This hasn't happened in 40 or more years... the sky turned red...our eyes were watering... the winds howled from the dry western (middle Australian) salt lakes and deposited tonnes of dust on the beaches and buildings of the eastern coast of Australia.
We were on the 2nd day of our visit to the Gold Coast (southern Queensland and northern NSW) and our friends Ted and Penny (Ped and Tenny as they are now known) took us to a gorgeous beach just north of Surfers Paradise. A paradise indeed... kilometres of gorgeous sand and waves. The stretch south of Southport, where we chose to play/swim, is built up with high rises, the playground of many international travellers. We were stopping in for some beach fun before we drove on to the Byron Bay area. The sun was out, but the day descended into murk as the dust storm hit the coast. We had to give up and head for a shopping centre (gasp!) to take a break from the dust-laden air. Of course there is a gigantic shopping centre, just ready for the tourist dollar. After a few hours it calmed down, but by then the zest for the beach was gone. THe wind was still howling and the waves were wild and strong... it was too much work to stay upright and try to body surf or boogy board, so we headed "home" to Beenleigh.