Australia Trip 2010

 

Our holiday to Australia had been planned about a year ahead and seemed far away at the time. We only had two weeks to complete our trip so confined our itinerary to just three places-Sydney NSW and Caloundra and Bargara both in Queensland.

 

By Christmas 2009 June still seemed a great distance away, but soon after came the volcanic ash cloud. A volcano erupted in Iceland causing disruption to flights all over the world. Our elder daughter Maria and her husband Paul were trapped in Gran Canaria and had a terrible time getting home, and we had visions of never even getting in the air. One thing Roy wasn’t worried about was if we got stuck in Aussie and could not get back!

 

Anyway the ash cloud went away, June arrived and very excited, we packed our bags to begin the trip. First our younger daughter Joanna took us by car to Norwich Airport Park and Ride and there we picked up a bus to the city centre.

We could point out that Norwich International Airport has no direct bus service linking it with the city-the park and ride site is about a third of a mile from the Terminal.

 

 

After a wait at Norwich bus station we climbed aboard the National Express 727 and set off for Heathrow airport. After a laborious and back breaking 4 hours on the bus we were glad to be able to walk about the airport and stretch our legs.

 

Firstly we made our way to the Qantas check in desk. Here Roy had a glitch with his passport visa, which was sorted by Qantas ringing Canberra to confirm Roy’s elegibility to visit and stay in Australia when ever and for how ever long he wanted.

 

The flight to Bankok was the first long haul flight we had made since we returned form Australia with Maria in 1987. Qantas always supply a good meal- then it was time to put the lights out and have a sleep before we landed at Bankok. Our stay there should only have been for short while, which grew into a longer while, as flights into Sydney were being delayed by high winds.

We made up time however and landed in Sydney at around 5 am. After a train ride to Central Station, we could walk the short distance to our hotel. On the way Roy spotted a 10 dollar bill on the pavement and grabbed it- it provided him with a couple of beers.

 

 

The Wyndham hotel where we stayed in Sydney- in the distance you can almost see Central Station. This hotel was very convenient for catching the free bus which runs to Circular Quay and was  also a short walk to the Monorail. There was also a supermarket nearby.

 

Once we recovered we were ready to check out Sydney. We noticed a lot of changes since our last visit in 1986-the area around Central Station had been more developed with shops. Circular Quay we thought had been improved in a really good way especially the shops near the Opera House. On the other hand there are more high rise buildings,  which we though maybe not so good.

 

 The monorail had appeared and was fun to travel on. We used it to cross Pyrmont Bridge and visit Harbourside. This bridge was originally used by road traffic but now is solely used by the Monorail. We enjoyed strolling around this new development at   the harbour, and Roy chatted for a while with a seafaring man near the replica of the ‘Endeavour.’

 

 

 

Of course we walked across the Harbour Bridge, wandered near the Opera house and around the Rocks-an expensive area for buying souvenirs.

 

Roy spent some time visiting his old haunts-he took the train to Strathfield, which was where he first lived when he arrived in Sydney in 1972.The Strathfield Hotel looked much the same as it did back then but was closed at that time and he could not go in. This will have to be done on the next visit!

 

 

He then walked round to Homebush- something he had done many times before as he lived there for a time in the 70s. The road he had lived on looked very similar but the row of houses including number 11 had gone. Although he knew this had happened it looked very strange.

 

 

This was what it looked like in the 1980s and how it looks in 2010.

 

When we checked out from our Hotel we made use of their shuttle bus which took us straight to the airport for half the price of the train fare. We then flew up to Brisbane and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Previous trips to Queensland were made by road so it made a pleasant change to see this part of Australia from the air.

On arrival at Brisbane airport we picked up our hire car, a Toyota Corolla and were soon heading north. Our friends live in Little Mountain, which is on the outskirts of Caloundra. Roy met Glen in 1996. At that time Glen was in the Aussie airforce and was stationed at RAF Coltishall Norfolk on exchange.

It was funny to have an Australian reply to an advert that I put in my local free paper. I collect Scalextric and was selling some spare cars, we met some times while Glen was in Norfolk and kept in touch ever since.

 

 

Glen and his family-Anthony, Robyn, Glen and Sam

 

Glen now works in Brisbane  which is about 80 km away. We were made very welcome by the whole family, including the 2 dogs.

 

 

 

Glen took Roy into his room where his massive slot-car track was and it was then that he realised how much of an enthusiast Glen was.

