Today was the day we said goodbye to Tyson, Talitha, Max and Banjo. They were headed back to cold wintry Adelaide. Jude took them to the Airport while the rest of us enjoyed a lazy morning. The girls were continuing on with their journals while Grey did his as well. Matt and Flic enjoyed their regular stroll to get their coffee and walked back looking through the vast range of shops in the main drag of Byron Bay. When Jude got home we had some lunch then went for a drive up the coast. We stopped at Lennox Head to admire the view. More surfers to watch for Matt, then we continued on to Ballina. The coastal drive from Byron to Ballina is really beautiful. It kind of reminded Felicity of Yorke Peninsula. From Ballina we made our way to a quaint little town called Bangalow. We had a lovely coffee with scones and a piece of Blueberry Cheesecake along with Baby Chinos complete with marshmallows for the girls. Next we had a quick look down the street. Felicity was excited to see a lovely jumper on a half price rack out the front of a shop…only to be disappointed to see it was still going to be a $150 purchase!
Up early and at em as today we were going to Movie World. As we arrived there were already lots of people heading in. Unfortunately for us two of the main rides were closed today. The Green Lantern seems to be shut indefinitely and our favorite Arkham Mayhem (used to be the lethal weapon ride) was down due to maintenance as well. No stress as Grey, Naomi and Felicity lined up for 30mins for the Superman rollercoaster ride. AWESOME!!!! It was great. So so fast right of the bat. Naomi came off so hyped up saying that was the best ride ever!!! Definitely made Felicity feel adrenaline that’s for sure. The younger girls enjoyed Looney Tunes world, lots of rides that they could do. We lost count of how many times Emma did the Road Runner rollercoaster and Lucy the Tigger bounce ride!!! They all received their driver’s license at the driving school, so they all enjoyed driving their own little car around a little model version of Movie world. A whole shed was taken over with this model version, Lucy drove while Felicity rode the back of her car. The Wild West log ride still continues to go strong and continues to be a favourite among us all. Unfortunately they have changed the Police Academy show to a stunt driving show. Still fun to watch , but not as entertaining as the other show. Naomi and Lucy enjoyed having a dance with eh Looney Tune characters – Sylvester, Tweety, Bugs Bunny. All the children had the chance to do this. I take my hat off to them as they had so many children vying for their attention. One little boy just wouldn’t let go of Bugs Bunny at all!! From there we headed over to help the Justice League to fight starfish aliens. Here Matt, Felicity, Naomi and Emma were put in a carriage each equipped with a laser gun. Each alien we shot would come up on our counter. We were doing so well until about 5 mins into the ride when everything stopped and all the lights came on and over the radio came a voice saying that there was a malfunction and it would soon be sorted. 10mins later our carriage started over and the door opened and we were at the end of our ride… who shot the most aliens asks Emma???? We check our counters….0000 they say!! Great, all our scores got wiped when the ride shut down!!
The grand parade was at 3:30. We saw Batman, the Joker, Cat woman complete with whip, Austin Powers (who is that asks Naomi?), Looney Tunes characters and the Justice League – Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Super girl.
Another quick go on all the Looney Tunes rides for a few last times and then it was time to head home after another fun day at the Worlds!!
Morning coffee at our Local, followed by a lazy morning before we headed to Brunswick Heads Hotel for lunch with Peter and Julia. We had a very nice lunch apart from the weather being very drizzly so we didn’t see much of the surrounds. As it was not the nicest weather we took the girls to see the new Minion movie in Byron Bay Palace Nova cinemas. The girls loved it so that was great.
So today we were going to go back to Sea World for the day just to do things we didn’t get to do when we were there before. Naomi was feeling a tad under the weather in the morning so we decided to stay back home, which is good in hind sight because we needed to pack up ready to leave tomorrow. Felicity wasn’t really looking forward to being back in the van and having to walk outside to go to the toilet!!! We ended up heading to Watego Bay for lunch. Jude made up some wraps and we enjoyed them while sitting watching the surfers and the pods of dolphins that were constantly at the back of the waves. Some were even jumping high out of the water which was really cool to see.
So pack up the van day had arrived. After two weeks in this place it was hard to leave. We felt really relaxed here and thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jude and Grey, especially the girls who will miss jumping on Nanny and Papa each morning and getting porridge made for them. After saying our farwells to Nanny & Papa we left at around 10am and headed back to the Gold coast. We still had one more theme park to do. We dropped of the van at Treasure Island Big 4 (we stayed there on our way down), ate our lunch in the car and arrived at White Water World at 12:30. The park closed at 3pm so we didn’t have heaps of time, so we definitely made use of the time there. This park is next to Dreamworld and is like Wet n Wild but not as big. Felicity and Naomi went down most of the slides!! Their favourite one was the Supertubes hyrdocoaster as it was like a rollarcoaster/water slide mixed together. Emma joined in on this too, so it was fun that all three of us could join in the fun. Matt went of to Wiggles Bay with Lucy and watched her have fun on those slides and swim in the heated pool. Naomi was disappointed though because she couldn’t do the Big Bro slide cause she wasn’t tall enough! She also enjoyed (too much) watching Mum scream as she went backwards through dark tunnels on the slides! There were 2 things that Felicity didn’t really enjoy with most waterslides…. 1/going backwards, 2/being in the dark…so when these happened Naomi was super excited. Once again there were hardly any people there so the line-ups were non existent but it was a bit chilly!!
