Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Surfing, Rides and Rainforest – May/June 11

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 1, 2011

Wade hanging Ten

Oops. maybe surfing's not for me

Hi Everyone,
We arrived in Ballina on 23 May and are staying at the Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park. We have had some sunshine for the arvo but it turned out to be overcast and rainy for the next 3 days! We went to the movies to watch “Paul”- a bit of language but very, very funny.
Wade has been asking to have some surfing lessons for the last few weeks so Joel has organized to have one for his actual birthday. We woke to rain and clouds and not a really a great day but off we go anyway! It was an omen and I should have stayed in bed!!! We ended up following the instructor to Lennox Heads, where we were fitted out with wetsuits and a board, then down to the beach we went. The kids got up straight away and Joel too, (of course as he’s a surfer from way back) but I kept falling off, just not getting my feet forward in time. Wade was having an absolute blast and although Joel’s board was just too big for him to enjoy himself, he borrowed Dan’s for a while and managed to have a bit of fun. Unfortunately I fell off (again) in the shallows and the next wave grabbed the board and it hit me, sideways, full on in the throat! I lost my breath and voice and struggled to take my board out and was in a boat-load of pain too! After about 15 mins

Daniel Hanging Ten

and a litre of frozen water, I got back into the water with no-one the wiser, until the instructor heard my non-voice and freaked out. He wouldn’t let me get back on the board and was quite concerned. The lessons

Leaving Ballina, of course it's sunny NOW!

were nearly finished and afterwards I got Joel to drop me at the Ballina ER just to make sure things were okay as I still had no voice and it was very painful too! They put a neck brace on me straight away, in case I had fractured my larynx and then ambulances me over to Lismore ER for a CT scan. The ambos were fabulous as was the staff at both ERs. 5hrs later the CT was clear for fractures and apparently my voice would return, but could take up to 3 weeks! Yep I’m hearing it all!! I just felt so bad as it was Wade’s actual birthday and we couldn’t go out for tea as planned, although he did get Maccas for tea in Lismore while I waited in the ER:) We finally got back to the caravan about 9:30pm- a very long day. Next day it was still raining cats and dogs so we just vegged out. The next day we were leaving and the sun came out again, blue skies, no clouds – go figure! The guys who ran the surf school rang up to make sure I was okay which was very nice of

Beach view at CP

Resident Curlews in the park


Joel and Dan on Skycoaster B4 lift-off!

Off to the GC and staying at the same Broadwater Tourist Park we were at last time. It’s a lovely park, right on the beach. It has a few resident curlews which make a god-awful racket especially in the wee small hours of the morning.  The sound is, as Daniel quite succinctly put it, like little children being murdered! Not quite sure how he tests that theory but he’s not far off the mark! Noisy bloody critters! We caught up with Stuart and Di again for dinner and a gas bag always a pleasure seeing you guys:) -although Jersey Shore still won’t make our top 10 list no matter how much you make us watch it:))) We went back to ‘Wet’n’Wild’ where Dan and Joel went on a new ride, called Skycoaster. They were dressed in a harness each then attached to a wire which took them up, horizontally, to the top of a pole about 90ft high. Dan pulled the rope, which sent them free-falling like a huge swing. OMG! What a ride! The kids both went back onto the flo-rida as well, a wave-surf machine that they loved.

Daniel on flo-rider

Wade on flo-rider

Penguins-they are so big and beautiful

Wade feeding the rays


Viking's revenge-cool

Seaviper - bye boys!

Dan and Wade on climbing maze.

Pretty high up

And so the war began......

Tambourine Skywalk


We put in another visit to SeaWorld too – the kids and Joel had a ball in the “Kids Cove” section, on the pirate ships with the water cannons, with other parents and children competing to see who would be the wettest! It’s amazing that we have been back 3-4 times and each time we find more things to see and do! The King Penguins were huge and awesome up close. Wade had a ball feeding some sting rays as well. Joel and the boys went on the Viking’s Revenge; i didn’t go on ‘cos i always scream and i still had a really croaky voice from my surfing encounter so better not to strain it:) There is this amazing climbing area for the kids and adults. It goes up about 3 or 4 levels and you are in a harness and attached to the rope network.  Then it’s just climb and walk around the ropes, past the poles. The kids had a ball! You wouldn’t want to be scared of heights that’s for sure!
We went to Banora Point to catch up with a woman, called Di, who I went to Uni with. It was wonderful to catch up with her and see what she’s been up to!

We took a drive up through the hills behind the Gold Coast and went to Mt Tambourine. What a gorgeous place.

