Day 5 – Gold Coast (An Unforgettable Wild Bird Day)
June 16, 2011 7 Comments
After spending 5 good days on the road with my son, I discovered so many good things about him. Elkan is a very sensible and doting son. He is full of love, surprises, sensitivity, humor and pranks – a perfect boyfriend/combo for any girl out there.
Our father-&-son bonding grows stronger by the day. He chatted to me like a little adult. I thought he was pretty mature for his age. I brought him to the toy shop today and wanted to get him a cheap video-camera. Just before I was about to make payment, he pulled me aside and said he has another camera back home. He doesn’t need an additional one. I was surprised cos’ all kids love new toys. When I told Felicia about this, she told me Elkan knows the money he spent came from the long hours we spent at work. He doesn’t like being alone at home and wants us to spend more time with him. He thinks if he spends lesser, we can make lesser money so we have more time to be with him.
At this tender age of 6, Elkan is a wonder boy. He is my joy, my “happy-power” and my pride. I am happy that I managed to get away from work for 10 good days out here in the outback with him. Afterall, I promised him a vacation of adventures. I hope he remembers every moment we spend together. (If he can’t recall the details, that is fine cos I left him a blog of happy photos and memories of our lives. To me, these worth much more than hand-down heirlooms.)
This is going to be quite a long blog with lots of photos and activities. Cos’ today is a very special day for me. It is my birthday. Many thanks to Felicia, Tracy and Meijie – they planned a pretty wild “bird-day” party for me. (Yes, you can take that literally!)
We will be spending 5 days in Gold Coast and we planned a “perfect travel itinerary” for Elkan and ourselves.
Day 1 – CITY LIFE – Shopping and Beach along Surfers Paradise
Day 2 – FUN RIDES – Theme Park (Movie World) + Night Tour in the Forest (Glow Worms and Stars Observatory)
Day 3 – NATURE – Wildlife, Forest and Mountains (Tamborine Mountains, Lamington National Park)
Day 4 – SEA – Watching WilSunrise + Whales Watching
Day 5 – ADRENALINE –
Sky Diving, Bungee Jumping, Shark Caged Diving, Jet-Sking
Today is our 3rd day in Gold Coast. We will be heading up into the mountains. We started the day early at 8am. Greeting us at our hotel’s lobby was this cool-looking dude (Darran) and his powerful land rover. Awesome! This is exactly what we need for a perfect adventure! A powerful 4-wheel drive through those rocky terrains!
In no time, we hit the dirt roads. Humps after humps, the kid and adults were screaming (with joy) in the car. The ride in the land rover was 10 times more exciting than any mechanical rides we did in Movie World! Darran was super-entertaining and funny (and he made us feel really safe and comfort inside his car). At one point, the car was tilting at 40-degree!. The next moment, we sped across a small stream, created a big “Angel Splash”. What a joyride!
Here are my Top 6 favorite moments:
NUMBER 1 – GALLERY WALK
45km inland from the coast, there is a big community of 6,000 people living up on the Tamborine Mountain. “Gallery Walk” is an colourful suburb (it is the Art & Craft centre of South-East Queensland) where there are lots of interesting shops selling paintings, sculptures, ceramics, porcelain, glass, jewellery, woodwork, fabrics and toys.
NUMBER 2 –TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Queensland’s first national park in 1908 – The Tamborine Mountain National Park offers visitors some wonderful walks in a beautiful unspoiled environment. On entering the rainforest in Tamborine National Park, we took a short gentle 1.5km hike (30 minutes) and headed down to Curtis Falls.
Along our trail, Darran showed us a few exotic (but dangerous) Australian plants – plants that have razor-sharp leaves, plants that have leaves that sting, trees with strangling vines and giant trees with legs and “things” hanging between the legs. Of course, I cannot remember all their real names. Darran gave them interesting nicknames (like the “Big Boy”, the “Koala’s Jacuzzi” and the “Japanese Koala”). The “Japanese Koala” is actually a big lump of termite nest wrapped on the tree trunk. Why Japanese? Cos’ a Japanese tourist mistook that “lump” as a Koala bear.
NUMBER 3 –LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
Our next stop is Lamington National Park. It is an Unesco World Heritage site and is well-known throughout the world for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views. We took a spectacular drive up to the Green Mountains. There, we walked along a series of rope-and-plank suspension bridges (Tree-Top Walk) 15m above ground.
NUMBER 4 –MY SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY AT THE RANCH
My entourage threw a surprise party for me at one of the mountain ranches where we had lunch. Darran played well too, acting along with them. I enjoyed my road-trip so much that I didn’t notice the special table clothes and the hanging birthday decorations! (Not till one of the guides came to me and pointed to the hanging birthday flags!) Darran brought out the cake and they polluted the peaceful countryside with a loud 30-sec annual anthem. No striptease, dodgy karaoke or sleazy hot lady in cowboy suits, just a couple of cowboys and my loved ones. I have the perfect birthday party out here in the wild, high up in the mountains! Lovely!
After lunch, Darran gave us a crash-course how to handle the whip and Elkan’s favorite new toy – the Boomerang! Check out the photos – we were pretty good with our Boomerangs. I kinda suck in the whip (whipped myself a couple of times accidentally) but Felicia mastered it pretty well. She was quite a natural with the whip. Shit, that is bad news for me. Ouch!
Oh yes, I mentioned about the “Wild Bird-Day” in my blog title… Scroll down and check out the wild bird feeding party – the ever-friendly Australian Crimson Rosella birds.
NUMBER 5 –WILD BIRD FEEDING
Wild bird feeding began at O’Reilly’s back in the 1930’s when Bernard O’Reilly was rehabilitating an injured Crimson Rosella. On release, the bird returned daily for supplementary feeding. He couldn’t keep a secret and invited all his friends! Soon visitors to Lamington National Park were also ‘flocking’ to enjoy the experience.
We have done this in Perth 10 years ago. Lots of Crimson Rosellas (Red and Blue) and a couple of King Parrots (Green and Yellow). The birds flew down from the trees and perched on every possible spots on our bodies. Very friendly birds and certainly an enjoyable experience with these cute birds. (Can’t imagine doing this with our black crows back in Singapore!). Poor Elkan, he played too much Angry Birds and he was terrified of these birds.
NUMBER 6 –FINALE AT THE PEAK
Towards the end of our trip, Darran drove us to the peak of the mountain (1000m high) where we had a 360-view of Gold Coast. What a beautiful sight before we descend the mountain! Stunning view!
For those who are interested in our tours – you may contact Darran directly at: Southern Cross 4WD Tours. Tel: +617 5574 5041. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Darran’s award winning company is highly rated at Trip Advisor and other websites. Yes, he is funny and witty! Make sure you get him to do those stunts in his 4-wheel-drive.