Like in Sunshine Coast, we ended up staying at two different locations in Gold Coast. We chose to drive through Brisbane, to first see what Gold Coast and Byron Bay are about. Since our flight from Australia will leave from Brisbane, it felt logical to have it as the final location.
Besides, it was interesting to see what all the fuzz was about.
Gold Coast is one of THE holiday destinations for many Aussies themselves, but it also attracts a lot of international tourists especially from Asia. The most popular part is Surfers Paradise, which is known for its long beach, tall buildings, nightlife, meter maids, high volume of activities and nearby amusement and water parks.
We ended up having one night stay in Surfers on our way to our main destination Coolangatta further down south. Turned out as a full day of exploring was enough to see Surfers, even though it looked like a way bigger city from further away. We had fun, nevertheless.
Best part was to experience the city with our Dutchie girl Derina. Happy K’gari reunion once again. We strolled on the beach, had a look at the market by the beach, ate
massive amounts of wonderful Italian food and planned our future visits in Europe.
Surfers Paradise is a fun place and there is a lot going on. It stayed busy during the weekday evening, which was refreshing after some more quiet townships. It was nice to have an evening stroll and see everything that was going on.
But it probably comes as no surprise to many, that we were happy to move along to our next destination.
And what an experience we had at Coolangatta!
Coolangatta is definitely more down to earth stop on Gold Coast. A few busy streets with nice shops and eateries, nice beaches for swimming, surfing and stand-up paddling. Tourists are mostly Australians. Most international tourists go straight to Surfers Paradise – even though the Gold Coast airport is actually right next to Coolangatta.
We probably would not have gone there either, if it wasn’t for our amazing Couchsurfing host Lee-Anne, who invited us to her home. We were warmly welcomed and spend 6 days being shown around.
We got to know local shops, bars and beaches, and of course had some good food and drinks. We even visited an awesome brewery founded by a local, who happens to be the 3 x surfing world champion, Mick Fanning. I first heard of him a year ago, when I saw videos of an Australian surfer fighting off a shark during a surfing competition.
Being an avid skater and surfer, Lee also offered us a chance to give these sports a go during our stay.
It resulted in buying a skateboard of our own, which we will hopefully be able to pack in our bags for our next flight. My third time ever on a skateboard was a 10 km trip up and down the coastline. I was quite slow though, but surprised both Matte and I for being able to pull that off. Matte, on the other hand, made his 15-year-old self happy by putting some speed to his skating.
We tried surfing twice in Coolangatta, but that did not result in a surfboard of our own. I was stoked that Matte got another chance at surfing after hurting his hand the first time, especially after seeing him enjoy it. He turned out to be the better one of us two, and during the second time managed to stand up three times.
I, on the other hand, spend most of my time paddling and waiting for a courage to go for a wave, that had 7 other people surfing on it. The first day I did have some good effort standing up, but did not quite make it yet.
Still, a fun experience and could not be happier to be given two more chances at it.
Lee was lovely to take us to Tambourine Mountain. Once again one of those destinations, where you probably would not end up without a local as your guide. A great day trip to a busy destination and great views over Surfers Paradise. Matte was happy to find a Dutch cafe, where he was able to feed us kroketten and frikandellen. We also had a laugh at the bizarre shops with a random selection of items, attended a wine tasting and ended up in a local brewery for some beer and cheese.
During our time in Coolangatta we also learned that only tourists visit the surf stores such as Quicksilver, Rip Curl and Billabong. Locals go to the factory outlets, that were indeed plentiful in numbers all around the Gold Coast. We used the opportunity to replace some of our worn out clothing. Or that is how I am justifying the little shopping spree we had.
Leaving Coolangatta and a body covered in bruises – surfing is a tough sport and me skating equals crashes – but with a great energy and happy feeling. Gotta love Couchsurfing!