This weekend gone we went up to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast for a couple of nights. Our neighbours, George and Julie, had already booked an apartment and encouraged us to do the same. Unfortunately, when we went to book they only had 1 apartment left, on the Ground Floor. It didn't sound too bad though with its own courtyard and spa.
As it turned out our apartment was pretty crappy, but it wasn't a problem as we didn't spend that much time in it.
George and Julie had managed to book a top-floor apartment with private rooftop and large spa, big enough to fit us all in - as we soon discovered shortly after arriving on Friday. The idea behind this weekend was relexation and, for me, to catch up on some reading, so we spent Friday night drinking in the Spa and spent most of the day on Saturday around the pool. Bliss.
It wasn't all plain sailing though..
On Friday night whilst in the spa a gust of wind came suddenly from nowhere and blew my iPod and iPod dock into the spa. I desparately tried to revive them but even after drying them out for a couple of days they're now completely dead!
Then on Saturday morning Lauren was complaining that her pee was burning so Rach nipped to the chemist who advised her to take Lauren to see the Doctor. It was very inconvenient when I got the phone call from Rach telling me to bring Lauren to the Doctors, as we were in the pool at the time! Anyway it turned out that Lauren has a bit of a bladder infection so she's now on anti-biotics.
On Saturday afternoon we found ourselves drinking again on the rooftop, and fed up with drinking crappy Aussie beer we decided to venture out to see if we could find a pub that served a decent pint. We thought we had read that there was a Pig 'n' Whistle in Mooloolaba (which serves Tetleys and Boddingtons, amongst others) but we were wrong, the Pig 'n' Whistle is a drive away in Maroochydore, so we took a walk to a pub George and Julie had visited previously. Alas, not a pint of smooth ale to be found.
On the way back from the pub the sun was setting so myself and George went for a swim in the sea before it got dark. I say swim but there wasn't much actual swimming. The waves were fairly large so we had some great fun trying not to drown.
In the evening we went out for a meal. We didn't think to book a table so had a bit of a nightmare trying to find somewhere where we wouldn't have to wait for an hour. When we eventually did find somewhere it wasn't long before the kids were falling asleep so after the meal, Rach and Julie took the kids back to the apartment while I and George went to the pub.
Our first attempt at getting into a pub was unsuccessful as we were both wearing shorts and for some stupid reason this pub, an Irish O'Malleys pub in sub-tropical Mooloolaba, had a dress policy which meant we had to wear trousers to get in. I could understand it if it were a posh wine bar but it's an Irish pub for godsake!
We ended up having a couple of pints in the Surf Club which was heaving, and before we left a fight broke out between a group of women. It reminded me of being back in Doncaster!
When I got back to the apartment I found Rach up and looking a bit panicked. To my amazement she'd just had to put out a fire. In her nighty!
As it turned out, some idiot from an apartment above had thrown a cigarette butt into our courtyard which had landed on a towel which was flung over a chair.
The towel duly caught fire and proceeded to burn through the chair. The person who had thrown it must have realised what they had done and tried to put it out by throwing water from their apartment, as there was a pool of water just around the chair but nowhere else. Rach had to put the fire out by smothering it using the wet end of the towel that hadn't yet caught fire. She was not amused. She reported it to the hotel staff who said they would investigate and compensate us for the towel.
The Blackall Range
On Sunday after checking out, George and Julie stayed behind in Mooloolaba for a few more hours whereas we took a drive up into the Glasshouse Mountains on the way home through the Blackall Range. We weren't exactly sure where we were going but we had an idea that we wanted to see one of the waterfalls.
The drive up was spectacular and completely unexpected. I had no idea how interesting and beautiful the scenery is up there. When we managed to get up there that is - our little car really struggled with the steep incline. I had my foot flat to the floor and I could smell the oil burning but we eventually made it.
We started by driving into the small town of Maleny for a coffee and a visit to the tourist information centre to get our bearings. The guy at the tourist information centre (another British expat - we're everywhere!) advised us to have a drive round to Kondalilla Falls National Park. We took his advice and on the way stopped off at Gerards Lookout to take a few photo's of the fantastic view:
We then drove through the lovely little town of Montville and continued on to Kondalilla Falls where we had a short trek through the rainforest down to a rockpool under part of the falls that we could swim in. Both the trek down and the swim were quite a thrill. When you live in a health and safety conscious environment most of the time it was great to be able to walk treks where there was no barrier between you and a 1000 foot drop down the side of the mountain, and where you could swim in natural waters with no lifeguard present. Some idiots were even diving off the cliffs.
The water was freezing but it was really refreshing given how hot it was in the rainforest. Lauren also decided to brave it but soon changed her mind after getting in. Being a rockpool there wasn't really anything to hold on to once in - you had to swim or tread water. Lauren's a good swimmer now but she's still not that confident when she's out of her depth.
The whole area of the Blackall Range is simply spectacular and being only 1.5 hours drive from our house we'll definitely be adding it to our list of weekend day-trip locations.