Standing at the top of the SkyPoint overlooking Surfers Paradise it was easy to understand why it was called ‘The Gold Coast’ and not just because we’d watched a little film about it. The sand looked the colour of honey and stretch miles and miles along the coast line, the ant like people crowding the beach dwarfed by the tall skyscrapers running alongside. Of course I didn’t pay too much attention to this for too long as I couldn’t stop looking at the sea in case I managed to spot any marine life but in my opinion the view outshone that of the Eureka tower in Melbourne.
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When we woke up this morning, I was blinded by the sun shining through the window yet again and disrupted by the two girls in our room getting ready to leave. Fortunately, I’d had enough sleep that it wasn’t really a problem and instead read a bit of The Hobbit until we decided it was time for us to get up ourselves and I had to tear myself away from it. I read it when I was little, about the time that the Lord of the Rings films came out, and although I liked it then, it seem to be so much better the second time around. It’s becoming a challenge to stop myself reading all night! Soon it was time for breakfast Codie had cheese on toast whilst I, not being a huge breakfast fan, couldn’t resist and I indulged in two slices of yummy cheese. Yum, yum, yum. I’m going to be very sad when I go to cool bag and discover than we’ve eaten it all. Once that was out of the way and we’d completely coated ourselves in sun lotion as the sun was looking particularly fierce today, we grabbed the camera bag and headed off towards the SkyPoint tower, the 2nd tallest building in Australia. As I mentioned yesterday, it was a difficult decision between the Ripley’s museum and this and the tower lost out but with it being such a lovely and sunny day, we decided to go there today instead.
Towering over Surfers Paradise at 230 metres tall, finding the building wasn’t a problem at all and 10 minutes later we arrived at the entrance. At 29C, it was definitely a lot hotter today than it has been for a bit so I think we’d sweated most of our sun cream off by the time we made it to the shade (I know, nice!). I also think it was quite humid too as without the breeze the shady shadows of the tower didn’t make too much difference at all. It was lovely to get inside the comfort of the air-conditioned building and, after paying for our tickets and navigating our way past the novelty photograph bit, we found ourselves inside the lift. Billed as being the fastest lift in ———, it barely took us anytime to reach the top and I particularly enjoyed watching the video on the ceiling showing us passing the various floors and whereabouts we were in the building. It definitely made you more conscious of the speed! The best bit, though, was without a doubt stepping out into the observation area and seeing the view of the ocean straight ahead. It was amazing. I’ve always loved being by the sea and can spend hours just staring at it so to me this view was miles better than the one in Melbourne. Not to say that that wasn’t incredible, it really was, but there’s something about the sea that improves things by about ten times and the ripples of the waves down below were mesmerising.
We spent a while just wandering around, taking in the 360 degree views and soaking it all in. Whilst on the one side you were faced with the ocean, on the opposite side you could see the national parks full of mountains and layered with a thick coating of green trees. It was amazing to see the transformation of the land and see all the river running through the clusters of little houses, filled with jet skis and speed boats. I’m pretty sure that in the shark book I was reading at the beginning of the trip. the advice given was not to swim or kayak or anything in murky water as sharks often linger there but these people didn’t seem to care and just wanted to have a good time. I suppose that’s what most people want though! Once we’d done a slow lap around and had our photos taken with the views in the background, we made our way back to the bar/restaurant area with the intention of buying a drink but were distracted by a little room and a video on the way past. As you probably already know, I love finding out all about the history of a place and so when I discovered that the film about to be shown was all about the origin of Surfers Paradise, I just couldn’t leave. It told us all about the discovery and mapping of the Gold Coast by Captain Cook (who else?!) and the rapid rate at which tourism began to thrive with the surf culture and beach based activities.It also said that the name of the city, Surfers Paradise actually derived from an incredibly popular hotel built to accommodate the hundreds of tourists visiting the beach for their holidays. I already knew this due to reading Bill Bryson’s Down Under book and so I already knew that this original hotel had also been torn down but it was still good to see it visually and I really enjoyed it.
