Moved from Brisbane to the Gold Coast a few days ago -- miles and miles of one long, straight, sandy beach along Australia's eastern coastline. The map says there are about a dozen resort towns along this long stretch of sandy beachfront, but they seem to be merged into one long maze of high-rise hotels about 4 blocks wide and 15 miles long. And we're talking high-rise -- our hotel is a mere 22 stories, but the tallest one here is 78 stories!
There's also the usual hordes of open-air restaurants and souvenir shops that have sprouted up at street level like mushrooms around the base of trees in a forest. It has a typical resort feel about it. There's nothing uniquely Australian that sets it apart from, say, Waikiki or Miami Beach. Except the trinkets say "Australia" on them instead of "Hawaii", and the local color in the souvenir mall is an aborigine playing a digeridoo.
Dan getting close to the wildlife. (Gray Kangaroos)
Lucy getting close to the wildlife. (Golden Possum)
These guys, some up to 2 feet long, were everywhere -- and sometimes getting underfoot! (Eastern Water Dragon)
Get out of the urban areas, though, and there's more to see. We've visited a couple wildlife sanctuaries, where we got to see crocodiles, pythons, wombats, dingos, and tasmanian devils. And countless colorful and exotic birds. We got to hang out with koalas and kangaroos ... not like seeing them in the wild, but it was neat to be able to touch them.
Also visited a couple national parks for some nice drives, nice views, and a touch of rainforest. And then, there, by the side of the road! Several wallabies, waiting for us to drive by. We stopped instead. They studied us for awhile, then I guess decided we weren't going to go away and hopped across the road in front of the car.
Next: pick up Kim from the airport and turn our attention to the triathlon.
Neither of us getting close to the wildlife. (Crocodile)
These guys spend most of their time sleeping. How do they balance themselves like that??
Antarctic Beeches?! I guess at one time Antarctica used to have trees.
. . . not to be confused with this kind of beach. (Cabarita Beach)
Posted by Dan 09/09/2009, revised 09/23/2009 by Dan