The rest of Dave’s visit: fish murder, skywalking and Tropical Fruit World

15 Jul

Friday 8th July – Fishing

We had planned to go out but I was still feeling too rubbish to safely drive anywhere, so we sat outside in the sun for a bit before deciding to try our luck at fishing in the back garden, as we had been reliably informed that its dead easy to catch the bream that live in the river. This was yet another activity I had never tried before, and it was safe to say I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. After assembling a complex array of instruments and cutting up some cheese for bait we got ourselves settled on the jetty and waited for something to happen.

Admittedly we hadn’t really expected to catch anything, so when I got a bite after about 10 minutes I had no idea what to do next! I reeled it in – it was a bream a good six inches long – and tried to unhook it from the line so I could put it back, but the poor thing had practically swallowed the hook and we were forced to kill it instead because it was suffering, which was rather upsetting.

My first ever catch

After the trauma of actually catching a fish, I was glad that not much else happened for the next hour or so. I have to admit that the sitting-in-the-sunshine-contemplating-life side of fishing is undeniably very pleasant. I did catch another tiny bream, and thankfully was able to detach it’s little mouth from the hook and put it back in the river. Dave was very jealous because despite lots of acrobatic casting of hooks into the river and use of funny little colourful attachments he didn’t get a single bite the whole afternoon! I am obviously a natural.

Dave fannying about making fishing complicated

When the sun went down Dave admitted defeat and we took our poor dead fishie back inside. Turns out it was actually an illegal catch – bream have to be 12 inches long before you can kill them and eat them, which I hadn’t been aware of – but nonetheless I was determined that his death would not have been in vain. However, after about an hour of scaling, gutting, desparately trying to hack off his painfully spiky fins with blunt scissors and even more desparately trying to cut a fillet with any meat on it, I decided it would be better to give up and respect Mr Fish’s memory in a more traditional manner, so we put all the bits of him back in the river and went inside for tea. Fishing is a truly brutal art.

Saturday 9th July – Mt Tamborine

I finally felt normal enough to safely drive up Mount Tamborine, which is a gorgeous mountain set in the hills and rainforest of the Gold Coast Hinterland. After a fairly mental drive up and down lots of steep hills with gradients of 15-20% (argh) we arrived at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, which was our planned adventure for the day. They’ve built an elevated walkway which means you can wander around the rainforest canopy and see some spectacular views across the valley.

View from the skywalk

The walk took about an hour and I kept frightening people with my scary cough. With it being the school holidays there were lots of kids running around, and their parents kept trying to scare them by rocking the skywalk rather alarmingly, but it was lovely nonetheless! I was also able to demonstrate to Dave what a bogan is (basically an Australian version of a chav with a bit of redneck/hillbilly mixed in).

It's easy to see why it's called "the green behind the gold"

The creek

After we had finished wandering around and I had bought some obligatory crap from the gift shop, we went for another little drive around. I was trying to find somewhere with a good view across the valley (the top of the mountain is really high up and you can easily see the Gold Coast) to take some photos but unfortunately all the places we saw with decent views were also peoples’ back gardens! After a perilous accidental diversion up and down another 20% gradient hill we decided to call it a day before someone died.

Dave cooked pork belly for tea and we watched a bit of the first Harry Potter film – complete with the realisation that a lot of human muscle names sound like magic spells, e.g. “levator ani!” – before the new series of Torchwood started, in which John Barrowman was as amazingly manly as ever *swoon*.

Sunday 10th July – Tropical Fruit World (Best Theme Park Ever)

John had been getting excited about going to Tropical Fruit World for a while: it’s an eco-park where they grow literally hundreds of different varieties of really weird tropical fruits that no-one has ever heard of. We got there bright and early and were put on a trailer that gets pulled by a tractor around the plantation. I found this ridiculously exciting as it was like being a kid at Caz G’s birthday parties all over again! The plantation is MASSIVE; they stopped after about ten minutes and told us to pick and eat some mandarins fresh from the trees, which were delicious. As we went on we drove past hundreds of signposts labelling all these weird and wonderful fruits: things like babaco, poshte, black sapote, ice cream beans, tangelo, jakfruit and wampi, some of which we would get to try later.

Dragonfruit plantation

The next step of our plantation adventure involved getting off the tractor and feeding some animals on a little farm: I met an emu, some sheep, baby cows, donkeys and a very strange mutant duck-goose-cockerel thing, but unfortunately the kangaroos were all hiding. After a little while spent messing about we got on a boat to travel to the exciting-sounding “Treasure Island”. The boat ride was lovely, and there were dozens of ducks and geese that paddled alongside us and were fed tons of bread as a reward.

River cruise

When we got off the boat we waited our turn to go on the miniature train ride around the island, which apparently spots wild koalas feeding on the eucalyptus plants on a fairly regular basis. Sadly no koalas for us, but it was fun nonetheless 🙂 We were reunited with the tractor and taken back to the main part of the park to await our tropical fruit tasting feast – the anticipation was almost unbearable…

We were finally allowed into the tasting hall, where a lovely man had prepared us a veritable feast of interesting things to try. The fruit that they provide for tasting depends upon what’s in season, and a lot of the really weird things like ice cream beans weren’t available what with it being “winter” in Australia. However, we still got a pretty good haul:

Tropical fruits: pineapple, papaya, tangelo, starfruit, kiwi fruit, fuji fruit, golden dragonfruit and black sapote (chocolate fruit) on a stick

It was definitely an interesting experience: the fuji fruit was oddly tomatoey, the golden dragonfruit tasted a lot more interesting than the red ones you can get, the tangelo (a cross of mandarin and grapefruit) was GORGEOUS and the chocolate fruit was genuinely chocolatey! The man had made some guacamole with papaya seed dressing which was yummy too. They also had a lot of strange fruity preserves and a range of avocado-based beauty products. Having devoured all of the tangelo pieces that were left, we went outside and decided to go “foraging” for more things to try.

We found an avocado tree, a coffee tree,  hairy velvet apples, an experimental champagne fruit, and several other things which had names that I could barely begin to pronounce let alone remember: suffice to say most of them were tasty. One particularly weird thing was a fruit that smelled and tasted almost exactly like Battenburg cake, I really wish I could remember what it was called! We felt a bit guilty when we realised there were by now a couple of bags of things we had “foraged” for, so we also went to the shop and bought a few things (I stocked up on tangelos for the week ahead). We also had tropical fruit ice creams – the chocolate fruit one was exactly like real chocolate ice cream – and sampled lemon myrtle syrup drinks. It was an utterly fantastic day out, even if our bellies were groaning full of fruit by the end of it!

When we got home I was introduced to the dangerously addictive game of Angry Birds, which was definitely a bad idea as it may have taken over my life to a moderate extent.

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