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Monday 6/25/2012 Our last day of official class activities in Australia by Ian Shepherd

Monday was test day in Surfers Paradise. Most students started with breakfast in the hotel and then took online tests as required. Some students did a final walk around Surfers and a few took a deep sea fishing trip.

Dr. Darryl Jinkerson and I met with Bradley Johnson and explored the possibility of our next trip involving activities working with technology education for aboriginals. Brad is focusing on spreading the word through the indigenous population of Australia by ministering to them both spiritually and physically. We are excited about the possibility of adding a one week activity to our next Australia trip.

Tomorrow we are four wheeling through the rainforest. Then Wednesday we are kayaking and snorkeling.

The clock is running down and I sense that the students are a little sad at this experience ending. After talking with Dr. J. we think it would be great for each of our students to pick four of five pictures from their personal collection of photos (when we get home) and email them to me (ixs03a@acu.edu) along with a personal note about why each picture is important to them. I would like to create an album that we can put together and send to everyone that sums up our experience.

Remember to pray for Rachel as her surgery is tomorrow evening our time.

Tuesday 6/26/2012 we met our Southern cross 4wd Driver/guide for a full day Window to the Wilderness Tour of Tamborine & Lamington National Parks by Ian Shepherd

Our “Window to the Wilderness” tour began on Queensland’s Gold Coast. We found that a short distance beyond the beaches another paradise awaits, Nature’s Paradise, the World Heritage Listed Rainforests of Lamington National Park. The trek into the Hinterland region followed the original pioneer’s track to the volcanic plateau of Tamborine Mountain. This area of secluded eucalyptus forests provides a private sanctuary for koala, wallabies and other varied wildlife.

Mid-morning we took a break for morning tea and chance to check out the Gallery Walk on the Mountain. Delicious fresh scones, served with rhubarb jam, cream, tea and coffee were served. We took time to stretch our legs when guides, who are renowned for their local knowledge and expertise, escorted us on a leisurely bush walk. Their use of plastic snakes now gets significant respect from some of the girls in our group.

We discovered lush subtropical rainforests with cascading waterfalls, learned about the forests unique characteristics, and how the Aboriginal people gathered food from the forest floor and the animals and birds that call the area home.

Lunch time was great. Tucked away in the beautiful Sarabah Valley was our private lunch venue “Spring Gully”. With all the appeal of ‘The outback” yet only a stone’s throw from the Gold Coast, This 400 acre property provided the ideal venue for a delicious BBQ lunch with all the trimmings. Mouth-watering beefsteaks, chicken, fish or vegetarian accompanied by crisp salads and fresh fruit. Lessons in boomerang throwing and whip cracking had the students enthralled.

Following lunch, the tour continued on into the mountainous regions of Lamington National Park (Australia’s largest preserved natural stand of subtropical rainforest). At O’Reilly’s Plateau, some 3,000 feet above sea level, colorful native birds flocked around us and were fed. The students really enjoyed this up close and personal interaction with the birds.

The Treetop Boardwalk through the rainforest canopy offered a bird’s eye view of this enchanting area, especially for those who climb the observation tower. Several of our students were caught unaware by the guides who were hiding in trees to scare those “Yank tourists”! Very funny!

Leaving O’Reilly’s we took in the magnificent view of mountains and valleys with a 300 degree view from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and around to the great Dividing Range. On the return journey to the Gold Coast, we had sightings of kangaroos and the pretty faced wallabies as they emerge from their bush retreats to feed on the lush grass in the cooler part of the day.

Tonight at 10 pm we are holding a prayer vigil for Rachel Goodman (Darryl Jinkerson‘s daughter) who is having a major surgery for cancer starting at that time. Please pray for her if you have time as well.