We descended the side of the mountain opposite the one we’d ascended on the way up to Binna Burra. As we wound through the forest, our driver, Brock, described what we were passing, then spend a good bit of time telling me things I should see on my next visit to Queensland. (He recommended Moreton Island, which he reckons is as nice as Frazer Island, and is one of his favorite holiday spots. Of course, since I haven’t seen Frazer Island, his suggestion actually adds two destinations to my “next time” list.)
After about an hour of driving, the Gold Coast appeared on the horizon, the line of high rises in the distance looking like broken teeth at the mouth of the green valley, with the ocean beyond, shimmering invitingly. A while later, we dropped some people in Nerang (the fastest-growing town in the Gold Coast, we were told), and then continued on to Brisbane.
The sun was just setting as we pulled into the Brisbane Transit Centre. I shouldered my pack, tripod, and camera bag, and, in the blazing orange sunset light, I headed through the Roma Street Gardens, then turned up Albert Street for the climb back to my hotel.
It was dark when I reached the hotel. I stopped at the desk to pick up my big bag, used the free taxi phone to order a taxi for the morning, then said farewell to the hotel manager and his wife, since I’ll be gone well before the front desk opens tomorrow morning.
I’d brought some fresh fruit back with me, and I had a banana and a “custard apple” for dinner. I’d been told I should try the custard apple, and while it was not yet quite completely ripe, it was still lovely and very much like custard. The gnarled, black exterior hides a creamy, white interior dotted with large, shiny, black seeds. The soft flesh has both a flavor and texture that make it easy to see where this fruit got its common name.
Then it was time to pack and prepare for tomorrow’s departure. I’m sorry to be leaving Queensland, but I’m very excited about getting back to the Red Centre. I set my alarm for 4:50 am, and by 9:00 pm, I was pretty well ready for bed–and for my departure tomorrow.