Saturday, 21 April 2018

Festival 2018 - Gold Coast

The 21st Commonwealth Games - Gold Coast, Australia 

From the 4th to the 15th April, the 21st Commonwealth games were held on the Queensland Gold Coast, just 40 mins from where I live. With commitments for overseas travel over the next 2 months, I chose not to attend any of the events.
Not wanting to miss the atmosphere generated by the competition completely, I chose to take the recently completed, direct train and light rail link to the coast to enjoy the free 'Festival 2018’ events, held at both Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

On Monday afternoon of the 9th, Reg and Laurel, [neighbours] and I travelled to
Surfers Paradise, on a perfect Gold Coast evening. Visitors to the games must surely have been impressed. The temperature was balmy and the waves gently rolled in under an ever changing sunset sky.

A large screen had been set up for the entertainment of an evening and to broadcast events live during the day.

Magically for me, were the 10 musical sea saws erected on the beach. I was not alone in my enjoyment of this return of a childhood pastime, now modernised. One’s movement and rhythm activated the sea saw’s light and sound show.


The 'Giant Sing Along' grew crowds of young and old, singing karaoke.

I was sure a new star had been found when Laurel joined in.

We were unsure as to what this act was but found it quite comical.

'Silent Disco' action - participants slip on headphones and dance to the beat.

The Holoscenes were mesmerising.


The imposing Commonwealth Star in its prime beachfront position.

As the sunset deepened, we made our way down Surfers Paradise's famous Cavil Mall towards the river, to view the 'Sea Urchins'. "Carefully crafted from hand-crocheted lace to mimic the striking and harmonious patterns found in nature. "

It was then time to begin retracing our steps, but we hit the rush hour for those commuting to the evening swimming events. So much laughter and friendship in the patiently waiting crowds. I had to take a deep breathe in for the doors to shut.

We paused briefly at Southport's Chinatown, where locals dined and relaxed watching the gymnastics on the big screen. 

Reverse view - more dining and viewing with a full moon backdrop.
"The Museum of the Moon is an incredible seven-metre-wide, floating moon sculpture with detailed NASA imagery on its surface. Each centimetre equals 5 km of the lunar surface."

Wednesday 11th, the Hungry Hikers chose to enjoy the Broadbeach activities and then walk to Surfers to explore there. A very acceptable double up for me.

The Game's mascot, Borobi - the Yugembah language name for koala.

Our mounted police presence.

The entertainment at Broadbeach was family orientated.

A show of patriotism as we moved towards Surfers paradise.

Games bunting along the foreshore.

Return to the joy of the sea saws................

..............  and the beauty of the Sea Urchins.

........ with a reflection.

Busy but not crowded at 8pm.

We really didn't want to leave this 'paradise' of sand, surf and happy people on such a beautiful evening but all good things must come to an end and we joined the less busy queues for the light rail and our journey home.

The Games were a marvellous event for the Gold Coast. The organisers had received overwhelming praise for their organisation until the night of the closing ceremony. It was so disappointing, that the athletes who had done all the hard work, didn't get to participate and celebrate. Apparently, they had been brought into the stadium and seated before the ceremony commenced.

Tonight will see the first of our OS travel. Just so excited to be only 2 days away from our darling Grandson Ben and his Mum and Dad. They have recently moved back to Prince Edward Island, which is Kim's home state, so a long, but definitely worthwhile journey is ahead of us.

I would love to read your comment.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Return to the City

Whilst I'm a country girl at heart, the city of Brisbane can still manage to wow me. My husband and  I were transferred from central Queensland in 1982, to teaching positions just south of the city. In that year, Brisbane held the Commonwealth Games. This very successful event, heralded the changes that have gradually made Brisbane a very lively cosmopolitan city of 1.5 million. It has bounced back after 2 soul destroying major flood events, to have a wonderful street cafe scene, kilometres of riverside pathways and parks, international sporting events, nightlife and dozens of galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas and concert halls.

