Expat Travels: Australia-Part II

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Me again :-)

After my time in Victoria, I flew up to the Gold Coast for what was supposed to be some unplugging and relaxation. The weather in Queensland was hot just as it was in Victoria, but it was also quite rainy up that way. I've heard the Gold Coast referenced as "the Miami of Australia", but unless I missed something, there's not nearly enough nightlife or action to back up this claim. I actually found GC to be quite laid back. Since the kids are out on holiday in Oz (reverse summer) there were lots of vacationers here: seasoned couples, honeymooners, families, groups and solos. So there is something for everyone here.

I checked in at an Airbnb that was a former buddhist retreat. There was no Wifi, no TV, nothing but the bed, a few books and the walls. I had this grand idea that it'd be a sanctuary of sorts, but I ended up busting out of that joint after one day. Starbucks and Juice Bars became my friend if only for the free Wifi. A major perk of the location is that I was walking distance from the beach.

Right quick- Speaking of juice bars: one good thing about Queensland is that there's no shortage of fresh juice bars. I was in healthy heaven!

Health conscious on vacay. Win.

Again, since the weather was sucky, I was confined indoors most of my time here. When the weather finally let up, I took a day trip up to Brisbane by train ($17). Brisbane is two hours away from GC. I only spent the day there, but it has a nice vibe.

Since I only intended to be around for one day, I was elated to find a Hop on Hop Off bus. I maintain that it's the most effective and economical use of time in any new city, if available.

Brisbane has two HoHo routes: one for the city and one for Mount Cootha lookout. Mt. Cootha offers city views, a nice little cafe, and shade from the heat in a cute little park area. It's also up the hill from the Botanical Gardens (did not visit). This tour is done by van not bus, so I got it out of the way first since space would likely be limited (it was).

View from Mt. Cootha Lookout in Brisbane.
There were a ton of people up there this day.

The driver was nice enough to wait for us to snap some pics and jump back on. The van runs every 60 minutes or so, and I was anxious to see the city. The trip back down to the city center and ultimately the city bus tour was only about 20 minutes.

Hoppin' on the city tour

Brisbane is a really nice city. I do hate that I didn't get to spend much time there. I hear the nightlife is poppin'. I made the best of my time there. 

City Hall in Brisbane (a couple days after Christmas)

Stunning shot of a cathedral in the city center that I captured with my iPhone

Man-made beach in the Southport area. It was a very popular spot.
Right behind the "beach" are lots and lots of eateries.

The popular Brisbane tourist sign in Southport, home of no behavior

We got everything but the "e', it was a battle

At the river bank in Southport.
The skyline is actually nice, wish I could have seen it at night.

Quickest trip ever! I heard from some of my Sorors who have gone that I should have definitely spent more time there. We'll see if it's in the cards for the future!

While in Gold Coast, I also took the short trek (30 minute stroll) to nearby Surfers Paradise. I'm not quite sure why the area got its name. I saw very few surfers. Most of the folks on the beach were families.

I had the brave idea to do the Sky Tower Climb at Surfers. It's the highest building climb in all of Australia. One look at the building and I knew it was out of the question.

I did, however, pay the $22AUD admission fee to enter the premises and ride 77 floors up to the top of the tower.

You get 360 views of Surfers from the top with admission

Sure is pretty, from the inside

As gorgeous as the views were from the tower, I wasn't really impressed with Surfers or Gold Coast. I'd have thought that a place that calls itself "Gold" or "Paradise" would be more serene than it was. Maybe it wasn't serenity they had in mind when naming the place (there are high rises galore). I don't know, but to be frank, I could have skipped the area entirely. I was kind of mad at myself, especially since I nixed Cairns from this particular trip in favor of Fiji (another mistake, more on that later), but hey. There's always the next time, and for me and Australia, there will be a next time!

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