular holiday resort. 

We walked along a fairly busy beach (I had a paddle)lots of yachts moored offshore and lots of children’s activities going on and afterwards we walked the tree lined esplanade with lots of Art and Boutique shops. Another great day out concluded with good wine ,good music and a 'wee dram'.
          Monday 9th June, Colin and Ella are catching up with some jobs this morning so I take a walk down to Redcliffe parade. I find the sign for 'Humpybong State Primary School' amusing catch a parachute display and get into conversation with some women on a balcony having their hair done and an Island woman with her parrot.
          Afternoon and we're heading for the hills and Sharon and Scott's place. This turns out to be a big house set in 5 acres in a wooded area on the side of a hill with a beautiful outlook from a balcony overlooking bush and swamp. Their close neighbours include possums, wallabies, snakes, spiders and a variety of tropical birds.
         That afternoon with Scott on barbecue duties we enjoyed the company of a variety of tropical birds, including butcher birds swooping for thrown food, a kookaburra being hand fed and some of the most colourful parrots the likes of which I’d only ever seen in captivity. Scott actively encourages the birds so they have no fear.
         The feast was sumptuous, with barbecued steak, chicken, pork, garlic potatoes and vegetables, washed down with Scott’s home made beer. Blueberry pie and cream and cheese and biscuits was the icing on the cake so to speak. A beautiful starry night sky going round Woody point on the way home and another wonderful day was over.
Scott and Sharon’s

             Tuesday was a rare quiet day, a walk down to Marine Parade a swim, fish and chips then feeding the seagulls on the wing with my leftovers were among the highlights of the day. Shopping in Redcliffe mall in the afternoon picked up some souvenirs and T-shirts. Nice relaxing evening of music and discourse with Colin and Ella.
           Wednesday and we're heading for the Gold coast. First we visit Scott's mother and step dad Fay and Al for coffee, chocolate cake and Lamingtons. Fay and Al are a real intrepid pair having travelled the length and breadth of Australia in a caravan, and considering doing it again.
          Onto the Gold coast and Australia's most popular tourist destination, past Warner Bros Movie world(maybe take the grandkids when they're a bit older) .Went and saw the opulence of the Sheraton and Versace hotels then onto Surfers paradise past Seaworld theme park and up to the spit where there were wonderful views of the big breakers, and we saw surfers and jet skiers. Then through a myriad of skyscrapers to walk on the beach. Onto Conrad Jupiter’s casino for sandwiches and a little flutter and then time to head back.
             We'd arranged to meet up with my New Zealand cousin Liz's daughter Angela in Pallara on our way back, heavy traffic slowed us down so we were quite late when we eventually found the house. Angela, her boyfriend Alex and her father Martin had almost given us up for lost, but gave us a great welcome. Angela cooked us a delicious meal and we enjoyed a drink and a sharing of photos. Colin and Ella invited them all over for dinner on Sunday.
              Thursday, light rain and cloudy today. It’s Ella’s birthday and we take a trip to Redcliffes league club .Scott and Sharon are over for dinner and we have a very pleasant day. Talked on the telephone to my cousin Caroline(Ella’s sister) in Port Pirie, promised to visit on my next Australian trip.
            Friday 13th June. A trip out into the country today, Colin’s a great driver so having a really comfortable ride means you can appreciate the scenery more. Heading up to Mount Mee I was struck by the scenery being so much like Ireland, with green grass and valleys and dales and sheep and cattle grazing. 

That all changed as we reached the viewpoint near the summit where the panoramic views over the Glasshouse mountains, Caboolture and Deception bay were just awesome. Some young people had brought their own wine and glasses, what a great idea.
Colin and Ella-Mount Mee Viewpoint

On to the quaint town of Woodford, where we ate pies at the bakery a 'must do’, when visiting and where there's a fruit and veg shop called 'Elvis Parsley's Grapelands', and an antique and collectors shop I could have stayed in all day.
         Back on the road through Caloundra into the heart of the Glasshouse mountains and more wonderful views. Back then towards Redcliffe via Deception bay with the sun low in the sky and reflecting off the sea, becoming imprinted on the memory.
We finished another great day off by dining out in the R.S.L. club where Colin and Ella are members. Great food-Great prices.
           Saturday 14th June. In the morning Colin and I and had a bucket of balls each at a golf driving range .In the afternoon we walked round the Marinas and Fish market at Scarborough. Then along the walks and beaches to Redcliffe and a visit to a great art exhibition. Then onto the Fishbowl for a drink, an Aladdin’s cave of a theme pub with stuffed animals, exhibits in glass cases, old radios and all sorts off other oddities and kewpie dolls as waitresses.
That evening then turned into one of my most memorable in Redcliffe. At certain times on Redcliffe bay the moonrise and the sunset coincide and the sea and sky become a blaze of wonderful colours. Looking out from the pier to Moreton island ,fishermen in the surf, planes coming into land and ships on the horizon with a backdrop of a full moon casting a long shadow on the sea, and all of it in vivid colours was just a brilliant spectacle.


        Sunday 15th June. Scott and Sharon round for dinner. Angela and Alex couldn't make it as they'd a prior engagement but Martin and his partner Pam came. Colin and Ella had prepared a beautiful meal and we all ate and drank heartily, and Pam told us all about herself.
            Monday 16th June. Went for a swim in the sea then played golf with Colin at Redcliffe Golf club. Considering Colin doesn't play much he can swing a mean club. We watched Johnny Cash anthology in the evening.
               Tuesday 17th.Another trip to the city today. We had a trip on the river on the city cat,  and saw some of the executive and millionaire mansions on its banks. We had lunch with Sharon, then looked round some malls, museums and then went round the wonderful tropical gardens and miniature rain forest on Roma Street.
                    Wednesday 18th June. My last full day in Queensland. Colin and Ella have bought tickets for dinner and a show at Conrad Jupiter’s down on Surfers paradise. A little walk round the casino first, then into 'Food Fantasy’. We were spoiled for choice and a bit more was added to my ever expanding waistline. Into the show itself,’ Storm' billed as a fantasy journey which started in 3 dimension with glasses provided. Great show with dancers in brilliant sparkling costumes with Egyptian and Indiana Jones type scenes, Genie in the bottle, spectacular acrobatics, and the sets and effects were total and believable fantasy. A great climax to my stay in Queensland.
             Thursday 19th June and time to move on. Colin and Ella made sure I was going to leave on a full stomach with bacon and eggs mushrooms and toast. They then drove me down to the airport allowing for a stop to see the historic 'Southern Cross', propeller plane.

Southern Cross

Just time for a coffee in the terminal, then it's goodbyes. Thanks for having me Colin and Ella, can I visit again.
           I left home 19th of April, its now the 19th of June, surely it can't stay as good as this.

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