The Hungry Hikers made it our destination 2 weeks ago, to celebrate the recent birthdays of five of the group. The plan was to meet at a particular cafe for coffee and birthday cake, provided by Margot. Then to meet with a 'Brisbane Greet' volunteer, who would help us explore the  Fish Lane street art.

"South Brisbane’s most eclectic laneway, Fish Lane, has something for everyone, yet often slips under the radar of commuters and theatregoers. The lane stretches along six blocks, yet its residents find themselves skilfully setting up shop in some of the most minute nooks between and underneath the surrounding buildings.

Unsurprisingly, Fish Lane has no relation to fish or seafood (although the Squid Ink Linguini with Fresh Crab from Fish Lane Bistro is highly recommended!). In fact, Fish Lane was originally Soda Water Lane until it was rechristened Fish Lane in 1904 after a South Brisbane Alderman. Since then, the lane has seen many restaurants, cafes and bars come and go and get renovated and change names. The ever-adapting laneway is now home to some of the most popular bars in South Brisbane and offers a fine dining experience for those who know its whereabouts."

The day started with just a few hiccups. One member wasn't concentrating when catching her bus and found herself several suburbs on the opposite side of the river. Not possible we laughed, but the bus she had mistakenly taken, took the Clem Jones Tunnel under the river to the northern suburbs.
The coffee shop we were to meet at was closed because of a gas leak and the Greeter cancelled at the last minute. Being ex-teachers, it didn't take long to reorganise our day.

Coffee from a mobile van beside the river, with a garden bed table, was much nicer than any cafe. We perched on the van's stools and enjoyed decadent chocolate birthday squares topped with a champagne candle.

Meandering our way to Fish Lane, we posed with the statues outside the art gallery.

Fish Lane was just a short distance away.

We were here to see the street art, but the lanes array of hotels and restaurants was also impressive.

The Fox Hotel.

Paladar Fumior Salon - speciality coffee shop.

Saccharomyces Beer Cafe of craft beers.

The Wandering Cooks Cafe - the hub of Brisbane's food and drink community, bringing artisan producers, chefs, buyers, suppliers, educators, and the food and drink loving public together.

And now for the stunning and wonderfully entertaining street art.

Please don't let them out!

The top 2 pics show what could be seen over the wall. Some actual climbing had to be done to capture the pic of the rabbits.

Further on in West End, the creative murals continued.

To complete our morning's meanderings, we made a quick stop at the museum to check out the dinosaurs before wandering through the Reddacliff Farmer's Markets. On our way to dining at Georges Seafood Restuarant, we took a lovely stroll through our wonderful botanical gardens, working up a healthy appetite for our visit to Georges.

View from our table at Georges.

Our meanderings back through some of the cities famous landmarks to the station took our tally for the day to 11 km.
The view across the river to our Southbank Parklands, from where we would catch the train home.

It was to be a week of art forms.

Easter Saturday saw me back in the city with a friend, to view the sensational 'One Million Stars' sculpture in the centre of King George Square, at City Hall.

Easter Thursday I returned to my old school to join in the Harmony Day celebrations.

This school of 700 has 64 different nationalities with a large percentage of them being new refugees to Australia. The performances of each class group brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. Displayed on the auditorium walls were canvasses created by each class to reinforce their belief that 'Every One Belongs'. If only world leaders had this same belief.

A few days after Easter, the Gaitor Girls hiked in Daisy Hill Forest Park. The park had been closed for several months to regenerate the picnic areas. These lovely sensory sculptures for children were one of the benefits of the closure.

Some of you will know that the Gold Coast, just 40 minutes from where I live, has just hosted the Commonwealth Games.  Much money has been spent to beautify the coast for visitors and to make them feel welcome. On the whole, we have been impressed but the 'artistic' sign below has received much condemnation. Parallel to the road, it can't actually be read as one drives by and it's not surprising that many accidents have resulted from people trying to view it. We pulled into a service station on a side road to get this shot. At a cost of $2 million it's not surprising people are up in arms.

Finally, natures magical sculptures fills one with awe and wonder.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Brisbane's art scene.
I would love to read your comment.