16th-26th May 2017
Our flight from Perth was at 11.40pm with Jet Star. It was a 4 and a half hour flight but there is a 2 hour time difference (ahead) on the east so we got in at just after 6am local time. As it was a short flight and a night flight we didn't get much sleep that night, just a couple of hours. Jetstar is a budget airline too like Jet2, so we had no TVs or anything to watch and were pretty cramped. We saw a lovely sunrise on the flight on the way in. I loved it! I'm sure I will have seen sunrise before on a flight but I don't remember it. We were picked up from Coolangatta airport by the car hire company. We hired a little Hyundai i20, a white 3 door nippy car. It was good enough for us and a lot newer than spud! Aw poor Spud will have gone to car heaven now!
We stayed at Q1 resort and spa right in Surfers Paradise, the tallest residential building in Aus. We were on floor 6 but it was still really good views of the sea, mountains and city. The city isn't far from the rainforest and there were very picturesque views of the national parks from the city. I didn't really expect to see mountain views there. It was a big one bed apartment with open plan living/dining/kitchen and a separate bedroom, walk in wardrobe and bathroom with spa bath. It was all very modern and worth the $1590 for 10 nights. It was also a residential building and some apartments were selling for 1.5 million! The complex had 3 pools, one indoor heated, a spa, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym, shops, takeaways, bar and restaurant. It was a big complex. At the very top of the building on floor 77 was the skypoint observation deck where you could also go for breakfast too.
The weather was good for the week, we had a couple of days rain but it was mainly sunny and 22-26 degrees. On
day 1 we just went out exploring city. It had a huge beach that just stretched for miles, all through different suburbs. The sand was a lot whiter than I thought it would be. It wasn't white like WA white beaches but it was such a lovely beach. It had huge waves and along this coast is where they have all the surfing championships. It was still very busy even though it is out of peak season, but I presume it is busy all year as the weather stays pretty similar all year round. The main part of the city had two main roads with all the shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. It had a lot of high rise buildings compared to Perth too! Our first impressions were really good, it seemed like a lovely area, very touristy and holiday orientated but we liked it. Something different for us, and the accommodation was spot on! Still felt quite normal to us and nothing new as we were still in aus so we were obviously very comfortable.
Day 2- We went to Sea world. We had a ticket that we got on groupon for $99 for 4 parks: sea world, movie world theme park, wet 'n' wild and paradise country. We saw a dolphin, sea lion and jet ski stunt show and we went on a couple of rides there. I've been to sea world before and we have both been to similar places but maybe because we have seen so many animals in the wild now, and we are more aware, I just felt awful really. It just doesn't feel right anymore seeing animals in captivity, even though that's not what they would call it. We saw polar bears there- they were huge! Not sure I have ever seen a polar bear before and Nath said he hadn't. It was still a great day, the rides were good- we went on a jet ski roller coaster and a water ride/roller coaster. The jet ski stunt show was amazing, they were doing back flips! There was a monorail around the whole park that had nice views over it. All in all it was a really good day, we just got a pang of guilt for the animals.
Day 3- we went to Byron Bay which was 1 hour 15min drive south of surfers, across the border into NSW. We went to Cape Byron Lighthouse which had lovely views of the mountains and the coast. Bryon was a little hippy surfing town surfing town where all the cool kid travellers hang out. It wasn't really for us but the area itself was beautiful. We watched the surfers for a while down at the beach which Nath loves and enjoyed the views! On the drive back up we stopped in Burleigh Heads, a little town south of Surfers that curved out so it gave good views of the skyline of Surfers.
