Something about nothing

We have been here at Rainbow Beach for five days. Doing nothing, or perhaps, more correctly, very little. No site seeing, museums, tours etc. Largely just sitting around crafting or reading. Allthego has gone down to the beach for a swim each day. Rainbow Beach is a busy little town, taking advantage of it’s gateway status to Fraser Island and being at the end of the long beach drive up from Noosa to Double Island Point.

We are staying at a Big4 Breeze campground. It is about 3 km out of town at Carlo Point on the Tin Can Bay side of the peninsular. We have stayed at Tin Can Bay before. Allthego finds one annoying thing about these campgrounds, beside still water and tidal sand flats. Midgies. They like Allthego and attack aggressively as the sun goes down. They eat Bushmans spray for entree. Legs and arms covered with itchy bites. Here at Carlo Point it is no different. They ignore Homealone because of her daily intake of Vegemite, or so she claims.

The camp is undergoing some significant capital works. Allthego suspects it has not been long acquired by Big 4 and they are now tarting it up to meet their market. In other words they are spoiling it by building rows of box filing cabinets for people to stay in and will be relegating vans and campers to less salubrious areas of the park. Also installing games rooms, TV rooms and jumping pillows. The kids do get outside though and ride around in bikes and various carts.

At least they let us have a fire where we are holed up and we have grilled some rump over the embers, flame wood grilled beef beats gas fires hands down. You do have to let the flames subside though for best results.

We have had some entertainment with the local goanna, being chased around the grounds by a couple of magpies. Perhaps the goanna has got at their eggs or maybe the little magpies at some stage. It hid under our truck for a while before making a dash to some trees. Two Sulphur Crested Cockatoos also joined the chase as it scuttled off into the bush. We managed an out of focus long distance photo during the action.

Have had a meal at the local surf club overlooking the beach and up and down the coastline. Some nice Barra and chips and a Turkish melt, with prawns and avocado. The beach is a little unusual in that it runs almost east-west and has the sun on it most of the day. There is little shade at the back of the beach as the sun slips away in the afternoon. The storm clouds gather late in the day. Apart from one night when we had a fair amount of rain, but no wind, they never came to much. Put on a good show though in the early night sky.

Earlier Allthego climbed a section of the Carlo sand blow that is slowly edging back into Rainbow Beach suburbia. It will take a few years and maybe climate change and rising sea levels will beat it, then again the sand blow might hold the sea back!

On arrival here we were between two other rigs for a couple of days. They have departed and we have had the area to ourselves, apart from workers coming and going on the redevelopment. It has been a nice break but we now head back home to Brisbane and the festive run in to Christmas.

A short walk

The weather had certainly improved on our last day at Lake Cootharaba and after lunch Allthego set off on the short loop walk to Mill Point. About 5.5 km, say an hour or so. Homealone remained behind for some quiet time.

Mill Point is where, in the mid late 1800s, there was a saw mill on the shores of the lake. Timber felled in the Hinterland was transported there to be cut and barged down the Noosa river and then by sea to Brisbane.

Some 60 families lived here in very basic accomodation. The Mill closed in 1898 and the area was given over to dairy and cattle growing. Allthego diverted down another track a kilometre to the old cemetery, a grassy patch surrounded by forest.

No headstones or burial mounds, but a memorial rock engraved with the names of those buried there. A quiet place to reflect on the times.

The grazing stopped in 1973 when the area became a national park. National Parks has done a lot of revegetation work and the area is reverting slowly to its former state. Still a lot of weeds and pests. There are some big stands of paperbarks beside the track.


All that remains of the old mill is a rusting boiler and some pipes being consumed by vegetation. Some fence posts and rails can be seen in amongst the trees. A brick chimney and stone steps are all that remain of a dairy building.

The diversion to the cemetery and the reading of the information boards has turned the one hour stroll into a two and a bit wander. Some perspiration and thirst had also been worked up and back in camp CootharaBAR called for a cold Amber ale before dinner.

We now head off for Rainbow Beach, one of the gateways to Fraser Island.

Bakery

As we headed off to Boreen Point it started to team down with rain. Absolutely cats and dogs. A few ducks as well. There is no bakery at Boreen Point. So we headed to Pomona, kept raining even harder at times. Water was lapping the side of the road in spots.

In Pomona we initially couldn’t find the bakery. So called into the IGA store for the milk and see what the bread was like. Waited in the truck for a while to see if the rain would ease up, it didn’t so Allthego went for a slow dash through the puddles. Got the milk and left the shop. Rain had stopped suddenly and the sun was trying to make an appearance. Found the bakery too. Next door to the Pomona Hotel in which we had stayed for a night 15 years or so ago.

