Journey to Australia

A Travelin’ We Shall Go!


Chris Ambrose

Part 4 

The Gold Coast- Brisbane Queensland Australia

Even for those that do not care to walk miles on end, this beach certainly would inspire anyone to stroll along and find the hidden treasures that lay along the sand dunes or waters edge. But if you are full of energy, this is also the beach known for its surfers paradise.

After the festival where one could enjoy the wine, food and music, this was a vastly different place, from the crowds seen in Adelaide. Miles of beach where you could surf the day away or simply walk to enjoy nature at its best. 

Can you guess which one I decided too enjoy? If you read my book or blogs, you know I am a walker but also a partier!

First, in case there is anyone who does not know where the Gold Coast is located, let me give you a little history about the area and what you can expect to find. From the Gold Coast, I want to show you the other locations where I spent my time, sharing with you places of interest along the way.

Then you can try to figure out what I was doing, while there in God’s country!

The Gold Coast is actually a metropolitan region located south of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia. This area is renown for its miles of sandy beaches, inland canals, waterways and of course, surfing spots! This sweeping area is also home for theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, hiking trails crisscross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest. The area takes in 160 mi².

A playground for anyone! Today, the theme parks are a big part of the Gold Coast’s tourism market, but this wasn’t always the case. I was there in the 1960’s when the first local theme park opened, known as the Nobby Beach’s famous Magic Mountain. It opened as a chairlift and became a castle-themed attraction in the mid-1970’s. However, the memories sweetest for the residents in the Gold Coast area during the 1980’s and early 1990’s was spending time, at what is now known, as the infamous, Surfers Paradise’s Grundy’s Entertainment Centre, located in the Paradise Centre in March 1981. Here is one hint for you since I was there…when?

Over the next several years, Dreamworld opened and included sites such as the IMAX Theatre, a Baldwin locomotive, Model T Fords, rocky hollow log ride, Australian koala theatre and the Captain Sturt paddle-wheeler. The park was upgraded significantly during the 1990s when major attractions opened including the Tower of Terror, Giant Drop, and Wipeout. 

Speaking of Wipeout what is the biggest wave anyone has ever surfed? Why not research that and reply to me. The first correct answer will receive a signed copy of my book and be posted here as a special announcement.

It looks like I was just about 20 years early but never fear, I had plenty of fun and adventure here as I traveled with a New Zealander that I had met in Melbourne, whose name was, John Ward.

I was coming from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane traveling via the Gold Coast. But of course, I had to have a good time exploring every stop between destinations. I would work a little and play a lot!

Brisbane, is the capitol of Queensland, located on the Brisbane River and on the South Bank. In the cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, with noted interactive exhibitions along with Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, which are among Australia’s major contemporary art museums.  Towering over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, the site for the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. It’s 300 meters (approximately 985 feet) above sea level and about 6 km (3.72 miles) away from the CBD (central business district) of Brisbane and everybody who likes great panoramas should go up there.

As it is not possible to have a swim in the river without running the danger of being attacked by a bull shark, the city of Brisbane installed an artificial beach in South Bank.

So you may as well surf!

From this metropolis city, you can get to the Great Barrier Reef, the Rainforest, the Gold Coast, O’Reilly’s Lamington National Park and Treetop Canopy, take a Brisbane River Dinner Cruise, Fraser Island or dozens of other special activities. This city is one of interest to me as it is an outdoorsy city year-round. There is much you can enjoy free of charge and is another gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. But, before we get there, have you heard of Surfers Paradise? This is another destination located as a suburb of the City of Gold in Queensland.

Some people say that the Gold Coast is just touristy and it would be better to travel to the Great Barrier Reef from either Townsville or Brisbane. I feel that if surfing is your game, you get there anyway you can! But I would not miss-out on the other locations if time allows you the luxury of travel. I would also never bypass the Great Barrier Reef. Once I share it all with you, research for yourself and then decide your path of travel. But…have you yet figured out which activity I chose? Was it walking the beaches or surfing these great waters? The Gold Coast just may give you a few hints! 

