Yes indeed we are in Miami Beach on the Gold Coast South of Brisbane. Time has indeed been flying. Between problems getting connected and lack of time to write I haven’t posted since New Zealand. Aukland is a big city and it has ports on two oceans. I could probably write a book about our time on North Island, but it has been done. We flew from Aukland to Cairns, Australia. This city, pronounced Cans, as in kick the can, is a major tourist spot with all kinds of access to the Great Barrier Reef. We had a day on a moderate sized catamaran. I hoped to dive once again on this most famous dive location, but the dive doc did not care for the beta blocker I take so I satisfied myself with a lengthy snorkel over some shallow portions of the reef around Michaelmas Quay. I also took a ride in the semi submersable boat they included in our trip. It is really a hull with large windows below the waterline to provide an excellent view of the reef and its shallow water residents. I was disappointed, but still got to see a pimple of the reef from in the water.
We ate at a restaurant called Ochre which washighly recomended for its indigenous ment. It was so good we ate there two nights in a row. The first night, Carol had a veggie platter that we could not finish after I had kangaroo tail steak.
For the second meal Carol had soup and local bread called a damper and I had wonderful beef tenderloin.
Our last day in Cairns we flew to Brisbane to pick up our campervans for the next nine days. Unlike the experience in Christchurch where the paperwork was ready and the camper vans lined up and ready, we found extra charges, paperwork not done and total chaos getting the vans ready. Two are standard transmission one had rotten floor and moldy drapes. It was returned and swapped for another. No way would I recommend renting from Apollo Campervans in Brisbane. As if that wasn’t enough the road log getting to our first destination was badly worded and when I finally got on the M1 I was not clear whether to go North or South. I called roadservice and was assured that I was correct to be heading south. WRONG! After 30 kilometers I found a service area and some help to get turned around. To make matters worse Earnie had asked me to lead the way and he stuck with us through it all. We arrived at the campsite at 6:15, after sunset and hours after the others. We finally had time to store our luggage and make up the bed.
We spent the next day at the Australia Zoo, which had been largely created by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile man. The zoo is on Steve Irwin Highway and our campground was 3 kilometers down the road. We have never seen so many birds in free flight in a Stadium and the capper for me was an Australian Condor, with 3 meter wingspan (that’s about 10 feet). It flew in from a handler off stage and scarfed down food from two different sites before returning to the handler. Very impressive.
During the day we petted red kangaroos and a koala or two. More of that tomorrow at Currumbin Sanctuary.
Our Campervan may be the Queen of the fleet. It only has 11500 kilometers (about 6600 miles) on it and has yet to be abused. Most things seem to work well.