|Gae Pearce at Waipunga Falls off the highway from Taupo to Hastings|
|Gae Pearce yelling at a rock - and winning!|
We met at a hotel on the Gold Coast. Stan and Rosalie Nance spent a significant amount of time taking care of reservations and organizing our activities. We learned much from our directors and from the other couples. There was a new couple there, Vic and Judy Gibb, who had only arrived in Sydney a week before. They asked many questions which brought out good discussions and helped us learn even more. They are accompanied by their daughter Amanda, aged 25, who was a delight to meet and be with. • Brisbane Temple. We attended the Temple and went to an endowment session as a group. This is a relatively new temple and is small and beautiful. There is a fountain in the courtyard which is lit from underwater at night and gives the entry to the temple a special feeling.
• Natural Bridge. This was a wonderful surprise. Terry convinced the Streiffs and Gae to simply drive west, away from the coast, to see if and how the foliage changed. It did change, but was still very green and lush. The entire coastal area is very green and beautiful – not like the desert that is the outback in the center of Australia. That is why most of the population is concentrated in coastal areas. In any case we came upon a small sign that said “Natural Bridge” so we turned off the highway into Springbrook National Park. There was a short hike to the bridge, where a fairly good-sized river dumps down into a cavern near the entrance to the cavern, which is about 30 feet high. It was very interesting to see the falls and also the native vegetation along the pathways. Most of the hike was a looped track, so we found new things all along the way. Terry swung on a natural vine; there is a first time for everything.
|Waterfall from river above into cavern at Natural Bridge, Australia, Dec 2010|
|Picture by Terry Pearce - Gold Coast Australia Dec 2010|
After we flew back to Auckland, we caught things up at work during for the week before Christmas, as things were winding down for the holidays. New Zealand has quite a system for Christmas and New Year holidays. There are two public holidays for each. Added to this being within the summer vacation for all of the schools, there is practically no one working on the three days between. Richard Hunter, our director, told us to take the time away from the office to recharge. Richard and Laura Hunter kindly invited us for Christmas Eve at their home with their young children and her parents. Three other couples joined us. We had a great night and it helped take some of the sting out of being away from home. It is far too easy to get down in the dumps wishing for family. We did a nativity and Terry was a wise man. Gae was a stage hand and photographer.