The Gold Coast is as beautiful as it sounds and definitely worth the effort to get to. But oh boy, it took a while. Leaving from Boston using points, getting there meant flying to Indianapolis before connecting on to LAX. Then came the big wait. Our layover had us sitting around for ten hours thanks to an additional three hour delay.
Then came the flight across the Pacific. We boarded at 1 am in LA making it 4 am Boston time. Since we had to be up at 4 am to get into Boston, we had now been awake for a full 24 hours already. All that is left to do now is take our seats, buckle in, then wake up in Australia.
Or, at least, that was the plan. Things didn’t go by as quick as I had anticipated.
We finally got on the ground at 7 am. With our bags in the back of a rental car we hit the road.
First Things First: Kangaroos
And koalas. Plus a couple dingos for good measure.
Before heading south to the Gold Coast we make a pit stop at Line Pine Koala Sanctuary. This place is incredible. So many exhibits that get you up close to the adorable side of Australia’s wildlife and a comfortable distance from the, less friendly, side. They offer the regular tourist options like photographs holding a koala. My favorite by far is the kangaroo pen.
Stop by the cafe to pick up a bag of food for a couple bucks and head into a field full of roos. Watch them hop around, chill in the shade, and let them eat out of your hand. You may be thinking, the concept of a petting zoo isn’t unique. No, of course not. But can I express the amount of joy there is seeing a wallaby bounce over to say hi? No, of course not.
Later in the week we went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for more animal cuteness.
Next Stop: Gold Coast
Quick overview of the accommodations. The room we checked into had a perfect view. Right across from Q1 and just one block back from the sand. While the hotel itself is nothing extravagant staying, the room was adequate and the location positions the voco as a solid choice.
I mean, Surfers Paradise, the City of Gold Coast, it’s literally in the name. Gold sand, clear water, perfect temperatures, I would forgive you for thinking this is a made up destination. Every moment here feels like a dream. Not a single piece of seaweed in sight. The beach is unparalleled by any other I have visited.
No shore has ever been so inviting. Warm enough to float in for hours at a time. Calm enough for anyone to feel safe near the shoreline. Swim out a little way beyond the cresting waves and the float along with the rhythm of the sea, lifted up seven feet and gently placed back down between the swells. Looking up at a stunning modern skyline in the sand.
Under the Sea
This is another ‘of course’ section. One doesn’t simply go on an ocean vacation without spending time adventuring below the waves. At this point my brother’s experience went different from my own. I learned that I’m not allowed to go scuba diving without a written doctors note because my body hates me. So while he was chilling on the ocean floor I grabbed a snorkel and did my own thing. Both experiences had us feeding a rainbow of exotic fish out of our hands. Now and then a school of fish would go by surrounding you for a few minutes nibbling at bread that was provided.
Out on the Town
The Surfers Paradise area has endless activities after the sun starts to dip.
Local vendors setup shop along the beach selling all sorts of crafts, art, and souvenirs. If you are looking to bring back gifts from your adventure, this is where you do it. Mixed in among the typical t-shirt stands and generic souvenirs you will find plenty of local creators offering unique handmade items. Stop in, chat with the locals, and support the local economy. It is only setup a few nights a week so be sure to check the schedule online.
I was excited to hit up my first steampunk themed bar on the main drag. While the steampunk asceticism as a whole may not be for everyone, Steampunk Surfers Paradise’ high-class modern take on the old Victorian theme won’t be alienating anyone.
Drinks with a View
You wont get any better view of the city than at the top of Q1. Located on level 77 of the city’s landmark tower is SkyPoint, an observation deck featuring a bistro and bar with 360 degree views. It is open during the day as well if you need a quick break from the waves.
Back to Brisbane
After just a few days our time on the Gold Coast was over. We drove back up to Brisbane to stay the final night in Queensland’s capital city. There was only one thing on the agenda, catching a game of footy. The game goes by many names, Australian Rules Football, Aussie Rules, or football. Call it what you like, this game while similar to rugby is uniquely and iconically Australian.
We were in the stands at The Gabba to witness the Brisbane Lion’s opening match against the West Coast Eagles. There couldn’t be a better game to watch. The Lion’s, having been fourth to last in the previous season taking on the second place team. Perfect setup to watch an underdog claim their first game of the new season at home. Admittedly, I am about the furthest thing from a sports fan as you can get and even I was excited to see what would happen.
A couple people sitting next to us were still sober enough before the first pitch to give us a quick rundown of the rules. From what we were told, it is pretty simple:
- Ball goes between the two large center posts = Goal; 5 points
- Ball goes between the outer posts = Behind; 1 point
- Cheer when the Lions get a goal
- Use other words when the Eagles get a goal
- Enjoy a couple cold ones with the mates
Needless to say we picked up the basics real quick. They were nice enough to explain more of the game as the first quarter progressed. By the end of the night the Lion’s had pulled out a massive win 105 to 58.
Couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our time in Queensland.
Part 2 Coming Soon
There is a lot more to the Gold Coast than beaches and sunshine. In the next post we venture into the hinterland to explore breathtaking scenery in the tropical rain forest.
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