Would definitely say this was the highlight of my trip so far. We headed to Gold Coast over the long weekend – I had no expectations in mind and honestly, not much of a clue of what was really there. Myself and a couple of friends stayed mainly within Surfers Paradise which definitely was a paradise!
We stayed at Islanders Backpackers Resort which I was honestly pretty skeptical about because of the ‘backpackers’ part. But look at that view, not bad for the price we paid! We were in a twin room which had a single and double bed. The place was very basic, with some amenities: towels, shampoo, soap, boiler etc. – would say it’s good enough if you’re out the majority of the day. The only downside would be the noise in the wee hours of the mornings. I stayed here two nights and in both those nights, would wake up to shouting from our next door neighbor or the loud bangs of trucks. But I mean other than that, I was very satisfied with my stay.
I don’t exactly want to use the word ‘deprived’ but it felt very nice being able to eat out and eat some meat! We ate at The Coffee Club. A little on the pricey side but what the heck, this long weekend was freedom!
The rest of the day was spent at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. We had to take the Translink tram to get here from Surfers Paradise which cost around AUD4! Quite pricey considering the whole trip was just about 10 minutes! The Pacific Fair Shopping Centre was once known to be the largest shopping centre in the state of Queensland until 2006. But…no, it wasn’t big at all! At least compared to what I’m used to in Hong Kong. This was pretty much the first time I’d gone shopping in Australia but I think I’d prefer shopping in the States more.
Rise and shine on Sunday morning and unfortunately for us, it wasn’t a great start to the morning for the weather. There’d be some blue skies then suddenly some rain then some sun peeking out of the clouds. We were scheduled to do a Morning Tea Cruise by Bluewater Cruises which only cost AUD18 (Original price was AUD20 but tip: get a discount code online and you can get it for cheaper!)
About 15 minutes into our cruise ride, I felt my money go to waste because of the weather. Lucky enough, going further up the river, the sky managed to clear up and the blue sky I was waiting all morning for finally came out. I found the cruise on TripAdvisor and saw nothing but good reviews. The cruise included some pastries and biscuits as well as coffee and tea, a free postcard and photograph and commentary. The first part of the cruise went through the beautiful and very expensive houses – well okay they were more like mansions of the Nerang River. Then headed further up where all the yachts and seaside clubs were.
Overall, for the price, the cruise was very worthwhile. It lasted almost 2 hours and was nice if you want to opt for a very affordable sightseeing tour. Would definitely recommend it!
Later that afternoon, I headed to Surfers Paradise Beach. I think Australia’s the only place you can head to the beach even in the winter because of how strong the sun is over here. It was a pretty windy day but not chilly at all. To imagine living a life at Surfers Paradise – laying by the beach without a care in the world! If only…
The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets was on that Sunday evening and I was really looking forward to it! I had the impression they’d be like the farmers markets I’d heard of but to be honest, it was disappointing. There were a few local items like handicrafts and those things called “fruit flats” which were pretty much just like fruit roll ups. There weren’t that many stalls so we headed to Paradise Mall afterwards to go around till it got later in the evening.
Monday morning was our last day at Gold Coast. We headed to Skypoint Observation Deck to get a view of the city. I’ve been to the observation deck of the Willis Tower in Chicago before and it wasn’t anything too great – at least for the price we paid. Would say the same thing about Skypoint but at least there were less people!
Because we had a pretty early start to our day because of early check out, we had some time to kill before lunch. We headed to Chocolateria San Churro for their hot chocolates and my goodness, this was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted! I later heard that Max Brenner is the place to go for hot chocolate so I plan to head over there during my stay in Brisbane next week.
We went for lunch where I enjoyed my last delicious meal for a while: Chicken Parmiagana. Yum. Went around the shops at Paradise Mall again but there wasn’t much to see or shop for. So we headed to the beach one last time to bid our farewells. It was a beautiful day as compared to the previous day but unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy the sun.
I came back from Gold Coast on a high. It was such a nice weekend getaway – and really
different to the Australia I’m used to here in Lismore. Of course pretty much everyone at Surfers Paradise were tourists which probably created the vibe and feel of the area. But it was so nice and would really recommend visiting the area to anyone.
And Gold Coast, that is not the last you’ll see of me!