We were at Pomona then, with some people from the Brisbane Club’s movie interest group, to see a silent movie at the town’s Majestic Theatre. A Rudolph Valentino classic from the 1920s, ‘ The Son of the Sheik’. An organist played along with the movie for the dramatic effects. They still play the movie now on the first Thursday of the month, although now paused for a short time.


Their Christmas movie is Holiday Inn, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and others. A must see! Maybe we will come up for it.

But, back to the bakery. Apart from a loaf of bread and some buns Allthego was tempted by a french vanilla slice, as opposed to an ordinary vanilla slice. The french vanilla slice has a layer of cream on top of the custard and no icing with the swirls of chocolate like the ordinary one. We took this back to the van for afternoon tea. A sausage roll was also acquired to fill a hole, it was getting well past lunch time. This was excellent, nice flaky pastry.

We then headed back to the campground for lunch to be followed by the vanilla slice. It was pretty gooey and oozed out between the pastry, which was a bit chewy. Have had better.

We were getting some late afternoon sun and a pink sunset over the lake. “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight”, maybe the weather is turning for the better?

Setting off in the rain

We are off again but it is with the threat of plenty of rainy days. This is going to be a short outing in our near backyard. We are heading north for a few days at Lake Cootharaba. The lake is north of Noosa and is quite shallow, no more than 2m. It is more or less a big pool of water in the upstream Noosa River channel. We may then head further north to Rainbow Beach before returning home.

As we set off from Bedwell Pl the weather was not too bad, warm and steamy. Stopped for a quick sandwich lunch along Steve Irwin Way in the shadow of Mt Tibrogargan, one of the Glasshouse Mountains. There was a cairn here marking the spot where Matthew Flinders camped in 1799. He had intended to climb the mountain, but didn’t as he was put off by the steepness of the climb.

Campsite

Arrived at the habitatnoosa everglades ecocamp (a mouthfull) beside the lake mid afternoon, it is a few km from the Boreen Point township, out from Pomona. Five nights for the price of 3, a good deal for grey nomads. This is a great spot.

Besides van and tent sites there are a large number of glamping tents. The admin block houses the cleverly named ’CootharaBAR’ and a restaurant. Craft beer made on the spot too! Not a lot of people around. Would be crowded come school holidays. Have had a good burger for lunch at the restaurant, plenty of chips fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately.

We are now midway through the stay and the weather has turned out as forecast, cloudy with on and off drizzle. Quite heavy one night. Patches of sunshine though. Relaxing though under the awning, plenty of birds around as well as a resident goanna.

About to head to Boreen Point to stock up on milk and bread at the bakery, maybe something else as well.

THE END IS NEAR – NORTH KIRRA TO PT. DANGER

But delayed by a day. There has been a weather delay in completing the last 4 kilometres to Pt Danger. Allthego had to skip Thursday due to a rather bad weather forecast putting a dampener on the final leg. Friday morning though saw the weather ultimately clear to blue skies after some early morning downpours on the Gold Coast. So it was back to North Kirra Beach to pick up where the walk was called off a couple of days ago.

Setting off down the highway to Kirra for the start of the walk.
The walkway at Kirra Beach.
Coolangatta was named after this ship.

From North Kirra the walk closely follows the beaches all the way through Greenmount Beach at the southern end of Coolangatta Beach. Along the Kirra section of the pathway is a memorial to the sailing ship ‘Coolangatta’ which washed up on the beach in a storm in 1846. This was the origin of the name ‘Coolangatta ‘ for the small town that developed on the coast from about 1884. ‘Coolangatta’ is an aboriginal word meaning “Good Outlook” of “Fine View”. Quite apt! There are also a few sculptures along the pathway. Another one of the Koalas promoting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the somewhat unusual ‘Nailing the Gold Coast’, a number of ‘steel things’ embedded in the grass to various depths resembling nails.

‘Camo’ the eco warrior.
Gold coast nailed.
Kirra Beach

Coolangatta Beach was soon reached, lot of building work going on. The parkland between the main drag and the beach very green and attractive. The tide was out and there was quite an expanse of sand down to the water. Coolangatta and Tweed Heads is an old stamping ground for Homealone, she was born at Murwillumbah and lived at Tweed Heads for a number of years, enjoying Coolangatta Beach with her two sisters on many an occasion. The town has moved on a bit since then one suspects, there is an electric vehicle charging station right outside the Coolangatta SLSC. A Tesla was tied up to it getting a fill up, reminds one of the days when horses were tethered to rails outside hotels.

