Month: September 2016

511. Sunday 25th September 2011. Jupiters Casino and Reminiscing …

Friday 23rd September

Well, today we did something we thought we would never do.

We became members of Jupiters Casino at Broadbeach. Our friend Glenda is a Pearl Member and advised that today the Casino is having a special luncheon for $15 which normally costs $39.90. It was only available to members. We joined a queue to become members. Part of the deal includes $10 worth of credit. More on that later. After getting our membership cards we joined another queue to actually pay our $15 and gain entry to the dining room. With Glenda waving her Pearl Card we got on the short queue and were given a buzzer as the dining room was full. Eventually we were given a table and spent the next 45 minutes trying the food which was laid out much like a cruise ship only on a smaller scale. When we left the queue was still out the dining room door and down a hallway. The Pearl card got us in quickly.

After full bellies we felt like using the $10 credit given to us. So, Poker Machines here we come. I am not a fan of gambling but do occasionally buy a scratch ticket or a lotto ticket.

Occassionally is the operative word.

I used up the credit and continued to play, finally leaving with $11.25 in winnings. Woo Hoo! Big deal. I might buy Tasmania. Total boredom. I guess we have to wait another year before the lunch special comes around again.

After lunch Donnis and I went for a walk along main beach. What a lovely sunny day. We saw a wedding to our left.

Good idea.
Wedding guests everywhere.
Wedding Chapel
Best Man

Hmmm. The bride and some of the guests look somehow familiar. TV actors and so forth. Is that Steve Bisley I see?

Lots of well dressed people at this wedding. Is that Steve Bisley?

Is that Jennifer Hawkins?

Is that Jennifer Hawkins?

Looking right we saw three Asian weddings all taking place at once.

Three weddings

Tonight our Rugby League team, the North Queensland Cowboys, played a semi -final match against the Cronulla Sharks at the Sharks home ground. Last week the Cowboys played a hard fought game against the Broncos and won. All commentators pointed out the hard grind of last week’s game would leave the Cowboys totally physically drained for this week. Deep down I had to agree with them. The final score of 32-20 does not reflect the hard game. The cowboys were defeated but not defeated. We are proud of them.

Let’s have a look at what we did this time in…


We had a converted Toyota Coaster bus and went for our first weekend bush camp with a Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia local Chapter, the Mackay Sugarloafers. We camped at Boulder Creek in the hills to the north of Mackay. We discovered this as a delightful and very popular campsite and visited many times in the future. At the time I described it as a “tranquil place”.


Our friends Geoff and Margaret had been staying with us in Airlie Beach and they were ready to start a slow trip home to Bomaderry in NSW. They agreed to join us as we planned to go to Wandoo Station with the Mackay Sugarloafers. This location is in the mountains west of Sarina Qld and is a working cattle station. We were camped on Funnel Creek. (Funnel Creek is unusual in that it flows west away from the coast. It eventually flows south into the Fitzroy River which does eventuall flow into the ocean near Rockhampton) Regrettably, ownership of the station changed hands a few years later and due to a few incidents with some hoons who camped without permission, the campsite was closed off permanently.


We had traded our Coaster bus on a Winnebago a few months earlier. This weekend I travelled alone to a beautiful campsite at Pinevale on the upper reaches of the Pioneer River. Donnis was at home as she had to work over the weekend. This is another wonderful quiet, peaceful bush camp site. It is a site on private property which has a gazetted road running through it. The property owner must allow cars to use the road but has the right to decline access to his land anywhere else. Each year we would seek permission from the owner to camp on his land. We always ensure the grounds are cleaned before we leave so the owner will always agree to allow us to return. Some people use the site without permission and often leave their rubbish behind. This selfish behaviour will see access restricted in the future.


We had packed our furniture into the garage in Airlie Beach and started on the road full time. First stop was Pinevale (see 2009) then off to visit my daughter Melissa and husband Steve on their property at Finch Hatton. The intention was to stay just long enough for the rain to stop. It rained for another week and the ground was becoming boggy. Too boggy to safely get out of the tractor shed where we were camped. This was the beginning of what we had planned to be a trip around Australia.

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

A week later we managed to get on the road and arrived at Theresa Creek where we encountered more rain and the first of several floods in several districts right into the New Year.


We are back in Finch Hatton, farm sitting and getting ready to get on the road again. But first we agreed to move to Mackay and help Errol clean up, repair and paint his house ready to put on the market or rent…whichever comes first.


