It’s right before Christmas.
We’re on our way to a city named nothing less than “Surfers Paradise”. I know that it won’t be the tiny cute, hippie-flaired village I was dreaming about (thanks for the warning, Google). But still, I see Anja and me going for a surf in the morning, taking walks through the nice city center, relaxing in hammocks through the day and being sourrounded by heaps of nice and chilled people, who would celebrate through the holidays with us.
First of all, I don’t see any surfers at the beach in Surfers Paradise. That might be due to unfavourable weather conditions as well, but still. Second, Surfers Paradise just doesn’t look like what I would connect with this huge word. The grey-whitish inner city area is stuffed with not nice looking cafes, food places, pulling tourists and traffic. It’s noisy. The metallic bows that introduce the cities name and try to bring joy into the tristesse of the grey-skyscrapery forest, look like imported from an abandoned adventure park, and to me, they seem totally out of place.
The fact, that our hostel is located a good fifteen minutes drive out of town, soon feels more like a blessing, than like a disadvantage. Conclusion after two days: I just don’t like so called “Surfers” very much. And I would even go one step further: I’ve barely been to a place I’ve felt so uneasy in, right from the first moment on. Sorry to say that in such a direct way, and maybe I just missed the greatest places, but it’s the naked truth. This place is OK, if you want to see the beach, can bear lots of drunken party people at night (or wanna be one, yourself), and don’t have many alternative options. But be prepared for a place more similar to Miami Beach, whilst I personally would still prefer Miami.
So, what was it again that we did learn through our travels? Sometimes, it just is what it is, and all you can do is try to make the most out of it. And what helped me best, to accept the scenery that I was facing, once after the blurry Surfers Paradise imaginary curtains had been removed and had given me a clear view? Correct! Ice cream, chocolate, and wine. What a blessing that it has been just the Christmas time, so I had an excuse for all the calorie-sins.
All I need for Christmas, is the ocean!
Of course, Anja and me still have had a wonderful Christmas and met some really nice and cool folks. And it’s not every year, that you celebrate this special time of the year at the beach, watching the ocean, wearing a Santa hat and enjoying 30°C. (Here, I would like to use the moment and send party bee greetings to a very special Christmas friend in Bielefeld <3). It was just not the desired dream surfer town – but who needs plans that work out perfectly? Way too boring.
One day after the whole eating and drinking circus, I decide to burn all this disappointment-caused calories. I don’t feel like surfing, so I go for a run. The weather is so, so – full of dark clouds and rainish, but still warm. I hesitate a few seconds before I go (actually, I didn’t eat THAT much…). But I take off, and this decision should turn out to be very valuable.
It’s a good run and after, I stop to lean over the wooden ceiling and watch the ocean. Its choppy, wild and dark blue (almost black) appearance reminds me of my own state of mind. At the same time, the white spray coming up from the huge waves, the big, deep-blue ocean monster and the low hanging smokish clouds, together with the creme-colored wet beach, create an incredible setting of lights and colors, and make me appreciate nature’s beauty once more.
Suddenly, I can see clearer again. I can relax again. I realize that it’s Christmas and that I am at a freaking beach and that this is damn cool. That, even though I am thousends of thousands of kilometers away from home, I don’t have to feel lonely at any second, because I am with a very good friend.
And eventually, I start to smile.
How to get to Surfers
You can either fly into Gold Coast and then take the bus, or take the Greyhound Bus from wherever you are.
Where to sleep
A bit out of the huge city circus, but still on a main street (be prepared for traffic noise), the Surfers Paradise YHA is definitely not to beat when it comes to how close you can stay to the beach. Just cross the street, and you’ll find yourself at a quiet and pretty piece of sand and ocean. The hostel itself is good: rooms are OK and clean, with big lockers, the stuff is friendly, and the kitchen is well equipped. They organized a really nice Christmas Barbecue, which brought together the crew and guests. Big minus is the not working wifi (the normally already slow connection crashed totally). Especially around Christmas, I would have expected more “hey today free high speed wifi for everyone” attitude (this normally costs $5).
What to do
- chill. at. the. beach.
- go for a surf, there’s plenty of schools and surfboard rentals
- if you like that kind of stuff, visit one of the adventure parks
- visit the city and have a drink in the evening (be prepared for lots of drunken people)
- walk along the beach at night – it’s safe and SO relaxing
Just because I disliked Surfers Paradise, it doesn’t have to mean you will, too. So if you want beach, tourist stuff and just hang a bit, try it out. I still wouldn’t recommend it, but won’t hold anybody back, either.