Homealone at left and big sister Cheryle circa 1957.
Marine Parade, Coolangatta
Coolangatta SLSC

Allthego couldn’t resist ducking down a side street to have a look at the ‘wall’ Queen Anna has built to keep the southeners out, this segment just closed off the exits from the roundabout outside Twin Towns Services Club. A big sign there says ‘Welcome to NSW’, couldn’t see the ‘Welcome to Qld ‘ sign anywhere!

The border wall at Twin Towns.
Greenmount through to Coolangatta Beaches.

After checking the wall out Allthego returned to the main task and continued along the pathway around the Greenmount Headland, great views along the path here looking back down Coolangatta Beach. Rainbow Bay marks the closing stages of the walk as the path winds its way along the beachfront past the iconic SLSC on the hill looking back all the way to Surfers Paradise and beyond. On past the famous Snapper Rocks surfing locale the path heads up to Pt Danger and the view over the mouth of the Tweed River to the south and then back north past the Spit and Seaway.

Rainbow Bay
Tweed River mouth from Pt Danger.

That is the end. It has taken Allthego five mornings, about 3-4 hours of walking each day, to complete the 36 km from the Seaway to Pt Danger. It has been an interesting journey, a few things learned and to be remembered. Some do the walk in the opposite direction, Allthgo is not tempted!

PALM BEACH TO NORTH KIRRA BEACH

Over the last three days Allthego has been notching up a few kilometres more than planned and as a consequence is ahead of schedule. This a good outcome because the weather is deteriorating and rain a threat to further progress later in the week. So the objective today is to try to do 12 kilometres and get to Point Danger a couple of days early and beat the rain. The forecast is similar to what we had yesterday, so there is a good chance. Gillian has also come down to join me on the trek and encourage the pace required.

Both these places are closer than today’s destination.
This is not a cat motel.

We set off from opposite The Collective where we had lunch yesterday. It was a few more blocks of roadway before turning towards the beach and joining the pathway through the Palm Beach Parklands and along the back waters of Currumbin Creek.

Sand pumping at Palm Beach
The butcher bird has just swallowed something, caught in the act!

Then back to the Highway to cross Currumbin Creek and head out to the mouth on the southern side. There is a sand pump going strong alongside a large sand bar near the creek mouth. The sand is being pumped several hundred metres north along the beach. The area we are in is known as Currumbin Alley, a top surfing spot. Not many in the water though on this dull windy day. We watched a kite surfer skipping along the surf line at a great rate, quite spectacular, against the backdrop of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

Currumbin Alley across to Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.
In memory of Doreen, a ‘sun spirit’, beachside bronze. Allthego can pose like this too.

Back on the walkway we headed past Currumbin Beach SLSC and Elephant Rock, a seventy step climb to look down to Coolangatta and Pt Danger away in the distance. At this point I started to wonder whether we would make it! The weather was closing in a bit too and we were soon stepping out in some drizzle that slowly got heavier.

Currumbin SLSC, Elephant Rock behind.
From atop Elephant Rock looking down Tugun Beach to Coolangatta.
Walkway along North Kirra Beach.

We stopped a few times under Pandanus palms and Tuckeroo trees for shelter, Bilinga Beach had some welcome shelters next to the Surf Club. We had got a little wet and decided to call time at North Kirra Beach, some four kilometres short of the destination, having called Homealone for the pickup.

A wet grevillea
Enjoying lunch at N Kirra SLSC after the walk.

Temptation was too great though and the three of us had lunch at the Club while rain tumbled down on the tin roof! Timing is everything! It was then back to Broadbeach for a hot shower and warm up. Four kilometres in the final stage to Pt Danger, weather permitting!

NOBBYS BEACH TO PALM BEACH

Stage three of the trek is from Nobbys Beach through to Palm Beach, about 8.5 km. Nobbys Beach is apparently named after a local farmer’s cow that wandered down there back in the ‘old days’, it is a rather quiet place. The walk goes along the street past the surf club before returning to the foreshore on the way down to Miami Beach. The weather is not great, very overcast with the threat of some rain. But it is great walking weather. The beach scenes though are rather glum, the sky misty and a pervading ‘grey’ hangs around. It feels like a bit of a race to get to Palm Beach before the rain comes!

Coel-Na-Mara on the waterfront at Miami Beach.
Miami Beach and Little Burleigh Hill.