I am in Mt Beauty in the Kiewa Valley in the Victorian Alps. I am house and animal sitting and Donnis is in Canada. There is snow on the mountains all around me and a log fire needs to be fed all day just to keep the cabin above freezing. I am looking after a Mareema, an Italian Sheep Dog and three Geese. All have personalities. One goose is clucky, one is almost friendly, timidly eating out of my hand and the third is a male and very aggressive. (There is an old adage…walk softly and carry a big stick. I always carried a big stick when the male Goose was nearby) The dog just wants to be my friend but he weighs more than I do and has twice thumped into me and hyper extended my knee. I had to be careful as he was too friendly and accidentally caused pain.


We had just finished house sitting in Brisbane and moved to a campground at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. Alecia arrived from Canada for a few days and we got to see the SWELL Festival at Currumbin for the first time. While house sitting in Brisbane we visited the Gold Coast several times. It was during these visits we first started to seriously consider moving to the Gold Coast. Nothing was immediately available and we first had to sell our Mackay home to finance a purchase. We were ready to head north again as we had decided to move into our house in Airlie Beach for a few months and get it ready to sell or prepare it for rental before we move on again.


I went back to work for almost 12 months while we also prepared the house. Our Mackay house sold and we had funds to buy. A villa became available on the Gold Coast and this week in 2014 we were in our new house and the task of settling in got underway.

510. Sunday 18th September 2016. A visitor, Rock and Roll and a daylight visit to the SWELL Festival…

Lots of photos this week.

Friday 16th September

Donnis went to Tai Chi then rushed home for her art workshop.

BIL Ken arrived before lunch and joined me for a game of bowls on our newly laid green.

After dinner we went to a Rock and Roll night at our clubhouse with local band Old Time Rock and Roll providing the memory laden foot stomping music. About thirty members of a Rock n Roll Club came along as did a similar number from our village. We finally got to put our line dancing training into practise, surprising quite a few people. What a great night of music and dance.

We walked home and sat down to watch the recorded elimination Rugby League Final between Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.  On the last three occasions these teams met, the score line at full time was 20 all. Those games were decided by a field goal in sudden death extra time. Tonight with both teams suffering exhaustion from the frenetic pace of the game, the score at full time was … 20 all.  Tonight extra time was 5 minutes each way. The Cowboys scored and converted with the final score 26 to 20. We were all tired after a long busy day, besides it was after midnight when we finished watching the game and we have an early start planned for tomorrow.

Saturday 17th September

The day turned out, in the beginning, bright and sunny. A perfect day for a visit to the SWELL Festival at Currumbin. Perhaps we did not explain carefully enough for Ken. He was expecting to see sand sculptures. Parking was at a premium along the beach with cars parked up to a kilometre from the festival site. Somehow’ we snaggled a car park at the beach on our second pass through the village. Yahoo!

Currumbin Creek entrance.
Currumbin Beach looking north from atop Elephant Rock. Surfers Paradise is in the distance.
Ken grew up with family vacations on the Gold Coast. He took time to walk out on the rocks where he spent time in his younger days and reflected on memories.
The flight path for nearby Coolangatta Airport commences a little to the north of Palm Beach and crosses over Currumbin Beach. These houses get to hear the planes on their landing approach with flights about every three minutes.
Currumbin Flight path.

Thanks to ABC Radio Gold Coast for the following information on many of the pieces.

I think we will start the picture visit with number 27 of the sculptures, “I Was Here” with a description by the artist himself, Dion Parker.170916-027

“I was here is a simple dog, with its leg cocked. This indicates a male dog urinating, leaving his scent, saying “I was here”. I like to keep my art simple and this piece breaks down the idea of leaving your mark in this world to what I think is its simplest form. Leaving your scent for the next dog that comes along, letting him know that you were here before him.From leaving a graffiti tag to building an empire, I think as humans most of us are trying to, or would at least like to, piss on something and say, “I was here”

170916-029I am unable to find an explanation for item 29 which is entitled “Lost Art of the 20th Century”. That is disappointing as this exhibit probably resonated the most with me and appealed to my quirky sense of humour. Looking at the exhibit you can understand the title. I did hear a young boy of about 8 years of age say it was from the movie “Madagascar”.


