We arrived in Scarborough, Australia. Australia is one of the countries where we needed to have a visa before arrival. Also Australia has designated ports where you can enter due to their regulations and you are visited by Immigration, Customs and Quarantine. They take lots of things off your boat upon entering. All meat, fresh veggies, fruits, honey, mayo, eggs, even some souvenirs if they are wooden, have feathers or seeds. We knew it was going to happen and, after a long eight day passage we had very little fresh stuff and tried to eat as much as we could on the way in. We even had a wonderful end of passage chicken Caesar salad.
After checking in we headed up the Brisbane River for the holiday season. We had heard the area was all geared up, including a boat parade where the local boats decorated and added lights to their vessels.
We enjoyed a Christmas feast in the Botanical Gardens under the trees with old and new friends. We invited an Aussie friend we met will in New Zealand. As Rick says Jeff is a "true outback Aussie" - The Crocodile Dundee type of guy. Everyone had a wonderful day.
After Christmas we left Brisbane and headed out to Moreton Island for some swimming and relaxing before we started our work on the various projects that we need to tend to after a long passage and time in the islands where parts are few and far between. The only problem at Moreton Island is that land was a long way off. They did have some beautiful sand dunes.
Unfortunately we needed to move into a marina and do some work on the boat. Things like rebuilding the head (toilet to you land folks), paint the oars and check the dinghy for leaks (found one too!). A few weeks later we headed south again down to a place called the Spit (nicknamed by the locals Bums Bay). We sat in a beautifully protected anchorage and got reacquainted with friends, new and old.
While there we decided to head south and meet the daughter of good friends, Val and Barry. After looking at the map we decided that when we went south we would also visit Tasmania and see other various sights along the way, Sydney, the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne. Our next decision was whether to rent a car or purchase. With Rick's auto knowledge and ability to fix things we felt we could purchase a low-end car and probably break even.
We purchased a Ford Falcon 1989 - in pretty good shape, for 2250 aussie dollars. I think that was about $1,100 dollar after conversion. It was standard shift, however, and I was never able to master shifting with my left hand, so Rick did all the driving.
Once again we were going to camp our way through our holiday in Australia as we did in New Zealand and decided to do a short mini trip to Tambourine Mountain as our first excursion. It would be a test - making sure we didn't forget anything along the way. As luck would have it our friend Tom on Optimum Trust and his Yorkshire terrier, Rambo, would be staying in the spit. This meant we could leave the boat and not have to pay the cost of a marina.
Tambourine Mountain was a beautiful location and only a few hours from our boat in Southport. We spent a long weekend enjoying the mountain and making sure we had all we needed for our camping trip.
While sitting in the restaurant enjoying the food and the view, we had visitors - as you can see they really enjoyed having lunch with Rick.
They are called Lorikeets and they are found in many areas of Australia. In fact, we saw many colorful birds during our visit to Australia. Oh and by the way Rick is wearing his new Aussie hat!
Now it was back to the boat to do the final preparations for our road trip. Again Tom and Rambo were going to watch the boat and we were expecting we take about six to eight weeks to head south.