My writing goals have transitioned well during this strange time.
During lockdown, I have worked hard to get some tasks on my to-do list done, including re-publishing all of my previous releases to Kobo and Google Play Books.
My travel goals have not transitioned so well. I’ve been faced with some very challenging questions during my self-introspection, and I have spent quite a bit of time wondering how my travel wish-list will be impacted by this pandemic. I have had to let go of what I thought my travels would look like, to allow for a new picture to be painted.
My passion for exploring the world is as ingrained in me as my passion for writing. Just like my love of the written word, I feel like I was born with a passion for travel, and that it is part of my life’s purpose to have these experiences. And, like my passion for storytelling, I feel somewhere inside me that even this pandemic will not stop me from fulfilling my life’s purpose of world exploration.
We pulled off the Bruce Highway at Gin Gin, approximately 51 kilometres (32 mi) west of Bundaberg and halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.
Our stop was fairly short and uneventful, except for our chance meeting with some intriguing fellow road-trippers. This was their mode of travel.
With a a population of approximately 1,190 people, the town name has sometimes been said to derive from a local Aboriginal word indicating “red soil thick scrub”. It is also possible the name comes from the Western Australian locality of Gingin.
British occupation of the region began in 1848 when Gregory Blaxland Jnr (son of the explorer Gregory Blaxland) together with William Forster brought their flocks of sheep up from their squatting leases on the Clarence River. The area they selected extended all the way to the coast and they called it Tirroan. Strong resistance from the local Aboriginal people was encountered resulting in the death of several shepherds and the killing of Blaxland in August 1850. Two large massacres of Aboriginals were conducted by local squatters and their stockmen as punitive measures to these deaths.
The Gin Gin district is nicknamed Wild Scotsman Country due to the capture of one of Queensland’s few bushrangers, James Alpin McPherson, in the area on 30 March 1866. McPherson, who went by the same nickname, was captured at Monduran Station, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of town.
We left the Bundaberg Region behind and entered the Gladstone Region, and the population plummeted as we entered Miriam Vale, a rural town of approximately 512 people.
Miriam Vale is renowned as a traditional cattle growing area, and also supports timber, beef and dairy cattle. Tourism is an emerging industry within the shire and the town is a gateway to the tourist resorts of Agnes Water and Town of 1770. Miram Vale is on the North Coast railway line and is serviced by the Miriam Vale railway station.
In the 1970s signs at the entry to town proudly proclaimed “Welcome to Miriam Vale – Cattle, Tobacco, Timber and Dairy”. The tobacco industry faded in the late 1970s followed by the dairy industry in the 1990s.
A car rally passed through Miriam Vale in 1924; the stretch of road between Miriam Vale and Gin Gin was said to the roughest of the rally.
Across House Creek there is also evidence of an old speed way ground (circa 1970s) and if you look around the district you can find history in old horse race tracks.
Miriam Vale has a nine-hole golf course with small greens and mature gum trees. At times in its history the course was stretched to twelve holes but the members and district could not sustain the extra work needed to keep these holes open.
We made it to Coolangatta, the last stop on my Books By The Beach tour!
Thank you SO MUCH for coming on this epic journey with me, and I hope that you have enjoyed seeing and learning about all of the beautiful Gold Coast beaches I have visited along the way! I have certainly learned so much on this journey about the place I call home!It was a wonderful experience, but was not without its challenges, the most common ones being contending with the natural elements e.g. wind, and trying to find a quiet spot to film, especially at the most popular tourist spots like Burleigh. Where the wind wasn’t too strong, the sun wasn’t too glary or the shade too dark. But it was all part of the adventure, and I am so grateful to be able to say I have visited so many of the beaches here in the fantastic city where I live!
When I filmed this series in mid-2018 I was living in Broadbeach (as I mention in the Broadbeach video). However some significant life changes and upheavals delayed the publishing of this series, and I have since relocated to beautiful Coolangatta, where I conclude the series.
Coolangatta is situated on the beach between the rock headlands of Point Danger, Greenmount and Kirra. It is the southernmost suburb of the City of the Gold Coast, and is named after the schooner Coolangatta, which was wrecked here in 1846.
From here, you can look back towards the Gold Coast skyline in the distance and the entire coastline. The surf here is spectacular, particularly off the northern corner of Coolangatta Beach, the headland around Greenmount, Snapper Rocks into the southern corner of Rainbow Bay and of course, the world-class surf break of Duranbah.
Coolangatta marks the southern end of the strip of surfing beaches that runs from the Queensland / New South Wales State Border north to Main Beach. The Gold Coast Airport, formerly known as Coolangatta Airport, is located at Coolangatta, with some of the runway going across the border into New South Wales.
Coolangatta and is a ‘Twin Town’ with our immediate neighbour Tweed Heads in New South Wales. I live right on the Queensland side of the state border- if you cross the street outside my place, you’re in New South Wales!
Duranbah and Tweed Heads sit around the corner from Coolangatta, but technically that’s New South Wales. Technicalities aside, visitors flock to the border town of Coolangatta for its change of pace. Due to the summer time difference with Tweed Heads, we get to celebrate New Years twice!
Having lived in the bustling inner-city area of Broadbeach, the laidback lifestyle we enjoy here in ‘Cooly’ is much more my style!
This suburb exudes an old-school beachside charm. Each June, Coolangatta hosts the Cooly Rocks On Festival, a two-week 1950s and 1960s nostalgia festival with free entertainment and attractions, including hot rods, restored cars and revival bands playing music of the era.
A lovely walking trail wraps around Greenmount Hill connecting Greenmount Beach to Rainbow Bay from which you can head up the hill to Point Danger. Both Greenmount Hill and Point Danger are great vantage points for whale watching.
D’Bah, as locals call it, is the one place you can be guaranteed of a swell when the rest of the coast is quiet. Meanwhile, the corner of Greenmount offers a protected spot for a swim.
Coolangatta hosts many sporting events including The Coolangatta Gold, one of the premier events in the sport of Ironman (surf lifesaving), as well as prolific surfing competitions the Quicksilver Pro and Roxy Pro.
Coolangatta Gold surf lifesaving event
Every afternoon I walk from Coolangatta Beach up around Greenmount, along Rainbow Bay to Snapper Rocks, where I love to sit and watch the sunset. I’ve also been lucky enough to spot dolphins swimming by on a number of occasions!
I also love to go walking up Greenmount and Point Danger, and if I’m feeling extra energetic, I’ll walk down the other side of Point Danger to Duranbah Beach.
In this final video, I’m reflecting back over all the beaches that I have visited, and all the books and stories I have shared with you. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.
I am working on setting up my titles through IngramSpark. In the meantime, I do have copies of The Wilted Rose and Paid To Dance: Stripping Past & Present available in paperback. If you live in Australia, I am able to post these to you. Please get in touch with me via the Contact page of this site to organise payment and delivery.
Thank you SO MUCH for coming on this epic journey with me! Keep an eye out here for many more adventures on the Gold Coast!