Thursday 30 August 2018

Four Nights in the Gold Coast

Whilst not working, I am in the habit of saying 'yes' to any opportunities that arise, as I am aware that I need to make the most of having a huge chunk of time off without the constraints of shift work. Rhianne had already booked to go the Gold Coast, but due to circumstances no longer had someone to go with and asked if I fancied it, with only a week's notice. Without a moment's hesitation I booked the flights and jumped aboard. Rhianne is fantastic at planning (she planned the majority of our Bright trip too), and so I was happy to go along with anything she suggested. We flew into Gold Coast airport on Thursday evening, picked up a hire car, and headed to our Air BnB. 

We decided to get an early start on Friday morning and go to Morans Falls, a sub-tropical part of the Gondwana rainforests in Queensland. I have recently learned that Instagram is a fantastic source of inspiration for places to visit and camera-worthy views and locations, and Rhianne having spotted Moran Falls on Instagram, we decided to head there. The walk was a fairly easy 4.4km which took us about an hour and a half from start to finish. To get the view pictured above, we had to walk through and along the stream to get right to the edge (there were a fair few others doing this too!), but the views were absolutely worth it, particularly as it was a bright and sunny day.

We had a quick look at the tree top walkway before making the drive to the Sky Point Observation Deck in Surfers Paradise. Driving back down the mountain I noticed an animal along the side of the road, and slowing down to look at it I was very pleased to see a kangaroo! It's the first I have seen out in the wildlife and it made my day! Thankfully it was only a young 'roo as the adults are huge and can be absolutely beastly. 

The observation deck offered fantastic views across the Gold Coast, and thankfully the weather was brilliant and the sky was clear. We didn't spend long up there as there's only so much you can do once you've taken in the view, and didn't fancy the overpriced refreshments. We decided to go and buy an ice cream and sit on the beach for a while, just watching the waves and the surfers, and enjoying the sunshine. It is surprising how much of a difference it can make to your mood to feel the sun on your face and the sea breeze. 

Before heading back to our Air BnB, we stopped at John Laws Park at Burleigh Heads, where you can walk to the lookout points and watch the sunset or sunrise. The sunset was absolutely breathtaking against the city skyline, and we spent quite some time sat there watching the co lours of the sky change. I was fascinated by watching all of the young people who were hanging around the park eating dinner or playing games; it seemed such a nice way of life to be able to sit in the park and watch the sea, with people running and walking along the coastal track. It's certainly very appealing, and I can see why people move to the Gold Coast.

Rhianne and I went for dinner with one of her old work colleagues and had a walk around before returning to the Air BnB to rest up for the next morning.

The next day we took the drive to Byron Bay, for Saturday and Sunday night. Once arriving we had a look around the town, and made sure to get to the beach for sunset. Many other people had got the same idea and flocked to the beach to watch the sun go down. It's a really lovely beach, very clean and not at all crowded, and was a lovely place to see the sun setting against the sea and the lighthouse. We found a pub later that night to watch a blues band and grab a bit of food, before returning to our hostel for the night. 

For our last full day we opted to take a surfing lesson at 9am. We got up early enough to stroll along the beach whilst it was peaceful and quiet, before meeting our surf instructor at 08:30. After only a few days in the Gold Coast I must say I am very inspired to live somewhere near a beach, where I can get up early for leisurely beach strolls and sit and chill of an evening.

I had a surfing lesson in Bali last week, so it was fairly fresh in my mind how to surf, so it was nice to do another refresher so soon. There were only three of us in the lesson - Rhianne and I and one other - and so we had a lot of tuition and managed to get quite a few waves each. The surf lesson was great fun, although very tiring despite only being in the water for around an hour. I'd love to surf a lot more so maybe in the near future I'll sign on to a surf school for a few days.

After surfing we were absolutely starving and stopped for some lunch, before making the walk up to the lighthouse. As always, the views were brilliant and we spent a fair amount of time watching for whales, and managed to see quite a few. We even saw a few dolphins! We were told by the staff at the hostel that we would not see whales, but I strongly suspect this is because they wanted to entice us on to their whale-watching tour for a fee. 

On Monday evening, our last night, we went to a fanastic wood-fired pizza restaurant. We decided to get a fairly early night as Rhianne wanted to get up at 05:30 in order to see the sunrise. Unfortunately the sky was pretty cloudy and the sunrise was nowhere near as spectacular as we had thought it would be, but it was very nice to be up early and see the day in. It's made me realise how much I actually miss getting up early for work and seeing the 'golden hour', and it will be nice to get my routine back.

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