8 July 2013
We had three lovely days in Brunswick Heads, camping by the river and listening to the waves on the shore, just beyond the jetties protecting the marina.
We enjoyed a local market, as well as a drive out to Nimbin, a town nestled in the hills and known best for its Aquarius Festival back in the 1970s, and being the center of the pro-marijuana movement in Australia. It definitely was a blast from the past, as Richard describes it. You know those movies where someone time travels back to Rome, or the Middle Ages? Well, this was a time travel back to 1968-74, where all the stores are selling tie-dye or ethnic clothing, lunch takes about 30 minutes to arrive, ladies on the streets are selling Alice B. Toklas cookies, and the scent of marijuana smoke lingers in the air. It was a trip!
Today, we finally left Brunswick Heads and drove the nearly 200 km to Brisbane, leaving New South Wales and entering Queensland. We have now been in every state of Australia: Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territories, New South Wales, and Queensland. The only place we skipped was the ACT, the Australian Capital Territory, sort of the District of Columbia of Australia. And we'd have gone to Canberra if it hadn't been so wet and cold when we left Sydney - heading south (colder) and to the hills (even colder) didn't sound like a great plan.
Of course, we don't drive directly - we took a few detours to see the ocean, drive along the coast, stop at the self-proclaimed world-famous pies of Yatala (and the berry apple pie was quite tasty, but nothing like the Village Inn pie place along Interstate-5 in Washington State) - because we aren't tourists, we're rolling luggagers, and the journey is as important as the destination. So we enjoyed our drive north, and managed to find a nice caravan park just 4 km from the central business district.
A sidebar - we had an address for this caravan park, in a suburb or neighborhood just west of Brisbane. I figured we'd see an exit from the main highway and just take that. No, this is Australia, where roads don't always make sense and signs aren't for the unknowing. Suddenly the M-1 (motorway 1?) ended - just flat out ended! - and we were on Coronation Drive, in Brisbane! We found a gas station and pulled in, because gas station crews always know how to get anywhere, right? Wrong! The young woman cashier was so clueless, she pulled out a street directory for the Sunshine Coast, handed it to me, and said I'd find the map there. Well and good, but Brissy is on the GOLD Coast, not Sunshine, so it wasn't even in the book she gave me! We gave up and went outside, found a wonderful man putting gas in his ute (utility vehicle) - he had a Brissy directory, looked it up, showed us the maps, and even drove part of the way there with us following so we could find this place! Plus, he sells and installs Yakima car roof racks - made in Yakima WA!!!! Where my brother lives!!!! Where all of our stuff is in storage!!!! How bizarre was that????
Anyway, so here we are in our camper van, in a very comfortable caravan park (the Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park, http://www.newmarketgardens.com.au/) - all set to take care of business tomorrow. Get the camera repaired, if possible. (Because this caravan park has wonderful murals on the amenities buildings, and I'd love to get some photos of them!) Get medical tests so that my doctor will renew my medications. Get a few things checked out. Figure out where to go come mid-August, and probably book tickets. Figure out if we'll return to Australia, or move on to another continent. Come up with a vague plan for mid-August.
And of course explore Brisbane for a few days. Hold a koala! Take a river cruise or tour or at least a ferry ride! Meet up with Gordon, friend of very dear St. Thomas friends, who recommended this caravan park and sounds like an interesting person.
So - that's the excitement in our lives. Time travel and actual travel. And can you believe we've been travelling for over ten months now? Wow!
Like, wow, dude!