Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gold Coast Day 1 & 2 Pt 1

Our flight was Friday evening at 6.30. We could not decide whether to get a taxi to the airport or drive and park in the long term car park. Last time we must have booked the car park well in advance as the rate was cheap. This time it was not as we had left it until the last minute, with a cost of around $80 for six nights away. I wondered if the motoring organisation, RACV, would have a discount rate at the airport. It did not but did have discounts for private parking companies located short distances from the airport.  I found one for $49, including transport to and from airport, the transport taking not much longer than the bus trip to the terminals from the long term airport carpark.

While I was at the RACV website, I noticed some cheap options for Gold Coast attractions too, so I booked a couple of things there.

The car trip to the the parking company's site was a nightmare in the heavy Friday evening peak traffic. A trip that might have taken 20 minutes took almost an hour. I don't know how people cope with a commute like that on daily basis. R was getting stressed in the passenger seat and his stress makes me stressed. We left home at 3.50 pm and the latest we could check in is 5.45. I knew we had allowed plenty of time but we did not know how lengthy the procedure would be at the parking place. That all went quite ok and we were at the airport with plenty of time.

We flew for the first time with Tiger Air and I was impressed. Tiger operates from a new and not quite finished terminal in Melbourne. We had checked in online before we left and with electronic machines at the airport, printed out our own boarding passes and luggage tags and the shoved our cases on a conveyor belt. The staff were all friendly. We had chosen our own seats which were unfortunately near to a large group of young sportsmen. They were a bit noisy but had the staff not worked it so the drink and food trolley reached them last and so they only had time for one beer,  they certainly would have become very noisy. Unfortunately for us we were also served nearly last. Perhaps staff thought we too were young sportsmen.

As we had loaded a staff person asked if passengers could not put small things in the overhead luggage space and so leave space for larger bags. Some people had ridiculously large bags and I don't think the maximum size limit was enforced. That is what happens when an airline charges extra for luggage.

The state of Queensland does not have daylight saving, so while the flight took two hours, we arrived at 7.30. The Gold Coast airport is small does not have air bridges, so it was a walk across the tarmac, into the airport and past the crowd who waiting to get on the plane we just left and then to the baggage carousel. We knew it would be dark when we arrived so had decided to get a taxi to our hotel. I stepped out side to see where the rank was and within a couple of minutes R calls me to tell me our baggage had arrived. That is exceptional and probably because there was so little checked baggage. Tiger both going up and coming back had a fast 1/2 hour turn around.

I had read that there is a cab fixed price of $49 from the GC Airport to Surfers Paradise, which turned out to have increased by $10 to $59. The staff who I asked said we might save $3 by using the fixed price fare, so we didn't bother. Our taxi was delayed by roadworks for about 10 minutes and in spite of that, the fare was only just over $60.

We checked into our hotel and thought it quite comfortable. While we had requested twin beds, the desk staff did not seem aware of this. A more senior staff had a look and found the request and told the junior that there are four suites with king sized beds that can be split, and that was what had been done for us. After examining the room, we went out for groceries and something to bring back to drink. We returned to the hotel and in spite in being Friday night, by that time all restaurants had began to close down. It was clear there would not be restaurant meal tonight so we made do with a Subway roll each back in our room.


The windows faced north.



The view from our room, which had double opening sliding doors onto a ledge not large enough to stand on before the railing.

Lots of tall buildings.


The beach had not long ago been cleaned and so there weren't too many footprints at this early hour. A beach cleaning machine worked away every morning.


As we had not eaten much for dinner last night, we bought breakfast at the cafe attached to the hotel. It was very pleasant sitting, watching the world go by and looking out to sea. This conglomeration of towers faced us as we stepped out from the hotel.


Wow, that is a tall one.


Our hotel was on the corner of The Esplanade and Elkhorn Avenue.


The hotel is not grand, 3 1/2 stars, but quite comfortable, well maintained and cleaned and the staff were friendly and helpful.


