We've been downunder for a year now, and for our "Aussiversary", we decided to cross off a few towns on our ever-expanding "must see list". We scored a cheap flight to Brisbane a while back, and, after reviewing our budget, decided to travel to the Gold Coast for the weekend. The Gold Coast is the cheaper, and flashier, older sister to the Sunshine Coast, with heaps of shopping, bars, and set of amusement parks - there is plenty of options, aside from the ocean, for travellers of all ages... we spent most of our time on the beach.
We stayed in the Beachcomber Resort in Surfers Paradise; one of many high-rise apartments that line the coast. We had an amazing view, but the suite is need of some renovations... nevertheless, the balcony quickly became a favourite hangout while we were in the room, tirelessly watching and listening to the waves. Even though we didn't spend much time in the Gold Coast, we enjoyed being in the central hub- an easy walk to plenty of restaurants and shops; even my first (okay, and second) Starbucks in about a year!
It's an amazingly long beach- endless in either direction. Beach walkers/ runners, swimmers, surfers, photographers, and those who just love an ocean view will not be disappointed. But, if it's serenity you are looking for, it's worth taking a drive...
We drove south along the coast, and stopped at a few beaches and lookouts along the way. We found a quiet stretch of beach near Danger Point, in Tweed Heads; but there are plenty of similarly beautiful spots. We continued along the coast to Lennox Head to watch the rugged right handed break at the famous surf point, Lennox Point, from Pat Morton lookout on the hill south of town. Then we stopped for some amazing pizza (at the only pizza place in town- Lennox Head Pizza and Pasta), and good-hearted NSW hospitality, as we snugged our table up and shared conversation with a neighbouring table to get out from the rain.
A friend from Canada, who lives in Brisbane, travelled down with his surfboard for another day trip, this time down to Byron Bay. We had an amazingly lazy afternoon at Main Beach- I have never seen so many surfers! Because of the wave direction, most surfers walk along the beach back toward The Pass, so its a steady parade of everything from preschool aged grommets to beginners taking lessons, to those who've surfed for longer than I've been alive. Even if you don't surf, take a walk out to the lookout at The Pass - the ocean is a gorgeous tourquoise colour, with huge rocks for it to splash in to. You can also see down toward Cape Byron, the most easterly point in Australia. Rumours are that there's plenty of hippies, backpackers, lots of good shopping, restaurants and pubs, but we were too busy at the beach to notice.
We have already had discussions about "the next time". We're happy to have seen the Gold Coast, and will likely return for a weekend away, but because we're more into nature than nightlife, we will probably rent a camper van and spend a bit more time in northern NSW.