The Sunshine Coast
12 June 2008 | East Coast Marina, in Manly Harbour, near Brisbane, AUS
Thursday 11:00 am What we have seen so far:
We've been in Australia for two days, in a slip at The East Coast Marina, (not called Manly Marina unfortunately), but it is in Manly Harbour. The marina is very nice... which is why we won't be staying long. (About twice the cost of mooring at the marina in Santa Barbara, CA). We will probably tie up to some pile moorings not far from here, stay there a few days and then maybe go up the river to Brisbane to the 'Garden Point' pile moorings near the Botanical Gardens. Before we take the boat the 25 miles up the river we will take the light rail that runs between here and Brisbane, to check things out.
Brisbane is in Queensland, AUS, the 'other' Sunshine State, and sits between two long stretches of sandy beach coastal resort areas; 'The Gold Coast' to the south and 'The Sunshine Coast' to the north. It's very beautiful here and feels like we've landed in southern Florida. Palm trees, banyan trees, blue skies, cozy waterfront shopping areas, and beautiful houses overlooking Moreton Bay. All on a very human scale; nothing too ostentatious; very pleasant. Both Steen and I got good vibes about the area. There are definitely different auras or feelings in the air for each place we go, maybe something to do with the way people live their lives or the national attitudes/cultures and whatever else. I guess we would have been surprised if Australia wasn't laid back and friendly. Isn't that part of what Australia's known for?
On our first full day, yesterday, we walked along the marina water front to a small shopping area called Manly Harbour Village. The grocery store was, surprisingly, an IGA, of all things, the regular familiar small-town USA grocery store. It was small but it was located inside a pleasant inner-courtyard style shopping center. We were anticipating the high prices that you might commonly find in a small trendy waterfront food market, but this IGA had regular prices, nothing shocking. I think it was even cheaper than the big New Zealand grocery stores, even though the exchange rate is different from NZ, and the American dollar is not great period. The Customs's agent here told us it was currently .93 USD to every Aus dollar.
a few other observations: -I picked up a local events mag at the shopping center. It looks like Brisbane has a pretty active music scene. more on that later. -We also picked up some brochures up in the marina office. The brochure for The Australia Zoo still has Steve Irwin's photo on the cover and throughout the brochure; he and Terri and their children, printed before his death. The road the zoo is on, however, was already then named Steve Irwin Way. It must be an amazing zoo that we will definitely see before we leave Australia for good. -I think they have manatees here but they call them 'dugongs'. We'll have to verify that.
Thursday 8:00 p.m. Today, we were up early again to finish up laundry and call the Port of Brisbane for pile mooring info. Around noon, we took our last opportunity for using the ultra modern marina showers, turned in our gate card and took the boat a half a mile down to tie up to some pile moorings. Steen took the dinghy to secure lines to the concrete pilings. You only get two pilings per boat, not four like in Whangarei, so it took us awhile to get it right. Not to mention it was a little tricky maneuvering a boat around a tight space while a million or so, (maybe ten), racers, dinghies, and tour boats come cruising toward you through the narrow channel. We worked it out pretty well though.
It's getting late, so all for now. Tomorrow we take the train to the city, evaluate the moorings there, buy some phone cards, find an internet cafe, research AUS work permits for when we get back from traveling, check flight information/costs...you know, just normal stuff, just in a new beautiful place we've never been before. #
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