I think this is a sheoak tree, one of an avenue planted along the beach. I have looked at photos online and I am really not sure. Please confirm or deny if you know.


I could not get over how many highrise buildings were in Surfers.


They even stretch for kilometres along the water's edge. About every 200 to 300 metres were lifeguard boxes and and a flagged area to swim within.


While there is a bike in the photo, there were not very many cyclists in Surfers. There were more people, probably tourists, on electric bicycles.


There are a few  more people on the beach now. The foreshore area is very well done.


R says I only wanted to go to the Gold Coast because there is a tram line. Not true, but it was very useful to get about on and I have started a post with detail about the tram line. What did really surprise me was the village like feel Surfers has when it is essentially a collection of high rise towers. The streets are narrow. The traffic slow and calm and the area very pedestrian friendly. While not quite matching the centres of old European towns, it is a pretty good effort. There are also lots of arcades but some were pretty quiet and I should think the rent was quite cheap. Lots of Thai massage places and manicure/pedicure businesses is a good indicator.


You have to have to had experience of children in prams and pushers to understand why one sandal can appear in the street, or a sock, or anything else that a child might be able to remove.


36 comments:

  1. Must have been quite the journey. The view from the hotel is nice, and that of the ocean wonderful. Greetings and best wishes!

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    1. Blogoratti, the trip to our airport was the worst part of the journey. While we can see our bay from home, it is from a distance and it is usually quite calm. This was the open Pacific Ocean pounding against the shore.

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  2. Love the colour of those skies and would definitely enjoy some sun on my back.

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    1. Marie, while there, we avoided both extreme heat and some quite cold weather at home. The temperature is much more stable there.

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  3. Andrew interesting place.But I love the blue shoe. The tree is very interesting and I have heard about it first time

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    1. Gosia, sadly one shoe is one too few to be of use.

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  4. I think it is a sheoak. I do like to hear the wind whisper through their foliage.
    Interesting that despite the high rise proliferation it retains the village feel. It is a very, very long time since I have been to Surfers.

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    1. EC, below is some doubt about it being a sheoak. The village feel was most surprising to me. I may well elaborate.

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  5. Your suite looks large and comfortable. I'm pretty sure that building underwent a complete internal refurbishment about 2/3 years ago.

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    1. Victor, I would date the last make over to about two or three years ago. Not flash but quite nice. The decoration of the lifts was a bit odd.

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  6. We used to use a she oak branch as a Christmas tree when I was a kid. The last time I was at the Gold Coast there was no tram, but everything else looks much the same. It is surprising that in spite of seeing high rise in Brisbane (Melbourne for you) there is something about those GC high rise that has a Wow factor. My experience of the traffic on the GC is slow moving because there is so much of it ~ the trip from SeaWorld on The Spit at closing time back to the freeway is like gridlock. The last place I would go on a public holiday is Surfers. Having said that I have always enjoyed the short stays I have had there. Looking forward to what attractions you visited.

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    1. Carol, yes, there is some kind of wow thing that impresses. Lordy, Seaworld at closing time and the traffic mostly on one road, unimaginable. We left at 2pm and it was fine, apart from fencing and a blocked road and stupid grandstands for a stupid car race.

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  7. The last time I flew Tiger was a few years ago. We were delayed 5 hours and I vowed never to fly with them again. I've heard they've since lifted their game - and on time performance.

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    1. Ad Rad, I did a little research before we booked with them and I learnt the same as you. That it is now owned by Virgin gave me some confidence that even our flight was cancelled, we may well have put on a Virgin flight. Qantas has delivered us late by up to 12 hours twice over the years, so ending up being 45 minutes late was no big deal.

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  8. This looks like quite a lovely place; hope that you and R had a relaxing time. Now to go look up she oaks...

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    1. Jac, and have you and can you confirm it is a sheoak?

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  9. Andrew, Expert said he doesn't think it's a Sheoak because the tree you have shown is too weepy for a Sheoak.

