Let’s talk Queensland and a dash of New South Wales. Brace yourself; this is a big one.
One week for Easter holidays to Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, then Byron Bay, then Brisbane with Frankie. Now, before I give a run down about each of these places and give you some pretty pictures to look at, I will tell you this: the first time you plan a holiday (a holiday where you actually do stuff rather than Year 13 spend the whole week drunk and passed out and smelly – I never did this type of holiday, but I add in smelly to please my immature side so I don’t feel like I missed out), it will be stressful.
Pretty much single-handedly sorting everything out, without your parents, came with hair-pulling and the majority of my time with my head in my hands. And very almost e-mailing my mum or sister demanding they take over, excusing myself as I’m the youngest, I shouldn’t be doing this anyway. Proudly, I do have some sense of rationality, so I didn’t resort to such a thing. Me and Frankie had a lovely week – not without its frustrations, but the good definitely triumphed!
Surfers Paradise: Coming from London, I’m a girl who likes markets. One night by the beach there was a market full of lovely things – again, I added to my bracelet collection (one colourful one for the other wrist. Pushing the boat out, I know) and very nicely got given free perfume after me and Frankie spoke to the Egyptian man running the stall. What a charmer – or was I the charmer? Ha, kidding. Now don’t get me wrong; this market was very nice, but wasn’t a reflection on Surfers Paradise, which I’m sorry to say is pretty tacky. Grimy clubs all in a row with really sluttily dressed girls. Not to be snobby, but not really my scene. I can take some grime, I’ve been to my fair share of grotty clubs, but this was on a bit of a different level.
Most of the cool things we did around the Gold Coast were a bus ride from Surfers. We went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where I held a koala, fed kangaroos and saw wombats and Tasmanian devils. People have told me koalas smell and dig into you. My koala (‘Smoodgey’ – poor guy, such a silly name) was a perfect gentleman – washed and considerate. Men of the human race, take notes.
We also went to Seaworld. We were planning on doing the swimming with seals activity (swimming with dolphins would have meant that I’d have to stay swimming with them my entire life, as I wouldn’t be able to afford to live like a person) but they only allow 6 places and we were too late. ONLY six places! Me and Frankie were a bit gutted, but we had a good time anyway. There was even a public engagement at the dolphin show. I clapped, smiled, thought ‘aww bless’, but if a man ever did that to me in public, I’d just say no.
Byron Bay: Genuinely can’t express how much I loved this place. It was like a parallel of Surfers Paradise; Surfers was trying to achieve what Byron Bay naturally pulled off. Byron Bay actually had a genuine, chilled-out, surfery vibe. The town centre was lovely, with nice cafes and shops to look around in, and we did (on my sister’s suggestion) the walk to the Lighthouse. It was beautiful. The waves were incredible and Frankie frequently had to keep me moving when I would stop, completely mesmerised by the perfection of the waves and the surfers taking advantage of them.
In the evening we started at our hostel – which, unlike our Surfers one, was so active and had a brilliant atmosphere. So we stayed there for a few drinks, met some people from all over – I particularly liked the people we met from Germany and Sweden. The two girls we met from England were far too similar to the people from back home at my old school, the kind of people I wouldn’t want to seek out and spend time with out here. We then went to a place which has cocktails in jam jars, apparently pretty well known. It was a shame we didn’t spend more time in Byron. I want to go back there again – I’m pretty sure I would choose Byron Bay to have a summer house in if I lived permanently in Australia.
Brisbane: There’s a kind of content with the city of Brisbane. It’s not overwhelmingly amazing from what I saw of it, like I consider Melbourne to be (of course I can’t judge too much as I’ve spent a lot less time in Brisbane in comparison), but it’s not awful, it’s not bad at all. It’s pleasant, as my parents described it when they went there. I agree; it’s a very pleasant place, I enjoyed being there, it would be nice to go back there, but I don’t think I’d choose to desperately (not to the extent that I’d want to go back to Byron Bay).
What was really lovely was our friend Hayley (from Halls at Monash) lives in Brisbane and we stayed with her and her family for the few days we were there. The hospitality we received was unlike anything I’ve experienced here like that. My parents also pointed out to me that it’s a good experience to have, to stay with a genuine Australian family and get to know how they are in a household. Not in a creepy, I’m-just-going-to-sit-here-and-observe-you-like-animals way, but just the subtle differences you might notice. I had a lot of good conversations about Indigenous people with Hayley’s mum, and she let me borrow some books that would help me with my uni work, which I thought was really lovely. I used to get worried whenever I met parents, but now I really like it (Although my actions aren’t the most parently-desirable, I’d hardly be the bad influence in their child’s life).
To wrap it up, my time away was a lot of fun and even though travelling is so stressful, I seriously cannot wait to do more of it. I was discussing with a friend that all I seem to occupy my mind with lately is where I want to go, what I want to see, what experiences I want to try. And I think that’s a pretty great thing to spend my time thinking about (unless I’m procrastinating and meant to be doing uni work).