Queensland Holiday 20th July 2002 to 31st July 2002

Wanting a winter escape from Melbourne, we planned a short holiday on the Gold Coast with Michelle's parents, Glenda and Arthur.  Also, wanting to add a bit of variety to the trip up and back, we diverted from the usual Newell path.

The Trip Up

Moonbi Boulder

After spending the night in Coonabarabran, we drove into Gunnedah at sunrise and then to Lake Keepit, the site of my Irish ancestor's first settlement in Australia.  Past Tamworth, we drove past the huge granite boulders at Moonbi pass, stopping a short while at the lookout.  On through Armidale and Glenn Innes, we passed some beautiful countryside near Deepwater and explored the Bungulla Station near Tenterfield, before heading to the coast at Ballina.  Sugar cane, sugar cane and more sugar cane and we eventually found ourselves at Burleigh Heads.

Around and about South-East Queensland

Liam demonstrates his swish & flick at Dreamworld

James & Liam at Wet 'n' Wild
Liam, Arthur, Glenda & James relax at Sanctuary Cove

We had a great time spending a couple of days on the beach, especially Tallebudgera which is very kid friendly.  We also tried a bit of fishing here, catching a few toadies.  We did a trip up into the Hinterlands, taking in Springbrook Falls, and the Natural Arch; visited Sanctuary Cove; went to Movie World and Wet 'N' Wild; and also visited the Glasshouse Mountains, enjoying lunch at Moss's Cafe with some spectacular mountain scenery of old worn volcanic plugs with a strong aboriginal heritage.  We also explored the rainforest walk at Marie Cairncross, and the arty crafty township of Maleny before heading back, enjoying a delicious fresh crushed pineapple juice along the way.

The Trip Back

Also wanting to make something of the long trip back, so we headed down the coast past fields of sugar cane to Grafton and taking the Gwydir Highway to Glenn Innes.  The scenery along the rocky Mann River was magnificent, but was surpassed by the climb up the Gibraltar Range through rainforest with glorious views.  We passed some promising looking fishing spots shy of Glenn Innes where we stopped for lunch in the park near the visitor centre.

We continuing down the New England Highway through Armidale and on past Tamworth, collecting an unfortunate Kookaburra along the way.  He cracked the windscreen, which I'm sure faired better than he did.  On through Willow Tree, Scone and Muswellbrook where we spent the night.

Wollemi National Park near Kerrabee

From Muswellbrook, we headed cross country through Denman and then across through the top of Wollemi National Park, with honeycombed cliffs climbing abruptly from the valley.  We passed a huge freight train, then meandered into the hills, passing the Kerrabee Tunnel before coming out into the valley at Murrumbo Gap and Bylong Flat where we had a close up look at a Wedgetailed Eagle on the verge as we passed.

Imperial Cave

We continued past Capertee and a number of collieries, skirting the Gardens of Stone which I plan to explore on a future trip.  We arrived in Lithgow and made our way down the windy but scenic road to Jenolan Caves.  We explored two caves, the Imperial and the Orient, both where breathtaking and the first time the kids had been into limestone caves which they were most impressed with.  It was my 4th visit to the caves but still as magical as the first.  Next visit will have to include the River Cave for the kids.

Oriental Cave

After lunch with the Currawongs, we climbed out the back road to Oberon, through the Gurnang State Forest and into Goulburn for dinner.  Not wanting to spend another night from home, and to be home on my Birthday we continued through down the Hume Freeway into the evening, arriving home some time around midnight, if not slightly after.