Are you becoming confused as to where I am? Here is a map to help you trace my journey: 

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s wonders and the Southern Great Barrier Reef runs from the Capricorn Coast and Yeppoon in the north, down through the Gladstone and Discovery Coast region to Bundaberg and the Coral Coast in the south, which is only a hours’ drive from the states capital, of Brisbane. There are anyways to get to theGreat Barrier Reef, so do not miss it! 

The Great Barrier Reef was a site certainly worth taking in. Today, you can take a completely guided tour that departs daily from the Gold Coast, (Coolangatta) and Brisbane (Redcliffe) which makes the Great Barrier Reef easily accessible for visitors to south-east Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef is definitely one of the seven wonders of the natural world. If you view it from a distance, you will understand why. Did you know, it is larger than the Great Wall of China? It is the only living thing on earth visible from space! So, if in Australia, why would anyone want to ever leave this tourist attraction out? I understand not going to busy theme parks or to some loud and crowded touristy attractions, but one of the worlds greatest phenomenons? Especially since it is reported that coral reefs are dying around the world. The activities in the waters contributing to this loss are: coral mining, pollution (organic and non-organic), overfishing, blast fishing, the digging of canals and access into islands and bays. Other dangers include disease, destructive fishing practices and warming oceans.

Not only is it a natural loss but the economy will suffer as well. You may be wondering how this is true but here are the reasons: Deloitte Access Economics has valued the Great Barrier Reef at A$56 billion, with an economic contribution of a $6.4 billion per year. Yet this figure grossly underestimates the value of the reef, as it mainly focuses on tourism and the reef’s role as an Australian icon. Other than to be such an attraction, I really never gave much thought about economic value. It has to now concern the sciences, if the bleaching will effect the value. Aerial surveys and dives have been extensively performed and have revealed that 93 percent of the world’s largest reef has been devastated by coral bleaching. So then, if the reefs die, what will happen? Not if but when the water warms above a certain temperature, corals expel the colorful algal cells living inside them and providing them food. … If bleaching occurs regularly, the colorful and biodiverse reef becomes a dead reef which can no longer support all the fish and other animals which depend on live coral. So be sure to this natural wonder before it is no longer as it is now. 

Here is a site of real natural beauty-coral reefs! 

Here, also is a photograph taken of a clam at the great barrier reef.

Here’s an interesting thought. If you were to be a walker as I am, and wanted to walk from the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef, then here is the math: Distance is 1,228 km, which = 763 miles. The average step is 1550 per mile=1,182,650 steps…that is if you enjoy walking as much as I do! But then, I took several years to walk the 1,000 miles along coastal beaches…pick up my book to learn where!

Well, it is time to move on to Townsville, a stopover for working and earning a little extra income so I can keep on playing and partying through this part of  Australia! 

Townsville is a coastal city in northeastern Queensland, Australia. The Strand esplanade, with its pier and water park, is popular. The Reef HQ Aquarium has marine life and coral from the Great Barrier Reef, plus a sea turtle hospital. Southeast of the city, the Billabong Sanctuary wildlife park is home to koalas, wombats and crocodiles. Offshore, Magnetic Island has coral reefs and a national park full of wildlife.

Today there are more than 160,000 people residing there and it offers many wonders of its own to visit. You likely have guessed that I did not just work, but I did have to see what I could and getting into what I could as well. After-all, I was on holiday after graduating from college and needed to experience everything. 

I spent one day in a glamorous job…cutting down scrub for a building site! Now doesn’t that sound exciting? But it really didn’t matter as I’m a hard worker and the means certainly do influence how I can continue my journey. You maybe asking me what is a scrub job. Well it is does not involved me being on my knees rubbing away surfaces of the house. What it does entail is cleaning out clutter. It’s not a difficult job, but can be labor-intensive. It is simply removing all the debris in the area of a building site so the contractor can get on with his construction. We did such a great job my friend and I, we are offered another job the following day. This one was a little bit more exciting but an extremely hot task! This glamorous job entailed crawling up on a rooftop and painting the poultry house roof white so it would reflect the heat.

