A quick rundown of what was up in the Gold Coast and Brisbane:-
Arrived in Brisbane Int’l Airport close to midnight. Fish’s parents/uncles/aunties came to pick us up. Weather was pretty rotten; t’was cold and windy with unpredictable rains (supposedly part of a once-in-a-100-year deluge). Took a drive straight back to Labrador, a small suburb on the coast where we’ll be staying.
Next morning, since weather conditions were still poor, we decided to head first to Harbour Town for a bit of outlet shopping. Spent the whole day there buying clothes and things. Might’ve even completed my Nike ACG set. Woo, I can feel that ski trip coming soon. Anyways, I think we busted our budgets in that one day. It didn’t help that the place was so near where we stayed too.
@ Night: Chinese food. -___- Yes, one problem with travelling with old folks is that they can’t survive without familiar food.
On Sunday, one of the aunties relented to visit the Carrara markets, a permanent complex of lil shops and booths pretty much like the Chinatown markets of Sydney. Lots of cool, interesting things, but nothing that really says Brisbane or Gold Coast, ‘cept for the usual host of souvenir shops.
After that we drove back up to Brisbane to hang out at South Bank. This was a park located along the river, and it had great views of it. There were some watering holes for the native aviary, as there was a makeshift market as well. Buskers entertained the crowd with their song and feats, and people frolicked in the man-made pools or spread out on the grass under the sun. Met up with wired for lunch, then took a drive down to Queen’s Street Mall for a walkabout and Dreamy Donuts. Mmmm..
@ Night: Chinese food. -___-
The next day, we went to WB’s Movie World. Being the only 2 young ones in the group, Fish and I separated from the rest for a whole day of thrill rides and shows. Batwing Skyshot (tower ride, +4.5Gs, -1G) and Superman Escape (coaster, +4.2G, -1G) were the stars of the day. Lots of other attractions too, but nothing could beat the Superman one. It was so awesome, we rode it twice. There was another Batman ride, a Scooby Doo coaster, a Police Academy stunt show, a Wild West floob(?) ride, and stuff. There was a Lethal Weapon coaster too, but that was closed for maintenance. Boo!
That night, we went to Surfer’s Paradise, the main surfing area along the coast, for meat! Yes, finally some proper Ozzie food. We took a big table at the Hog’s Breath Cafe for their famous PRIME RIB! I’m actually getting teary eyed just writing this paragraph. The steaks were juicy and tender from 18 hours of slow grill. I tell ya, it was fantastic~
Walked around, picked up a few things at HRC, took pictures. Nice big moonlit waves.
On Tuesday, we were at Sea World, since we purchased the Escape Pass which allowed us two park visits within 3 days. The place seems a whole lot bigger than the Sea World in San Diego, but nothing could beat San Diego’s seal show. We saw the Imagine Dolphin show, a simple Seals Aboard show cuz they were renovating their seal exhibit (Boo again), and a Waterski Wipeout stunt show set in the 80’s.
@ Night: Vietnamese food. -___-
Wednesday saw us driving up to Mt Tamborine, a plateau of national parks about half an hour inland. The forest scenery along the way was fabulous, mixed with farms, vineyards, and horse ranges. It really accentuated the great weather that we had that week. We made a quick stop at a vineyard, where the old folks were hoping to score some free wine but this particular one where we stopped at was kinda small and therefore not very willing to give out free samples.
Once we reached the top, we first made a visit to the botanical gardens, where they had nice walkabout trails within an artificial forest cum jungle. Actually, the entire area of Mt Tamborine is littered with nature walks, but we only managed one or two with our limited time. Plus we didn’t want to lay out too much stress on the old folks.
After that we took a quick browse along the main tourist street. While they don’t sell anything particularly Australian, they had a wide variety of interesting and strange merchandise on show. There was this one shop that was totally dedicated to fairy and witchcraft stuff, and another that had a dark section especially for things with twinkly lights (fairy wings included). Sorry, no pictures allowed. Then a quick drive to one of the waterfall areas for a picnic lunch.
To end the day, we walked the 3.1km Witches’ Fall nature trail in the hope to catch a glimpse of a waterfall falling into a valley below. But because of the drought, we only found a longkang of water trickling down. Still, the view was breathtaking.
In retrospect, we probably could’ve made it further inland to see the awesome sights of Natural Bridge and stuff, but we weren’t sure how steep the incline was in that direction and the old folks were feeling jittery about it. But we did take the Goat’s Trail down and it was actually a pretty easy drive. Yes, MPVs just don’t tip over that easily. -_-
@ Night: Thai food. -___-
So that pretty much wrapped up our stay in Gold Coast. On Thursday we did some last minute shopping at Harbour Town to pick up souvenirs. Then we made ourselves back to Hog’s Breath for lunch, where I had the steak/ribs combo. The ribs were just mouth watering~ Fish had to catch a flight to NZ that evening, so we did some packing and I came along to the airport to be dropped off.
It was about 5pm when I was dropped off at the Direct Factory Outlets (DFO) near the Brisbane Int’l Airport. That meant I had only 30 minutes to shop! Oh noes! Managed to grab some shirts from the Billabong outlet before shops started closing. Missed out on Levi’s and Sony. 🙁 By 6pm, wired arrived to pick me up for my overnight stay at his place. ^_^
That night, wired and I went to this Mongolian BBQ place that was both interesting and delish! You get to pick the meats and stuff you want in your bowl, as well as all the souces and seasonings can be selected individually! I took them all cuz that’s supposed to be the best! Except pork, that is. The chef would then dump the stuff onto this freaking huge hot plate where he’d just move the food around the thing in a clockwise motion, finishing up with a wrist-flicking flair. I probably had about.. 3 bowls. Gosh, it was good.
After that we drove up to Mt Coot-tha, a famous lookout point over the city (i.e. famous makeout point). The view of the city at night was gorgeous~
On Friday, I chilled for the most of the day at wired’s place, surrounded by gadgets and lots of flat screen monitors. Only got out for a simple kebab lunch at a nearby shop, and a quick walk around Story Bridge. Went back to Queen’s Street again for dinner, this time having the new McDs Backyard Burger. It actually had green leafy veges. Originally I had also planned on making a second stop at DFO, but the assumption that all shops in Brisbane opened till 9 on Fridays did not hold for DFO. 🙁 And I was so hoping to pick up a new pair of jeans…
After that, bye bye Brisbane. Bye bye Gold Coast. Rest of the pics here.