This morning the Rattenburys headed back to the Sunshine Coast, and we drove down to the Gold Coast to show Roger some of the glam and glitz of Australia’s golden strip [of beaches]. We headed for a public park on the Broadwater, the wide, sheltered mouth of the Nerang River just before it reaches the ocean.

Our first stop for entertainment was in a utility room of an amenities block. The Gold Coast Miniature Train Club had set up a huge table with a N-scale circular track featuring a number of different town/countryside dioramas.

Aisha, 5yo, + Brioni, 3yo, April 2010
The girls liked talking about what the trains were doing. The "driver" (in the glasses) took care to stop the train at the station long enough so passengers could get off and alight.

Miniature display, Gold Coast, April 2010
The hobby of miniatures isn't just for railway enthusiasts! A huge amount of work was put into recreating this funfair scene.

Miniature display, Gold Coast, April 2010
Many of the rides were on timers so they started up at random intervals, with flashing lights, music and movement.

Miniature display, Gold Coast, April 2010
There was so much detail taken with the set-up! The fairground rides were sourced from a German company who based them on real Australian funfair rides.

Minature display, Gold Coast, April 2010
The friendly train enthusiast Roc delighted in explaining how it all worked. He even brought out a steam-engine train (which produced coal-scented smoke) when David showed some interest.

The dioramas were extremely detailed. One featured a hill that showed dinosaur bones buried beneath the sediment. I have since become even more impressed by the hobbyists upon discovering that just a single family (mother, father and boy) costs about $50. I can’t imagine how much money these enthusiasts have put into their dioramas!

Miniature display, Gold Coast, April 2010
A G-scale railway was set up outdoors, featuring this blue train and his friends.

After we had seen enough of the trains, we headed for the beach for a swim. There was a wild wind chopping up the water, but Roger and Brioni swam properly. Aisha played happily in the sand (licking it off her fingers), and Calista just watched the other children who were playing nearby. When everyone decided they were too chilly for more swimming, the kids tried out the playground equipment.

The park was very busy (being Easter Monday, a public holiday), and after the kids spent some time on the playground, we walked north along the wide path to find a quieter spot.

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
In fact, not many people came to this place at all!

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Our new playground was in the more common style, but it proved to be just as fun to our three!

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
The quieter location suited David, who could get some reading done. (He LOVES the Kindle!)

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
I eventually took the girls back to the beach, leaving Roger and David to talk theology and philosophy. (Dell's on a blanket in the far left, cut out of the picture.)

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Yep, the water is a little bit chilly.

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Writing in the sand.

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Looking for shells.

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Brioni found a tunnel to explore (like in her adventure with Daddy a couple days ago).

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
It was just a short one, but I am certain that I'll have to stay on my toes with her — she is fearless!

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
Rounding up the troops before heading home.

Gold Coast Broadwater, April 2010
The pandanus trees were fruiting. We took some of the fruits home to try them, but they tasted like rotten peaches, not very nice. You could eat it if you were starving but probably wouldn't otherwise.

Today was Roger’s last day with us. He flies out early tomorrow. It’s been a terrific visit — he’s taken the effort to play with the girls and get to know them. In return, they have basked in his attention and kept requesting him to come and play — a sign that they really like him!