There is no place like the place you call home and for us it is the beautiful Gold Coast. This view from the walkway around the Burleigh Heads National Park has always been a favourite and having travelled right round Australia this compares with all the amazing places we have seen.
The first question I am asked is “What is your favourite place?” I find this a very difficult question to answer. How can I compare the wild flowers of the West with the ocean in all its moods, or the mountains, or the unique formations of the Kimberley and the Karijini and Katherine Gorges. Then there is the endless vista of the central plains with the waving, shimmering Mitchel grass: drovers country, with its stories and history of men and deeds that opened up the out back. The huge river systems flowing to the sea. The steep pull, up and over the Snowy Mountains that Matilda handled so well, then the awesome vista of layer up on layer of ariel perspective that truly takes your breath away and the camera working over time, thank goodness for digital technology. Of course there is the iconic roads that criss cross the country, each one a marvel of engineering skill, the Great Ocean Road built-in the depression years using picks and shovels and wheel barrows and an army of men. Oh the list just goes on. So what was my favourite? I have to say it was the country and the huge diversity that makes the journey so memorable.
But the scenery is not the only thing that stays forever in the memory, it is the people we met that really enrich the journey. The people we met briefly in the caravan parks and shared “happy hour” with. The many camp fires lit in free roadside stops and along river banks and cooked and shared our meals with fellow campers. The 9 couch surfing hosts that generously opened their house and hearts to complete strangers and became friends. The revisiting of WWOOF friends we made in the past, and 15 years later still welcome us to stay with them. Special mention goes to Rob and Raye who have become very special people when we shared the amazing poets weekend at Rob’s farm.
The year on the road passed so quickly and it is in retrospect, when you sit back and revisit the photos and reread the journal that it really sinks in about what a fantastic year it was.