Saturday, July 01, 2006

Travelin' North

Recently I spent eight days in Queensland visiting friends in both Brisbane and Townsville.

I took a night train to Brisbane on the evening of June 17 and was met the next morning at Roma Street Station by my friend Mark.

Mark and I first met in 1987 when we were both studying in Canberra and living at John XXIII College – a Dominican-run residential college on the campus of the Australian National University.

I last saw Mark and his partner Lana ten years ago in 1996. Accordingly, it was great to catch up with them in Brisbane and to meet, for the first time, their young son Matthew. Among other things, Matthew is an avid and skilled young soccer player. A future Socceroo, perhaps?

Speaking of the famed Australian soccer team, early Monday morning, June 19, Mark, Lana, Matthew, and I roused ourselves from slumber to watch Australia play Brazil in the World Cup. Unfortunately, the Socceroos were defeated.

Later in the day we visited Surfer’s Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Matthew brought his soccer ball and we enjoyed kicking it around on the beach – until a sudden downpour put an end to our World Cup fantasies!

Two days later, on Wednesday June 21, Mark drove me to Brisbane airport where I caught a flight to Townsville on the far north coast of Queensland. Here I visited my friend Jeremiah and his girlfriend Kristy.

Jeremiah and Kristy live quite close to Castle Hill, and from the moment I laid eyes on this impressive natural landmark I knew I wanted to explore it further. Shortly thereafter, Jeremiah and I took the “goat track” to the summit. The climb was exhilarating and the views from the top spectacular.

NEXT: Alva Beach

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