Surfers Paradise, not a paradise but ok for surfin

Trip Start Oct 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, January 9, 2012

Annabel: We have now progressed a bit further up the East Cost and are in a lovely town (well, we have heard it is really nice but as we didn't get here till about 5pm and are leaving in the morning we will unfortunately not be able to discover this for ourselves) called Noosa.

Despite some hearing some not too great reviews about it, we really enjoyed our time in Surfers Paradise.  We arrived pretty late on the first night so just found the hostel we were staying at and headed for bed as we were both really tired.  There weren’t exactly any great attractions to see in the town, apart from the usual random stuff you get in these sort of tourist towns like a Ripley’s Believe it or Not and a house of horrors, so our plan for the one day we had was basically for me to teach Conor how to surf!  Me and Jen had already tried to start this task back in Lombok, but the area wasn’t exactly great for first timers!  So we were hoping we would have better luck here, after all, it is called Surfers Paradise.  The conditions weren’t great, but we were both desperate to go as we hadn’t had a chance yet in Australia and were not sure if there would be another, so we hired some boards and headed into the water.

To say our first attempt was not a great success would be a bit of an understatement, it was pretty disastrous!  There were a few people learning to surf both to the left and right of the swimming area so we thought that either would be fine to give it a go in, how wrong we were.  After I returned to the beach within about only 15 minutes of being out, having got myself out of a rip taking me out to sea, I looked around to see where Conor was and check he was ok and found that all I could see was his board being tossed around in the surf without him attached to it!  I was really worried as it felt like it took ages before he finally surfaced, I was almost about to signal for the lifeguard.  But luckily he was ok and got back to the beach (Conor: I’d like to stress to leg Velcro was rubbish, not me!).  After having a bit of a rest Conor went back out for another try, I did not, the conditions were really horrible.  This attempt ended in another learner grabbing onto Conor’s arm and asking him to help!  So after Conor had managed to get the lifeguard and calm the guy down a bit whilst waiting for some help we reassessed the situation.  We really didn’t want to throw in the towel as we had paid for the boards for another 2 hours, however after recent events neither of us were massively keen to go back out where we were.  We noticed that there were now a couple of surf schools that were over the other side of the swimming area so we decided it would be pretty safe to go and give it a go over there.  This was a far more pleasant experience!  It was still pretty hard going with the currents and rips but we could at least now actually try some surfing once we had battled with the sure to walk out a little way.  Conor did exceptionally well and managed to stand up about 5 times (Conor: It was 7. Not that I was counting…)!  The plan was to have a bit of a look around the shops after surfing, but as we had used the boards up until the very last minute there was no time as the shops were all shutting!  So after a post surfing snack we headed back to the hostel.

Every night at 10pm there was an organised walk into town to go to one of the clubs, and as the main thing to do in Surfers (apart from surfing, which as I have already said was not amazing) is go out, we thought it would be rude not to go!  In usual fashion for us, this night out didn’t exactly go to plan.  The queue at the club was huge, made even bigger by this really annoying organised club night company sneakily getting all their people in front of us in the queue!  Me, Conor, Lexi and Bridge (a friend of Lexi’s) decided we couldn’t be bothered to wait about 20 minutes to get in, so Lexi and Bridge, who assure us this is a regular night out in Canada, went to a strip club!  Me and Conor were both strip club virgins so the girls thought it was time we should go.  It was a pretty interesting experience, not exactly what I expected, especially the openness of the lap dance area.  We stayed for a few drinks but decided to move on after Lexi was propositioned by a guy for a lap dance!  We then went for a drink at a pub before heading back to the hostel.  Not quite the big night out we had expected, but certainly interesting!  The next day we moved on to Brisbane, as usual on the good old Greyhound bus.

Conor:  We arrived in Brisbane at midday and set about looking for our hostel. It appeared to have been hidden in a parallel dimension as we couldn’t find it for love nor money. In the end it turned out to be hidden by some signs and tucked next to another hotel with pretty much the same name. It was a nice place though, with a deserted (and slightly smelly) cinema room which Annabel soon tuned to cooking shows.

