As Rebecca mentioned, I flew to Brisbane through Singapore on March 17th. I was going to be meeting up with a friend, Zack. Although a Canadian, Zack lived and worked in both Perth, but mostly Brisbane for almost 4 years. During that time, he became obsessed with surfing. He was planning this trip back to Oz to see his old work mates, but mostly for the waves.
I arrived in Brisbane in the early hours of Monday, March 19th and caught the first shuttle down to Byron Bay. Once there, I took the first day to relax and get my bearings. I signed up for my first ever surfing lessons starting the next day. My classmates and I drove out to Lennox Head in the surf wagon with the boards in tow. I did OK and was able to stand up on the board a few times. The next morning I did a dive out at Julian Rocks and spotted a turtle, leopard shark, and many wobbegong sharks. That afternoon, I was back to surf school to get beat up by the waves again. The next day, I rented a bicycle and toured the area with a stop at the lighthouse which warns ships of Australia’s most easterly point. There, I spotted a wallaby grazing just off the bike track.
Then, on Friday morning, I caught the bus to Coolangatta to meet Zack. He had arrived that morning and had already been out surfing by the time I made my way to the hotel. The next day, we drove down to King’s Head in Zack’s rental car. I applied my newly learned skills and we spent the morning surfing. That night, a few of Zack’s old friends and a couple of other Canadians living there came down from Brisbane and we had a big night out at the Coolangatta Hotel.
On Sunday, I decided to go down to Sydney for a few days as Zack and his buddies were planning to spend the next week out at North Stradbroke Island, which is a little isolated. Although I was enjoying the surfing, I just could not see spending a week on the island with so much of Australia begging to be explored. I flew to Sydney from the Coolangatta (or Gold Coast) Airport on Monday morning. I spent 3 nights in Sydney and kept very busy putting on many kilometres everyday. Some highlights were the harbour area with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Zoo and all its weird Aussie animals, the Australia Museum, the Barracks Museum, and Bondai Beach.
I flew to Brisbane Airport on Thursday morning and took the train downtown. I transferred trains and was headed to the coast where I would catch the ferry to North Stradbroke Island. Zack and his friend, Ben, picked me up at the ferry terminal and, after dinner, made our way to the hotel in Lookout Point. Zack and Ben spent their time surfing while I relaxed on the beach and did some swimming. The waves were just too big for me! One morning, the dolphins were catching the waves right beside the surfers. Ben and I managed to get a round of golf in as well.
On Saturday morning, Ben, Zack, and I caught the ferry back to the mainland and we headed to Brisbane. That afternoon, we met up with Scott, a friend from Canada who is living in Brisbane. We went for lunch and hung out at his place. By that evening, a large posse had formed at Scott’s and we headed down to a really cool club area called the Valley near his place…another big night out.
Zack and I were up early the next morning to start our journey home. We were both flying to Los Angeles as he is living in California and I was continuing home to Calgary. We were on different flights, but only 45 minutes apart. Once in LA, I was able to see Zack’s wife Jenny and their 4 month old boy, Jack. It was a great trip with beaches, friends, good wine, and the friendly Aussie hospitality.