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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…