Day 4- we had been expecting bad weather and this way the day the rain arrived and would stay for the next couple of days. Parts of the East Coast were getting a months rain in a day and flooding expected in northern QLD. It didn't stop us too much though and we went to Paradise Country. It was like a farm place with different animals and shows like sheep shearing and cow milking. We may have found it a little interesting if we hadn't actually lived it all on the farm for 6 months. We went to see the kangaroos and koalas in the big outdoor area. We saw lots of koalas up close and they were awake for the first time! They are just so cute! There was a big walk through area where kangaroos ran free and you could buy a bag of food to feed them, which obviously got. Nath didn't want to feed them but I was excited! I have seen lots of kangaroos but I've never touched one or been that close to feed one. Nath was videoing me feeding them and I was feeding a little one when a big one came over for some munch. It tried to knock the little one out of the way and started to slap me too! I absolutely s*** myself! I looked right at Nath like what the hell do I do and slowly started to back away. It was scary but so so funny! Nath didn't rush to my rescue just stood there pissing himself laughing and then kept replaying the video after having a good laugh at me! It sure was an experience! The rain came down a bit heavier after so we went for a mooch around harbour town, the biggest outlet in Aus. It was brill and we got some amazing bargains, we just couldn't resist. I got a pair of Nike trainers and Nath got two and it came to $170. Nath got some lovely new clothes in Ralph Lauren and I got some more Levi jeans- to go with the other 6 pairs I bought in Perth! We had some drinks at the apartment when we got back while getting ready to go out. We went to a bar for dinner with a groupon I got then we went to a nightclub. It was fairly quiet though and we went to go somewhere else but I seemed to be struggling on my feet! I did have a lot to drink though and mixed all different drinks- in my defence! It's just not like me at all!!
Day 5- the rain didn't last as long as expected down here. We had a little more but then it cleared up and wasn't bad. We had a chilled day and went in the outdoor pool and jacuzzi. We then had a walk along the beach which was lovely. It had quite hard compressed sand so it was a nice walk. We had some drinks again at the apartment and then went to Hard Rock Cafe. It was amazing food and we really loved it. We went to an Irish bar after that had a live band on. It was a great place, very relaxed but also lively with a dance floor and we didn't end up getting in until 4am. Our last night out in Aus :( it's all starting to get real now!
Day 6- we didnt get up until 11 as went to bed late. We had been getting up around 7am everyday before. We went down to the pool again and had a day sunbathing but because of all the tall buildings on the GC (Gold Coast), the sun ends up been blocked earlier by them so couldn't sunbathe that late. The sun rose around 6ish and set around 5pm while we were there so we still got quite a good day of light though. We went to the beach again when the sun was gone from the pool and spent the rest of the day sunbathing on beach, something we very rarely do. We were so close to the beach, literally a stones throw away. For dinner we got a curry takeaway and stayed in relaxing for the night, enjoying our lovely apartment.
Day 7- we went to Brisbane for the day. We went up Mount Coot-tha lookout for views of city and the coast (just). It was very green land all around the city, which is rainforest and eucalyptus forest. It is quite a big city and reminds me a little of Melbourne with tall buildings and the river through the centre. Southbank had nice views of the city and had the wheel. We had a walk through the botanical gardens, which was like a rain forest slap bang in the middle of the city. It was strange! We had a walk to story bridge, a heritage listed steel cantilever bridge in Brisbane and the famous one on all the pictures of Brisbane. It is the longest cantilever bridge in Australia. Brisbane was nice, nothing exciting but nice to visit. We had a good long walk around everywhere in the city. It had a nice city centre with a large pedestrian mall. When we got back to GC we got some nibbles from the shop and stayed in for night. We were still catching up from weekend! We are too old and can't hack it anymore at all! Plus, we paid all that money for a lovely apartment so we may as well enjoy it!
Day 8- we went to Warner Bros Movie World which had some amazing rides. We went to a looney tunes 4D show and a car stunt show, which were fun! It reminds me of Disney here, all the shows, the characters walking around doing their acts and all the streets with shops and restaurants that are like movie sets. One kid really got involved with one of the character acts when batman was chasing some robbers down the street. The kid joined in and chased them too, grabbing one of them and putting his fists up to fight them! Nath did well and came on all big rides, even my favourite one twice. One was very quick but was amazing, the Superman ride, it was my favourite. You go 0-100km in 2 seconds and it has 4.2G force and a few loops. The other big one, the green lantern, had the steepest inverted drop in the Southern Hemisphere. Scooby-Doo ride was funny, we thought it was a kids ride but it was actually quite scary/funny! It was all in darkness and had some good drops and was a bit like mild mouse. It was a really fun day and loved going on all the rides, I felt like a little kid again skipping around loving it! That night we went for a lovely meal at sushi train restaurant.
