Southbound 

We waved goodbye to Sandgate on Sunday morning and caught the train to Brisbane. We’d pre-booked a hotel room just a few minutes walk from the station, which was handy, except that a) those “few minutes walk” appeared to be mainly vertical, and b) we went the wrong way and took a 10 minute (also largely vertical) detour. Still, at least we weren’t towing heavy bags and carrying big lumpy instruments or anything (irony, innit?)! On the plus side, if we’d walked the short route we wouldn’t have seen this fellow along the way.

Gear parked in hotel and persons showered, we set off for a walk along the South Banks, taking in the State museum (dinosaur skeletons and model whales), parkland (“Do not feed the ibis” signs) and food court, where I finally got an ice cream! (Kip writing today, as if you hadn’t guessed..)

In case you were wondering, it’s an Australian white ibis (threskiornis moluccus), or so I’m told. There’s loads of ’em.

The South Banks also has an amazing outdoor swimming and splash pool complex, shops, bars, views across the river to the old city and live music. We sat for a while on the grass listening to a young jazz trio, till the talent got too much for us and we grumbled off… for food, and sleep, neither of them at the right time (not fully adjusted yet).

Monday we took the train out to the airport to collect our transport for the next two weeks. It’s a car, it’s small and silver and has four wheels and aircon. This is all I need to know. Oh, and it can hold us, two wheels bags, a guitar and a piano accordion.

The Pacific Highway (or M1, as it’s slightly more mundanely known) appears to go on for ever. We took a brief detour into Byron Bay (beautiful but crowded), quick view of the lighthouse and on to a cheap motel in Ballina, where our dinner was accompanied by the sight of dolphins playing in the river.

Today we continued down the M1 / A1 to stay with our hosts Al and Helen in Upper Lansdowne. If I begin to sound at all smug in this next section, this may be due to the view from where I’m sitting on our bed…

Yep.

More of this another day. In the meantime, I thought we should give an update on our wildlife tally so far.

Ibis – too many to count

Butcher birds – ditto

Bush turkey – one

Parakeets – loads (but they were sitting on a telegraph wire and we thought they were pigeons)

Pelican – one, we think. It was a long way away

Kangaroos – Kip nil, Dave one, but it was dead. (“Dead Roo by the side of the road” good song title)

Apparently tomorrow we will wake to the sound of kukkaburras (no idea how to spell that).

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