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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 220: A day on the Gold Coast

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 12 June 2008 | Views [1335]

Thursday 12th June

We didn't have a particularly early start that day, but we eventually got ourselves organised and headed out for a day of touring about the local area. Mum, Dad, Marie-Therese and I were joined by Seamus McCarthy's sister Mary and her husband Alec. It had been dark when I arrived into Murwillumbah the night before but in the daylight I could see what a beautiful place the McCarthys lived in, with mountains in the distance, rolling hills, valleys and winding rivers surrounded by green grass. It was very impressiven and perhaps not the typical image of Australia that we in Europe might have of this part of the world.

We drove to the beach at Brunswick and took a walk about, and made our way to Byron Bay for lunch by the sea. We took a walk about town and it seemed like a nice place although very much taken over by the large tourist industry (a lot of the shops seemed to be oriented towards the hippy/surfer/beach bum market). It was an attractive enough kind of place, and I could imagine myself spending a few days there if I was on my own, but I didn't have a huge amount of interest in hanging about.

After leaving Byron Bay, we took a trip up to the lighthouse and walked along the coastal path which was set on a peninsula, which had views of the Pacific Ocean on one side, and the mountains and beaches around Byron Bay on the other. Dad had taken his pocket binoculars with him in the hope of seeing some whales which was regularly spotted off this coast. Being in a pessimistic mood, I doubted his chances of spotting anything in such a large expanse of water that we found before us. I had started to make a move back in the direction of the lighthouse and the carpark, when I heard my name being called, so I went back to find out what was happening. Dad had spotted a pod of humpback whales jumping out of the water a few kilometres out to sea. Using the binoculars, you could get a very good image of these huge creatures breaching, coming out of  the water and then crashing down again on their backs. It was an awesome sight, and I felt lucky to have the chance to see them in the wild. I was also glad that Dad had taken the chance to bring along his binoculars.

We arrived back at the house and dinner was prepared for everyone, including my cousin Kevin and his wife Tracey, and his two little girls, Ciara and Enya. We had another delicious roast dinner, and it felt good to be surrounded by family again. I enjoyed catching up with my cousins and to meet Kevin's two girls who were good fun, and reminded me of my own little nieces back in England. We spent a really nice evening together, ate a lot of food and heard some funny stories.


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