Nancy’s 1994 Australian Quest Pt. 2

Nancy Willson Gokey,  and Monica Johnson , having explored the historic and scenic wonders from Cairns and Sidney, continuing  their Australian tour.  Renting a van and exiting the captivating city of Sidney, the two, accompanied  by other members of their tour group, ventured north on motorway 1, known as the Pacific Highway.

The travelers first stop,  171 miles north of Sidney at Seal Rock and Sugar Loaf Point. The Sugar Loaf Point lighthouse, sometime referred to as,  the Seal Rock light,  consisted of a Mid Victorian watch tower,  and a complex of living quarters, it was one of only two beacon’s in Australia with an external stairway.  Beginning service in 1875,  it’s guardian post giving notice of the notorious Seal Rocks, a treacherous rock formation to the south, the lighthouse location and the panoramic lighthouse beach are both popular  attractions within the Myall Lakes National Park.


Continuing the their trek north to Coffs Harbor,  a major regional city, midway between Sidney and Brisbane, where the great dividing range meets the sea,  a hill laden landscape overseen by the forested mountains.  The traditional inhabitants of the Coffs Harbour region were the Gumbaynggirr people, who have occupied the land for thousands of years, one of the largest coastal Aboriginal Nations.  The visitors touring the harbor, viewing the its entrance and visiting  Muttonbird Island.  Their day complete, the travelers checking in at the Pier Hotel.

The van resuming its travel in the morning, a brief stop at Woolgoolga, the site of the first Sikh Temple built in 1968.   Sikhism was relatively nonexistent because of  the 1901 White Australia Policy, restricting the immigration of non-whites , but was  altered with the racial discrimination act of 1975.  Continuing on the Pacific Highway, enjoying the scenic landscape, the bustling agricultural topography, crossing the inland rivers flowing from the mountain divide to the sea.

An arrival at Byron Bay, a stop to visit to Cape Byron, named by Captain James Cook when passing the area in May of  1770  Cook naming his discovery after John Byron, a fellow global circumnavigation of 1776  The group viewing the 1901 Cape Byron light house, its awareness overseeing the treacherous rocky outcrops of Cape Byron Point and entrance to Byron Bay.  The group sojourning a scenic beach walk to an overlook displaying the most easterly point on the mainland,  documenting their presence by posing for photos before resuming their travel north to once town of Coolangatta. The town now a suburb of Gold Coast.



The city of Gold Coast was historically called South Coast, because it was south of Brisbane,  but because of the inflated real estate prices and prosperous goods and services of the fifties, in 1958 south coast name was changed to gold coast.   Then in fifty nine,  the city formed an amalgamation with the towns of Coolangatta,  Southport, and other coastal areas,  its boundaries expanding to an incorporated area of 160 square miles, with 37 miles of imposing beach shoreline, making it the second largest city in Australia.   With their travels done for the day,  the group having prior reservation at the pristine seven story, one hundred thirty four room Greenmount Beach hotel.

The sun rising on their third day, the group having scheduled a guided tour of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary,  the ten member contingency boarding a far horizon scenic day tour van.  The Sanctuary was established by beekeeper and floriculturist Alex Griffiths in 1947,  as a small scale tourist venture, featuring guest interaction with a medium-sized vocal,  and exceptionally colorful parrot native to Australia, the lori keet.  Griffiths adding a variety of other wildlife everything from the native  kangaroo and wallabies, to the emu, cassowary’s and the Australian canine dingo.  It was not without the notorious dangerous crocodile,  but  included the human friendly, docile cuddly Koala Bear.  Griffiths dream blossoming into a renown 44 acre wildlife and Botanical garden,  a display in which tourists could interact with the surroundings.  The interaction and togetherness of a guided tour making for an unforgettable experience.


A morning venture into the Gold Coast hinterland,   a day long tour of the Lamington National Park,  and  O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.  The arriving group experiencing a spectacular view from the summit of Tamboring Mountain,  then proceeding into the subtropical rainforest on the scenic and informative natures walk.  An Aussie barbecue lunch complimenting both appetites, lunch,  and the experience of communicating with the Rainforest and the inhabitants of the wilderness. At O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, the tour able to get an up close look at native plants, birds and even the koalas.   The Retreat having an half mile,  52 foot elevated treetop walk,  providing an  aerial rainforest view of the scenic wonders.  Returning from their day long exploration,  Nancy and Monica,  opting to spend a quiet evening on the beach, and the sound of the cresting sea gently coming ashore.


A late morning checkout and a leisure hour long drive to Brisbane. A return of the rental van,  Nancy and Monica having reservations at Dooley’s, the Irish Hotel.  The two taking advantage of an afternoon tour, once again venturing to a rainforest environment, this time to the Springbrook National Park.    The southern cliffs in Springbrook are the remnants of the northern rim of the ancient Tweed Volcano,  their circuit walk beginning with the view of the proclaimed Twin Falls.  The parks rainforest and eucalypt,  a result from the cliff-lined headwaters of the numerous rivers and creeks.  the waterway flowing over the escarpment of the cliffs,  providing 16 waterfalls seen in a relatively short distance in the plateau section of the park.

It was Nancy and Monica’s last day in Brisbane, the two deciding on a city tour,  boarding a Hop on Hop Off scenic tour bus, their first stop the Brisbane city botanical Gardens. The two venturing on the walkway, discovering more than the flora.  The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, named for the governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825,  who was an astronomer, and established the first observatory at Parramatta in 1822.  Another stop at the Roma Street Parkland, the two amazed at that botanical habitat of Brisbane and the surrounding area.


Change of venue, Nancy and Monica,  boarding a Brisbane river scenic tour boat.   the Brisbane River headwaters located in the great dividing range east of the town of  King a Roy,  winding its way two hundred and fourteen miles to its union with Morton bay,   and the sea.  aboard, the two viewing Kangaroo Point cliffs,  passing under the landmark Story bridge, witnessing the flora and fauna,  and getting a glimpse of Brisbane’s historical past and present,  from the likes of the old custom house,  to the city’s most popular tourist attraction, The South Bank Parklands, established at the site of the 1988 World Exposition.   Their touring day completed, the two returning to Dooley’s Irish hotel, a final night in Brisbane.


A morning arrival at the airport, Nancy and Monica boarding a Qantas airlines seven thirty seven for the two hour  and ten minute flight to Melbourne.  A two hour layover for the Tasmania flight was scheduled.  once aboard, the  two settling in for the one hour airborne Tasmania sea journey to Hobart, the capitol of the Island State of Tasmania, their host for the next five days.





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