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Sunday, August 28, 2011

31 Aug 2011 - Day 3: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Gold Coast Beach

Good morning Gold Coast! At this time of the year, sun rises at about 5am. By 9am, we were all ready for another day out. Jerlene and Javier were excited because we were going to visit a wildlife park where we can hand feed kangaroos.
Currumbin Wildlife Park was about 40mins drive from Gold Coast. Once again, both Javier and Jerlene were having motion sickness half way through the drive. However, they had learned from their previous experience and what they did is that they tried to force themselves into sleep. This method seemed to work as they managed to reach the destination without throwing out.

Currumbin Wildlife Park seemed to be very popular and the carpark was full. I had to park my van on a grass patch further down the carpark. This park is owned by a non-profit organization. with all proceeds raised by our visit reinvested into the care of the environment and animals. There is also an animal hospital within the park and it's one of the busiest in Australia.

The first area we entered is called the Australia's Green Cauldron. The exhibits here are mainly reptiles such as snakes, lizards, tortoise etc.
The park is divided into east and west sections. The entrance and Australia's Green Cauldron are at the east section. From there, we took a tram ride to the west section, where most other exhibits are.
The next station we alighted was the kangaroos enclosure where we got to hand feed kangaroos. Other than kangaroos, we can also feed the Emus and pigeons that roam freely.

Jerlene and Javier had been looking forward to this moment. Even before the trip, Jerlene had been asking me when she can go Australia to feed the kangaroos. Most of the kangaroos here seemed to have been well fed and were all resting under the shade. Only a couple of them came to us for the food. Anyway, we still enjoyed the entire session

When all the kangaroos stopped accepting feeds from anyone, Jerlene and Javier both turned around and started feeding the pigeons. We spent around 45mins in the kangaroos enclosure.

Below are some of the animals that we saw in the park.




There was one thing that kept us laughing throughout the visit. Do you know what bird it is in the below photo? We all felt that it is some kind of Turkey because of its size and its look. However, whenever Javier sees it, he will shout:"Chicken, chicken!!" so innocently. We all laughed our heart out everytime he said that.......I am laughing now as I type this......lol.
Next, we went for a free Flight Bird Show in an arena where the trainer introduced many birds such as Pelicans, Eagles, Owls, Falcons etc.

We had our lunch in a small cafe in the park. Next to it was a playground and Jerlene went straight to it. She seemed to enjoy the playground most in the park, except for the kangaroo feeding.

Finally we came to the Koala enclosure. As usual, they were so adorable.

We left the park after that. Next to the park is Superbee Honeyworld. There is a honey testing corner with different types of flavours. We bought quite a bit of honey as it seemed cheaper than in Singapore.
By the time we returned to our apartment, it was about 4:30pm. We quickly brought Jerlene and Javier to the beach before it turned dark.
As I've mentioned earlier, our apartment is right behind the beach. From the apartment's back gate, we immediately stepped onto the sand beach. It's one of the most beautiful beaches that I've been to. The sand is so fine and the beach is extremely clean.



Jerlene and Javier had so much fun that they refused to leave even when the sky turned dark. It was very windy and cold but that does not seem to spoil their fun. Javier was a "destroyer" and whenever he saw a castle being built, he'll "tear" it down......

I had a hard time persuading them to leave. Eventually, I had to promise to bring them back to the beach the next morning, then they started packing and leave reluctantly.

After taking showers, we went to a nearby Chinese restaurant for dinner along Surfers Paradise Boulevard. It was very crowded though the food is not cheap. We waited for more than half an hour for our food to be served.

30 Aug 2011 - Day 2: Tropical Fruit World and Byron Bay

We started off day 2 with a drive to Tropical Fruit World. It's about an hour's drive from Gold Coast. Half way through the drive, both Jerlene and Javier started experiencing motion sickness. Javier was worse as he threw out everything that he had eaten in the morning. I think it's not just because of the long journey, most likely it's due to the size of our rented van, which may be more bumpy for passengers at the back seats.

So once we reached our destination, we quickly brought Javier to the toilet and changed him. This attraction is not one of those popular ones so it's not very crowded. While we were purchasing the admission tickets, the staff asked Jerlene how old she is because admission is free for children below 4 years old. Jerlene did not answer so I being honest said she's four. The man then turned to Jerlene and said:"Just say you are 3 years old". :-) Eventually he did not charge me for Jerlene's admission.

The weather was quite cooling today and it's cold when there was breeze. We all wear our jackets but Javier refused to wear. Throughout the trip, he seemed to be the "strongest". The other thing was that since few weeks back, both Jerlene and Javier started to be very sticky to me. Jerlene has been sticky to me since birth. Javier previously was very neutral to everyone but now, he started to stick to me as well. It's so extreme that wherever we went, both of them will want me (and no one else) to hold their hands or push their strollers. When they were in their strollers, every now and then they will turn around to see if I was the one pushing. If not, they will scream and yell for me.......and this happened throughout the trip. Tracy and both my parents could not help much.

Tropical Fruit World has the world's largest selection of tropical fruits in one location. Apart from fruits, they also sell a large range of fruit based beauty products. The first attraction after we entered the park was a Mexican garden with lots of cactus of different variety.


From the garden, we proceed to the Miracle Fruit Show where they introduced to us all sorts of tropical fruits and their interesting facts. As they were introducing some common fruits such as the bananas, Javier started yelling:"Banana, banana....." non-stop. I had a hard time trying to "shut" him out. He probably cannot resist because that's one of his favourite fruits. The show ended with a fruit tasting session where we all enjoyed. We had quite a few rounds and Javier finally got to eat his bananas.

After the fruit show, we went on to a tractor ride to have a farm tour.

We passed through many different plantation such as Avocado, Orange, Banana, Jackfruit, Plum, Macademia etc etc.
During the tour, we stopped by the macademia plantation and gathered under a huge macademia tree. There was a big pail of macademia nuts (unopened) and free for us to grab. There were also many nut cracker around for us to have a try in cracking macademia nuts. The nut cracker was very effective and even Jerlene can do it.
Next we went on to an Old MacDonald's Farm where we had some times to hand feed the farm animals. First we were given some bread to feed the ducks and goose in the pond.
Then we went to a barn where we had the chance to feed the calf, sheep, chicken and donkeys.

Javier was very "garang" and he simply took some feeds and put his hands right at the donkey's mouth. The donkey was so huge for him but he totally had no fear.
We spent about 20mins there before going onto a jungle boat cruise. Once again, we were given bread to feed the ducks, goose and other water birds along the way. We also saw a few water dragons as we cruised down the river.

The river cruise ended on an island called "Treasure Island". Over there, we took the Miniature Train ride around the island. Jerlene and Javier also had some times to play on the slides at the children's activity corner.
We took the tractor back to the central station and we ended the visit at the place where they sell all their farm fruits.
From Tropical Fruit World, we decided to go on to Byron Bay which is just about 30mins drive from there. When we reached a small town in the area, we had our late lunch there.

Cape Byron is Australia's most easterly point. The view was superb and we were looking out into the Pacific Ocean.
One popular structure there is the Cape Byron Lighthouse.


We took many scenic pictures there and had one family photo taken at the most easterly point in Australia's mainland. While we were busy taking photos, Jerlene spotted a wild kangaroo on the cliff. Her eye is so sharp. If she did not point it, none of us would have notice it,

The lighthouse area closed at 5pm so we had to leave before that. Anyway, it started to turn dark very early as it was early spring. On our way back to our apartment, we stopped by a mall to buy more food for the coming days. By the time we reached our apartment, it was around 7+ pm.