The Gold Coast
Day 97 Surfers Paradise
The drive to Coolangatta takes us back towards Brisbane where we pick up the Pacific Highway to the Gold Coast. As we drive, we pass a number of theme parks including Dreamworld, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild. We ask Marcus if he would like to go to one, but he really isn’t bothered much to our relief. The roller coasters can be seen towering above the tree tops.
Leaving the M1 we head to Southport for a drive along the coast. Traffic is heavy and we are bumper to bumper until we turn south on highway 2. The first resort we come to is Surfers Paradise dwarfed by skypoint – a 230m high observation deck near the top of Q1.
Pulling up by sand dunes where we can spy the sea we head for the beach. It reminds us all of Benidorm with the high-rise buildings, neon lit shops, restaurants, malls, clubs and a glorious strip of golden sand. At the peak of the holidays there are 20,000 visitors per day. We have heard about schoolies week on the news and there are large crowds of youths about.
We walk north along the beach, paddling in the surf. Again, there are life guards sat in towers at different points along the beach. We presume that the water doesn't contain anything nasty as there are no nets or enclosures. Nevertheless, notices warn of dangerous currents and swimmers are keeping in the patrolled areas.
Walking back to the car we are passed by a convoy of buggies carrying police along the beach. I ask Mark why? ‘Do you think they are expecting trouble?’ His reply 'Making their presence felt and it helps the public feel safe'. It makes me feel worried that they are out and about in such numbers
Although this is the coastal road, we cannot always see the sea as we continue past Broadbeach, Mermaid beach and Miami. We again glimpse the water at Burleigh heads which has a laid-back family vibe and continue through Palm Beach, where the street names are numbers and there is a plethora of coffee shops.
The last resort we pass through before turning inland again is Currumbin, a sleepy little town, with a beautiful beach and a creek which is full of swimmers. Inland we pass the airport and make our way to Coolangatta, the last town before the New South Wales border. Our accommodation is one block back from Kirra beach and it takes some time to work out the one-way system to get there.
We cannot wait to get to the beach which has the reputation for being one of the best surf beaches on the Gold Coast. Mark and Marcus buy a body board each and we make our way through the sand dunes to the long, sandy, pine backed beach. The waves are not too big but Mark and Marcus are both able to catch lifts back to the shore on the surf. What a lovely way to end the day.
Day 98 Kirra Beach
We are woken by roadworks at the end of the drive and builders banging next door. They do start work early out here (6 a.m.) but that does mean that they can finish early and make the most of the weather. We sit outside to eat breakfast as it’s sunny and warm.
A day on the beach calls and we are soon creamed up and walking over the sand dunes with towels and body boards. We make our way to the red and yellow flags of the lifeguard patrolled area and get settled for the next few hours.
Mark and Marcus cannot resist the pull of the surf and are soon in the waves. Catching as many as possible to bring them back to shore. There are a few in the sea and others sat on the beach, some under shade as it is hot. The lifeguard has an occasional dip, chatting with those enjoying the waves.
I walk the length of the beach and back clocking up my 10,000 steps. The sand is soft and golden and the shallows are warm. Walking back, I can see Marcus is still enjoying the waves, walking out and coming back in on his body board.
Mark and I while away a couple of hours reading our books and watching Marcus bathing alongside a growing number of others. As the afternoon continues others on the beach begin to pack up and leave. Although, we are using 50+ SPF sun screen Marcus is looking a little pink so we decide to collect our things together and make our way back.
After changing we walk along the front to the bars and restaurants in the small Kerri beach strip. We take advantage of the happy hour prices with good Australian wine at a very reasonable £3.50 for a large glass.
We walk further along the front to the Kerra Hotel where Mark is able to put a bet on – the bookies are in the pubs here. This is a very large bar with screens showing a range of different sports and gaming machines. Marcus and I sit by the open side which is on the side of the road watching the crowds pass.
As we walk back the breeze feels colder and we guess it might rain.
Day 99 Torrential Rain
We are woken during the night by the sound of heavy rain which is still falling when we wake in the morning. The day looks bleak and it is dark and cold – it’s about 23C, nevertheless that’s cold comparatively.
Mark and I use this as an excuse to continue reading and laze about the house. We leave Marcus in bed, there’s no rush to go anywhere. I’m very tired and don’t feel too good so end up going back to bed.
Later in the day Mark and Marcus go out, it is Saturday after all! I use this as an excuse to catch up with some sleep. All the different beds have played havoc with my sleep patterns and we are now 10 hours in front of home.
On returning Mark prepares a meal and as we eat, we hear on the news that there has been 6 inches of rain in one hour in Brisbane today which has caused flooding. The rain has certainly been needed by the farmers and it will have hopefully helped with the bush fires. We just hope that the weather improves for tomorrow,
I feel I have wasted a day but Mark reassures me that one day lazing about in one hundred is probably a good thing. It doesn’t provide much for the journal though!!