Miami is also rather laid back, it has a ‘residential’ rather than a ‘tourist’ air about it. There is a little family history here in Miami. Allthego’s father worked as a wool shipping clerk for a French company that owned a unit in the Coel-Na-Mara unit complex. For a number of years around 1990 the parents had holidays here at Miami in the unit and we dropped down from Brisbane to see them for a couple of days. The unit complex is still here today, but Miami is somewhat changed. Have to look back in the old photo albums for a comparison!

Steps up to the lookout on Little Burleigh Hill.
Miami Beach to Surfers Paradise from Little Burleigh Hill.

At the southern end of Miami Beach some steps lead to the top of Little Burleigh Hill giving great views north back over Miami to Surfers Paradise and south to Burleigh Headland. Up the steps and down Little Burleigh Headland proves to be the steepest part of the walk so far, but once down to the beach it is back on the level. The Boardwalk leads along the foreshore through the Burleigh township to Burleigh Headland NP. A little bit of drizzle sets in but fortunately stops as the walk goes up the headland into the National Park. Allthego chooses the coastal path around the headland which winds it’s way around to Tallebudgera Creek.

Burleigh Beach from Little Burleigh Hill.
Urban walking!
Looking north through the mist and rain to Surfers Paradise from Burleigh Heads NP.
Tallebudgera Creek mouth

Once across the creek it is down the Gold Coast Highway to Palm Beach, there is though a short stretch of foreshore boardwalk to enjoy. More is planned but there is an ongoing planning battle with residents about the pathway and where it goes. One suspects the Gold Coast Council will eventually win out. Allthego wont wait!

The long road walk into Palm Beach starts just over the Tallebudgera Creek bridge.

So, the trudge down the highway from 27th Avenue to Seventh Avenue is necessary, a little bit of drizzle as well. Urban walking! There was temptation to stop for a coffee. The streetscape has that tired feeling about it. Revitalization is needed. Here and there the housing is getting a bit ragged and the 1960s and 70s gloss is fading. Some would say it has rubbed off and been replaced by nothing! Some of the old beach ‘shacks’ are going and redevelopment is going ahead. There seems to be a rear guard action being fought to stop the light rail coming south from Burleigh Heads. Unlikely!

Some locals don’t want the light rail extended south it seems.
Palm Beach looking towards Currumbin

Finally, just past Seventh Avenue Allthego spotted The Collective, an eating establishment he had read about. It was about 12.30 and time for lunch, it was getting a bit wet as well. So the call went out for Homealone to head off for the pickup and lunch.

Allthego can recommend The Collective. It is a ‘collection’ of themed eateries, like sidewalk windows of food! One sits down and can order from an IPad. The selection covers American alfresco foods (mainly hamburgers and the like), a woodfired pizza bar and pasta, Greek delicacies, some Asian fusion nibbles and something else I have forgotten. Played some 60s 70s soft rock and country music as well! And it rained cats and dogs while we ate! A wise stop indeed.

It was then back to Broadbeach and recovery time.

NARROWNECK TO NOBBYS BEACH

We awoke on Monday to the threat of rain for the rest of the week! This was a little disappointing but Allthego is setting off anyway. Rain is needed. The next section of the trek resumes at Narrowneck and extends 8km south to Nobbys Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The sun and blue skies have gone but the rain has held off. Had a short walk around Mackintosh Island Park, in the Nerang River. Very pleasant spot in the hurly burly of Narrowneck, some black swans had recently had newborns and the peacocks were showing their colours.

Nerang River behind Narrowneck
Black swans and chicks
Peacock

The walkway heads south and soon comes to Surfers Paradise. Capital of the glitter strip. There are a lot of information boards around documenting the history of the area from the 1950s. Memories of Meter Maids and that guy who went around rubbing suntan lotion on people, as well as surfing legends and the bikini lady, Paula Stafford. Cavill Avenue history also gets a run.

Meter Maids
Cavill Mall
A Surfers Paradise icon

Major redevelopment is taking place to revamp the precinct, the 2018 Commonwealth Games mascot is still hanging around along the waterfront. Moving along from Surfers the next calling point is Broadbeach, plenty of building activity is taking place. The boardwalk ends here and Allthego needs to take to the streets for the long walk along Hedges Avenue to Mermaid Beach.