On our way

Everything is so green

Now this is somewhere I could live and as we drive up into the mountains we see heaps of places for sale. Mmmmmmm………  First stop was the Skywalk. It’s a walk that starts at the

Joel's new friend

cafe/entrance from an elevated bridge which takes you straight out into the rainforest canopy.  It’s sunny today but there’s no chance of sunburn with this, thick forest. There’s a free-standing cantilever which sits about 30m off the ground and has the most beautiful views of the rainforest. The path then winds its way through the tree canopy to the forest floor and you can see just how big some of these trees are when you are looking up at them! We saw

Giant Strangler Fig tree

Joel is a dwarf

Curtis Falls

some of the strangler fig trees here, which we thought we’re huge at the time but we’ve since seen much bigger ones too. They start off as an epiphyte (living without soil) in the tree top of another tree and they send their roots downwards and they grow upwards to the sun.  They in-effect grow around and strangle the host tree, killing the host tree and creating a huge hollow in the tree. They are fascinating things to look at!

We stopped for lunch then went for a walk in the Tambourine National Park. We did a 2.6km walk down and up lots of rainforest gullies and were superbly rewarded with the Curtis Falls. They were very pretty but it’s a bit cool to swim. We saw some absolutely huge trees in this forest, some Strangler Figs, some just big trees! I took a photo of Joel between two of these trees that absolutely dwarfed him. Amazing! There are a few other walks with falls and other touristy things in and around the township that look quite good too but we headed back to the van and another walk/run/bikeride along the foreshore.


Golden Beach near Caloundra

View back towards Noosa

We packed up and left the Gold Coast and headed up to the Sunshine Coast, specifically Caloundra. We stayed at the Golden Beach Holiday Park which was a nice little park, small and very busy with all the grey nomads:)  We caught up with the Mees’ who have moved over here from Karratha. Wade was so excited to be catching up with Jaidyn and it was really great to catch up and swap stories of our travels as they have not long finished a big trip around Europe. We were so busy chatting that I forgot to get any photos of the kids:( We had a drive around Pelican Waters and were quite tempted to buy some land around here on the canals. They have magnificent views and right on the water. We had only one, nice sunny day here then the rest were all overcast and rainy. We visited the Caloundra RSL for my birthday dinner- what a fantastic place! We ate in one of the restaurants then the kids went downstairs to the kids room, which was like a huge arcade, only they didn’t have to pay for all the games! They thought they we’re in heaven as did Joel and I! We sat upstairs, listened to the band and I had a few cocktails while the kids played downstairs – win-win I’d say! All in all a great night.
Next stop was Tewantin, near Noosa. We stayed at the Noosa Caravan Park which was actually out of Noosa and

Noosa Nat Park coast walk

in Tewantin.  We had planned on catching up with schoolwork and the blog on-line but the park is in a really bad spot for phone service, so we’ll have to wait.  We think that might be a criteria we use before booking into a park from now on….check the phone outside the park and if we have service, it’s a goer!:)

Letting down the tyres b4 beach driving

Sandy Cape - nice spot for lunch

The weather has been patchy rain and sunshine on-and-off for a few days so we thought we’d make the most of the sun/clouds and parked out near the Noosa Surf Club and walked out to the Noosa National Park. There’s a few good walks to do and we took the one out along the coast. We had some brilliant views, the rain stayed away and we even got some sunshine too! This coastline reminds me of Tassie; it’s very beautiful. We stopped in at the Laguna Lookout in town for a view over the sea – not bad, lots of overgrowth on the trees so hard to see out too far. Next day it was raining cats and dogs again so we opted for a movie. The queue at the cinema was out the door so I guess it was a popular choice for such shitty weather. We saw X-men, 1st Class- awesome film, loved it.

Sandy Cape- inland

Rainbow Beach

Next day the rain had stopped for a while so we got a permit and drove up to North Shore and Rainbow Beach. You can get the permits from the caravan park or there is a QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services) office about 200m up the road towards the ferry that takes you over to Sandy Cape.  Lots of beach driving and gorgeous views and then we headed inland as the tide was too high to come in at the beach at Rainbow Beach. The tracks are pretty good and there’s a bit of camping along the beach and just into the bush as well. Rainbow Beach is a nice, little town and I can see why it’d be a top little tourist spot. We stopped at the lookout and park for a walk and wander around and an ice-cream for the kids. We drove along the back roads, back to Tewantin and saw some very beautiful country here. It was getting quite late and dark so we followed some locals who seemed to know the way through these back roads as some of the turns didn’t have any signs! The GPS was pretty good though and we never got lost.
Next day we visited the QPWS Office and got all our island permits and camping permits for Fraser Island. We also arranged the ferry tickets while we were there; the staff we very helpful and friendly and now it’s all organized for Fraser Island – yeah!
We caught up with the Websters at the Noosa Surf Club for drinks. The kids had a ball catching up and played down at the beach until it was dark. We stayed for dinner and some more drinks and had to drag the kids away from the beach to go home – it was lovely catching up again with you guys:)
Early start tomorrow as we’re heading to Hervey Bay.
Till next time


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