Tag Archives: Gold Coast

Exploring the Gold Coast

We were fascinated to discover that the Gold Coast is the 6th biggest city in Australia, stretched out along 57 kms of coastline and hinterland, with a resident population of 535,000 and a mere 12 million visitors every year!

map_of_gold-coast

Our sightseeing started with a 30 minute drive up the beautiful beaches – special mentions for Coolongatta and Currumbin – to Broadwater, where Ginny’s cousin Alan manages Jubilee Views (reasonable priced, well located accommodation for anyone visiting). We therefore scored a personalised walking tour and lunch (thanks cuz!) of this lovely area with its great shopping, cafes, beaches and boulevards. Very impressive.

A Ginny & Allan

From there we simply walked one block to use “the G“, the recently installed light rail system which travels to 16 key places over a 13 km route and links in with all other public transport. We were keen to experience this mode of transport as both West Australian political parties promised a light rail system for Perth in our latest election to address the public transport nightmare.

A Lt Rail 1 A Lt Rail 2

Perth readers, please tell us if there has been progress on those promises?! It is so quick, so clean, so easy to use… and economical – 6 hours of hopping on and off countless times cost under $5. Of course the other side of the story is that it took years to build and caused several businesses to close due to land reclamation.

A Ginny surfers chair A Surfers 1 A Surfers 2

Surfers Paradise has a fun vibe; the beaches are spectacular and the surfing culture is justifiably famous. The malls are many and the shops immense, and of course they are gearing up for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 – we loved the 4 metre high surfboard clock counting down!

A Clth clock

Robina Town Centre is the largest shopping complex on the Gold Coast – 350 shops at last count – and has free buses to and from other suburbs. We spent many happy hours meandering there and especially love our new best friends at the Apple Shop (yes, Ian has crossed to the dark side and bought a Mac Pro!) Also impressed with the free parking system which has a large LED sensor above each park to show if it is empty (Green) or taken (Red)… now isn’t that sensible?

So all in all, we found this region great fun even though we are not theme park addicts. The variety of them is astonishing, and they are obviously loved by the tourists so good on them for contributing to Queensland’s economy – they need it. You may like to also read fellow West Australian Amanda Kendle’s blog on her most recent trip to the Gold Coast – after beating up on it last year, she had a very different experience this year AND she won 500,000 frequent flyer points into the bargain! Only a little jealous…

The Gold Coast region

The Boyd Bay caravan park at Tweed Heads was a great base to meet up with friends and family around the Gold Coast region. This city straddles the 2 states of Queensland and New South Wales and 2 different local government areas which of course leads to some odd situations – not least when daylight saving kicks in. Our friends Doug and Bruce found a novel way to always know what the time is where by setting two clocks, one upstairs on Qld time and the downstairs one on NSW time!

There are LOTS AND LOTS of people in this region so we tried to balance some frenzied days of glitz and huge shopping centres out with some more gentle jaunts into the country. One day trip to the southwest started at Murwillumbah, a lovely country town and home to the Tweed Regional Gallery  which includes the recently opened Margaret Olley Art Centre.  An absolutely magic tribute! We particularly like the paintings where she repeated the same scene at different times of the day – such a beautiful way to show how light changes the way things look and feel.
Murwillumbah 1 The Yellow room 1 A Margaret Olley room 1
The current exhibition is a recreation of the ‘Yellow Room‘, her favourite room in her Sydney home full of her treasures and nicknacks.
The display is so well done and includes many personal insights. We loved the story of photographer Greg Weight. He was helping Margaret prepare the catalogue for what was to be her final auction at the age of 92. Each day she would finalise several canvases until there was only one left and she told him “See you tomorrow at 2!” That never happened as she died the next morning. As a tribute, Greg prepared a marvellous series of commemorative photos  entitled See you tomorrow at 2 including this one of the artist below.
A Margaret Olley
Another popular feature was an interactive digital painting program to create your own artwork by mixing colours on the screen. Although we picked up some grumbles from locals about the increasing rates required to support the gallery, it really is a marvellous FREE drawcard and has several other permanent and temporary exhibitions. e.g. Deb Mostert‘s exhibition looks at how birds interact with manmade objects, especially those keen on ‘collecting’ like bower birds. It made us wonder about our own collection of ‘stuff’ and how we justify our own decorating habits!  Plus the coffee and cake was A1 as well.
We continued our scenic drive out through Tyalgum and Chillingham to arrive at Tumbulgum, a village once famous for its cedar timber industry but which now appears to be Sugarcane Central.
A Surfers 3
They have a great tavern on the edge of the Tweed river – perfect for a late lunch – and wonderful fresh local vegetables, fruit and eggs. (No, we’re not fixated on food totally but the quality and prices here on the east coast so far have been exceptional)…