Sunday, July 17, 2016

Under construction

We've travelled over 3,000klms in the last 2 weeks, driving from Canberra to Sandy Beach, then to Brisbane, back to Kirra, then back to Brisbane, then back to Sandy Beach - a two night stop over in Sydney and then back to Canberra last Friday. We loved the trip - catching up with family - enjoying some beautiful warm sunny weather and some wonderful art on view in Sydney and Goulburn on the way home.

We admired Pete's progress on the new development at Sandy Beach - an original timber clad beach cottage being transformed into a classy 3 bedroom 3 bathroom B & B, while maintaining the original cottage character on the outside. There is a way to go as yet but we can really see the potential!
Rear view below.......just after the old garage was demolished, to be replaced by a new double garage and landscaping (of course).
 The cottage is opposite the Sandy Beach boat ramp - very picturesque!
We celebrated our return to canberra by taking the girls (and their bikes) to their favourite park on Saturday morning - allowing us a good look at progress on our apartment at C5 (Campbell).  Things appear to be going well!

The view below is of the front of the building facing north towards the War Memorial and Mt Ainslie.  By this stage Ella was enjoying photobombing all my pics. Can you see her on her pink bike in this shot?

The construction is just starting to look like the computer generated pictures of "Saint Germain" in all the sales brochures (minus the flowers in the garden).

And just for fun I have included the pic below, taken at almost the same spot as the pic above - but about 9 months ago...pretty good progress we think!
 And meanwhile Abi was just swinging herself around and around...........

Monday, July 11, 2016

Granny B birthday

We had a lovely birthday celebration for Granny B (Rob's Mum) at the Brisbane Marriott on Sunday afternoon.  Her youngest grand-daughter Bec (and partner) were able to make it too so there was no shortage of conversation, love and warmth surrounding Granny B on the occasion of her 90th birthday (almost).

As if we didn't have enough scones, pastries and macarons already our hosts at the Marriott also presented Bobbie with a surprise birthday cake!!
We finished off our week of celebrating with a nostalgic visit to the Redcliffe peninsula today. Bobbie remembers summer visits to Redcliffe with her mother (which must have been quite a trek in those days seeing they lived on a sheep property just outside Tambo over 800klms from Brisbane). They enjoyed swimming in the "surf" together and other holiday fun at Redcliffe all those years ago.
We had a delicious seafood lunch at the historic old Belvedere Hotel at Woody Point, but Bobbie couldn't find anything familiar in the surroundings that reminded her of those happy holidays in the early 1930s.  But then we saw this display in the foyer of the hotel and it brought back a lot of memories of day trips she and her mother did on the old T.S.S. Koopa around the peaceful bays off Redcliffe peninsula. The old T.S.S. Koopa became a real workhorse in the second world war so it didn't last too long after 1945...and there is no comparable service operating now.....but it was apparently a happy cruiser in its day!

Saturday, July 9, 2016


We're seeing Brisbane at its absolute best. Every day we've had big blue cloudless skies and winter maximums of 22 - 23oC. Our hotel is in Fortitude Valley, a few minutes walk from the James Street Precinct and the well manicured suburban streets of New Farm, a very pleasant space to be in.....

We think this part of town is a bit like Sydney's Paddington but without the grime and the gays (and therefore none of the character) but very pleasant all the same. We liked this little corner bar with its pints of White Rabbit beer.

Further down James Street, into suburban New Farm, I am immediately charmed by the older style Queenslanders....

I was struck by the similarity of this one to the house in which Rob's grandmother was born in Kerr Street Toowong (Mignonette), a few suburbs distance from New Farm......
Rob's grandmother was born in 1891 so this house would be at least 125 years old - but most likely a fair bit older than that!
We headed up to Mt Cootha lookout yesterday for a clear view of the city, looking out to Moreton Bay in the far distance.
....... Then down to Lota on the Bay because Rob and his Mum both love eating fish and chips by the sea. Bart's Place is one of the top ten fish and chip joints in Brisbane (according to the Courier Mail) - and we can also vouch for its excellence now!
With Bobbie safely ensconced in a wheelchair we were able to walk around this part of the Bay, all the way to the Manly Yacht Club, and past some very healthy mangroves on the edge of the promenade.

Back in this part of the city it's great for walking and cycling (being very flat around the Brisbane River). We did a long walk this morning along the river as far as the Botanic Gardens.  We walked up a sweat doing this on a perfect "Winter" morning.

I felt quite nostalgic seeing the old McWhirter's building on the corner of Brunswick and Wickham Street (also not too far from where we're staying). In the sixties I remember getting off the tram here anticipating the  superior shopping awaiting me in this grand old department store. It's not like that any more though. There's no department store; it's just wall to wall dollar shops and low end food outlets. The Mall outside stinks of fried chips, tomato sauce and old beer. Not so nice!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kingscliff and Kirra sunsets

We headed south from Kirra today, as far as the brand new resort towns of Casuarina and Salt Village and then a few hours at Kingscliff, including an extended lunch at the very polished (for a pub) Kingscliff Hotel. 

Despite its glossed up veneer Kingscliff retains it down home Aussie family beach demeanour with its gleaming aluminium 'van park dominating most of the best parts of the beach front and a lack of the high rise developments that dominate the rest of the Gold Coast.

There was a pod of whales swimming and spraying in the water just off the (tiny) wave break today.....a pretty common sight at Kingscliff between June and November. 

One of our favourite things to do back at Kirra each day is our late afternoon walk along the beach front. We walked towards Coolangatta today - absolutely awestruck by the light show provided by Mother Nature as the sun set over the western end of this north facing beach.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kirra Beach, Coolangatta and the Tweed

We're staying at Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast for a few days, enjoying some time with Rob's Mum celebrating her imminent 90th birthday.

Rob woke me this morning to see the sunrise from our bedroom window. It was so spectacular that I didn't abuse him for waking me (this time).
Looking north to Surfer's Paradise we thought it seemed like the skyscrapers of Manhattan were emerging in the early morning light.

On such a beautiful day we headed off for a day in the country - following the beautiful Tweed River west through the farming villages and towns and world heritage rain forests of the Wollumbin Mt Warning caldera (the largest caldera in the southern hemisphere).

We drove through the picturesque sugar towns of Tumbulgum and Murwillumbah before turning away from the Tweed River and then along its tributary, the Oxley River, around the northern face of Wollumbin Mt Warning. We got to the pretty village of Tyalgum in time for morning coffee!

An unexpected power outage meant our preferred "Rainforest Cafe" at the base of Mt Warning didn't open today. Luckily The Riverview Hotel at Murwillumbah was a great alternative for a sunny lunch overlooking the Tweed River.

We ended up a day of exploring back on the coast at Point Danger (thank you Captain Cook for these ominous names!). The Centaur Memorial at Point Danger has special significance for Rob and his Mum as it commemorates the lives lost when the hospital ship Centaur was torpedoed by the Japanese in May 1943. Rob's Dad was one of the few survivors.

And every time we return to the apartment I always feel excited by our ocean view!

Rob and I try to fit in a good walk each day. Sunset arrives early these winter afternoons so a spectacular sunset is an added bonus on these walks.
That's our apartment block in the background! We're on the 7th floor this year - not quite up to the penthouse standard we enjoyed during last year's short stay!