We all had a good night’s rest in our chalet last night and today we bid farewell to our 2-day home. The Beacon on Tamborine is a really value for money accommodation on this relatively exclusive and upclass estate and I would recommend this place anytime again.
I was pretty worried last night when we discovered a chip in one of the window panes. We were not sure as to the cause but was pretty sure that it wasn’t there when we checked in. I was afraid that we would have to pay for the repairs, which would be a really sour start to for our journey.
However when I reported to the caretaker (which was a really difficult moral dilemma for me), she actually thanked me for informing her. I am not sure if she got the gravity of the situation but she simply said they will look into it and bid us bon voyage.
On our way out, we spotted a rather feathery furry looking bird sitting on the veranda of our chalet and took a picture of it. When I came home, I googled and found out that this was actually a kookaburra. I was suddenly reminded of this old song my mother used to sing to me.
“Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. Merry merry king of the bush is he. Sing, Kookaburra sing, Kookaburra, gay your life must be.”
Well now that I repeat the lyrics, it is certainly a native Australian song with all the gum tree and bushes that the country is famous for.
After leaving The Beacon, I guided Theo and his dad to a so-called lookout point. I thought that being on a mountain, I might be able to capture majestic views of the coast before us but I was sorely disappointed. Of the two lookout points we ventured, neither offered any view.
What we did experience though was the roller coaster likeness of some of these mountain roads. Who needs Warner Bros Movie World anyway? Ha ha.
On our way downhill, we passed The Nut Shed, for the those truly nuts about macadamia nuts, another must have souvenir of Australia. We bought more than A$30 worth of nuts for consumption and sharing with colleagues. Other than the original, The Nut Shed also offers a variety of flavours such as mocha, ginger, cinnamon, roasted, honey etc.
And then we descended and arrived in Surfers’ Paradise. By then it was lunch time and I suggested heading towards the Australian Fair Shopping Centre as recommended by The Lonely Planet. And I would recommend this place anytime again if one were to visit Gold Coast.
The shopping centre offers 3 hours of free parking which was very useful. It houses three department stores under the label Kmart, Woolworths and Coles where you can shop to your heart’s delight. Something like Singapore’s version of Giant, Carrefour and NTUC Finest. There is also a foodcourt here where you can get hold of decent Asian food.
For A$8, you buy yourself a styrofoam plate which you can pile as best as you can a selection of Chinese food like fried rice, sweet and sour pork, black pepper beef, mixed vegetables, fried fish fillet, prawn crackers etc. One full plate is good enough to feed an adult and the children.
Some of the boutiques here also sell relatively affordable clothes and we also bought some toys for the children at a toy shop.
Finally about 3pm, we checked into our Hotel Vibe along Ferny Avenue. We were given a room on the higher storey and this afforded us great views of the city and better still the Pacific Ocean all on our own private balcony! Who needed a lookout point afterall? The hotel has rather good amenities and the rooms were spacious and well designed.
What was a bit turn offish though was the extra charge for parking at A$8 and a check out time of 10am!
Anyway after we off loaded our luggage, we packed our day bag and started our visit of the town. A bit of geography here, Gold Coast actually refers to the entire stretch of beach towns from Southport in the north to Coolangatta in the south.
Surfers Paradise is the next town after Southport. I guess it is more popular than other towns for this is the locale of many rich names like Hard Rock, Sands and Monte Carlo to name a few.
From the hotel, I gathered quite a few brochures for theme parks, circus performances, premium outlets, fruit farms etc. However as we had planned to stay here for only one day, we would have to skip all these activities until a second trip perhaps.
Our first stop was Hard Rock Cafe to pick up their signature collectible T-shirts for the aficionados. We also bought a very cool rock star looking kangaroo plush toy playing the native didgeridoo.
Then we hit the coast. Okay this was totally unexpected for me. It was freaking cold! I had to layer myself and the children with three sets of clothes before we were willing to venture beyond the curb onto the beach. The powdery sand was soft and cool, the waves crashed thunderously onto the shore and the winds buffeted you relentlessly.
I was surprised to see so many brave souls entering the waters in this cold and admired their resistance. I note that only certain sections of the coast marked by red and yellow checked flags are life-guarded and this would be where one would venture into the ocean. However we were simply content to play in the sand for now. Maybe tomorrow when the sun is out.
When the sun finally set, we left the coast behind us and headed south for Broadbeach, which is so called the upclass area for Gold Coast because of the prevalence of branded boutiques.We stocked up groceries at a local supermarket in BroadBeach Mall for our road trip ahead. Our total bill for some canned food, cereals, oats, biscuits and milk totaled A$75! That was mighty expensive.
There is a Ming Palace Seafood Restaurant here but the prices were on the high side so we finally settled on fish and chips which we brought back to our hotel to eat. However this too was a new experience for me deciding between the many different kinds of fish especially since I usually have no choice about it back home. And so this ends our first day on the coast.