I cannot find an explanation for item 38 entitled Earth Being. I did overhear a couple discussing this piece and reading from a programme. It seeam the piece was made from material gathered from local natural resources. The artwork will in turn begin to breakdown over time and return to nature. Hmmm! I like this piece but wonder about the short life span.

170916-045Item 45 is called “Kingfisher” and looks just like a kingfisher looks although much bigger. As a piece of art it feels safe and from my point of view does not require any puzzling as to what it is and what it is representing. It is “nice” but not a stand out.

170916-047Whoever thought old gym equipment could become art? Item 47 includes an alternate name. The piece is called “Kyoto Protocol” with a sub name of “Revenant” – a dead person believed to have come back as a ghost –

An explanation by the artists accompanies the piece.170916-047a

Item 42 has a name which seem appropriate. “Wind in the Wheelos” 170916-042The artist is listed as Village Bike Gold Coast Inc. “It is a sort of windmill which involves three bicycles with wind vanes which makes the bikes spin around, Additional wind vanes make the wheels spin independently.170916-041

Item 41 is described as “Creek to Coast” and depicts a couple of large full size coastal birds of prey adorning the end of a hand carved bench seat.170916-040

Item 40 “Sandy the Dog Walker” by Monte Lupo is straight forward from a lay persons point of view. The artist has this to say…”People we meet and the serendipitous experience we enjoy seem to come to us at a pedestrian speed and walking our dogs is the best way to enjoy the day to day interactions. Only this dog walker’s experience has been amplified with a pack of many breeds.”

170916-036Item 36 is called Lighfboat. Artist Greg Windsor has this to say. “Lighfboat begs the question: what does it mean to “value”? Entitled attitudes towards consumption and waste distort values, creating a correlation between goods and people. Anyone could build a boat out of packing cases in order to flee conflict and persecution. The material is ubiquitous. Symbolically, Lighfboat is not a boatload of ‘them’, but represents a singular watercraft for the individual’s plight – the fleeing individual – a ‘fanfare for the common man’. The westernised philosophy we know couldn’t be further from the truth. What does it mean to value?”

Confused? Me too.

170919-019a170916-019The “Alpha Turtle”, number 19 is straight forward. Or is it. “The Alpha Turtle is a monumental inflatable sculpture by Australian abstract expressionist artist, BJ Price, whose artwork is inspired by diving on The Great Barrier Reef. BJ’s floating, turtle statue, known as Alphie, Ambassador at (very) large to The Great Barrier Reef, has been exhibited on Moore’s Reef, Cairns; at Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, Darling Harbour; and led Australia Day celebrations on Sydney Harbour. Alphie takes the shape of a sea turtle, enlarged to a gigantic scale, then wrapped with the abstract design of BJ’s masterwork “Alpha”. Alphie opens peoples’ minds to creative ways of thinking about the importance of The Great Barrier Reef and its marine life.´

At least four works of art can be seen in this busy picture along with visitors and Surfers Paradise in the distance.

170916-006Number 6 is called “Project Bread”. It appealed to most people who viewed it. I have no idea what it is intended to convey. It is built out of hundreds of Gold Coast Bakery plastic trays. There is an entrance door on one side. Inside it is dim and cool and the breeze blowing through the plastic created an almost air conditioned system. It is easy to look outside but from the outside it is difficult to see inside.

170916-004Item 4 is called “Stillness in Time”.  There are no comments.

170916-005Item 5 is called “ANTi dote”. Hmmm! I wonder if there is any coincidence that this follows number 4? I love the ants crawling all over the rock from all sides. At night the rock is lit up in a bright red colour.

170916-008Item 8 is “Nothing But Time”. It was located not far from “Stillness in Time”. This is another sculpture for which I could find no explanation.

170916-0037Yet another item without explanation. Item 37 appealed to my sense of humour and it makes perfect sense to me. It is called “Club House”. It is made entirely from golf clubs.

170916-025One of the bigger displays in the collection, item 25 is called “With You”. The partnership, Katie and Derek Hooper explains…With You is a love story about the Gold Coast, the ocean, and the people who come here in awe of this organic and ageless, inorganic and inspiring spirit. Embracing togetherness, the drawing in of a healthy, outdoorsy, happy life. The enveloping feeling that encompasses you when immersed in abundant natural beauty.The centuries old magnetic attraction of enjoying a vista with a loved one. The timeless desire for beauty and companionship, the deep satisfaction of finding it. Constantly evolving yet never changing, the essence of why we are here.

