Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 2: Springbrook National Park & Gold Coast


Because it was summer, sunrise was early at 5-6ish in the morning. We got up early and were rewarded with the most amazing view of the rising sun painting the sky into a deep orangy red.

And as the sun rose higher into the sky, its rays were bounced off from buildings, the sand and the sea and everything just turned into gold! It was truly magnificent.

So today, we decided to explore Springbrook National Park and the entire stretch of Gold Coast. Springbrook NP wasn't that far from Surfers Paradise...but there was quite a stretch of narrow and windy roads and it took us slightly over an hour to get there.

Although it ain't a huge place as compared to others, there are still several sections which would probably take us a few days if we really want to cover it in full. So we picked the plateau section to explore. Our first stop was Purling Brook falls. It ain't a big waterfall but the height of the drop was still impressive.

Anyway, before we left the hotel, I had put on a mossie patch thinking that there would be many mossies and insects at the park. However, I was totally wrong....unlike tropical rainforests, there ain't a single mossie at the Springbrook park. It was also very pleasant to trek through the reserve 'cos the weather, although sunny, was still pretty cool and the air was fresh and crisp. There were hardly any people around and it was almost like we had the entire place to ourselves (apart from the chirping birds & crickets!).

There were little rivers and creeks along the way. We saw parrots and birds of all sorts....we heard strange whipping sounds which we subsequently realised were made by the Eastern Whipbird. A local told us that there's even a breed of bird that mimics various sounds i.e. nokia ring tone and truck honks!

The walking tracks were mostly shaded by the trees. Somehow I was reminded of the "Enchanted Forest" stories by Enid Blyton that I used to read when I was a little girl. It all seemed almost magical as the trees swayed their branches in the gentle breeze and their leaves rustling like they were whispering some secrets.

Our next stop was the Canyon Lookout. We parked the car and took a stroll to see the Twin Falls and Rainbow Falls. That was our rental car in the photo - taking a rest in the shade after the long drive to Springbrook.

Next stop was "The Best of All Lookout". We figured we couldn't afford to miss this....given its name. Well, we were glad we went 'cos the view from there was awesome. At this highest lookout on the plateau, we got a great panoramic view of Mt Warning, Byron Bay and Coolangatta. We were lucky that the skies were clear that morning as fog and mist could really turn this Best of All Lookout into a total letdown.

We met this nice family who had travelled all the way from west coast of USA (in the photo). As we chatted, we realised that they had just driven up from Sydney and had gone to most of the places that we were planning to visit. So we exchanged travel tips and they told us to definitely not miss places like Byron Bay, Forster and Coffs Harbour. Forster wasn't in our original list of places to visit as it was a long detour from the main highway but since it came highly recommended by our newfound friends...we decided to rework our driving route to include Forster. Well, that's the fun part about road trips....your itinerary is as unpredictable as the day's weather!

The above photo is of 2 ancient Antarctic beech trees which may be more than 2,000 years old and they could be found just a short walk from the Best of All Lookout. The fact that they exist indicated that the climate might had been much colder a long time ago. They kinda reminded me of the trees that came to life in the Lord of the Ring.

On our way back from Springbrook, we stopped by Tweed Heads to grab a quick lunch. We found this quaint eatery called Scale Seafood that served fish & chips and other seafood which was located along the Tweed river. Lunch was fish & chip and calamari...they were absolutely delish and one of the best that we had eaten so far!! We noticed that the eatery also had a section selling fresh seafood. Many locals were buying their seafood from there and everything looked so fresh. It was no wonder that our battered fish and calamari tasted so fresh and good! We had to wait quite long to get our food 'cos their business was very good. Lunch by the river with a lovely view as shown in the above photo...all that was missing was a glass of ice cold beer and life (at that moment) would have been perfect.

After lunch, we checked out Point Danger and then made our way up North to explore the entire stretch of Gold Coast all the way from Coolangatta to The Spit. Here are some shots along the way.

Surfer dudes in their golden tan and carefree live-for-the-moment attitudes.

An Australian White Ibis - sunbathing and enjoying the beautiful scenery perhaps.

The waves were actually quite big and people were expected to swim between the red & yellow flags. Most of the beaches are patrolled to ensure safety. Here's a patrol car parked in the shade - keeping a constant lookout for any signs of danger.

The eagle spreads its wing at the top of Kirra Hill.

From the southern most of Gold Coast looking north, all we saw was miles and miles of the beach and also the beautiful skyline of Surfers Paradise.

Having read about the Q1 in one of the online travel sites, we just had to check it out. According to wiki, Q1 is the world's tallest residential tower and the tallest building in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere.

So while I was taking photos, 2 crazy chicks...obviously very high on something...ran in front of my camera and started jumping up and down. So I asked them to pose for a photo and they were only too keen to oblige.....after several poses and quick snaps on my cam, they ran away as fast as they had appeared...without a care in the world, laughing hysterically and madly waving to all the cars that were passing them. are only young once, I guess.

The entire stretch from Coolangatta's Point Danger Lighthouse to The Spit is approximately 33km long...which should take you less than an hour's drive. However, there are so many things to see and do along the coast that you'd probably need to spend days if you wanna to explore each and every section of the beach along the entire Gold Coast. And when you are done with the sun, sand and sea....and would like some retail therapy, I'd highly recommend the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre ....and trust me, you don't want to leave your cash/credit cards at home.

No comments:

Post a Comment