    Surfers has changed heaps since its beginnings.
    Too bad if you eat dinner late as we often do, always restaurants closing or too late to cook for them, though surprising being there in Surfers.

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    1. Margaret, they weren't quite like the trees I think are sheoaks, but I thought a different salt and humidity tolerant species.

      We usually eat between 7 and 8. I kind of knew our checking of the room and shopping would make us too late for dinner. But no matter really. We did not starve.

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  10. Looks like it has changed a bit since I lived up there. Which is a good thing!

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    1. Fen, I didn't know you lived there. I even saw as sign pointing to an art gallery.

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  11. Welcome to Queensland. I think it is a Sheoak tree. Aren't the new trams great I think we call it Light Rail. The beaches are great but i don't like all the tall towers and the hordes of tourists. We prefer the Sunshine Coast.

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    1. The trams are excellent. While I was prepared to call it a light rail, I kept hearing it referred to as a tram, so I have gone with the flow. Of course Malcolm made his announcement of funds for the extension while we were there. Even thirty years ago I can remember people saying how much nicer the Sunshine Coast is.

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  12. It is VERY pleasant sitting, watching the world go by and looking out to sea over an expansive, clean beach. If possible, I would move house and every morning for the rest of my life, I would drink coffee and read the newspaper watching the beach. Newspaper, I say, not an electronic device.

    The tram was a pleasant surprise.

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    1. Sounds ideal to me Hels. Hearing the surf is a good part of the experience too. The trouble with the electric newspapers is there is no sense of finality and you can never say, I've finished reading the paper.

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  13. That looks like a colorful place. Your room looks comfortable and practical. I can't wait to hear of your adventures.

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    1. Strayer, our adventures were quite low key. I would recommend the hotel if people did not want something upmarket.

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  14. A beach cleaning machine, that's a newie we are a lazy race.
    I was surprised at the amount of tall buildings too seeing they are all built on sand, the foundations must go down a long way.
    Merle.......

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    1. Merle, they are quite efficient at beach grooming and have been around for a long time. Yes, re sand, and built on swamp land really.

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  15. Your hotel view is lovely, right on the esplanade, I'm a little jealous. I seem to be missing the ocean more these days.
    No idea about the tree.
    Surfers does look like a nice place now, we went there once way back in the early 70s, just a day trip from Brisbane and it was gloomy and raining, we didn't stay more than an hour.

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    1. River, it was the 70s when I was last there and I don't remember a thing about it. It is not a bad place at all now.

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  16. Haha! I knew there would be a tram involved!ved :) Sounds like a lovely holiday Andrew, there's nothing quite like a holiday by the seaside, all that fresh salty air.. Nice to have you back though :)

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    1. Salty air is right Grace. One day after a beach walk I wondered why I was going blind. It was salt spray on my sunglasses.

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  17. I've never flown with Tiger before - sounds like it's worth a look! And your comment about people bringing ridiculously large bags as hand luggage is also true of Jetstar, although they have actually started weighing and measuring bags the last time I travelled with them!! Look forward to seeing the rest of your SP adventure - even though it was a few years ago now, the first time I went there I got a cricked neck from staring up at all the highrise! Amazing!!

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    1. Red, I thought it was Tiger that was measuring bags, but ok, yes, Jetstar. Bring it on, please. What Tiger is good at is speed. Quickly on, quickly off, bags on and off quickly. I like the SP highrise. It is not like they replaced anything of any significance.

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  18. I returned back to this post as we are now thinking of a Gold Coast stay and I could not remember where you had stayed. I'm leaving a comment because I completely agree with what you said about the village feel. Have you ever been to Waikiki, Andrew? It reminds me very much of the Gold Coast but there is an added something, the Aloha there is almost like a tangible thing you can touch.

    If we could bring Aloha to the Gold Coast, everyone would want to stay there all the time forever.. ;)

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    1. No, I've not been to Hawaii, Snoskred. One day we will. The hotel was quite good, not flash, but adequate and not a bad location at all.

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