Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Comin' round the mountain

Day 6 (Fri, 7 June 2013)

Final day in Gold Coast.  A gorgeous sunrise to usher in a new morning.

A little about breakfast in Gold Coast.  We're not big on dry sandwich breakfasts and we like to take our time in the morning before heading out, so usually, we would buy a few tv dinners from the supermarket and heat them up in the microwave in the morning.  Australia has plenty of these and they're often on sale for cheap - A$4-6 per pack.  We usually pick the pastas or meat dinners as we don't trust the Aussie version of Asian meals.  Stir up a cup of java and we're ready to face the day!

For some reason when we visit Australia, we feel like we have to make an obligatory visit to a National Park. Don't ask me why.  We didn't want to drive too far so we decided on Tambourine Mountain which is slightly under an hour's drive from Gold Coast. 

Lesley-Anne had said she wanted to try her hand at horse riding, so we made a booking with Tambourine Mountain Horse Trail Rides which is located at Thunderbird Park within Tambourine Mountain.

They have options from half-hour to full-day rides but since this was our kids' first experience with horse-riding, we decided to take it easy with the half-hour option.

Andre was assigned Toby, a tame white mare. This horse is a real darling. When you go close to her, she would turn her head to you, as if asking you to stroke her.

Lesley-Anne, on the other hand, was assigned a strapping young stallion named Nike.  We kinda figured Nike wasn't as compliant as Toby when I overheard the keeper musing to her colleague, "If I put Nike behind Toby, he will bite her. If I put Nike in front of Toby, he will kick her. I'm not sure what to do."

In the end, Nike was led out first, with Toby following a safe distance behind.

Lesley-Anne recounted to me later that Nike was such a character that he would test her at every opportunity. Despite her attempts to control him, he would stop to eat grass (something the horses are not supposed to do on a ride).  He even decided to take a detour on his own accord, ignoring Lesley-Anne's desperate tug at the reins and the keeper's yells. In the end, the keeper had to trek after him off the beaten path.  Meanwhile, Toby followed obediently like a meek, little lamb.

Don't let those pretty eyes fool you. He's probably called Nike for a reason.

Nevertheless, the kids enjoyed the ride thoroughly. This was their first real encounter with horses and I think it's fascinating to know that the animals have their own personalities.  It helps that they're such gorgeous creatures.  Next time, we'll let the kids go on longer rides.

We then make a short drive to see the Cedar Creek Falls, which is right next to Thunderbird Park. It's quite picturesque except there was a rotund man having a nap almost at the edge of the rocks.  I'm not sure if he was really there to have a siesta or he merely wanted to photobomb all the tourist pictures. It didn't seem very comfortable and a slight nudge would have caused him to fall over the edge.

Anyway, he's not in the pictures. Lesley-Anne refused to give him the satisfaction.

In the middle of Tambourine Mountain, there are rows of shops and cafes selling various items such as fudge, trinkets and even cuckoo clocks.  We made a stop at the Witches Chase Cheese Company, a cheese factory that produces, among many cheeses, an award-winning one called the Tamembert.

The shop sells an assortment of cheeses, which you can buy and sample at their beer garden.

We bought a baguette and the Tamembert.  Makes for a nice afternoon snack.

Scenic sight outside the cheese factory.

For our last dinner in Gold Coast, we drove down to Mariner's Cove and ate at Hog's Breath restaurant. We were actually here for dinner on all the theme park days as well.

I believe Hog's Breath has outlets in Singapore too.

They have a juicy burger and fries platter for A$12.95. 

The kids' meals are great value too. Sizeable burgers just without the trimmings, with a drink and 2 scoops of ice cream for A$9.95.  This is the kids' steak set.  We prefer their burgers to their steaks though, their marinade doesn't quite suit us.

A portion of dessert - sticky date pudding with ice cream. A sweet end to a wonderful holiday.

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