There was a movement across the sand. Upon closer inspection, the beach was full of tiny blue crabs.
Our first 48 hours in Australia
As 2019 was ending, we decided that we weren’t getting any younger and should try to see a bit more of the world.
Our first port of call would be Australia. We have family and friends who live in this far away land, so we figured it would be a great place to start our adventures. We decided that we would begin in Brisbane, Queensland, and do the lap of Australia anti-clockwise. We applied for our visas, and a day or so later, we had the green light that we were allowed in to visit Oz.
We followed a family on YouTube – ‘Trip in a van’ and decided that we would also like to follow in their footsteps by travelling around Australia with a caravan.
Australia is a HUGE country. Have a Google. There is an excellent map of Australia on there with several other countries dotted within its borders. This will give you an indication as to the sheer size of the place!
We looked at a site called ‘Camplify’ and found someone renting out his caravan, but he would also hire his Toyota Landcruiser to us for the trip. We booked our new home-from-home with ease. With flights booked, we were all set for our adventure.
The day arrived, and as per usual, we hadn’t packed. We always leave things to the last minute. I looked at the clock on the wall – it was 20 minutes before the taxi would arrive to take us to the train station. We threw some things into the suitcases, weighed them, took things out, weighed them, took more out… and finally we were within our weight allowance!
All of this with 5 minutes to spare!
We eventually arrived at Gatwick Airport with an excited nervousness. We were going to Oz for 6 months! (We ended up staying for 18 months, but I’ll tell you how that came about in another story)
We were in the queue to check our luggage onto the plane, and a few people were chatting about the strange virus in China… hoping that it would be contained in Wuhan…
We decided that it was better to be safe than sorry and purchased a couple of bottles of sanitiser and wipe down any surfaces that we encountered. (Little did we know that in a few weeks, it would be a global pandemic)
Bags checked in, and off to the lounge we went. We had reserved seating in one of the premier lounges, and this came with an unlimited buffet and drinks. Yey!
We took full advantage of the buffet and the cosy lounge.
We kept checking the screens for our flight to board, and when the time came, I had butterflies. I had never been in the air for such a long time. The journey was broken by a stopover for 2 hours in Dubai, but as we had to go through the rigmarole of security etc., again when we got there, there was little time to do anything.
Before we knew it, we were on another plane and heading for Brisbane. (Or Brizzy as it became known after spending time around native Australians)
After being in the air for a total of 25 hours, we landed at Brisbane airport. Leaving the UK in a very chilly January and landing in their ‘winter’ of 24 degrees at 7am was a slight shock to the system, to say the least!
Our sister-in-law picked us up, and we set off for the family house on the Gold Coast (The Goldie in Oz speak)
As we drove down the motorway, I noticed how courteous other drivers were. The speed limit is also lower there, which seemed to suit the relaxed Aussie lifestyle.
The road signs were very different, though. Big yellow signs were warning people to watch out for koalas, kangaroos, and emu.
It was great. I kept my eyes peeled for these curious creatures. Still, unfortunately, I didn’t see any on this journey to The Goldie.
We arrived at their house on the edge of Surfers Paradise, unloaded the cases and sat in the glorious sunshine. My sister-in-law was in her jeans and jumper! I couldn’t wait to get peeled out of my travelling clothes and into shorts and a t-shirt.
Later that day, my brother-in-law fired up the ‘barbie’ and threw on some steak, ‘snags’ (sausage) & ‘chook’ (chicken). We had a lovely meal in the balmy heat of the evening, watching the massive fruit bats fly from palm tree to palm tree, bumping into each other and squabbling. (Again, check out Google – a fruit bat has a wingspan of around 1 – 1.5 metres!)
The following day we rose early (no jet lag had set in, quite surprisingly), and we went to a place called The Spit to try our hand at fishing.
We arrived at the beach, rods, and bait in hand, and walked towards the sea. There was a movement across the sand. Upon closer inspection, the beach was full of tiny blue crabs. They were about 2 inches in size and moved super quick. I caught a couple of them and put them in a bucket to have a closer look. As I was admiring these brightly coloured tiny crabs, my brother-in-law scooped one up and put his fishing hook through it to use to catch the fish! Apparently, when fishing, you must ‘match the hatch’ for that stretch of the sea you are fishing in, and you will be more likely to catch a fish. I couldn’t bring myself to put one on my line, so let the last one ‘escape’…
My brother-in-law caught a fish – a flathead – almost straight away.
We had an ‘accident’ with our line. The spool had a mind of its own and snagged itself up.
This is called a nest… when you see the photo, you will know that it is a perfect name. Haha.
Needless to say, we didn’t catch any fish that day.
We put the Flathead on ice and drove back home. The 34-degree winter sun had pinkened us up, and we were ready for an ice-cold Great Northern beer.
When we pulled up at the family home, I saw my first kangaroo. He was just sitting on the neighbour’s lawn, munching away on their grass!
Tomorrow morning, our 4-wheel drive and caravan were arriving. We were excited to get them so we could start our adventures in this beautiful country.
See: From UK to OZ Part 2