The other week (on the 18th of March 2016 for future reference) my boyfriend and I flew out from New Zealand to head to the sunny Sunshine Coast in Australia. New Zealand is getting quite cold at the moment so it was good to head somewhere that still had some hot weather!
The reason we went to Brisbane was because my Mum was going over to see her Mum who lives in a nursing home on the Sunshine Coast. My mum is Australian so tries to go over as often as she can to see her brothers and their families too.
My Nana is in a wheelchair as she had a stroke many years ago so my mother hired a wheelchair mobility car from Europcar and drove her around for a week taking her shopping, out to eat and to go and see where they grew up etc.
My boyfriend and I decided to go over and join them for the weekend. We couldn’t say no to some free accommodation and nice weather 😄
Our flight left Wellington at 6.30am on Friday morning and we got to Brisbane about 7.45am. (About a 3 hour 20 minute flight)
My boyfriend got angry at me the night before because we had to get up at 3am and I was mucking about packing my bag and downloading some music for my Ipod until 12am. Woops!
We flew Virgin Australia and the flight was really smooth. I tried to sleep but I was wearing contacts so they kept getting too dry and hurting my eyes. (Other Contact Lense wearers will know what I go through)
When we landed in Brisbane, we took a shuttle an hours drive to where my Mum and older brother were staying. Whenever she’s in Birsbane, Mum hires out this Holiday Home type thing at these units across the road from my Nana’s nursing home. I’m not sure how much they cost but it’s a pretty big place. I think ours had like 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and dining area, as well as access to the main Pool and BBQ’s.
When we’d arrived and said Hello to everyone, I accompanied N for a swim in the pool to cool off. (Well he swum, I sat in the shade and watched)
I was keen to do some shopping after that so all of us (Boyfriend, Mum, Brother, Nana and Aunt) headed off to the Sunshine Plaza to look around the shops.
I was very spoilt and my lovely Mother gave me some Australian dollars so I could buy some MAC Foundation and some Sunglasses as I forgot to bring some!!!
Which I was really annoyed about because I have so many pairs at home.Once we’d shopped, we went to the grocery store to get some stuff for our family dinner that night. We ended up having a BBQ with burgers, sausages, a potato salad I made and yummy desserts from my Aunt Sylvia.
I think me and N stayed up until around 9pm chatting away to everyone and talking to Sylvia’s daughter and her husband about life in Australia. N’s a builder and I’m wanting to do Flight Attending so we were asking about the job opportunities and stuff there. It’d be nice to live in Australia at some stage I think. Even if Alcohol is super expensive!
We had a bit of an early night that night as we’d only had a few hours sleep the previous night and we were getting up early the next morning to drive to the Gold Coast with my Mum and Brother.
Day 2 (Saturday)
We left the house around 7.30am and drove to Brisbane Airport to drop off the Mobility Car my Mum had hired for my Nana.
As we were switching the cars over and picking up a new car to drive to the Gold Coast, it ended up taking foreveeeer at the Europcar Counter at the Airport. There were only 2 people on the desk and it seemed like everyone was there at the same time dropping off cars and getting new ones. The people in line in front of us said they’d been waiting for over an hour!
I did feel sorry for the Customer Service people as they did seem very frazzled and under pressure.
Eventually we got our Toyota Corolla that I got to drive (Yay!)
And for a nana-looking car, it was so nice to drive! Verrry smooth. It made me want to buy one haha.
It took about an hour to drive to the Gold Coast and as we only had a few days in Australia, we all went to Sea World for our first Theme Park Stop!
If you’re ever going to Australia with kids, The Gold Coast is the place to be as it has 2 different Water Parks, Sea World, Dream World and Movie World!
I got a Groupon Deal for all of us so we could go to Sea World, Movie World and Wet & Wild for $99 each (Usually about $89 per adult per park)
Being honest, Sea World is probably more interesting for younger kids. (Like 12 years and younger)
They have a Nickelodeon Character Meet & Greet, The Affinity Dolphin Show (Which we saw first), Sponge-bob in 3D, A Fish Detectives Show involving Sea Lions and a Dora The Explorer Stage Show.
There’s 2 water rides which we quite enjoyed, but got soaked on!
It’s called The Storm Coaster and it’s basically like a short roller coaster that you go really fast on and then through this big spray of water. The other water ride is the Viking Revenge Flume that’s all-ages. Even my Mum went on that one and she hates rides!
I think we spent around 2-3 hours at Sea World. Just going on the Storm Coaster, watching the Dolphin Show, looking at the Penguins, Sharks and Polar Bears and having something to eat.
When we were done at Sea World, we went to a nearby park/water area to have a small picnic with my Mum’s brother and his wife and grown-up kids. It was a long time since i’d seen them all and it was the first time my boyfriend was meeting my Australian family.
I met my cousin’s kids as well so it was quite a family affair haha.
It started to cloud over and get a bit cold so we eventually headed off to our accommodation – Montego Sands Holiday Apartments.
Which was surprisingly quite nice. The pool was small and a bit average, and the whole place was pretty quiet but the rooms were decent size, the bathrooms were big and our apartment had a small kitchen, 2 balconies, 2 bathrooms and me and N even got our own en-suite with a big bath!
It was super close to the Pacific Fair shopping mall as well.
(I’m not sure how much it cost as my Mum paid)
That night, my boyfriend & I met up with my friend Ben who I met on my Contiki!
You may remember him from a previous blog post where I met up with him to watch the World Cup Rugby in Brisbane at the end of my Round-The-World-Trip.
After a bit of confusion of where to get off the Tram, N and I met Ben at The Thai Beer Garden Restaurant. The food was yummy and the service was good so if you’re looking for somewhere to eat while you’re in The GC, I’d recommend here!
