Saturday, June 16, 2018

Gold Coast - day 2

16 June 2018

I had not realised how much Xena had walked indoors after coming home the day before, till she woke up crying in the middle of the night. Leg cramps. Viv and I had to massage one leg each to put her back to sleep and it happened multiple times. Poor little lamb.

We had meant to get up at 7 am but our bodies took it to mean 7 am Singapore time. Add to that the exhaustion of all the waking up because of the leg cramps. No wonder when the 7 am alarm rang, none of us could open our eyes and promptly went back to sleep, finally waking up naturally at around 9.30 am.

We put a load of clothes to wash because the jackets and other full-sleeved items that I’d thought we’d only need for the cold night flight were going to be very much needed in a clean condition, given how grossly I’d underestimated the cold weather. So while the clothes were washing, Xena and I went to feed the eel family again.

Hungry, hungry eels

We saw a really long one and she insisted it was Eeliza’s husband. Oh okay. 

And then came along a shorter one, who was apparently their baby. Unlike the previous day, they all seemed very very hungry and gobbled up all the pellets we gave them and then whatever else they found floating on the water. We had been watching out for all the ibis poop, which was everywhere, so she insisted that it was the ibis poop the eels were eating. “Pellets and poop for breakfast today!” she declared.

Once the clothes were washed and put on the drying line, we set off for Springbrook National Park, for that was the plan for the day.

Car selfie; shy child

I was fascinated by these trees growing straight out of a lake!

The Springbrook National Park, located on Springbrook mountain, is a protected national park, and popular for forest walks, cliffs, waterfalls and lookout points with stunning views of the Gold Coast. 

First, we stopped by the visitor centre for information but it was closed. They had some noticeboards outside with some maps and information though, so we looked through them in order to decide on which places we wanted to see. 

We took a photo next to this 1000-year-old tree stump. The 40-metre-high tree was felled in 1911 and the stump has been rotting away slowly ever since. 

The story of the stump

These are the five locations we intended to visit. Though we had the car, we still had quite a lot of walking to do. 

Canyon Lookout - from here you can get views across the canyon to the Gold Coast, including the high-rise skyline located 20 kilometres away. 

Off to the Goomoolahra picnic grounds!

Goomoolahra picnic grounds is a pretty place, with many rocks, trees, and a cute little creek.

The creek was very approachable and kids were playing in it. What we realised later was that without warning, it plunged down the sheer cliff to become a waterfall! Quite scary if the playful kids are not watched. 

We hiked further along, and saw some great views. 

Luckily, Xena's legs were ok now and she walked without complaints. 

We had bought some nachos and spicy dip, which we devoured at one of the picnic tables that the place is popular for. 

We walked on, seeing many strange-looking giant trees along the way. 

The view from the 'best of all' lookout point comprised mainly dense rainforest, so it was a bit anti-climactic. 

There were only two or three others and one of them offered to take a family shot for us. 

Purling Brook Falls

This giant fallen tree was just one of the many we saw.

By the time we finished, we were famished so we returned to the carpark, where we had seen two tiny cafes. 

We saw this sign at the carpark. 'Thieves operate in this carpark'. Like it's some legit thing they do. 

We had a very late lunch at the Dancing Waters cafe. We ordered quesadillas, a curry vegetable pie, hummus and bread, and a chocolate soya milk for Viv. The inside of the cafe was full so we got a table at the outer seating area of the cafe. Though it was cold, it was a very pretty area, full of trees, flowers and lots of colourful birds. In fact, several rainbow lorikeets came to feast on the leftovers. Patrons of the cafe were hand-feeding them (though there was a sign saying you weren’t supposed to) as they hopped from table to table, totally unafraid of humans. 

Check out the rainbow lorikeet drinking the leftover coffee! That dude's gonna be on a caffeine high!

During our drive around Springbrook, we saw four kangaroos (or maybe they were wallabies) on the road, all at once! By the time we directed Xena’s attention to them, they had bounded off. “I saw one buttock.” She lamented. 

We hoped to see more on the Lyrebird Ridge road where you’re advised to drive slowly as lots of animals are expected to be seen. Unfortunately, we saw not a single animal, though we did hear various strange bird calls which might or might not have been that of the famous Albert's lyrebird that can mimic almost any sound it hears. 

However, as we were exiting Springbrook, we saw a kangaroo and then again another on the road on our way back so Xena was quite happy that she got to see more than "one buttock". 

We only had a little more time to go see the famous rock arch called Natural Bridge before it got too dark, so we hurried off. It was about a 1-km hike to get there, and we did it as quickly as we could, hoping that whatever awaited us at the end would be worth it. 

And it was. In fact, Natural Bridge turned out to be more impressive than the rest of Springbrook (what we had seen, at least).

It was absolutely mind-boggling. The naturally arched cave with the waterfall tumbling in through the ceiling was unlike anything we had seen before. (And we had seen a lot of stunning waterfalls in Iceland.) 

The waterfall plunges into the cave through this large circular hole.

We got as close as we could.

Family photo at Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge is also famous for hosting one of the largest glow worm colonies in Australia. In fact, people often go there after dark to view them in their natural environment. 

By the time we were done admiring nature's handiwork, it was very dark. I still couldn't get my head around the fact that it was only 5 pm! In Singapore, Xena doesn't even go down to the playground till 5.30 because it's so sunny. 

We were home by 6 pm. Once again, it seemed so strange to get home so ‘early’ that it wasn’t time for dinner and yet so late that it was pitch dark outside. We still had loads of leftovers from the day before so we didn't have to venture out for food. We stayed in and had a cosy dinner at home, before calling it an early night, for we had to wake up at 4.15 am! 

Find out why in Gold Coast - day 3!



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