Back from the Gold Coast

We’ve recently returned from a short holiday to the Gold Coast.

As you can see in the photo above, Charlotte had a whale of a time moving the beach and paddling in the sea.

We booked cheap flights on JetStar from Melbourne to Coolangatta (a two hour flight) and booked accommodation in a place called Broadbeach, a few kilometers south of Surfers Paradise.

The weather in Queensland at this time of year was fabulous: 28ºC every day with not a cloud in the sky. We stayed in an apartment complex just one street away from the beach, within easy walking distance of the shops, bars and restaurants.

When we weren’t at the beach we would lounge around the pool area, with Charlotte playing in her blow-up paddling pool or splashing around in the spa. At night we’d walk to Broadbeach for dinner, letting Charlotte fall asleep in her pram on the way back.

The last few months have been very busy for me at work, so I really needed this break. But it didn’t turn out to be as relaxing as we hoped:

  • Unfortunately we learned that it’s just too hard to fly anywhere at the moment. Charlotte is way too wriggly. There’s no way way we can consider a trip back to England right now.
  • Even though the clocks go forward in Summer elsewhere in Australia, Queensland does not do Daylight Savings. So basically the sun comes up at 4:30am and Charlotte thinks it’s morning and everyone has to get up. That means by 8 or 9 at night, only an hour or two after she’s asleep, Sara and I are buggered.
  • Charlotte was poorly just before we set off but the doctor gave her the all-clear to travel. Soon after we arrived she broke out in a rash — measles, we thought — and we had to find another doctor to make sure it was OK to fly back. Luckily it wasn’t measles (so we didn’t need to rent a car and drive 2000kms home) but it was still a stressful couple of days.
  • Jetstar’s fares are cheap for a reason. They cancelled our return flight with the next four scheduled flights fully booked. Then there was a further one hour delay. Basically, if there’s a cheap way of doing something they take it: “Park the plane in the middle of the airfield and make everyone walk across the tarmac? Yes we’ll do that to save a few bucks.” I don’t plan to use them again.
  • While I’m listing the “cons”, I’ll say that Surfer’s Paradise is an absolute dump of a place. Everyone told us to expect Benidorm, but I think it’s more like Rochdale-On-Sea. Endless fast-food restaurants pave the way up to the construction-site promenade, with skyscrapers and heavy traffic in between. No, not for me.

But I don’t want to give the impression that it was all bad. The Gold Coast (except Surfers) is a beautiful place.

We’ll definitely go up there again, especially when Charlotte’s old enough to visit all the Theme Parks. The beaches are stunning, it’s easy to get around and we found some great restaurants — Charlotte liked the Pink Poodle for the huge toy box they gave her; I liked it for the draught Krombacher— and we also liked the Seafood and Steak place in Broadbeach where I tried delicious Moreton Bay Bugs for the first time.

I’ve added about 50 new photos to t’gallery.

Sorry it’s been so long since the last update — thanks for the email reminders. I won’t leave it so long next time, honest.