Jay & Nicole Visit Australia 
February 2010

(click any picture for enlargement)

Nicole, Claudia and I are ready to begin our 3rd week in Australia. So far, we spent a week in the Sydney area and a week driving inland. We're now back on the coast, at a place called Nambucca; the red dots on the map show where we've been.

Overall Plan: 
From here we plan to travel up the coast for 1000 miles, to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.
 Along the way we will visit the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.  We'll need to return via the same route, so we'll travel up at a quick pace and plan to spend more time on the way back down.

We awoke in the Nambucca campground to a bright sunrise, which quickly heated the van to the point where we had to get up ... which was good since the early morning view of the beach was nice.

We walked along the beach and only saw a few people taking their dogs for a 'power walk'.

The ocean floor is shallow and flat in this area, which causes the waves to break farther out.  By the time the waves get to shore, they are just a dangerous boiling mess ... no swimming allowed!

Even though the scenery and  nature was very nice, there  wasn't much to do in the area. 

As we headed further north, we didn't know what to expect.  We had high expectations ... which  often leads to disappointment!

Nambucca is at the southern end of Australia's "Gold Coast" (named that way because of the rich color of the sand).  The other end is Brisbane, which is 500km (300mi) away ... see map.

Our short-term goal is to meet Ursula at the Brisbane airport in 24 hours, as she is going to join us again for a few days.  That means we won't have much time to spend along the way.

We began driving and hoped to quickly visit the cities listed on the map.  We'll take good notes and hopefully find a place that we'd like to stay for a few days on our return trip.

After a few minutes we came to Coffs Harbor, which is supposed to be a nice fishing village.

The traffic into town was heavy, so we just stopped at the beach, which was along the highway.

The beach had the same kind of waves ... treacherous to swim in, but fun to watch. 

We stopped along the road above Coffs Harbor; this neighborhood had great views. 

The road then went inland for quite a while; the farmers in this area grow grain and veggies. 

The road returned to the coast at Lennox Head; we were excited to see surfers and nice waves!

We thought that this area was quite nice, but the camping was limited and there were only a few hotels ... so we could not plan to stay here on our way back. 

We then drove to Byron Bay, which our neighbor in Tel Aviv had recommended.  It was very crowded and we could only find parking outside of town; a sandy path then led us to a lovely beach.

We finally found an area with a great beach and plenty of lodging ... a place we want to return to! 

We reluctantly returned to the van and began driving again, as we still had a long way to go.

The road was in great condition and the countryside was very green and vibrant.

We stopped at Burleigh Heads for the night ... about an hour south of Brisbane.  

In the northern direction we could see high rise buildings ... from Surfers Paradise, a low-end tourist city that we did NOT plan to visit.

In the southern direction we could also see a bunch of tall buildings, which was not very appealing.

This entire coast is a gigantic tourist destination and it's logical that there'd be large hotel areas to handle the crowds.

At least the area around the campground was nice.  I even got wireless internet, which allowed me to get caught up with the rest of the world.

We relaxed and made plans to get Ursula at the Brisbane airport the next morning.

The next day we drove past Surfers Paradise ... yuk!  We then got to Brisbane, which was very busy ... like any other big city in the world.  Luckily we could bypass the city to get to the airport.

After getting Ursula, we drove north for another hour.  We stopped in Caloundra, where we decided to find a hotel.

We stopped at an "Info Booth", which every city seemed to have.  They helped us find a wonderful 2br condo for a great price; the tourist support was fantastic!

This general area is called the Sunshine Coast and it runs north of Brisbane for 100km.  During the next two days we plan to visit a few touristy towns and the nearby Glass House mountains.

During our first evening, a storm moved in with lots of rain; at least Ursula brought along a puzzle for us to build!

The Sunshine Coast wasn't living up to it's name and we quickly got tired of hanging out in the condo.  The rain stopped for a little while and we took a walk around Caloundra.

This area was developed to support the tourist trade, as were all the places along this coast. 

It was interesting to see very modern architecture, probably because everything was recently built.

We were able to join the other tourists for a swim in the big waves.

The next day we took a road trip; our first stop was at the resort town of Coolum.  This was the most luxurious place that we had visited so far, but I didn't think the people were very friendly.

I stopped at a casino & watched the end of the Super Bowl. The gals walked around the shops and then had a coffee; no one got a good feeling for this particular place, so we moved on.

Our next stop was at Noosa Head, which is at the top of the Sunshine Coast.  Things here seemed more laid back and we decided to stay for a while.  The surf was really heavy due to the storm.

We set up a table and chairs in the shade next to a sand dune ... a beach camp! 

We relaxed, went for walks and enjoyed the pleasant weather ... it was a nice to get back outside! 

We returned to the condo and finished the puzzle, which was much tougher than we imagined!
Ursula and Claudia began packing their stuff, as tomorrow we'd take them to the airport. 

The next day we visited the Glass House Mountains on the way to Brisbane.  Long ago this area was full of volcanic tubes; molten lava cooled and became hard plugs, which were slow to erode away.


The Gubbi Gubbi, an aboriginal tribe, treat this as a spiritual place.  They have stories about the mountains being a family ... a mother, a father and a series of children.

The area is actually a series of National Parks, known for it's great bush-walking trails.  We went for a little hike, but we didn't want to go too far in case it began to rain again.

We drove towards the airport and arrived quicker than expected.  We decided to quickly visit Bridie Island, a large National Park just off the mainland.

The weather had begun to clear up, but there still weren't many people on the beach.

We passed a kids playground and decided to check it out.  The new equipment was quite interesting, especially the geodesic jungle gym.  The bouncy snowboard was difficult ... stick with the whale!

We then dropped Ursula & Claudia off at the airport; we were on our own for the next two weeks!

 We returned to Caloundra and spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach.   Since the beaches in this area face east, the sunsets aren't very interesting ... but at least we saw a nice rainbow!  

During the next few days we continued north ... click here to continue the story


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