24 November 2019, 05.42 PM
Our Travels, Post by Heather
Farewell Paradise…Surfers Paradise That Is.
The past two and a half weeks Eric and I have been soaking up the sun in Surfers Paradise. We spent some time exploring the area, played in the ocean, lounged by the pool, helped out with some painting, took part in a Guiness Book world record attempt, experienced “schoolies” break, bought a tent, and made some additional travel bookings.
Surfers Paradise is part of the stretch of gold coast beach “towns” south of Brisbane. We were lucky enough to be staying on the 23rd floor of a beachfront high-rise, oh, the view! We could see white sandy beaches for miles in both directions. I could sit for hours and just watch the sun dance on the ocean waves. Surfers Paradise reminds me a lot of Florida, kind of a combo of Orlando meets Miami. Definitely not as much of the relaxed atmosphere there as we had in Port Macquarie. So. Many. Tourists. (Yes, I know, we are part of that mass). The area really caters to the tourist though, lots of malls, trinket shops, and Ugg stores beckoning you in to buy a souvenir.`
Ocean vs. Pool:
We went in the ocean a couple of days, the waves here are crazy! I guess that’s why they call it “Surfers” Paradise and not swimmers paradise….after getting rocked in the shallow area by a few waves and a crack full of sand, we decided that for swimming purposes, the high-rise pool was a much better option. I’ve been to the ocean quite a lot for being from a land-locked state, and don’t remember ever liking a pool over the open water. I guess I may have been lucky and have been in calmer, more protected beaches. We were able to appreciate the beach/ocean from our apartment and on our long walks down the esplanade though. It really provided a lot of entertainment – from surfers, windsurfers, giddy gambas, helicopters buzzing by, and the life guards scolding swimmers to stay within the flags, it was a fun distraction.
Guiness Book of World Records:
The Gold Coast area hosted a Drought Angels fundraiser event at a beach near us one morning to see if they could break the world record for number of people doing sand angels simultaneously (record previously held by Michigan!). As far as number of people there, it looks like it might be in the bag, but Guiness still has to verify the status and that could take around 12 weeks. So, we may or may not have helped them officially break the record. Drought Angels is an organization that raises money to provide releif to farmers during “The Big Dry”, the worst drought Australia has had to date. One gentleman was talking to us about it, and they’ve been comparing it to the dust bowl era in the US. They’ve talked on the news about towns that have been out of water for awhile now and they truck in treated water daily to fill the reserve holds.
During our stay in Surfers, “schoolies” descended upon the area. This was basically spring break for high schoolers. The drinking age in Australia is 18, so there was a lot of craziness going on in the streets down near the more touristy area. We’d go down early for the people watching and entertainment value, but left before it got too late. There is the saying that nothing good happens after midnight, but during schoolies week, it was more like 8:00.…The city was prepared though, hordes of police officers patrolled the area to keep things in order. We didn’t have any schoolies in our building until the night we left – we woke up at 2:00 am by a party next door and 80’s Madonna music blaring and on repeat. Ugh.
Other travel plans outside of Australia are starting to take shape. We’ve booked several flights to different countries in Asia, but that’s about all for now. We won’t be heading out for those until January though, so more on that at a later date.
We bought a roof-top tent! The “tent”ative plan (Ed, that’s for you) is to camp our way across Australia to Perth. We are embarking on our great road trip! Route and stops are mostly up in the air right now, as we can’t 100% plan for what the driving conditions will be. We will be spending Thanksgiving in an AirBnB in Adelaide though, and then we’ll definitely make our way through the Barossa Valley and also hit Ayers Rock along the way. We had a lot of options in camping gear, and we finally decided on the roof top tent so we could catch some breezes, and be off the ground, out of the way of snakes. I know snakes can climb, but still, it makes me feel a little bit safer being off the ground. So, that’s what we’ll be doing for the next month. Internet may be spotty, but it will be a good opportunity for us to disconnect a little!