On Saturday morning we left the apartment for the airport, where we parked the van in long stay parking and dropped the car back to the rental company. We then boarded a Virgin Blue 2 hour flight, when we landed in Coolangatta, Queensland the sky was blue and you could feel the difference in temperature as soon as you stepped on to the tarmac. The Gold Coast airport was small and I was surprised that it actually accommodated International Flights. We picked up our bags quickly and checked in for our hire car, the car was a Subaru outback, very nice. We headed straight up the coast to Burleigh Heads which is halfway along the gold coast. We found our apartment really quickly, it was on the main Esplanade right across the road from the beach. We got in to our enormous 2 bedroom apartment which had two bathrooms, sky TV, a large kitchen and a balcony overlooking the sea. In the apartment block was a swimming pool, sauna, spa, gym and a tennis court, it was like heaven to us. We dumped our bags and set off straight for a walk along the beach, it seemed to go in for miles and in the distance we could see the high rises of surfers paradise. There were also lots of surfers, the area is renowned for them. We went back to the apartment quite early as we were all hungry, we ended up in an old theatre arcade where we choose a busy Chinese restaurant, the food was OK and after we all seemed really tired so we had a quick walk around and then back to the apartment for a good nights sleep.
On Sunday we got up and and walked down to the Southside of Burleigh, to the National Park, the weather was good and the beach was busy. We decided to walk along the bottom of the National Park headland, there were signs warning us not to stop as rocks do sometimes fall. The sea was clear blue and as we were walking further around the coast we could see surfers in the distance. At the base of the headland at the end of the beach the shoreline turned quite rocky, here the wave swell were bigger, so there were more surfers tucked beneath the National Park, it looked pretty dangerous. We walked to the end of the track which brought us to Tallebudgera Creek, which flows into the sea but has sandy shores, at the end of the sand where the creek ended, there were big rocky piers with people fishing. We were hungry by now so headed back the way we had come rather than taking the hike up the hill of the national park. We stopped for a big breakfast at a cafe called the pantry. The Esplanade had a Sunday market in full swing so we had a look at the stalls and Mum brought a handmade necklace. After having a sit by the pool and on the beach, we decided that before it got dark we would have a look at surfers paradise. We drove up the coast and parked the car on just off the beach, it was very busy but it had been a nice day and it was the end of a bank holiday weekend. We had a walk around the shops and took a look at the beach, before heading to a bar to which had some golf on. Surfers was very commercialised, very different to Burleigh Heads.
On Monday we woke up quite early as we were going out for the day to the hinterland and Springbrook National Park. Only a few kilometres inland the mountains start to get very steep and green, it is known as the green behind the gold, the Australian colours. Our first stop was the natural arch which was at the far end of the national park, The arch was originally a cave the top has since collapsed to cause an arch, there was a lot of water flowing from recent rains, some of the paths were closed as the heavy rains had washed them away and made it dangerous. Inside the arch cave there were meant to be glo-worms, but it was too light fir us to see them. After leaving we going to a lookout, but we ended up at the Queensland / New South Wales border, we were surprised that the Gold Coast was so near to the border. We could not find the lookout but the views from the side of the road we're just as good, green rolling hills and mountains. We drove back towards the town of Springbrook which was at the other end of the national park, before we saw anymore we stopped for a devonshire tea. Purling Brook Falls were the next attraction, I think it was the steepest ones that we have seen so far and was quite a sight to see tumbling over the cliff. We took a walk along the walking track and got more views of the river and mountains. At the end of the day we actually found a lookout with views to the South. We drove back passing a group of cyclists puling their luggage, the group seemed to go on forever as they were going up the mountain and obviously some were struggling more than others. That evening before dinner we went down and had a sauna and spa. For dinner we went to Burleigh Surf Club, I had Caesar salad while everyone else went for the steak special, it was all good.
