Friday, February 17, 2006

My Gold Coast holiday part 1

It has been 5 years since I was last strolling along the malls and the beaches of the Gold Coast, Queensland. Back then, I have just arrived in the country - barely 3 months - and tried to look for a job that had something to do with my Japanese language credentials. That whole month ended up like a holiday for me since I didn't find anything, work wise, but I did do a lot exploring and of course, shopping!

So, when Arnie and I planned our holiday back in October right after our engagement party, I was very excited. I was actually going with someone this time. What also makes this extra special is the fact that this is our first holiday together. We booked our flights with Virgin Blue, a cheaper alternative to Qantas but with excellent service. It only cost us $222.00 per person instead of what Qantas was asking for which was $410 per person. I first booked a hotel room at the Islander Resort Hotel for a measly $90.00 a night, but changed my mind only a couple of weeks before our flight. I found a self-contained apartment for $92.00 a night at the Cosmopolitan Apartments which is situated right in the heart of Surfers Paradise, one of the more popular destinations within the Gold Coast.

February 7, Tuesday

We were on our merry way. The flight was only an hour and 50 minutes long, and Queensland was not on daylight savings time so we virtually gained an extra hour when we got there around 12:40 pm. The flight was uneventful to say the least, except for my usual motion sickness. I had to purchase some anti-nausea tablets the day before! I have booked our airport transfer shuttle bus in advance ($54 return) and we arrived at our apartment around 1:30 pm. This annoyed me a bit since Surfers Paradise is only 20 kilometers from Coolangatta airport but since we had to drop every Tom, Dick, and Harry in front of their hotels, it took much longer than expected.

We finally got to our apartment, all hot, sweaty, and hungry - bad combination. As soon as we landed in the airport and stepped out into the tarmac, Arnie and I felt the huge difference weather-wise. It was so humid and muggy in Queensland. We were both not happy with the weather (reminded us very much of Manila) and we both hoped that it wouldn't be the same the next day when we go to Dreamworld, one of the few theme parks situated in the Gold Coast.

Before heading off to grab some eats, we took a few photos of the view out in the balcony of the apartment. We were pretty lucky to get an apartment on the 10th floor, with ocean viewws, and airconditioning. Apparently only half of the apartments in the building have airconditioning, which is a total disaster if it gets too hot!

Out in the balcony of our apartment before heading off to grab some eats and explore

The view outside our apartment. It just rained so it was cloudy and humid.

Our apartment is right across from the Hard Rock Cafe. I have hunted down a few vouchers available on the internet which entitled us to a free main meal for every one purchased. We rushed down, crossed the street, and was welcomed by the cool interior of Hard Rock cafe.

Taken from our balcony - "Love All Serve All"

Pigging out on burgers, onion rings, and chips. Yummy, greasy food!

After our very late lunch, the shops beckoned (of course, it's not a holiday without shopping!) and we went to the shops along Caville, Orchid, and Elkhorn Avenue.

Welcome to Surfers Paradise! Along the beach.

Surfers at night.

So many shops, so little time!

The great thing about staying in a self-contained apartment is that we had the freedom ofshopping for food we wanted to cook and eat and not limit ourselves to the not-so-great restaurants surrounding Surfers Paradise. Unfortunately, most of the good restaurants are situated in other suburbs and since we didn't hire a car we were stuck. So anyway, we went to the local supermarket (Woolworths) and shopped for breakfast items, sandwiches, meat, and Baskin Robbins Macadamia nut ice cream. Summer just isn't complete if one is not pigging out on a tub of scrumptious ice cream.

Ice cream, you scream, we all scream... Agrh!!!

View at night. Just beautiful!

Thus ends our first day in the coast. What fun!

Next: Our visit to Dreamworld.

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