Tugun

We’ve never used airbnb before to book accommodation, but we thought we’d give it a try here. If you’ve never heard of the website before, it matches people selling nights in empty rooms in their homes with travelers seeking accommodation. Sort of like an informal bed and breakfast in someone’s home.

We found the home easily and were greeted by Kim, our lovely hostess, and her two little girls. She showed us to our room, which had cookies on the pillow, neatly folded towels, and a screened in porch leading to the backyard. She encouraged us to make ourselves at home, do our laundry, eat from the pantry, and enjoy the luxurious swimming pool. After staying out the previous nights, it felt great to have our own room to just relax in and use the wifi to catch up with everyone back home.

Kim and her husband Sean invited us to a delicious home-cooked dinner of potatoes and chicken schnitzel. I was amazed at how welcoming, friendly, and intelligent they were after just our first few hours staying with them.

Jan 15

For Tugun, we didn’t really have high expectations as it’s kind of a pit stop between our Byron Bay experience, and our time in Surfers Paradise. Tugun was the perfect place to relax and regain stamina after Byron Bay exhausted us. We took a city bus to the Burleigh Head National Park, which started with a beautiful view over the beach and the outline of Surfers Paradise skyscrapers in the distance. As with all of our adventures, there were plenty of uphill stairs that gave us quite a workout. We got even more of a workout when we found out that the path we were planning on taking was closed due to falling rock, forcing us to do the stairs all over again.

However, the views were worth it and the beach at the bottom provided a refreshing swim. We headed back to the house to cook a stir fry lunch and played in the pool with our host’s children. It was great being in a home and feeling part of the family for a bit since we’re so far away from our own home. We walked down the beachfront and enjoyed an ice cold beer at the yacht club, built right into a rock sitting in the water.

We lounged around the house until a delicious homemade dinner of pasta and cheese puffs. Our host told us about one of his buddies that makes the best bourbon from his garage. Bourbon being Byron’s favorite drink, we piled into the car and got a tour of this guy’s garage, full of distilling equipment and old liquor bottles refilled with his product. We bought a few bottles and headed back to the house to enjoy them late into the night while discussing politics and religion.

Jan 16

It’s been unbearably hot for the past few days, and at first I thought it was just me being used to chilly Connecticut. However once we heard the locals talking about it, we knew it was bad. It’s the kind of heat that sucks all motivation to even move, let alone do anything productive or sleep soundly. We woke up sweaty and continued through breakfast and packed our bags in a similarly sweaty condition. We said our goodbyes to our friendly host and walked to the bus that took us past the rainforest we hiked in and on to Surfers Paradise–the Miami of Australia (there’s even a town here called Miami, and Palm Springs).

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