Thursday, January 19, 2017

Made it to Nadi Airport

We are checked in for our flight home. We took a ferry from LikuLiku to Nadi and a cab. The trip went off without any major problems,

The ferry stopped at several other islands and confirmed we found one that suited us.


The wheels are turning for next year...


Oh well, we missed the 2 o'clock ferry

Seems like a better plan to take the 4 o'clock

View from the room

This is looking out our doors this morning before a short rain storm came through.  Not only is the view beautiful, but it proves we don't always make a complete mess of our accommodations.  We skipped breakfast both mornings here, opting instead for tea, coffee, fruit from our evening canap├ęs service and gluten free cookies so we could enjoy the room.  Some of the best "fish watching" did not even require snorkeling.  All we had to do was sip our drinks and look over our railing.  The swallows are adorable and landed anywhere and everywhere within just a foot or so of us.  Mike had some fun changing up his skills with his camera from bird photography to fish photography; these were all taken from standing above.  We had to be out of our Bure by 11 am, but we can still enjoy the day here with lunch, boat drinks, breezes, and friendly staff.  The weather seems to be clearing nicely now, so hopefully our 2 pm ferry to Nadi will not be a repeat of our boat ride to Heron Island.  It is sad to leave overwater Bure #9, but we can hope to be back another time.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Other things

Good name, good wine.

A private island from the helicopter. Bula
We aren't really birding, but still like kingfishers especially if they are eating lizards.

Overwater Bure: the pictures tell the story


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Back in Fiji

We made it to LikuIiku. It's a small resort, the only one in Fiji with overwater bures.  Mike always wanted to stay in an overwater room and Bora Bora was too far out of the way.

They say getting there is half the fun, and in this case it was a three hour flight from Brisbane to Nadi and a 10 minute helicopter ride.  Yes, that's right, Chris got in a helicopter. As soon as she realized that it flew like a hummingbird, everything was fine.


The room is amazing and the views incredible.


So many islands

We still have room on our credit cards. We might stay a little longer.

Australia's Fairy-wrens

We didn't have a list of birds we 'needed' to see before we left.  We did buy an app to help identify birds and found out about fairy-wrens.
They are fairly common but still spectacularly colorful birds.  They also aren't particularly shy, but the variegated prefers dense shrubbery.
We found three varieties.

Variegated Fairy-wren
Superb Fairy-wren
Red-backed Fairy-wren

Fortunately, we saved several for our next trip.

Goodbye Brisbane


We are in the lounge waiting for our flight to Fiji. Two days there before returning to California.

A few silly things that made us laugh:

One day, when heading out for birding, Chris said "My watch stopped."  It hadn't, we were leaving at 5:00am.  Pretty impressive time to be up and ready for a retiree who likes to stay in bed till 7 at home.

In a rain forest, Chris asked Mike if  he was eating a cough lozenge.  He wasn't; there were just a lot of Eucalyptus trees around!

One evening, after a particularly busy day and a switch of regions and hotels, Mike asked Chris where she woke up that day, but she couldn't answer.  She had to always concentrate hard to drive on the correct road side; this was too much to process.

While having lunch in Lamington National Park while Mike was eating a lamington for dessert in fact, a family of several noisy children sat next to us.  It was hard to be irritated by them after one little one said to the other, "Why are you so mean - AND you have gum in your hair."  

Monday, January 16, 2017

We diverted to the Gold Coast

It's beautiful!!
We made the decision to leave Songbirds on the mountain one day early.  This gave us an opportunity to see the Gold Coast, which was only about 30 minutes out of our way.  Since our bird guide had told us how the lifeguard stations have these clubs open to the public at each one, we found a listing of best foods at each one.  We selected the one at Mermaid Beach for a barramundi dish with coconut rice and bok choy, and it turned out to be a section of the large Gold Coast we liked quite a bit.

  There were fewer high rise buildings there than some areas and it had easy access and was not crowded.  Not much of this beautiful coastal area did look overly crowded at all actually - it's quite long, beautiful, and impressive.  The sky was blue, the water was stunning, so after our delicious lunch we took a nice beach walk keeping cool with our feet at water's edge. 

A cozy dinner in . . . . . .

The restaurant at Songbirds is lovely - this is not a photo of it!  It is only open for dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.  We knew we would be out all day on Monday with our bird guide and get back tired and hungry, so we had done some shopping in anticipation of this.  What we didn't anticipate was finding that great bottle of wine on the mountain, or the Coles store brand of butter chicken to be soooooo good, or us being so "us" as captured in this photo; empty wine glass, wires everywhere, Chris relaxing with feet up after hours hiking.  There are only six villas here on 50 some acres, and we seemed to be the only guests that evening, so we had a nice evening stroll around the statues and gardens before our feast. It's magical and we had it all to ourselves.  It was a great night after a beautiful day!  (Oh, the villa is quite pretty as well even with our stuff strewn about.)

Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

We selected Songbirds Rainforest Retreat for our last treat in Australia. It suited us perfectly. It was just an hour away from Brisbane, an international hub airport, it was in the Rainforest with interesting birds and other wildlife, it was small and had a very good restaurant, one of the best in the Brisbane area.

Below is our favorite table for dinner, quiet with a view into the gardens.

We really needed to relax after running around in Cairns and Heron Island.  

We don't know what this plant was but every time we walked by it we were greeted by a beautiful aroma.


We could never figure out what this kookaburra had in its mouth.  Chris was hoping it was a frog; one less she would have to avoid on the walk back to the villa after dinner.  We finally decided maybe it was just nesting materials or juveniles just playing around since we saw another single one on the ground mouthing a stick.

The statues were an added bonus.  While out strolling we were looking at birds primarily, so it wasn't until the last morning when Chris noticed this one seemed to be an abstract of a yoga pose.  The back side showed something vertebral looking, inspiring a good spinal stretch.  Chris wanted Mike to get the statue from the front, but there was a pademelon wallaby up in the background that he wanted to include as well.  They seemed to be the only ones who didn't want us wandering around interrupting their munchings!