We went onto the plane and got ready for a 7-hour flight. It was midnight so we directly went and got ready to sleep. It was really hard to fall asleep because we weren’t really comfortable. I would wake up every 10-15 minutes to change position. I only slept 4 hours. When I woke up, they came with “breakfast”. “Breakfast” was actually sweet and sour chicken with rice. I didn’t eat anything because first, I wasn’t hungry and second, it was really bad. After that I watched a movie and looked out the window. We finally arrived at 7 AM (Philippines time, 10 AM Australia time). WE WERE IN AUSTRALIA!!! We landed and got ready to go out. We got out and I was the first one to touch the Australian ground. We passed the controls and got all our luggages and then we went to get our rental car. It took about 30 minutes to get the car. We went to the car and we realised that we had too much luggage. We tried to fit everything. It took a lot of time but we finally managed to do it. We still had to put 2 bags in-front. It took about 30 minutes to get to the motel. We arrived at the motel and put all our luggage in our room. When we put everything upstairs, we stayed 1 hour to watch tv and use the internet. After that we went to eat at a mall. We ate some sushi and a Subway. When we were done we did some shopping for food. We went home and did a 3-hour nap. We were all really tired from the flight so… We woke up and went to eat some fish and chips! It was really good. I loved the fish! The chips were kind of big but it was still good. After that we went to sleep again :).
We land at 10am local time (8am Philippines time), at Gold Coast airport, located at the southern end of the Gold Coast, 25 km south of Surfers Paradise and approximately 100 km south of Brisbane. The night in the plane, packed, was not great…
The (overstaffed) agents at the airport are all very much welcoming.
The weather is great, with a terrific light. Exactly as we expected Australia. It’s the first time in this country for the 5 of us.
Like for the Philippines, Isabelle is in charge of the preparation of our 7-week (!) stay in this country.
We rent a car (Suzuki Vitara, by Hertz) for a couple of days. We manage to fit all our luggage (110kg + our personal bags, so probably around 140kg altogether…) in the car, with 2 bags at the feet of the children. No problem for today since we only have to do 15km to reach our motel in Burleigh Heads. First time in a motel on this trip. It’s as expected: very much convenient and clean. We have a small “apartment” with 2 rooms.
We go to a nearby supermarket to eat (Subway for the kids and sushi for us). We also buy 2 sim cards (with 10GB) and go to a Woolworths supermarket to buy tomorrow’s breakfast (cereals, juices and fruit).
The people are super nice, all smiling and very welcoming. We like the many “no worries mate” that we hear. But, again it’s only a first impression, we are a bit shocked by the overweight of the majority of the people…
We go back to the motel for a nap, from 3:30pm to 6pm. We thought of going to the beach after the nap but the weather changed and it’s cloudy now so we rather stay in the apartment. At 8pm I have a conference call regarding Urban Farm Company. It seems that we will find the required additional money to fund the expansion of our urban farms; it’s a great news (still to be confirmed of course)! Meanwhile the kids and Isabelle reorganize the luggage (yesterday we got back all the stuff that we had left at Adeline and Miguel’s place during our 3-week trip in the Visayas islands).
Around 9pm we go and eat. Burleigh Heads is very quiet. It’s surprising for a Saturday night. We find a restaurant where Florence can try her first ‘fish and chips’ (she was keen to try) while Isabelle and Jules eat a nice fish (snapper for Jules and tuna for Isabelle) and Ludivine and I eat a quinoa salad. Nice first meal.
Back to the motel, I write a post (I’m already at Boracay, which was only 2 days ago!) near the (small) swimming pool.
We don’t wake up as early as we wanted. The time to eat our (fruit and cereals) breakfast in our room and to pack the luggage, it’s already 10:30am when we leave. We indeed had an additional difficulty this morning: we had to “segregate” our luggage, i.e. one part to be sent back to Belgium (stuff we no longer use such as the guide books of the countries that we finished or stuff we’ve never – or too rarely – used), one part to be sent to New Zealand, our next destination (warmer stuff such as soft gel jackets…), one part to be brought with us on the 2 islands that we’re going to visit in the next 7 days and the rest. It’s not as easy as it seems, believe me…
We have 5 hours in the car today. But with a nice stop (after 1h30): the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
We arrive there around noon. We eat a quick and small lunch. The Koala Sanctuary is a nice place to see the koalas from close distance (we could even do a picture with one of them…) and to hand feed the kangaroos, which the kids enjoy a lot. There were plenty of them, probably 50, but most of them are resting when we visit them. We take plenty of photos of course. We can also see other typical animals from Australia: dingoes, wombats, platypus, cassowaries, cockatoos… And of course some lizards and snakes. There are also plenty of big lizards/iguanas in liberty in the park.
We leave around 4pm. We still have 3.5 hours before reaching Hervey Bay, where we’re going to spend the night.
There are as many Mc Donald’s as in the US! We stop in a Woolworths supermarket (nice supermarkets!) to buy food to “snack on” and juices. We soon realize that we are in an expensive country: 90 $ (60 Euro) for some fruit, snacks, nuts and dry fruit, juices… We might have exaggerated though…
We arrive in Hervey Bay around 8am. Isabelle drove the second part of the road.
We find our motel easily. I find these motels very convenient. There’s nothing less and nothing more than what we expected. It’s close to the main road (i.e. easy to find), easy to check in, and clean. We share a room, with a double bed, a single bed and a bunk bed. Like the one of yesterday, it has a swimming pool but we have no time to enjoy it (like yesterday as well…).
We take the car to find something to eat. We found a restaurant that looks nice; when we enter (just before 8:30pm), they ask us to order asap because the kitchen is about to close. I’m very surprised that most of the restaurants close so early in this country (especially that we are in the holidays period; the summer holidays have just started yesterday in fact). Ludivine and I eat a salad while the others share a plate of meat.
It’s 10pm when the kids are in bed.
I was very surprised to read that there are only… 24 million inhabitants in Australia! The population density is one of the lowest in the world: 3.3 inhabitants per km², i.e. 100 times less than Belgium (only Mongolia, with 1.7 inhabitants per km², and Namibia have a lower population density).