The next day was a lazy day, Mum and Dad went for a walk around the Burleigh National Park, we sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun. We then went in search of bait so that Wayne and Dad could go fishing, we stopped at the bakery for some rolls and then went down to Tallebudgera creek inlet. We set ourselves up on the creek beach and the boys fished off of the beach. They caught a couple but none of them were the right size to eat. They gave up and went for a walk along the rocky pier at the end of the creek, the sea was rougher than in the creek and a lot deeper. This must have been one of the top fishing spots as it was packed, they must have known what they were doing as we saw some good sized fish come out. As we were banking on catching our own fish for tea we had to go out, we all thought a curry would be a good idea and as tandoori place was advertised everywhere and was said to have won awards we thought a curry would be a good idea. Wayne had a madras and we all had saag, well Wayne got the better end of the deal, although it was not a madras as we know it, it was quite tasty. The Chicken saag was something completely different, Mum' face dropped as her plate of flymo cuttings arrived, she left the lot Dad and I ploughed through but it was a diabolical curry, we vowed never to have another one in Australia!
After our day of fishing and beaching we decided to go to another National Park in the hinterland, Mount Tambourine passing the famous theme parks. We stopped at Eagle Heights at a bar where we ordered coffees from a rude woman. We took them outside to the garden where the view looked back over the coast, we could make out the areas with the high rises of Surfers and Coolangatta at either end and the beach slopping in to the ocean. It was an awesome view. We then drove on through the hillsides to the small hinterland towns. We stopped for some cheese tasting and buying, we then took a walk along Curtis Falls it was like being in a rainforest very green and lots of ferns. Lunch was next in one of the main streets, it was set up for tourists with gift shops galleries and cafes. We stopped at Beacon and Rotary Lookouts for views over the other side of Mount Tambourine it was just as spectacular with more great scenery ad some fabulous looking properties. In the evening we went for a beer at the pub and as the surf club meal was so nice we went back for the couple Wednesday night special. For £20 per couple we had a cobb loaf and herb butter to start and a choice of steak or barramundi with potatoes and vegetables plus a bottle of wine. It was delicious and a bargain, we were chuffed.
We woke on Thursday at about 5am so that we could watch Liverpool V Chelsea in the Champions League we got beat, but it went to extra time so we go a good games worth. As we were all awake we thought that the sunrise over the East Coast would be pretty spectacular seeing as we had, had good weather, but it was cloudy so a bit disappointing. As we had woken early we all went back to sleep so had a very slow morning. Mum and Dad went for a walk towards Surfers Paradise and over the other side of Burleigh North Beach. Wayne and I went shopping at the massive Pacific Fair complex for food for dinner and to pick up more bait. When we got back we all went down to the beach at North Burleigh, Wayne and Dad went fishing off of the rocks, it was not long before Wayne had hooked a fish and nearly went flying into the sea as both him and Dad were perched quite precariously. He caught another 2 before packing up and heading to another surf club, North Burleigh for a drink. For dinner we found a BBQ area just across the road from the apartment, the whole esplanade is set up with BBQ's picnic benches and hot water. We had, lamb, salads, potatoes and pork plus the fish we'd caught.
Our last full day on the lovely Gold Coast started with a lazy morning and then we all got in the car and headed to Tallebudgerra beach, it was nearly empty but the beach was still open as the lifeguard was on duty. We set ourselves up on the beach with the beach shelter etc and then Mum and I went for dip in the water. It was really refreshing, so we enticed Dad and Wayne in, taking the underwater camera with us. The surf was really good and we spent ages jumping the waves, messing around and generally having a great time. We also got some fab action photos of us getting dunked by the waves. It clouded over in the afternoon so we packed up and headed to Tallebudgera surf club for coffee and cakes, the surf clubs are brilliant and support a great cause. As we were leaving in the morning we went back to the apartment to pack up our bags and relax in the spa. As it was a Friday night we thought we would treat ourselves to a bit of a night out. So yet another surf club meal, this time at North Burleigh. It was packed by the time we got there at 7pm, but they managed to find us a table, we ordered our food and wine and spent the evening there enjoying the end of a nice week and listening to live music. We loved the Gold Coast!