 

We spent 2 happy days being shown around the area. Caloundra is a lovely resort, quite newly developed, and was pretty quiet as it was the winter season.

 

The beach at Caloundra. You can almost see Surfers Paradise in the distance.

 

 

Roy and Glen                                                                Glen and Heather

 

Roy was always a fan of Ken Maynard who was an Australian cartoonist. One of his themes was the Aussie ockers and the Ettamogah pub. Glen remarked that not far away was an actual building which was a replica of the cartoon and as,

Roy was keen to see it Glen took us there. Inside the pub was some of Kens work- also it told us he died in the late 90s.

 

 

 

The Ettamogah  pub and examples of Kens work.

 

 

We nearly had an extra passenger when we left Caloundra, as Bundy was already in the car, waiting to go.

 

We left our friends and set off for  the final part of our  trip and the place we had been waiting to revisit-Bargara.

 

On the way we stopped at Childers and we were pleased to find the old place looked much the same. We took some photos before we set off again.

 

As you can see from the photos of Childers below the faded ones were taken in 1976 and the new ones are in 2010, the buildings have been painted and look much brighter, but they look the same as they did years ago.

 

 

At last we rolled into Bundaberg and drove straight through the town, so we could see the changes we knew must have happened in over 20 years. The place looked quite different, but we hadn’t much time to take it all in before we were heading out through the sugarcane fields to the coast.

 

The first thing we noticed on arrival at the outskirts of Bargara was a new complex with 2 supermarkets and a garage-very handy, as there was no supermarket there before and only a very small garage. We soon found our holiday resort and liked the way the bungalows were setup. As in Caloundra it was pretty quiet and we liked it that way. After settling in we drove back to the centre and ordered a takeaway pizza.

 

The next day we drove around and revisited the places we lived in before-Crystal Waters, Links View, Grimwood Street and later Ocean View Place at Elliot Heads.

 

 

 

Crystal Waters Motel Bargara as it was in1985 and now in 2010- looks very much as it did then.

 

 

Links View Motel Bargara had changed in appearance, changed its name and had reduced in size

 

 

Grimwood Street Bargara, where we lived for a few months in 1986/7.This place had not changed much, only a few more bungalows had been built in the street.

 

This is Ocean View Place Elliot Heads. Our bungalow was the only house there in 1987 but there were  4 or 5 more built by the time we went there in 2010and the plot of land No 11 stands on seems smaller.

 

All in all there had been changes, but we felt that Bargara was better in that it had grown quite a bit and had more amenities-shops cafés etc, yet it retained the special qualities we remembered from the 1980s. Elliot Heads, on the other hand had just grown more houses, but nothing else and seemed like a dormitory village.

 

We visited Bundaberg a couple of times and enjoyed wandering in the shops and sitting outside at the pavement cafes. Parking was free and we got some real bargains in a shop selling souvenirs, which was closing down.

 

Most importantly, we got to go on the beach. Roy was looking for cowrie shells and Heather was just paddling and taking the sun. We were joined by a friendly small dog on one occasion, but saw very few other people on the beach.

 

We also took a ride to the Hummock which is an extinct volcano. There are lovely views from the top, although it was a very windy day. 

 

At last we had to say goodbye to the ocean, the palm trees and the cane fields and head back south to Brisbane. We had booked an overnight stay at a motel quite near the airport, to be ready to catch our flight to Singapore in the morning.

 

 

This was the hotel we stayed at in Brisbane, and it had  the right name as it was quite comfortable.

 

After dropping off the hire car we had a good flight, but a bit of a wait at Singapore airport. We were glad to join the main Qantas flight back to London.

 

 

I had to take a photo of Brisbane as we left as we do not know how long it will be before we see it again.

 

It was getting light as we arrived and having had breakfast really early, we made for the café at the coach terminus and devoured a snack-tea, hot chocolate and a giant chocolate chip cookie.

 

 

This was the bus terminus -quite nice and clean, I took this photo from the café.

 

We also purchased a couple of cartons of drink to have on the bus. It turned out that this was a good idea, because it conked out in the station as soon as we had all climbed aboard and refused to start. Eventually an engineer arrived and then we were on our way, arriving in Norwich at lunch time, just as it started to rain.

 

After a long wait in the bus station we got the park and ride bus back to the airport and then Heather waited while Roy hurried home to get the car. By the time we staggered indoors, we were well tired. Our guinea pig Eric came over to greet us and then we could relax and take in all of our Aussie adventure. What a couple of weeks we had had! We were really pleased with what we had managed to do in such a short time.