Eventually the film ended and we got up to go and investigate the menu. There was such a good view from up here that we didn’t really just want to wander about and then leave so we’d decided to have a little sit down with a drink and truly make the most of it. It seemed quite overpriced to me, like most things do in dollars until you think of the cost in pounds, but we bought some anyway and settled down in a spot overlooking the sea. I really think that the tower has a much better layout than the Eureka Skydeck as there was so much more space to move around and you weren’t constantly shoved by people trying to take photos. It was very relaxing to just be able to sit and not have your view blocked. Codie had chosen a peach ice tea and was sipping it quite happily and I’d chosen a pepsi in a glass bottle purely because I haven’t had one for ages and everything always seems to taste better from one. It really was nice to sit up there so high up, just watching the little people below and the helicopters flying past. It’s strange, they seem so high up when you’re on the beach but in the SkyPoint tower they seemed to be flying really low and not even as high as us!
As we were drinking and taking in the sea views, I noticed some splashing and some seagulls hovering and diving quite far out. My initial reaction is always dolphins, at least I’m always hoping it’s dolphins, and stood up to get a better look with my long lens. Annoyingly, it wasn’t as long as I needed it to be but I could clearly see the splashes of things breaking the surface and the birds plucking fish from the water. Despite my want for it to be dolphins, the whole time I was watching, about 20 minutes or so, I didn’t see a fin once and it made me think about the possibility of it being a shark. Of course I know that dolphins don’t tend to showcase their acrobatic skills when hunting but this feeding frenzy seemed different to those I’ve seen before and I just felt as though there could have been something underneath, herding the fish upwards. I really hoped it was a shark but I knew I’d never be able to tell and so after a little more watching, we set off for one last look and then headed for the lift back down. The video that was playing on the way up was also playing on the way down however it seemed to be quite out of time. At level 3 the doors had opened and I’m pretty sure if that’s where we’d have been, we would have fallen out! I had a quick look in the gift shop as we wandered through to reach the exit but restrained myself and made it through without buying anything; happy I hadn’t spent anything else but quite sad I didn’t have the happy looking koala wearing a SkyPoint T-shirt.
The heat hit me when we left the cool, air-conditioned building and I just couldn’t wait to get to the beach and have a dip in the refreshing looking sea. With us having the camera bag with us though, we thought we’d better take that back to the hostel first as we didn’t want it to end up being stolen. It would be a complete disaster if that ever happened! Quickly walking back to the room, we checked that the bag was locked, gathered the towels and the nerf we’d bought, grabbed the packet of biscuits and left. You’re probably thinking that we had all the necessary things for a fun afternoon at the beach and you’d be right, we really did. After a short walk, we stepped onto the golden sands and found a good place to sit in between the lifeguard flags. Obviously you’re supposed to swim between them at all times and so I wanted to be able to keep an eye on our things if we were going to be in the sea for a while. It had looked like there was a lot of people on the beach when we were in the SkyPoint but once you were down there, it really wasn’t very crowded at all compared to Bondi and we managed to get a really good spot. Codie wanted to play with the nerf to begin with but being so hot and clammy, I just wanted to get in the sea so after a little sun tan lotion top up, off we went.
Stepping into the water was quite a shock as I’d expected it to be quite cool but it really was quite warm. Not only that but I hadn’t expected it to be quite as rough as it was and so even though I was only at knee height, I had to really concentrate on not being shoved over. Hmmm. It wasn’t the cool, refreshing swim I’d had in mind! Codie was really enjoying himself though and kept running off to catch a good wave and then gliding back into shore on it, a little head sticking out in the surf. It really was very funny but I was struggling a bit with trying not to be dragged out and trying to avoid being knocked over by people throwing themselves about so I didn’t enjoy it too much to begin with. At one point three guys had practically thrown themselves through a wave and had rammed the backs of my legs with their fists. It really got on my nerves as not only had it hurt me, there were lots of little kids about and it would have been really dangerous if they’d have knocked one of those over. Once we’d spent a bit of time in the water, we decided to have a little break from the rough waves and went to sit on the towels to dry off. We didn’t last long though as we remembered the nerf in my bag so went to play with that for a while. Initially I was absolutely terrible at throwing and catching it as I was convinced it was either going to snap off my hand or take my eye out but in the end I improved enough for us to actually have a decent throw-about. We did spend quite a while doing this and ended up having a go in the sea but it just got a bit too hot and so we thought it was a good idea to go for another paddle. When we went to drop the nerf off at the towel spot, we discovered that Codie’s towel had been covered in sand by a child that had been digging nearby. Just before we went a played with the nerf, he’d be throwing sand about and his mum had been telling him to stop but hadn’t actually done anything. Now it seemed that he’d covered the entire top half of the towel and they’d just bolted rather than apologise which was a bit annoying but at least it was only sand. It could have been so much worse!
