Back-tracking to Caloundra with my parents
My mother, Nannie, has been a bit emotional about us leaving with her grandchildren for such a long holiday adventure. Sure she misses us, and sure she's happy that we are on this wonderful trip but in her words "If Olive doesn't remember who I am, then you're in big trouble Alicia". Needless to say it was quite emotional when my parents arrive at the unit we are all renting for the week in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast about 90kms North of Brisbane. "Of course Olive will remember you" I tried to reassure Mum before they arrived, and sure enough she did remember. "Nannie" Olive points "Grandad" she adds. 'Yes I think they would be pretty hard to forget too Olive'. Both River and Olive were so unbelievably excited when they arrived that they could hardly contain themselves, jumping all over them, the furniture, their beds, and wanting to tell them one hundred stories all at once. We are so excited and feeling really lucky once again. A break from our caravan, the company of my easy going parents, beers and wine in the fridge and all set in an amazing new location to explore.
Mum's in charge this week because this part of Australia is her old back yard. She knows the coast line well from her childhood and from several visits since and so why not let her lead the way for a fantastic time together, which is exactly what we had. We've converted our car into the seven seater layout and we all pile in for what mum calls 'A recce drive ' to get our bearings and see some sights. The kids are so excited and River says "He never wants to change the car back to the old way". But what I think he means is he always wants Nannie and Grandad to come in the car with us.
On one of our touring days we all head towards Montville, up through and over long stretches of smooth inclines with pretty views into the valleys of vineyards below. We pass through Beerwah viewing the glass house mountains in the distance. We see the little town of Mapleton and head back towards the coast stopping at Nambour to have our photo taken with The Big Pineapple. I love 'the big things' and even though Reece's doesn't always care for them he is under strict instructions to stop. I think he'll thanks me later but even if I'm wrong I know he's enjoying the scenic drive. Into Yandina Mum suggests a visit to the Ginger Factory. I would very much recommend this as a great place to visit especially if you have young children. It is practically an entire day out, tasting ginger, visiting the old style lolly shops and going on the little ginger bread train. I would almost feel guilty if I didn't buy the kids a ginger bread man as we left and so that's exactly what I did. Grandad would really like to visit the nut shop right across the road too, but I think he may have underestimated how much River and Olive would tuck into his cashew nut stash for the week. We arrive back into Caloundra via the Bruce Hwy and crash for the evening. Other highlights were Dicky's Beach and a lovely long walk along the beachside footpath, a visit to where the Currimundi lake joins into the sea and further north in the Mooloolaba area. We explored right up to Maroochydore and we would have to say that this area of Queensland is simply paradise.
We spent almost an entire morning down at Kings Beach and that is really easy to do. The beach is lined with cafes and shops, several big kids play grounds, a free swimming pool and a yellow sandy shore with small waves that roll in long and white. We've borrowed some body boards from the accommodation and dragged them down to the patrolled part of the beach to see if we can catch a ride. Dad and Reece are really great catching waves all over the place, but it was truly a sight to watch as they caught those waves in as if thinking they were two young cool surfer dudes. I absolutely love my dad, how he always gets in there and has fun with us, brave and young just like it was while I was growing up. My turn next but I really haven't been in swell this large for years and I just know I'm going to get dunked. With Dad and Reece's encouragement I wait patiently as each swell of the sea passes and builds until finally the right wave was upon me and I just pushed down on the board the way Dad had told me to and off I went. Even more of a laugh would have been my face I'm sure, as I rolled in covered in sand. River is so brave for his age to give these waves a go. Reece holds him steady, ready and waiting on the board until the perfect wave rolls up and then Reece launches him off to let the power of the sea do the rest of the work. The rest of the day is reserved for watching the cricket and swimming in the pool.
Olives has her first big swim with her floaties on in the beautiful big blue pool at our accommodation. What a relief it is that she is finally free to paddle and splash around on her own. It has been a tedious job that Reece and I have both been trying to pass off onto each other to constantly hold her in the pool before now. So proud of our little daughter splashing around and jumping in off the sides without any fear. River is already a great little swimmer for his age, duck diving down to the bottom of the pool t collect sinking little toys and swimming along under the water like a fish. He's trying all the strokes we show him and learning how to dive in properly now. I think Mum and Dad had a really great time swimming with the kids and you don't get to see them much happier than when they are in the water.
The best moments and memories that we will take away from our time in Caloundra were the simple ones. Sitting out on our balcony having drinks as the golden sun set down over the esplanade with Bribie Island in the distance. One evening we even had our very own fireworks display. Bbq night down by the pool area and dinner at the local pub, these are the family times we cherish. Thanks for coming Mum and Dad. The next part of our adventures will take us into the Christmas period where we will again be joining my parents in the Tamborine Mountains at My Aunty Stephanie and Uncle Lez property. We say goodbye for now and set off to collect our van from Ipswich.