Commonwealth Games Mascot
Broadbeach walkway
Broadbeach towers

Hedges Avenue is a narrow street lined with private homes and the odd apartment block, generally low rise. It is known as ‘millionaire’s row’. The homes have title rights down to the highwater mark, making it difficult to put a boardwalk up between them and the beach. Spoil the ambience and property values. It is a mixed bag though, modern homes mixed with original ‘beach shacks’ from the 1950s and 60s. It is a slow stroll down the Avenue from number 270 something to number 1 Hedges at Mermaid Beach. Quite a nice Surf Club here and cafe precinct. But there are magpies. Allthego, politely minding his movements, was dive bombed by one of these characters a couple of times in the parkland opposite the Club.

Hedges Avenue back to Broadbeach
Along Nobbys Beach
Nobbys Beach SLSC

It was then back onto the streets for the stroll through to Nobbys Beach Surf Life Saving Club. Homealone duly arrived with the transport and we headed back to Broadbeach to Kurrawa Beach SLSC for a thirst quencher, couldn’t resist a serve of potato wedges and sour cream overlooking the ocean!

GOLD COAST

We have come down to the Gold Coast for a week of fun in the sun. No van. Staying at Broadbeach in a unit opposite Pacific Fair and nearby the Star Casino. Queensland has survived another COVID ‘scare’, so we have escaped the Brisbane suburbs for the glitter strip. This is a trip though with a purpose as Allthego is preparing for a multi day walk in Tasmania in the new year. Some training is required, drop some kilos and loosen the legs. Homealone will hold the fort and act as a transport operative, and no doubt do some craft things in between!

The Sea World Whale Watch cruise going through the Seaway.
A selfie

The objective is to walk from the Seaway on the Spit to Pt Danger at the NSW border, along what is known as the Ocean Way. This is about 36 km along the foreshore bikeways and walkways. There are some segments where the Ocean Way does not exist and one has to revert to the streets. This particularly applies in some areas where houses have rights down to the high tide mark. They do not want the general populace wandering past their back door spoiling the ambience of the locale!

Sand pumping jetty and dogs off leash!

Allthego has got out the maps and believes that this is a leisurely stroll and can be comfortably completed in 5-6 days, retiring each night to the Broadbeach accommodation. Some would do it a lot quicker but would miss the photo opportunities and cultural experiences along the way!

Day 1 has been successfully completed, approximately 8km. The Seaway to Narrowneck, including walking out and back along the seawall. The Seaway separates South Stradbroke Island from the northern end of the Gold Coast. Narrowneck is the thin ‘strip’ of land that separates the meandering Nerang River from the sea, a couple of kilometres south of Main Beach.

Federation walk
Along the Federation walk

Leaving the Seaway the walk meanders down what is known as the Federation Walk, a track behind and among the sand dunes passing through areas of remnant rainforest. There are lots of people around. It is a dog off leash area, including the beach between the seawall and the sand pumping jetty. There are more dogs than people. Dogs everywhere, it is Sunday, but a pleasant stroll through to Main Beach and then along the walkway to Narrowneck.

Main Beach
Oceanway at Main Beach

A bit weary so it was back to the unit for recovery. Further south tomorrow!

LAST FLOWERS

Our time in Toowoomba is coming to an end and we are heading off to Crows Nest NP about 50 km to the north for a couple of days. After a slow get away (we always seem to have slow get aways for some reason) we have found ourselves calling into a couple of suburban gardens that are open to the public. They are at Highfields, about 15 km north on the way to Crows Nest NP, in the same street a couple of blocks apart. The houses here are on quite large blocks ideally suited to sprawling sorts of gardens. Anyway, these two have totally different sorts of gardens.

House A has a predominance of bush type layout, all sorts of natives haphazardly planted here and there, lots of blooms and pieces of stuff lying around the garden, old wheel barrows, animals made out of old garden tools etc. Fascinating place to wander around.

House B was a more classical sort of layout, with defined garden beds and edgings. Still plenty of natives but a greater use of spring flowering annuals. Very green grass defining the spaces between the beds. We liked both of them, oodles of work though!

Finally departed and headed for the NP where we set up camp in a very nice spot. Fire pit beside the van, plenty of room to spread out. We are going to head back from here to Toowoomba for the Grand Central Floral Parade, it will just be for the morning then back here to recover!

The parade was indeed a great colourful pageant. The theme was ‘butterflies’. Floats were pretty good. It was an interesting dynamic of the typical country sort of thing, local community groups, major employers, sports clubs and schools. Added to this were the pipe bands, drum bands and various combinations of these. Army band.

Interspersed were the various ethnic groups putting on a great colourful enthusiastic performance; Indians, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Muslim, Sikh. This parade has been going on for donkey’s years. It would have looked different back in the 1960’s.

Now back to Brisbane. That melon festival at Chinchilla might be a good place to head next!