Back in the water we splashed, trying really hard not to fall over and avoiding the children in the shallows. I was still a bit nervous about not being in control of where I was swimming as the rips were quite bad and shoving people about and so I stayed fairly shallow whilst Codie ventured in a bit deeper. He was absolutely loving riding the waves and although I did have another go and it myself, I much preferred standing with the GoPro and taking photos of him instead. I have to admit, it was quite funny seeing him trying to jump through a huge wave already knowing that it was too late to ride it properly so ending up next to me with a face full of sea water. Hehehe. A couple of times I saw people literally go head over heels in some of the bigger waves and I was a bit worried about that but he was fine and just spent a while running backwards and forwards into them. It was like watching an excited child! After a while the current seemed to change and all of a sudden, the waves began to come in diagonally causing people to crash into each other. It was at this point that we felt it was getting a little bit too dangerous for us and decided to get out to dry ourselves and relax in the sun. I was pleased I’d brought my hat as it meant that I could cover my face so I led down and listened to all the sounds of the beach; the sea, the people, the seagulls….
Shattered from the day’s fun and now starting to burn a little bit, we stood up, shook the sand off our towels and left the beach. I can completely understand why Surfers Paradise has such a good reputation in terms of it’s beach as it really is lovely and there are definitely some decent waves! As we wandered along the promenade, we passed through a little market and I really had to stop myself going to buy a ‘Soft kitty, warm kitty…..’ T-shirt from a stall and a head massager from another one. I love little things like that and even though most of them were packing up, I still liked looking at all the little things they were selling as we walked through. When we reached the Surfers Paradise sign we took some photos with it as it might have been our last chance before heading to Woolworths to get something nice for tea. After having such a busy day, I thought I’d treat myself to a can of $1 lemonade but halfway back to the room, I checked the receipt and discovered we’d actually been charged $2.50. Part of me thought that it didn’t matter for a $1.50 difference, especially with us being so tired, but Codie convinced me to go back. It turned out to be a great idea as we ended up getting it completely for free. Yay! What a good end to the day.
Upon arriving back in the hostel flat thing, we had a little sit down and a rest on the floor before it was time for a shower. The salt had crystallised on my skin and the backs of my legs looked as though someone had just been throwing sand at me so tonight’s shower was absolutely amazing. Once we were both clean and in our comfy clothes, it was time for tea and I set about making tuna pasta with a five bean mix and sweetcorn with a tasty garlic bread accompaniment. I don’t know why we haven’t had garlic bread before, it’s so, so cheap and so, so yummy! It turned out I’d made a lot more food than I thought but somehow we managed to polish it all off though I did up having to have a little sit down to let it all settle. I always used to hate it when people say that as I’d just want to get going but I completely and utterly understand it now! Washing up done, we booked the Greyhound bus, sorted the hostel booking for Bunk and packed all our things ready to leave tomorrow. I think I’m going to be quite sad about leaving Surfers as although I was a bit apprehensive to begin with, I’ve actually found it to be a really nice place. I don’t know whether it’s because the Blackpool/Benidorm kind of atmosphere is quite familiar to me or the people who are so friendly and happy but I’d heard so many bad things about it prior to arriving, I’m just glad that they were proved wrong. It’s off to Brisbane for us tomorrow so fingers crossed it’s much better than last time!
I’m now sat in bed, enjoying my koala pillow and about the read The Hobbit before settling down for perhaps the last, long sleep. We’re moving from a 4 bed dorm to a 20 bed tomorrow so let’s just hope we get decent beds like last time and don’t end up with a room full of drunk people because with the squeaky beds and wooden floor, I don’t think we’d get to sleep at all! Fingers crossed! I’ve had a really good day day and I’m so happy we did the SkyPoint in the end. It’s been nice to just soak in the Surfers Paradise atmosphere and enjoy the area before we move on.