Saturday, March 29, 2014

Getting Licensed and Ready for New Adventures

After a crazy weather week here on the Gold Coast it was a bit hard to decide what to do this week on our weekly adventure.  As we are downsizing the house and moving into a new community still on the water we decided it was probably time that I personally got my boat license and that Derek gets his Personal Watercraft License for using Jet Ski's.

As luck would have it Halcyon Vision where we are moving to (I will blog on this more in coming weeks) decided to organise a day of licensing for all new residents so everyone could have the opportunity to use the boating equipment provided as a part of community and so that everyone gets full enjoyment from the facilities.   

This was a great way to met some of the residents and of course it was even better because it cost us nothing so that was an additional bonus.

It ended up being a perfect day after such heavy rains from the previous 3-4 days and while the waterways where a little muddy, the sun was out and shining in all its glory and a perfect day for getting boat and PWC licenses.

Phil from Allstate Boat Licensing was a fabulous teacher and kept the day interesting and relevant and ensured everyone passed (YAY for us).  Scott and Jan from Halcyon kept us supplied with great food and drinks so overall it was a full on day but very pleasant and now we are both able legally to drive a boat and perhaps we might get ourselves a jet ski as we have missed being able to just jump in a boat and go off to some lovely deserted beach for a day - but that won't be for a while. Jet ski's are obviously significantly cheaper to buy, run and maintain and given we will have access to tinnies and BBQ boats we feel this might suit us down to the ground for those glorious NINKERing days on the Gold Coast. 

Today we are off to the Caravan and Camping Show - which was washed out on Friday to start on another new adventure for a few months - again more on that in coming weeks.

Retirement should be fun, you should keep learning, you should keep doing new things and be looking for new adventures and we have a few planned for this year as long as all the stars and moons align.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quad Bike Safaris - Another Great Gold Coast Adventure

We were off again today on one of our Gold Coast Tourist jaunts.  This week we choose to do the Quad Bike Safari at Numinbah Valley and what an awesome time we had.  

What a fantastic way to spend the morning out on these terrific ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) in some of the most spectacular surroundings you will find anywhere in the world with the mountains, bush and wildlife.  We choose the 2 seater, because to be honest I have tried to ride these things in the past and wasn't too successful so it was great they have the options for either a 1 person or 2 person vehicle.

We started our day with our short 30 minute drive to Numinbah Valley which is so lovely in itself - and our meeting point was at the NV (Numbinbah Valley) Cafe - with a good 30 minutes up our sleeves we decided to fill our tummies with a bit of yummy breakfast in this quaint little cafe across from a paddock of cows meandering around while we waited to be picked up.  Between the drive and the breakfast we had already had a brilliant start to the day.

Soon Tod and the bus was there to pick us up to take us to the short drive to the farm where we were to be spending the rest of the morning with our new friends Grant and Mel from Melbourne a lovely young couple here on holidays and looking for adventures other than beach and theme parks.

Having had a good induction we donned our helmets and took off around the property, starting on small circuits first to get the hang of driving and then on to some more challenging sections including some quite steep little hills, creeks and around the dam walls.

Being in the hinterland there was no lack of views where ever we went and this made the trip even more enjoyable with the stunning views and the farm animals to negotiate around.  This isn't about speed, it isn't about being stupid its about enjoying our Gold Coast hinterland in a unique fashion and while the vehicle do not go fast there are definitely times when the tracks are only just wide enough for the ATV to get through so its not a boring trip for those looking for some hot rod adventure but it isn't about being speed demons or hillbilly warriors.

Wendy and Tod our hosts where definitely passionate about their town and its surrounds and had lots of great stories to tell about the area which makes the day even more personal and enjoyable, we had a lovely morning tea of muffins (I had the banana one and it was delish) and drinks before heading off for a few more challenging areas around the property.  Thanks guys you do a great job!  

Before heading back we stopped into the rain forest section to see a huge Fig tree that has been on the property for 105 years since the current owners family came there so it is thought to be at least 300 years old, this was a nice interlude and provided that touch of difference to this trip.