One of the reasons we came back to the Gold Coast is so that we could do Sea World again (as our pass we bought was valid for 28 days) and also we wanted to take the girls to O’Reillys Rainforest. So today we went back to SeaWorld and did a few things we didn’t get to do the last time we were there. Matt and the girls got a photo taken with the Ninja Turtles…sadly though only 2 got out of the truck not 4 like there should have been!! Matt and Naomi then went to see the Dolphin show again, while Felicity, Lucy and Emma went to the Dora show, which we missed last time. They loved it, best show ever said Lucy. After our lunch we went to a Sponge Bob 3D movie and then Felicity and Naomi went on their favourite ride the Storm!! We travelled on the Monorail around the park to get back to the entrance, and then headed home. We enjoyed the fact that we only took 10mins to get back to our van instead if the 1hr/10min to get back to Byron Bay.
We left the Caravan Park and hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast and headed up to O’reillys in the Lamington National Park. It took us about 1 hr to get there through very windy, one lane roads. Once we arrived there we headed straight to the bird feeding area. For $4 we bought some feed in a tray, then you go to the designated area to feed the King Parrots and Crimson Rosella’s. There were only two other people there when we arrived and all the birds were in the tree above them all. Naomi arrived and tried to coerce the birds to her tray. She did succeed and a couple of parrots came to eat and then it was on! Birds were landing on her hat/head/hand/shoulders etc. Emma not all keen, Lucy freaked out when a bird landed on her hat, so Naomi spent about 30-40mins easy feeding these birds. We then went on the tree top walk. That was fun, swinging high above the trees with only 6 people allowed per span of the bridge!! The drive down was fun, so glad none of our children get car sickness that’s for sure. When we arrived back at the caravan park the girls headed straight for the pool. It was around 5ish when we arrived back so they were thrilled when it got dark and the pool lights turned on in the water and it was all lit up. After dinner they headed to the Under the sea disco which the kids club had put on. They loved dancing from 6:15 – 8pm!! They made heaps of friends and enjoyed winning prizes for limbo etc.
Today we left Treasure Island Big 4. We actually enjoyed a buffet brekky before we left and while we packed up the van, the girls watched a Pirate Magician in the Kids clubroom. The kids program at this park was awesome. So much for them to do. Some free things and also some craft activities where you have to pay. We drove out at around 9:30am and headed to a place called Warwick to visit our friends Darren & Louise Muller. Darren was the youth Pastor at Aldgate Baptist just before we got married. Darren & Louise have three girls Emily (18), Rebecca (15) and Sarah (13). Emily was home from uni, so our three girls had an absolute ball with these three girls! From out walking the dog Charli, to filling up balloons with water and putting them in the bath and eating beautiful food. We spent the afternoon chatting and then next thing we knew it was dinner then we were all ready for bed.
We spent another day at Warwick with the Muller’s. We ate pancakes for brekky and just relaxed watching Veggie Tales with the big girls. My girls really loved drawing pictures and coloring in with them too. After lunch Darren and Louise took us to Suttons’ Farm. Apparently they make the best apple pies in Queensland. And they were not kidding. They had run out of Apple pie slices, but had individual pies instead. They were served with cream and cinnamon ice -cream. YUMMY! We were the last to leave at 4pm just as they shut.
We said goodbye to the Muller’s today and drove to a quaint little town called Inverell. When Felicity looked up this place on the Internet she noticed that you could do Sapphire fossicking in the area. So when we arrived in Inverell we went straight to the Information Centre to find out more. We asked about where we could do this and we were told about a place called Billabong Blue. Here we could fossick all day with everything included for $50. We stayed at a little caravan park in Inverell, the managers were lovely and told us they used to manage the Belair caravan park. They only charged us $42 for the night, which was great.
We headed out to Billabong Blue and got there at around 9:30am. As we pulled up and went to the office, there was no one there. We could hear a chainsaw in the distance, so we thought we would head towards that as it seemed to come from the camp area. As we got back in the car and man showed up in a ute. His name was Bill. He took us down to the fossicking area and showed us what to do. First we had to shovel some dirt from a mound into our first sifter. From there we put the big rocks into a wheelbarrow and took the smaller stuff to a second sifter. Here you shake the pan again and get rid of the smaller stuff and then you head over to a water trough to wash away as much dirt as you can. This was a very cold thing to do! The water was freezing, and you had to make sure you had washed it really well otherwise you couldn’t see the rocks at all. From here you take the washed rocks over to a 44-gallon drum that had a hessian bag over the top. You flipped over the pan like you flip out a cake and then take some tweezers and take out your container and look for your precious rocks. If you did it right they should have been in the middle, staring you in the face, if not they were deeper down so you needed to look through your wash pile better. Once you completed these steps you start over again. We did this for the majority of the day. Naomi didn’t even want to stop for lunch or even have a break. She loved it. We all did actually.
We all found some sapphires and other rocks as well. We were told that this area of NSW was rich in precious stones. Just a few weeks ago a guy had been camping for 10 days in the camping ground. He would come up and fossick like we did in the mornings, and then in the arvo he would just go walking and kick over rocks as he went. He apparently found a big one kicking rocks and it was worth $10,000!!!! Apparently the guy said Felicity found a good one, which could have been cut, because you could see through it, and only ones you can see through are good for making things. What could Flic’s sapphire be made into… “A nose ring, ” came the reply! Not quite $10,000 worth though! Back home to the Inverell caravan park, night was pretty cold… -4 from memory!!! So glad we have a blow heater in the van. When we woke up there was ice on the car and the caravan’s birdbath was frozen over much to the delight of the girls!