A year ago, in the depths of this awful pandemic and during ongoing lockdowns and border restrictions, we booked flights to Queensland desperately hoping that borders would miraculously open and that we would be able to travel north to celebrate my Grandpa’s 100th birthday with him in person. As time went on it looked more and more improbable. The virus was as prolific as ever and it was as if Queensland would never open its borders again. Then, one day late last year, the Queensland premier announced she would open borders just before Christmas. A tiny spark of hope was reignited.
At the time we booked our flights nearly a year in advance there was already very little accommodation available because we were looking at a peak travel time over the new year period. So I had to get creative with where I looked and I ended up stumbling upon a magical airbnb listing up on Tamborine Mountain called ‘Fairview’. To call it Fairview is a massive understatement. When we arrived the view completely took our breath away and continued to every single time we looked out for the whole week. It is so vast that it is impossible to capture properly in photographs. And don’t get me started on how gorgeous the old ‘Queenslander’ style house was.
There was plenty to do on the mountain when we were able to tear ourselves away from the house. There are incredible walks, waterfalls, swimming holes, shops (a curious array of ‘touristy’ shops in the main street selling everything from fudge to cuckoo clocks), icecream, glow worm caves, distilleries and botanical gardens and that isn’t even everything. We didn’t do everything as we were trying to avoid people as best we could in the hopes of not catching covid while we were away. But here a few pics of what we did see on the mountain…
Most mornings we headed down the mountain to follow the call of the ocean. There is nothing quite like swimming in warm northern water when you’re from down south. There was a cyclone system further north that was causing the beaches to be a bit rough while we were there but fortunately we had plenty of opportunities to swim. We found some fantastic alternative swimming places when beaches were closed like the stunning Currumbin Estuary and of course Tallebudgera Creek (a very special place where we have holidayed before). There are also roped off areas to swim at Broadwater Parklands and some cute little protected swimming spots along the Southport Spit on the non-ocean beach side (the inlet side).
We snuck in a day trip to Brisbane while we had the rental car because I was keen to show the kids the ‘Streets Beach’ in Southbank where I used to often go as a kid and have very fond memories. It is a huge, free man-made beach and pool on the river front in Southbank. Such a great asset for the people of Brisbane and it still looks as good as it did 30 years ago when I used to go.
And then a very special day!!! Grandpa turns 100!!!! We made it. All the stress of getting there during a pandemic was worth it. It meant such a lot to be there in person. Hearts so full.
Then it was time to say goodbye to our Mountain home and head to the beach for our last few days. I booked these extra three days in the event that we had to quarantine if we were a close contact so we could still visit grandpa but in the end it was just a bonus three days. We stayed at an old school resort in Mermaid Beach and despite my fear of being around people at the moment we managed to get plenty of time to enjoy the facilities when they weren’t busy plus lots of walks to the beach past some great vintage motels and amazing beachside mansions!
A few more colourful Gold Coast moments…
And then it was time to fly home! Still pinching myself that it happened.