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Paradise on the Gold Coast

January 10th 2009 01:50
Less than two hours drive South West of Brisbane lies the rolling green hills of The Lamington National Park, set within the Gold Coast Hinterland. The area, which is one of Australia’s best subtropical rainforests, boasts extensive walking tracks where visitors can explore the spectacular forests, waterfalls and wildlife.

Rainforest




We decided to visit the O’Reillys Retreat, which is located in the heart of the Lamington National Park not far from Canungra. The 36km drive up the long winding often very narrow bitumen road from Canungra was worth it to get this close to nature.

From O’Reilly’s, there are a number of walks ranging from easy to difficult, which take you through the bush. Here you will see the some of the most beautiful plant and wildlife.

One of the most popular attractions is the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway (which is only 300 metres from the guesthouse). The walkway is a series of bridges suspended 16 metres above ground, which allow you to walk through the canopy and view the flowering trees and stunning birdlife.

On the way, back it is worth stopping at the cafe for a coffee or a bite to eat. The birds in the area were very friendly and often come and sit at your table. There are signs instructing you not to feed the wildlife, however that did not stop them stealing food off my 18 month olds plate when she was not looking.

Rozelle



After exploring the mountain, we decided to visit several of the vineyards in the area. We stopped in at two, however after tasting their wines decided not to stop at any others. The wines were very unpalatable. It could have been they did not put their best wines on for tasting, or Queensland is just not good wine country. Either way I will not be racing out to buy any wine from that region.

Still if you want to escape the commercialisation of the Gold Coast for a while, or get out of Brisbane and see some wildlife, the Lamington National Park is well worth a look. We spent a day there, however if you have more time there are plenty of accommodation options in the region.


How to get there

To find out how to get to the Lamington National Park and where to stay check out the Queensland Government website.
For more information visit the on about O’Reilly’s website.
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SeaWorld Gold Coast

December 14th 2008 04:31
Want to see a Polar Bear up close? Or look into the eye of the Oceans most feared creature? Then check out Sea World, one of the Gold Coasts most amazing Theme Parks. There is so much to see and do, from marine life exhibits to breathtaking shows.

We started our day at Polar Bear Shores, home to Australia’s only Polar Bears. The enclosure is designed to provide a near natural arctic summer environment, and the underwater viewing facility means you get to see these massive creatures up close. It is amazing watch these remarkable creatures with paws the size of dinner plates, swimming backwards and forwards in front in front of you through the glass.


Polar Bear
Polar Bear at Sea World Gold Coast


From remarkable creatures to the oceans most feared. Head down to Shark Bay, a multi level viewing complex that allows you to view the sharks from both above and below the water.


As well as having an amazing selection of sea life, there are some fantastic shows. Such as the breathtaking dolphin show which is not only entertaining but also educational. The Water Ski Show Wipe-out set in the 60s keeps you entertained with high-energy antics. There is also an amusing Seal show called Fish Detectives.

Dolphins
Dolphins at SeaWorld


Finally, the adrenaline junkies don’t miss out either. SeaWorld has a number of heart stopping rides such as the Corkscrew Rollercoaster and the Bermuda Triangle.


Sea World is located on Main Beach in Surfers Paradise (on the Gold Coast). There is plenty of car parking right outside. For more information, see the SeaWorld website.
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Australia Zoo, home of the late Steve Irwin, aka The Crocodile Hunter, has over 1000 wildlife species, and is an exciting and educational day out for both adults and children. Steve Irwin was well known in both Australia and the US, for his TV series The Crocodile Hunter, and his work protecting many endangered wildlife species.

Of course, his greatest passion was the protection crocodiles. He and his father Bob Irwin spent much of the 1980s catching and relocating rogue crocodiles. The ones that could not be released back into the wild were given a home at the zoo.

During the nineties, the park grew immensely under the leadership of Steve and Terri Irwin; this also coincided with the success of the Crocodile Hunter TV series.

If you are familiar with the series, you will get see many of the crocodiles that have been featured in the program when you visit the zoo. However, don’t worry if you are not, there are always keepers on hand to recount the fascinating tales of Steve’s dedication in capturing and relocating these endangered species, such as the one about a crocodile called “Agro.” Agro was an angry crocodile that was causing problems among the locals in the Northern Territories. He managed to thwart Steve attempts to catch him for two years. Finally, after a big struggle in which Steve had to call on the locals for help, he was caught and re - homed at the zoo.

To learn more about these beautiful creatures there are shows daily at the crocoseum, where you will see the keepers get up close and personal with the crocs.

Crocodile at Australia Zoo


Crocodiles aren’t the only animals you will see at Australia Zoo though. There is everything from Koalas you can cuddle, to elephants that will eat fruit out of your hand, and if you are brave, you can get your picture taken with a snake wrapped around your neck (I wasn’t, but my brother was, and he kept saying “It is so soft”).


Australia Zoo provides a fun and educational day out. It is located on the Sunshine Coast in Beerwah just an hour north of Brisbane. It is easy to find, just follow the Bruce Highway, there are plenty of signs to indicate where you need to turn off.

For more information check out the Australia Zoo homepage.
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