We decided that we needed to work a little bit more before we could move on so the next job we spent was for one week in a meat works factory. What’s that you say? It was to take the cans off the conveyer belt-placing them on to trays…Here is when I decided to remove the boredom of watching the cans just flow so effortlessly and in rhythm. I allowed them to buildup in an effort not to stand so much, watch to see what would happen and see if I could improve their system. After all, what could possibly happen? I suppose there is a reason why one should follow the rules but this just seemed too exciting of a thought with possibly even entertaining myself and others while working so I could not resist the temptation!

The cans did indeed build up rapidly!

By chance have you ever seen the movie I love Lucy? Did you see the episode where Lucy and Ethel were working in a chocolate factory and the chocolate was traveling down the conveyor belt too fast to catch at the other end? Well Lucy and Ethel definitely had an advantage of working with chocolates versus me working with cans! They simply just ate what they couldn’t catch. For me I had to hustle up and keep the cans from being a complete disaster! It was certainly fun and I’m sure comical to the other workers how I had to scramble to keep from messing up everything. By now you know I’m a daredevil and will try just about anything. I managed to keep from destroying the process but I was not invited back after I completed that weeks work. Now I don’t completely understand that since my idea really did work quite well. I just broke the rules a little!

Townsville, was a delightful stopover but I was eager to move on for new destinations! The photograph above is a Dredger and probably the hottest, dirtiest jobs possible! I have never worked in a job where 15 minutes at a time is all you could deal with it due to the heat.

The photo below is a Dredger similar to what I worked on. It was my job to tend to the bilge, funnel and boiler by cleaning them out. We could not be in the funnel  more than 15 minutes at a time due to the intense heat. We each had a boiler to clean out  and so we were isolated from each other This was actually a great benefit for extended breaks as we developed a tapping signal while taking our breaks. If anyone saw our superiors returning to check on us a tapping began so we would quickly end our breaks that may have lingered too long and so we would return to work immediately! 

Let me explain what a dredging process is and the regulations so you better understand the importance of this hot and nasty job. Scraping the funnels, boilers and bilges were important but it was indeed, a laborious job.

Dredging, is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors. As sand and silt washes downstream, sedimentation gradually fill channels and harbors. This material must be periodically removed by dredging.

The lowest internal part of a boats hull is called a bilge. It is where water, spilt, leaked oil, antifreeze and toxins collect. It is illegal for these substances to leak or discharge into the ocean due to the harm it causes to marine plants and animals. So any accidental spills will not be tolerated by the law. A strict control with regular bilge inspections and quick response to any required maintenance and/or problems will help prevent oils from sneaking into our oceans.

This is what a bilge looks like and it was part of my job to clean out.

There are ways to prevent bilge pollution, which are:

  • Having a constant watch for unusual growth, mildew and unpleasant odors.
  • Checking the drain holes through the frame of a boat to be sure they are clear, so liquids can pass through freely.
  • As with any vehicle, check the parts to be sure they are not plugged. Such as, changing the oil filters often, keeping the engine tuned, check seals, clamps, gaskets, and filter connections for leaks and drips.
  • Regular inspections for hoses. Be sure they are not peeling or cracking. If so, change immediately. Also, if you see any fuel, oil or other liquid spills, wipe them up immediately. 
  • Be sure to secure an oil absorbent pad under your engine to absorb oil, keeping it from going into the tank.
  • Discard any used oil pads according to the state and local laws.

This is a funnel which actually has two parts…a smaller funnel and the larger one but both needing to be scrapped of any residue to avoid build up.

As a warning, be sure to be aware of any precautions for the safety regulations and adhere to them. Use the proper pads so they are non toxic.

Join us again in the week of June 25, 2018, where our journey begins again in Cairns as we begin  our new job moving houses and playing in our new exciting destination 

Until We Meet Again!


  Chris Ambrose, Author

       70 is the new 50`

No matter what Life throws at you,


       it’s where Giving Up, is Never an Option!


You are also welcome to write to me for a signed copy of my book.


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