Gold Coast in my mind

Surfers ParadiseI’ve been thinking about the Gold Coast for a couple of days now. It’s like I have this craving to be there or visit again, which is odd because I didn’t like the place. Well, it’s not like I hated it, but for me, it seemed that the Gold Coast lacked character.

I guess this was a result of staying where ALL the tourists go: Surfer’s Paradise. My decision to stay there came after thinking back on the times I went to the not-so-populated beaches: Mae Nam in Ko Samui, Thong Nai Pan Noi in Ko Pha Ngan and Alona Beach in Bohol. I’m not one to attend parties, but the silence and serenity of these places nearly drove me nuts. So I decided to go mainstream. And you can’t go more mainstream than Surfer’s Paradise.

How do I describe Surfer’s Paradise? Well, they have a gorgeous stretch of fine white sand beach. It’s actually one of the first thing you’ll notice as your plane approach the Coolangatta airport. The land is lush, the weather is mild and tropical. Everyday seems to be the perfect sunny day, with a welcome cool breeze throughout the day and night. So what seems to be the problem?

Yup.Well, once you pass the line of foliage that separates the beach from the city, it seems like you’re in a different place. A place that lacks any character or soul. I can’t really express it, but to me, Surfer’s Paradise felt empty, though it’s packed with tourists and locals. It doesn’t have the same charm Sydney or Melbourne does.

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The place is very commercial, specially near the Esplanade. Shops and boutiques line the streets, from Starbucks to Hard Rock, $2 shops to DFS Galleria. If your credit card is not maxed out yet, just hop on the bus to Broadbeach, where the Pacific Fair is (at Hooker Blvd. Not kidding), right across the Jupiter Casino. All the big theme parks are there: Warner Brothers Movie World, Sea World, Dreamworld.

The beachIt’s like a highly commercialized Boracay. Well, even more commercial than what Boracay is now, but with more concrete, steel, glass and huge theme parks, not just a kiddie ferris wheel at D’Mall. It’s almost impossible not to see these high-rises that has sprouted near the beach. One minute you’re staring off into the horizon, feeling as though you’re at the edge of the world. A slight turn of the head and you see these structures, reminding you that you are indeed in the city, and not in some remote island.

I guess I’ve Gold Coast have been in my mind lately because at the back of my mind, I know that despite its lack of character, soul and charm, I still want to give it another shot. I’ve probably just scratched the surface, and who knows? Maybe there *is* character underneath all that facade.

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And next time, I’ll make sure I’ll visit with friends or family in tow. Theme parks aren’t fun if you’re alone.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 8 Comments
  1. davidd (aka Puuikibeach) says:

    I would love to spend some time along that part of the Australian coast. But I also want to see the northern part, and Western Australia, and…

    … and I want to visit so many other places I haven’t been to yet!

    Limited funds, limited time, and unlimited possibilities make for a frustrating mix sometimes.

    If you keep up this snappy writing, pretty soon you’ll have somebody paying your way to visit these places just so you can tell us about them in print!

  2. nina says:

    Yeah, it’s life way of making us constantly yearn for more so we’re left miserable. Haha.

    I’ve done the travel magazine circuit… It’s not really something I’m excited to go back to XD

  3. davidd (aka Puuikibeach) says:

    Were you a travel magazine writer, or some other kind of staffer? You’ve mentioned this aspect of your life in passing occasionally, but haven’t shared a lot of details. I mean, it seems like it’d be great!

  4. nina says:

    Yup, I was an editorial assistant. I might share more about this in the future but.. uhm.. erm… no. :P

  5. Tim Dodwell says:

    Your not wrong it is a surfer’s paradise! Im here at the moment and loving it! :P

  6. Eric Oebanda says:

    Hi, I read your blog regarding Gold Coast and its very interesting. We are bound to Gold Coast by next month, to study and Work at the same time and we are researching regarding the lifestyles and food expenses! Since you’ve been there. Can you give some advises regarding living and staying in Gold Coast.

    Thank you very much! God Bless

  7. Lisa Ingram says:

    Hi Nina,
    I am from Perth, Western Australia and have been to Surfer’s Paradise many times. I completely agree with your opinion on this city. I have spent 4 months around Europe indulging in all its culture and character and I came back so much the wiser. The richness and soul that a city has to offer is the greatest thing a traveller can experience. As for my visits to Surfer’s Paradise, it’s always with a group of girlfriends out for a ‘mind numbing’, relaxing and good time. So, I believe Surfer’s Paradise is perfect for holiday goers, not for travellers!

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