There were many other sculptured items, in fact 48 in all. Some photos did not do the display justice while in other cases the display did not, to my mind, deserve a photo.

By mid afternoon rain clouds began to roll in and the temperature began to fall. We attended a Fun Bowls Day at our clubhouse followed by a barbecue dinner.

509. Sunday 11th September 2016. Noosa, Costco and the SWELL Festival on the Gold Coast…

Monday 5th September

It is my birthday. Instead of going out to dinner I wanted to stay home and play table tennis at the clubhouse. Donnis made a Black Forest Cherry Cake and we shared it among the regular players.

Tuesday 6th September

After a slow start we hit the highway at midday. Noosa here we come. Along the M1 Motorway, Donnis spied a Costco store. Costco are big in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Basically they are a warehouse style, member only, giant general store. There are 8 stores throughout Australia, this is the only Queensland Store, at Northlakes, umm err north of Brisbane.  For your $60 annual membership fee you can sometimes buy cheap fuel, ($1.06.7 per litre but a few Klms further along the M1 we saw fuel advertised at $1.05.9 available to everybody, no membership or rewards card required) uncertain discounts on electrical products, and cheap food products. Only of course if you buy food in bulk or the one size super dooper jar. For example I usually buy a small jar of peanut butter which lasts me for three months and does not have time to get stale. At Costco the smallest size is one pound and it would be a year before I could eat it all by which time it would be stale or rancid. Donnis insisted we look at how Costco looks in Australia. At the front door we were asked for our membership card to gain entry. Hmmm! We are only looking to decide if we will become members. (I lied) OK we were allowed in. There was nothing we really needed. The iPads and laptops and TV’s etc were all about the same price as elsewhere. The food all came in super size and most was made overseas. Some local Aussie products were on the shelves but were in the minority. We did not see fresh fruit or vegetables. Yes lots of frozen or dehydrated stuff. There was an area we could access, the canteen. Here is where the cheap prices stand out. For $1.99 you can get a hot dog accompanied by a 500ml drink of cola or lemonade. For the same price you can get a large cappuccino coffee, no other sizes, just large. Off to one side near the same fibreglass tables and chairs they have in all their overseas stores is the chutney, tomato sauce and mustard dispenser. There is also a dispenser of onions. Giant slices of pizza are another option for $1.99. No matter how you look at the price it is still $2.00. In Australia we do not have one or two cent coins. Only 5, 10, 20, 50 cent coins and $1 and $2 coins. Still, $2 for a hot dog, including a drink, is cheap. Looking around, most customers look like they need to go on a diet. Overweight is the new fashion it seems. Costco is not my type of shopping.

Or eating.

Ken arrived home via train from Gladstone on the Central Queensland Coast. Ken finished his last shift this morning before the accommodation camp for the Curtis Island workers closes tomorrow.

Wednesday 7th September

We joined Ken for a walk in the Noosa Headland National Park. There are many walks criss- crossing the park but we always choose the clifftop coastal track. This track is a mixture of a sealed section to what is known as the Boiling Pot and is suitable for wheelchairs and baby prams. The path then degenerates to a fine gravel for a distance and degenerates even further to a gravel track where some boulder and tree root hopping is required.

Gravel Pathway at Picnic Point.

The track passes a number of beaches and headlands some with iconic names, including the Boiling Pot

Surf Ski paddlers at Boiling Pot.

some others are Dolphins Point,

Ken & Donnis at Dolphin Point
Winch Bay.

Hells Gates, Lions Rock, Picnic Point

Ken & Donnis overlooking Picnic Point.
Picnic Point

and Devils Kitchen. The track finishes at Sunshine Beach and all up is about 6 Klms. The final section from Devils Kitchen is quite high up in the cliffs and involves a rather challenging steep climb down to a timber staircase which then leads onto Sunrise Beach. Today we only walked to Hells Gates and return.

Granite Bay looking North.
Granite Bay looking south

The track is always busy with runners, walkers, surfers, Mums and Dad’s  with a young baby in a harness. There are lots of overseas visitors clutching maps in plastic pockets as they search for elusive slumbering Koala’s. The maps give an indication of the sightings in the last 24 hours. Koala’s can travel big distances at night searching for food and females so they will not be in the same place the next day. Sometimes they may spend a night or two in the same tree fork. We saw a group of excited backpackers and knew they found a Koala.

