I was so excited with this trip. Not only because of the ‘tremors’ that I will left, at least for temporary, it was also about exploring new country.
Actually, this was not the first time I’ve been to Australia. When I made my way from Indonesia to New Zealand, I flew with Qantas, an Australian flight, which made all of passengers having a transit in Sydney airport for the next flight. Before my plane from Indonesia had landed, I could see Sydney Opera House from the sky. That time I knew I will come to Sydney (Australia) again 🙂
My first destination is Gold Coast, a popular tourist destination with its beaches for surfing and theme parks. This coastal city is located in the south-east of Queensland, Australia. They have a tag : Gold Coast, famous for fun. From this tag, you can recognize that tourism is a major part in their culture and economy.
The main advantage of going to a famous tourist place is that you can get information easily. All of the stuff that you need is on your finger. There are 3 Gold Coast web sites that I recommend; http://www.goldcoast.com.au/ , http://www.visitgoldcoast.com/ , and Gold Coast international airport: http://goldcoastairport.com.au/
Domestically, you can take a direct flight to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle, Canberra and Cairns. For international flights, there are services to and from Japan (Osaka, Tokyo), New Zealand (Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Fiji with airlines; Jetstar, Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, Air New Zealand, AirAsia X and Air Pacific. If you are a resident in the US and Europe, there are international flights to and from Brisbane airport, approximately 1 hour drive from Gold Coast (Brisbane airport: http://bne.com.au/). This time, I flew directly from Christchurch (NZ) to Gold Coast with Jetstar.
Although you can find some restaurants in the airport, they are located inside departure area, in front of gates (yup, you can wait for boarding while sitting in the restaurants :D). So if you are in arrival area, you will only meet cafe. What I did when I arrived was I left my baggage to my husband, and then I entered the departure area to buy some food 🙂
For local transportation, you can choose a variety of travel pass which is suitable for your condition. You can check and buy online in here: http://www.gcshuttle.com.au/ or buy it in the airport.In my personal case, I preferred the ‘Freedom Pass’ because it covers 3 day pass unlimited local bus travel, unlimited theme park transfers, and return airport transfer to and from your accommodation. For theme park and airport transfers, don’t forget to book first.
The most popular suburb is Surfers Paradise. There is a heaps of accommodation in here. I recommend for considering this area if you want to stay near the beach, restaurants, and shopping centres. If you want more quiet area, Main Beach can be a place.
I stayed at YHA Main Beach( http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/qld/gold-coast/surfers-paradise-backpackers-hostel/ ). The view is stunning with marina and yachts. If you want to make a call and using internet, you can purchase ‘YHA connect card’ ( http://www.yha.com.au/planning-your-trip/travelling-in-australia/stay-in-touch/ ).
The most recommended shopping centre is Harbour Town. There are plenty of branded shops with bargain. I went here in the Boxing Day (26 December 2011), the following day after Christmas when brands and shops have sales with dramatic price reductions. The crowd was crazy. For example, when I wanted to enter ‘Fossil’ shop, I needed to be in the queue for 30 minutes! Just to enter the shop! So don’t forget to bring water and food for your boost 😀 The web site is http://www.harbourtowngoldcoast.com.au/
During my time in Gold Coast, I enjoyed Surfers Paradise beach, both in the daylight and the night. Many people said that the atmosphere in here is similar with USA Miami’s. Long beach and skyscrapers are attractive.
There are many attractive street performers/buskers in this area. I saw some of their shows and entertained by them. Usually we give them ‘a gold coin donation’ as appreciation, so keep your change when you buy food or other stuff.
The theme parks
I also went to 1 of 5 theme parks in Gold Coast, Warner Bros Movie World (http://movieworld.myfun.com.au/). In the web site, you also can pick a bargain for theme park passes. You can consider visiting Wet n’ Wild, Sea World, Dream World and White Water World. Just make sure you have enough time to use the pass efficiently.
Some of shows in Movie World are : Journey to the Centre of the Earth – 4D Adventure, Hollywood Stunt Driver, Looney Tunes – Live Show, Scooby Doo Show, Marilyn Monroe Dancing and Musical Show, and then closed by All Stars Parade. For children, there is a special zone called WB Kids Zone.