We would highly recommend this for a great day out for anyone looking for something a little different and a new and exciting way to see our Gold Coast Hinterland and its beautiful surroundings including volcanoes and Mount Warning while having a great time (even if it is a bit bumpy along the way). 

I think we all really enjoyed ourselves and the time seemed to go at a good pace, with stops along the way, good photo opportunities, perfect environment and good company, you can't go past that.  This area has some other fantastic scenery including National Arch, Springbook etc so you could spend the morning doing the ATV tour an unconventional way of seeing the area, stop at NV Cafe for lunch and then go off and do the more traditional site seeing of the area (there are probably other cafes in the area as well).  It is sometimes hard to believe all of this is just 30 minutes from home and we really felt we were a million miles away and as usual left with big smiles on our face!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Being a Tourist in your Own Back Yard: CatchaCrab

With working a little and being home bound to do endless cleaning to sell the house, we have been missing our holidays and trips away.  You can google all day long sometimes to try and find something to do, but often it really is just too confusing.

This week we thought, we live in the one of the most famous tourists centers in the world so lets go to one of the major resorts and get tourist brochures and become tourists right here.

So this will be a little series on our 1 day a week tourist gig on the Gold Coast.

This week we went to CatchaCrab and WOW how much fun was this!  We were like we were on holidays as we were the only Aussies on the boat (except for the crew of course), and we had a absolutely fun day with groups of Chinese and Vietnamese tourists - I think most of them though we worked on the boat - but this was a top day.

 The boat itself is lovely with plenty of room, tables and chairs setup, tea and coffee and a bar etc so a lovely setup.  The day starts off feeding the pelicans and of course some people just have to go that extra mile don't they Derek!  There was no shortage of pelicans or buckets of fish to feed them - this really kick started the day in a fun way and got everyone up and off their seats and got giggles, screams of joy and the cameras out in force.  The waters around the Tweed are just so crystal clear and the seagulls and other bird life around also came in for some action, but this gets everyone up and doing something that is just so simple and fun.

A nice chug along the Tweed River with coffee and biscuits and then on to our next fun activity for the day - Catching Yabbies - with Yabbie Pumps etc on hand we were shown how to do this properly as we got off the boat and into the water for some Yabbie Catching!  It took a while for the rest of the group to get off the boat and into the water but after Derek and I jumped in and started they soon all rolled up their pants and jumped in as well - this was so much fun with so many of us and everyone gets their own equipment.  After about 1/2 an hour of everyone splashing around, mud going everywhere, fish swimming around us we all headed back to the boat.



 Next stop:  Catching Crabs - again everyone gets their own pot to collect but we were first up and you would have thought Derek was a rock start as the whole boat clapped him as he walked his through to the kitchen where they were about to be cooked- everyone wanting a photo of him - but again, this is real hands on stuff and the enjoyment everyone was getting was fantastic.

Still want more - this day seemed to go on for ever and our next stop was a beer, wine and some good old fashion fishing using our live Yabbies of course.  Again fantastic fun even if you fish all the time, but with a bunch of tourists who were experiencing the Gold Coast for the first time and catching fish it made it just so much more enjoyable.  I seemed to get lumbered with baiting everyones hooks (as I said I think everyone thought we worked on the boat) but this was fun too helping others to have a great time and enjoying their enjoyment of something we all take for granted.  

The stops for each activity were not rushed either which I really liked and I do have to say how great all the crew where - so Dave (you made me laugh so hard today - thank you you did well keeping everyone under control), the lovely Kim what a smile and how well she helped everyone catch Yabbies etc and Jan (not a boy named Sue but a Captain named Jan) who also helped everyone out with a smile - what a crew you all are.

So after all this activity you get a bit hungry and the hot freshly cooked crab and seafood lunch was just superb and a great way to end an action packed morning.

We would highly recommend this to anyone, overseas tourists or locals, it is a great value fun day and great for any age (kids, retired teenagers like ourselves or oldies) everyone gets a go at everything, there is heaps to do and you are not rushed throughout the morning, then you can finish at the cafe with a wonderful lunch like this - YUM!