I’d rather have my feather top mattress for sleeping.

Late afternoon, Ken’s sister Kirsty arrived. Ken did a lovely marinated chicken on the barbecue while I stir fried vegetables in my own home made peanutty sauce. A bottle of champagne did not last long. Oops. Donnis tells me two bottles of champers was consumed.

Friday 9th September.

Every year at this time is the Annual SWELL Festival at Currumbin. This is the 15th year. – SWELL SCULPTURE FESTIVAL INSPIRES, AMUSES, UPLIFTS AND CAPTURES THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF ALL WHO VISIT.

This is a ‘must see’ festival in Currumbin each September. Every year, the beach comes alive with an amazing array of sculptured artworks. Local, national and international artists re-invent the style of this beach with their passionate, quirky, weird, sensible, technical, simple or detailed and intriguing artistic works.

Scrabble anybody?

Usually we go in the middle of the day and then enjoy lunch and a cold beer at the Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club which is situated on the rocks overlooking the water.

Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club with bird sculpture on the beach. Elephant Rock is behind the club.


This year we decided to do it differently.090916-faces The idea was to arrive at sunset and get some wonderful photos. Hmmm! Not such a good idea. We arrived a tad after sunset and by the time started walking and looking  at sculptures, night had crashed all around us.

Giant vinyl inflate turtle.

I used the “Night Scenery Mode” on my Lumix FZ250. The camera takes multiple images and makes a composite photo using available light.

Giant chairs at SWELL. The family beside the chairs gives a good perspective.

A good idea if the camera is mounted on a tripod.

This is an umm err needle perhaps? Lights of Burleigh and Surfers Paradise are in the background.

Hand held is not so good as there is always some camera movement.

The lights of Burleigh heads and Surfers Paradise further in the background is the background for this nighttime photo of of art. Remember the photo was taken at night with a hand held camera without the aid of a flash.

Given there was a stiff breeze blowing I can only show a few photos that were a bit less than OK but a bit better than useless.

No idea what this is called but it seems to be trumpeting something. Lights of Coolangatta are in the distance.

We will plan another daytime visit. There are 48 pieces of sculpture on display along the beach. Thirty eight of those pieces are lit at night.

Here is a link to the 2015 promotional video.

508. Sunday 4th September. Busy at home and a Rugby League Grand Final…

Sunday 4th September …FATHERS DAY

Well it was a good start to the day when all three daughters called with Fathers Day and Birthday wishes.

This has been a week with our usual busy schedule of doing things we enjoy but not going exploring and taking photos. The plan is to change all of that in the coming weeks. Please stay with us on new adventures coming soon.

We did drive to Greenbank, a suburb of Brisbane to watch grandson Chris play in the Rugby League Grand Final in his Under 12’s Junior Competition.

This will be the last time I report on Chris games…This year.

There were more than the usual handful of spectators today which gave the event a little more atmosphere and a sense of it really being an important occasion.

040916 spectators
Spectators at the game. Well…one is concentrating on the game.

The players thought so too. By half time the scores were locked at 12 all so it was a game hanging on a knife edge.

040916 action
Yes Chris tackled this player cutting off a certain try.
040916 action1
Chris has the ball and running towards the try line.
040916 action2
and another
040916 action3
Gee its hot work out here. Gimme a rehydrating drink. When I was their age we got to share an orange between two boys!
040916 action4
I need rehydrating from the outside.

The opposition team had two tries disallowed in the second half. Chris’s team went on to win 20 – 12 which is basically two tries with one conversion. It could very well have been a draw at full time.

040916 score
The two teams shaking hands at the end of the game. The final score is on the scoreboard. Incidentally neither team was a home team. The game was held at a neutral field.
040916 cheers
This Under 12 boys team even has its own Junior Girls Cheer squad.
040916 handshake
Both teams shake hands after the game.

I was pleased to listen to both coaches who praised the other side and commented on the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by both sides. The game was hard, clean and fitting of a grand final.

040916 teams
A joingt team photo. A very nice sporting touch.
040916 winners
The coach gives a nice speech as the team captain holds up the trophy.
040916 iced
The poor coach spends ha;f a year training these boys and he gets paid by a bucket of icy water.
040916 mates
Best Mates Chris and Blake on his right.
040916 proud
A proud mum with Chris and the team trophy.