Road Trip: The Gold Coast

Our flight got into Brisbane pretty late so we spent the night freedom camping on a residential street near the airport and then got up early the next day and drove straight to Tweed Heads, which is more or less the start of the Gold Coast. This is where the first lifeguard hut is (I think there’s 39 up the coast)!

Tweed Heads

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My first impressions of Tweed were good. The high rises hadn’t quite started yet, it wasn’t busy at all, and there were great views of the Gold Coast skyline across the water. It was also pretty random how the boarder between NSW and Queensland runs straight through Tweed. I didn’t know which time to go by!

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Once there, Chris and I went straight to Snapper Rocks, which is apparently an epic point break for surfing. Although not on this day it wasn’t…. With the waves looking tiny and mushy we gave surfing a pass and instead, went for nice walk around the point, taking in the views.

The next day the waves weren’t much better but I was itching to get in the water. On our way to the beach we saw a familiar campervan with permanent marker graffiti all over it. It was the Danish couple who we’d met back in Evans Head! All these weeks later and we were still at the same point in our journey.

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We had a quick catch up before heading into the water. The water was beautiful. Luke warm and crystal clear, I could have stayed in all day! Shame the same can’t be said for the surf. The waves were shit and the water was crowded.

I’d only been in a few minutes when I had my first collision, with the Danish guy of all people. And then it wasn’t long until I collided yet again with some guy on a long board. Luckily it wasn’t exactly high speed impacts so I got no dings on my board.

Burleigh Heads

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From Tweed we drove on up to Coolangatta and then on to Burleigh Heads. The buildings suddenly started to get bigger, and the traffic more congested. In Burleigh it took us ages just to find a parking space. The waves still weren’t up to much so we just got some photos of the scenery and I went for a swim in the sea.

Currumbin Rock Pools

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I was starting to get fed up with the people and the lack of surf, I wanted to find something different to do! That’s when I came across the Currumbin Rock Pools. The drive starts at Currumbin Beach and follows a creek through nice, lush, scenery inland, until you get to the rock pools.

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It was just what I needed on a hot day! Being mid week it wasn’t too busy. The water was deep and cool and along one side was a steep, almost vertical, bank with trees growing and different ledges that you could jump off. There were even rope swings.

I really wanted to go for it and jump off from one of the higher points, but the pool had submerged rocks and I didn’t want to end up wrecking myself. So Chris and I stuck to one of the lower ledges and had a laugh jumping in. We’d just got out when a local guy turned up and started going crazy, jumping and diving from different points on the cliff. It looked awesome.

Surfers Paradise

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Our next stop was Surfers Paradise. We’d already been here a few weeks back for a random night out partying, but I was looking forward to seeing it in a more sober state! After driving back and forth we finally managed to get a parking space along the sea front. It was so busy! And maybe even more than usual because Schoolies had just started.

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For anyone who doesn’t know, Schoolies is a massive party all the school kids have after their exams. Surfers is one of the most popular spots for them to come to, and they come in their hundreds, staying in hotels and partying for 2 weeks straight.

Already in the afternoon they were blasting music out of cars and hotel balconies, shouting chants, downing booze, walking around with their wrist bands and lanyards, which I assume are for bar crawls and the big stage that was set up on the beach. As annoying as Schoolies are to the rest of the world I would have loved to have done that when I was 18! I couldn’t help but smile watching the state of them.

Surfers Wave

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Yet again, there was no surf … And this is meant to be surfers paradise?! So we just went for a swim instead, getting wiped out by the waves crashing right on the shoreline. The current was super strong dragging us down the beach but that just added to the fun of getting thrashed around by the waves. We took a break from the waves for a while and swam out a bit deeper to relax floating in the sea. For some reason it was freezing!

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As much as I don’t like the concrete high rises I have to admit it was amazing just floating in the water looking back at the skyline, the waves rolling underneath me.

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That night we grabbed a bite to eat in Surfers but gave partying a miss, didn’t want to look like a ‘toolie’ (someone who is too old to be a Schoolie but still gets involved).

Main Beach

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The next day we drove a few minutes up the coast to Main Beach. I was determined to go surfing again before leaving the Gold Coast, because next stop was Brisbane where there are no waves whatsoever! Early in the morning it was so hot, but I vividly remembered how cold the sea had been the day before, and so I squeezed myself into my wetsuit. It’s the worst feeling ever, but I was so glad of it once in the water. Paddling out my hands and feet were tingling with the cold.

The waves were such a challenge. The messy kind that just appear at random spots not leaving you with much time to prepare and catch them. I managed to ride a couple which was good enough for me!

Shortly before I got out an old hippy guy with long hair came paddling out to me for a chat. “I saw ya get a few so thought I’d give it a go myself,” he said. Maybe I’m not as bad as I think then! He nodded at my wetsuit and explained the water was much colder than usual due to a cold current coming through.

We left the Gold Coast and headed to Brisbane again, this time with plans to have a Sunday session filled with house DJs, beer and cocktails!

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