Saturday, 15 February 2014

A Gold Coast holiday

Well it's back to reality for us out here in Cattle and Cushions territory. We are all back in School and Preschool, and trying to get used to the frantic pace a new term brings. We got an extra week in the school holidays due to our location in the western division.

We call it heat week. The extra weeks holiday is heaven for us as it is so hot when our kids go back to school. I am so grateful that we get that heat week as it gives us a chance to go to the beach without the extortionist prices of peak holiday season!

I am trying to get my head around all the busy routine happening again with the early starts, the packing of lunches and the morning rush until the bus pickup. And swimming and cricket thrown into the mix makes it a busy time.

All holidays we have been swimming most days, the boys do swim training in the mornings and then we have a swim late afternoon in our pool.

It has been a long, hot, dry summer for us. And we have now hit a wall with our feed running out, with our remaining cattle needing to be sorted and sold from our property. It is quite heartbreaking to see the rain avoid us and the hot weather killing what is left of our feed here. I have avoided talking about it on the blog before as it was just a dry time, and we all get those every few years. But now it is fully fledged drought. We didn't get a decent crop this year, and we have been selling cattle all year as it got drier, destocking our place as much as we could.

The bullocks are all gone and now we are down to selling unfinished ones to feedlots. The quotas are filling fast as we are all running out of options here. The smaller cattle will stay until we wait for rain so we can spread them out a bit. We run on a low stocking rate, so we have had a bit of room to move for a while.

Yes, it is a bit crap. It isn't anywhere as bad as the 2002 drought yet, but incomes will stop and small towns will suffer from the drought. The government (as always) is a bit slow on the uptake and are only recognising the problem now. The horse has bolted. Some people have been feeding for over a year now and feeding subsidies were needed ages ago. And freight subsidies were needed 9 months ago when we had the good sense to start getting rid of cattle when it started drying up.

We are waiting for rain and once it does things will turn around. I am hoping this next change will bring a bit!


So onto the good part of my post.....

We have had to forgo a family holiday for about four years due to  dry times, wet times, hot times and it is always hard for us to get away in January with it being hot and busy. And it is always so expensive to have that beach holiday. So we were really looking forward to doing something with the kids this time.

I did a lot of ringing around in the holidays and could not find anything available for our family of 5 when we wanted it. I did a fair bit of internet research and I was nearly going to give up on it when I found a property management site and gave them a call. It turned out to be pretty good value as we got 8 nights for a lot less than 7 with some other companies. We ended up going to Turtle Beach Resort in Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast for two nights and the other six in the Q1 at Surfers Paradise.

I love the Gold Coast! It is tacky and full of tourists, but the beaches are second to none, and when it rains there is still plenty to do without being stuck inside and bored. With kids that is essential!

Turtle Beach is great, we had a holiday there about 4 years ago and it is so family friendly and quiet. Close to everything and it has a couple of places to eat inside, so if you have a short stay you don't even have to leave the resort if you like. It has a wood fired pizza place and a cafe inside, so you don't even need to cook if you don't feel like it.

The only thing I find that Turtle needs to improve on is the lack of swimming pool space. There are four pools in the complex and they are quite small. It is good in a quiet time, but as we arrived on Australia Day weekend the pools were packed to capacity! Still a great place to stay though - just better in the off-peak season.

In this pic it looks quite deserted though as it was 7.30am in the morning and the boys did a few laps before the masses arrived.

The next six days were spent at the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise. It was another great place to stay too. 

Q1 - the tall one with the spike on it.

Used to be the tallest residential tower in the world with its 78 floors. It is now the third highest, but still the tallest in Australia.

We stayed on the 20th floor and we had a corner unit facing the canals with a ocean glimpse. North West facing so it was better for drying clothes. My washing would only take a day to dry instead of two in the Queensland humidity.

The main living area

The kids bedroom

The master bedroom

Master bedroom again

The second bathroom

The main bathroom

Looking from the master bedroom into the main bathroom

The ocean glimpse

A bathtub with a great view

I tried to take the pics before it got too dishevelled by the kids flopping down onto the beds. It was very modern and spacious and suited us down to the ground.

The beach was across the road and there is a few really good restaurants downstairs. Everything you need for a great and easy stay. BWS liquor store, an IGA supermarket down the road, and so many places to eat you need never cook anything! And there were so many cuisines to choose from -Persian to Malaysian and everything in between.

Looking down the coast towards Broadbeach.

Looking up the coast towards Main Beach.

Looking down towards Broadbeach

Our view by day

And by night

The weather was pretty good. We had some overcast days which brought 5 minute showers which cleared to some lovely days. The ocean was a bit choppy and rough some days, but we managed to get in a good lot of beach time. We fit some putt putt golf in, lots of pool time and driving around checking out the sights. I have relatives up in the area, so we caught up with them too.

Of course we squeezed in some theme parks. We chose Dreamworld and White Water world this time. I have been to Dreamworld many times and it is always a huge day out. To do the two parks you really need two days to devote enough time to them. The lines were pretty good, not too much queueing since everyone else was meant to be back to school, so it made it much more worthwhile.

I am fairly game, so I usually do the scary rides with the boys. The Giant Drop was nearly my undoing though! So not a fan of that one.........

White Water World was quite good too, fairly quiet and we did the park by lunchtime. And we went back into Dreamworld to do a couple of favourite rides before calling it a day.

Tigers at Dreamworld

I really don't understand why the keepers just hang out with the tigers all day. When I took this photo, they had done a show hours ago and weren't due for another one for about two hours time. I know they are mainly hand-raised tigers, but in light of the tiger attack on a keeper that happened not so long ago there, I wonder why they still do this? Seems a bit dangerous to me!

Dolphins in the water

The boys went fishing too, they were all excited to go deep sea fishing, but the water was too choppy and dangerous. So they did a calm water fishing trip and they went around the rivers and estuaries near Runaway Bay. They took them out to The Spit and close to Stradbroke Island where the ocean meets. Caught 7 lovely fish in the end. A few Flathead, bream and snapper. We got them filleted, boned and packed in ice to take home.

Seriously, the BEST fish I have ever eaten! I crumbed them and fried them in a frying pan. I used regular breadcrumbs for some and I tried some panko on the others. So beautiful and fresh!

There you go, our Queensland holiday in a few pics. Our last heat week with little H as he will be going to boarding school next time we get one.

Back to reality now and back to facing the drought and plan C of what to do with the remaining stock we have.


  1. feeling way worse the 2002 here........glad you got away...escape chance here........bring on the autumn rains and cooler weather I say....................

    1. Yes, a bit of cooler weather will make it feel so much better than the 40 degree days we have had for so long. Thanks Chooky! :)