Surfers Paradise

33 Days in the Wilderness Day 18

We are called at 5.45 am.  We are to be on the 7.30 am bus for the ferry off the island.  At breakfast we hear that Brenda had been taken off Fraser Island as Geoffrey’s condition had worsened last night.  There is talk that he is on a life support machine and other talk that he is now breathing on his own.  Sandy went with Brenda and as yet they have not returned to the island so we are all trying to be as helpful to Danny as we can.

There is an air of dejection and sadness as everyone has become fond of Brenda and Geoffrey.

Our first stop at Hervey Bay is the hospital to pick up Brenda and Sandy and then take Brenda to lodgings close by the hospital that Sandy had arranged.

Brenda bravely wishes us all a good holiday and we leave her in the capable hands of the widow who runs the motel.

The rain stops as we make our way south and we see kangaroos in a field, the first time we have seen them in the wild.

We stop at Noosa Heads for about one and a half hours.  This is the first time we have had a stop of this length during the day.  It’s a holiday place and the shops are mainly touristy.  I buy a 200 dollar hat for 40 dollars for the wedding.  Maureen and Breeda think I am crazy as I can’t get a box big enough to take the hat.

Anne did a collection around the coach for Sandy and Danny.  She got a nice card for each of them and another one for Brenda and Geoffrey which everyone signed.

Danny said we had been on the Bruce Highway for 2,000 kms.

We pass the Glass Hills which have an aboriginal history of a father being disobeyed by his son so the son was turned to glass.

Captain Cook named them the glass mountains. When the rain falls the wet rock is shiny and glassy.

We track southwards and stop in Brisbane to drop some of our party off.  Michael and Chris leave to meet up with Micheal’s two daughters who have been backpacking in Australia for a year.

Brisbane is the first place where we see men in dark business suits and the women dressed for office work.  Brisbane seems old fashioned and has a high rise concrete air to it that we are happy to leave behind.

We drive straight through to Surfers Paradise.  We are at the ANA Hotel which is superb.  First of all we go shopping with Breeda.  It should be called shoppers paradise.  There is a gaudy commercialism.  Traders come out of their shops to pull you in off the pavement.  There are fun fair rides and it seems a bit like Blackpool.  We are warned not to buy anything in the shops as they cater mainly for the Asian market.

We go back to the hotel to shower and change for dinner and there is drama when Maureen opens her case.  Most of her clothes are wet.  They have been soaked on the ferry crossing.  We call up room service but the staff have gone home.  A housemaid comes to our room to collect the wet clothes and promises its return by 8 am as we are on the road before 9am.

Our waiter at dinner tells us he is relaxed to a member of the Irish Rugby team.  Anne, Valerie and Chris are taking advantage of the “pay 14 dollars and drink as much as you like” offer in the bar.

We go with Jimmy and Rhoda to O’Malley’s, an Irish pub adjacent to the beach road.  It’s late as we walk home but the air is very warm and there is a pleasant breeze off the sea.  The pavements are crowded with young tanned people enjoying themselves.

When we get back to the hotel the three girls are setting out to join us at O’Malley’s, but they start dancing in the foyer.  Rhoda joins in but the girls have drunk so much for their 14 dollars they can hardly stand.  We have a coffee in the bar and read the newspapers.

Maureen sleeps well as she had a glass of Guinness.

 

257 miles