We then headed off to Jupiter’s Casino which was just a short walk away.
We all didn’t really have any money and I have like no idea how to play any Casino games but Black-Jack so we had a go on the slot machines for a bit and I played 1 round of Black-jack and lost my money haha!
In the end, we parted ways and my boyfriend and I headed back to our room for the night where we just fell into bed. The time difference made us so tired!
Day 3 (Sunday)
This was our Movie World Day!
Before we headed off to the Theme Park, we went to grab Breakfast. I googled good places to eat in Broadbeach and came across something called Pancakes in Paradise.
It wasn’t until we got there that I realized this was the same place Me and N came for breakfast when we were last in Australia! It’s basically a better version of Denny’s. Like their meals are big and it’s all very American-like but it’s yummy and it fills you up.
I ended up getting scrambled eggs on a pancake with a side of toast but I couldn’t finish it all. I didn’t want to eat to much and be sick on the rides later!
After breakfast we drove to Movie World and spent all day there on the rides. Our first ride was The Green Lantern which is a roller coaster then we headed off to the Superman Ride where you go from 0-100km/h in under 2 seconds. It was super fast and I screamed the whole time haha!
They also had the Scooby Doo Ride which we perused my Mum to go on!
When we were having lunch, they had a Character Parade down the main street of Movie World where the kids could meet Tweety Bird and Scooby Doo which was cute.
I think overall the Arkham Asylum Ride was one of my favorites. It was one of the longer and more exciting rides and actually freaked you out as your legs are dangling and you think they’re gonna hit the roller coaster poles!
Movie World is an all-ages type of park as they have the Road Runner Rollercoaster that only goes up to 11 meters high, and the Junior Driving School for kids.Kids seem to love it and when it’s not the school holidays, the lines seem tolerable. (The longest we waited was probably 25 minutes for The Superman Ride)
We left Movie World just before it shut at 5pm and drove back to our apartment.
Mum was keen on Italian food for dinner so we drove back into the city and found an Italian place. It was small but seemed pretty popular. I can’t remember what it was called but they did Turkish food as well as Italian.
I got a Lasagna which was super fulling I couldn’t even finish it.
Afterwards, I was meant to be meeting up with another friend from my travels through Europe but she ended up coming home from a BBQ really late so I didn’t get to see her.
We all went out for Ice-Cream instead at Ben & Jerrys. Well, my brother and I got Ice-cream while my Mum and N refused to as they were too full.
It took only a taste of Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Ice-cream for them to go and buy their own as they loved it so much.
Day 4 (Monday)
This was our last day in the Gold Coast and we had one more park to do, Wet’n’wild!
N & I packed up our bags and chucked them in the car so we could go straight to the airport after Wet’n’Wild.
I’m such a girlie girl and I always go on about not loving water so I wasn’t jumping up and down for this water park.
I hate all the stairs I have to climb in my Bikini with my stomach hanging out, looking like a drowned rat just to line up with 20 other people for a 10 second ride.
My boyfriend loves the water however so I did it for him really…
We went on every water ride there, even the one where you’re locked inside a capsule and shoot down a slide at 60km/h.
The Tornado was pretty fun. You go down a long 40m tunnel on this 2-4 person tube spinning around the ‘Tornado’s funnel’ before coming out at the bottom.
N had a go on the FlowRider before we left too. You try and surf on this man-made flow of water on either a bodyboard or a FlowBoard. It’s about $20 per session and it’s a lot harder than it looks.
N loves surfing but he said it was so hard to stay on the board!
We had to be on the road to drive back to Brisbane Airport by 2pm so we left around then. We made good time and dropped off the Car early at the airport.
I did a bit of Duty-Free shopping once we’d checked in (MAC Make-Up obviously) then we had dinner at Subway and caught our flight back home at 6pm.
If you can find cheap deals to Australia, little breaks like this are quite fun. You can squeeze a lot in!
The Gold Coast
Also known as ‘The GC’, The Gold Coast is situated on the East Coast of Australia. About an hours drive away from Brisbane.
It’s popular for it’s long sandy beaches, sunny days, night life and theme parks.
I feel you only live here if you have money. It’s great for a holiday and there’s so many hotels and apartments to rent out you’re spoilt for choice! But I don’t think I’d ever be able to afford to live there!
From December – February it gets quite hot and this is when the School Holidays are, so expect the Theme Parks to be pretty packed.
Also In November Australia starts their ‘Schoolies’ where every now ex-student travels to Surfers Paradise to party it up for the end of the year!
It’s super easy to get around!
They have a TRAM system (The G Link) which opened back in 2014 and runs for 13km’s from the Hospital to the University and then along Broadbeach (Where the beaches and resorts are)
I bought a Go Card when I was on The Gold Coast awhile back and they’re really easy to use. They cost $10 and you can top them up at the stations or at the Seven-Eleven stores. They have machines on the platform that you ‘touch on’ and ‘touch off’ at. They don’t regularly have anyone on the TRAMS that check your tickets but occasionally they do have Ticket Checkers on Board that come round and check your card to see if you’ve paid your fare. The TRAMS work from 5am to Midnight and are really regular so you’re not waiting around long.
Where To Stay
You can find pretty much anything on The Gold Coast. Apartments, Fancy hotels, Ocean Side properties, Backpackers and cheaper motels.
I had a look online and you can even stay on a Houseboat in Coomera which is about a half hour drive away from the center of The GC if you wanted to!
Check TripAdvisor for recommendations on where to stay or Expedia for some good deals.
Broadbeach is a popular area to stay as you’re close to the beach and the shopping.
Surfers Paradise is the same, but more hustle and bustle.