By the time we had settled in we had time for a short walk around and looked at some of the 'historical’ buildings (some dating as far back as 1900!!). Brisbane was very small and very very quiet. It is still school/summer holiday time here, but even then it was ridiculously quiet, with very few people on the street, which was weird. We saw the town hall, treasury building and walked to ‘China town’, which was one street and frankly a little unimpressive after a few months in Asia! In the evening we chatted to some people in the hostel and planned a grand walking tour for the day after.

In the morning we covered most of the main sights. We saw a lighthouse that was one of the oldest buildings still standing, visited the modern art gallery and saw a Nepalese pagoda left over from a world exhibition a few years back. The highlights of the day were the Museum of Brisbane (which we stumbled upon) and the south side of the Brisbane River. The museum was small and only had two exhibits, one of which was a Museum of Curiosity. On the face of it this was a collection of random objects and exhibits that were only linked by some connection to the city. This could have been rubbish on the face it but it actually came together really well and very much enjoyed it, especially the stuffed dog that was used in a court case. The second highlight was the south back of the river, which had a swimming lagoon, the cities theatre and lots of little shops and markets. This, apparently, was where the population of Brisbane was hanging out – it was way busier than anywhere in the city. We had some lunch, soaked up the sun and watched the Ibis fight over scraps.

In the afternoon we headed through the botanical gardens with its mangrove forests and trees and then headed back to our hostel. We then went to the cinema (again!) to see War Horse, which we both really enjoyed. Getting back to our room we watched Tim, who’d we met the day before, frantically packing his mountain of stuff into a bag far too small before rushing out to get drunk. It was quite good entertainment!

Annabel:  I was extremely excited about the next day, that’s because we were off to Australia Zoo!!!  We had figured out we were able to combine going to the zoo whilst still continuing up the East Coast, therefore not waiting time travelling to and from the zoo in a day, as it was quite far away.  So with all our stuff we headed off to the train station to get a train to Beerwah, where when we got in there was an Australia Zoo coach waiting ready to take us the rest of the way!  The coast was brilliant, the fabric of the seats had animals all over it , they showed a Steve Irwin DVD and in usual Australian fashion the bus driver spoon fed us every bit of information we needed to know about the park.  As most of you will probably (or should!)  know, Australia Zoo was mainly run by Steve Irwin before he died, and is now basically a shrine to him.  When we got there we told the bus driver that we would be going on to Noosa at the end of the day, and he kindly said that we could leave our bags on the bus and he would make sure they would be on the coach taking us to Noosa, saving us each $15 for storage. Result!  We also sensibly picked the overly friend quite young guy who would blatantly not challenge us over our Young Traveller Cards being ‘Student’ ID, result number 2!  We had a really great day in the park.  We saw loads of animals like kualas, crocodiles and echidnas, had a horse ride, fed a kangaroo (big highlight of the day!) and saw the Croc show hosted by none other the Terri Irwin herself and the two Irwin kids!  This had to be quite possible one of the most cringe worthy shows I have ever seen.  The kids did loads of the presenting and it was all so set up, the girl, Bindi, was so American (sorry if this offends any American’s, but you know what I mean!).  There was also the guy who was Steve’s best friend presenting the bits with the crocodiles like Steve used to do.  We both thought he was a little but too friendly with the kids, and particularly Terri, and that maybe there should have been a bit more investigation into Steve Irwin’s death…  Although it was a very cringing it was pretty cool to see the show presented by the family, although it will never be the same without Steve.  He will never be forgotten though with the amount of pictures of him at the park!  It really seemed more like the Steve Irwin Zoo rather than Australia Zoo, and we both wondered what it was like before he died.  Unfortunately we ran out of time to see everything before we had to catch the bus to Noosa, there was just so much to see.  And we did spend about an hour just feeding the kangaroos!

As I said at the beginning of the post, we leave Noosa in the morning, when we will be heading to Rainbow Beach ready for our Fraser Island trip which we are both really excited about!  Sunbathing, swimming in lakes and driving about on the sand in a 4x4, should be wicked!

Hope everyone is well at home and not finding the post Christmas time too rubbish!  Miss you all loads. X x
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Paddy on

Lovely to hear about all your adventures again although I'm glad I didn't know about the scary surfing trip beforehand! And what's this about a strip club... ?


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