1770 is one of Queensland’s best-kept secrets. Matt Risley went there searching for small town charm and ended up looking like gay Arnie .
“Do you love rollercoasters?”
“Well, it’s not like I’m going to take one home to meet the parents any time soon, but yeah,
you could say I was a fan.”
On the list of “sentences you’ll later regret” it was undoubtedly up there with “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.
No sooner had I uttered those fateful words than our pilot, Bruce, pulled back on the control column until the small four-seater Cessna plane was near vertical. Then he switched off the propeller…In between the screams and loud clangs of various unbolted floor items hitting the ceiling, I breathlessly turned around for assurance from Bruce; some kind of in control, “panic stations” look that would stop the seepage now unceremoniously dribbling from my seat. All I got was the sight of him giggling and holding up a camera to film our mortified faces. As the screams and whine of the plummeting plane reached a harmonious crescendo, Bruce switched the engine back on, banked the plane to the left and we were once again barrelling towards the ocean floor. Calmly fighting the g-force rippling across our cheeks, he pulled up on the control column and we levelled out.
I was sold on 1770 by the advice of friends: remote, phenomenally-beautiful and possessing the most charming, warm and friendly Aussies you’re likely to find. They had obviously forgotten to mention the “sociopathic, suicidal and schizophrenic” part.
But here’s the rub. Once we had regained our breath (and mopped up the damp patch), Bruce turned to us again. “Fancy another go?” I think my rollercoaster relationship had just reached second base. After the third nosedive, we felt safe enough to unclip our seatbelts, amplifying the weightlessness and compounding the adrenalin buzz.
A quick coin flip decided that I was lucky (or stupid) enough to be the first to get my own chance at flying the plane. Banking the plane left and right, I steered us into smooth turns above the stunning scenery of the 1770 estuary.