Day 9- we got up earlier this morning and went to watch sunrise at the beach at 6. It was a nice a really nice sunrise. There were quite a lot of people at the beach doing the same and some surfers out for a morning surf. We went to wet 'n' wild water park for the day, the same company as the one we went to in Sydney, this was just a bigger park. It was a lovely day for it, the best we had had- it was 26-27. There were some really good slides there and we had a really fun day. We love water parks, especially Nath who brought me back on the racing mat slide, no joke, at least 10 times, probably more! There weren't really any queues for any of slides at all as it's not peak season so we got on everything before lunch and went on nearly all of them more than once. Nath is a lot more clumsy than I remember, that's one thing I have learnt about him from this trip! In his last week at work in Perth he dropped a 30kg glass table on his big toe and we think it may have been broken or at least badly hurt as it was very painful for him and bruised badly for weeks. At the water park he managed to trip over nothing on the floor and stump his big toe again, then just as we were leaving he caught the bottom of his foot on something on the floor and sliced it open. We had to go the first aid as it was quite a deep slash and he was bleeding. Like a little child getting cleaned up and plastered at the first aid! That night we went out for a lovely 3 course meal with a groupon we had got. The food was a ridiculous portion! Everything in Australia is always super sized and massive portions. This was next level though for a 3 course. It was beautiful though. They forgot to charge us for our bottle of wine too so winning all round! That was our last night together eating out on the Gold Coast, and Australia for that matter!
Day 10- we went for breakfast up Q1 tower which was just amazing views. Not a bad start to the day and it was a great place to sit and have a buffet breakfast! Q1 is 322m tall, the tallest building in Aus and it has 78 floors. Skypoint observation was on floor 77 and is 230m high.
We found out that the GC has more canals than Venice, which is a crazy fact! From the tower you can see how the city is built around all the canals, it looks like all little neighbourhoods separated by them.
We spent the day walking down the beach towards Burleigh, we walked for about 3 hours there and back. Later on I got ready and drove to Brisbane to meet Jade (Jade Byrne that I went to high school with who moved out to aus 11 years ago) at her house and she drove us to a Korean BBQ restaurant near her house. I can't believe it's been 11 years since we have seen each other. It didn't feel like that once we met. We just got on so easily and we obviously had a lot to catch up on. I could have stayed all night and we had a really nice catch up and laugh. I went back to hers for a little after, met her partner Lachlan and then I left hers around 10pm for my hour drive back to the GC.
Day 11- the final day in aus!!! We checked out at 10 and went to Springbrook national park which was an hour- an hour and a half away. We went to Purling Brook Falls, Canyon Lookout, The best of all lookout and Natural Bridge. Canyon lookout was the best. It reminded Nath of I'm a celebrity get me out here jungle. When he googled it he found out it was filmed in Springbrook! The lookout had amazing views of the national park, waterfalls, the rainforest and you could see the sea and the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance. It was beautiful. It was crazy how the GC is right on the coast, built on canals and then borders mountains and rainforest! The Natural Bridge was impressive too. There was a hole that had eroded in rocks which a waterfall came through into the springs below. It looked like something off a postcard! For the rest of the afternoon we went to Snapper Rocks, a beach that has the best breaks on the GC and where professional surfers come. There must have been at least 100 surfers in the water, it was crazy! We sat for hours and watched the surfers and stayed and watched the sunset. It was a prefect last day in aus. I was quite emotional whilst at the beach and just before we dropped the car off. I couldn't believe we were actually leaving. Australia felt like home now. It was so sad to know I wouldn't be seeing it again, or at least for a long time. I just feel so comfortable and happy here. I obviously miss people but I just love my life here. It's been so much more than I could have expected. We have both loved every second and we will never forget this amazing place and the time we have spent here calling it home! The last two years have flew by, I can't believe and would never have thought we would have been here this long. It truly is a special place with amazing people and amazing sights. There will be so many things that we will miss, we have adapted to this way of life and culture, and especially the weather! It's such a sad thing to leave and I'm sure it will take me a while to get over not coming back, but we are moving on to the next chapter and that's just so exciting! Onwards and upwards!
After sunset we had some food at coffee club just by the beach- my last smashed avo in aus (I just love it!) and then we dropped the car off back to the depot and got a lift to the airport. We flew out of GC airport with air Asia at 22.20pm on 26th May 2017; GOODBYE AUSTRALIA <3