We’re Backpackers Now!
So, after 2 weeks or so in Brisbane, we were ready to set out and do as backpackers do; walk a lot, eat cheap shit, drink goon (cheap boxed wine), stay in hostels, and all that good stuff. We were heading to the Gold Coast! More specfically Surfers Paradise.
Our plan was to grab a Grayhound bus down there, but as usual P was being too kind and offered to drive us. It's about an hour and a half south of Brisbane! Of course we couldn't refuse. So we packed our shit, loaded all four of us in the car (of course Boo was going to tag along!), cranked up the radio, and went for it! P teased me saying I should drive. But me still not being completly used to being a passenger on the left hand side of the car, or looking right then left before crossing the road, kindly refused. Next time, we aggreed!
Once we got out of Brisbane, or Brissy(?), as some locals call it, the road was pretty straight forward. Literally. It was a never-ending straight stretch of motorway with never-ending rows of buildings on each side. It was like the city never ended. Along the way we had the obligatory toilet break and coffee stop, but not much else happened. We learned the P have appearantly toured with an all-female band in the US as the secondary(?) drummer. The cool just keeps on piling up, P!
Upon arrival we still hadn't booked a hostel, or knew where we were going. So we just asked P to drop us off in the main street, and that we would find someplace to sit while we looked for a hostel on Hostelworld. It didn't take long before we decided on a hostel and were on our way there. 15 minutes later we arrived at a hostel called "Backpackers in Paradise" (I see what you did there). Here we handed over A$23/night/person for a 4-man dorm. If I remember correctly, we booked it for 4 nights.
The room was pretty OK. 2 bunk beds, a locker for each person, and a bathroom with one shower, sink and toilet. After we settled into the room, we had a look around. They had their own bar, a lounge, swimming pool, kitchen, fast food cafe, and outdoor area. The place was pretty obviously a "party hostel" as there was a big schedule hanging in the reception with daily events and parties. No surprise as the Gold Coast area, and Surfers Paradise in particular, is notorious for being a vacation city for the locals, and a party haven for backpackers.
When we got back to the room to fetch some better shoes, we ran into our room mate; a 30 ish Malaysian girl who was on vacation. She was very easy going, and we thought that we were lucky as she seemed pretty tidy and all that. So after a little chat, we aggreed we'd cook dinner together later, and we headed out to explore the city.
Surfers Paradise isn't a very big city, but you can easily see that a lot of people, mostly foreign investors, have invested a lot of money in it. There's are a tonne of big flashy buildings, parks, artifical rivers, nightclubs, big brand stores, and so on. Not to mention the beach which stretches for miles and miles between all the suburbs, towns, and cities on the Gold Coast. All in all a very pretty city. But not our kind of city. Being a vacation destination, everything is very touristy and somewhat more expensive. But we didn't mind too much. We'd been warned beforehand, and frankly we were just excited that we were finally backpackers.
Over the next couple of days, we did tonnes a walking, made some new aquaintances (The Sweet Dreamers), watched a drunk swede dressed in a towel bleed all over the hostel bar (the guy had fallen in the shower... Silly swedes.), played too much Pokemon GO, had a traditional backpacker barbie with goon and burgers in the park, sat on the beach and did nothing/drank beer, attended happyhour and quiz night at the hostel, discovered the banes and boones of staying in a hostel, and lastly we booked our skydive!
Some of the things that we didn't do was have a night out, go to the sky bar, take any tours or day trips, or go in the space shot thingie. You know, one of those balls attached to giant rubber bands that launches you up in the air. We sort of regret not doing atleast some of these things, but we had set ourselves a pretty strict budget and things like that aren't cheap in Australia. Atleast not on the Gold Coast. Because of this, the thought-seed of buying a campervan earlier than planned was planted, and we slowly began looking for a car. But more on that in another entry.
In the end, we were pretty happy with our time in Surfers Paradise. When the checkout day arrived, P offered to come and get us, but this time we kindly refused and jumped on one of the Grayhound buses instead. During the bus ride we booked a hostel in Byron Bay, which would be our next destination after we finished with our second stay in Brisbane. We'd had a taste of the backpacker life, and wanted more! Yes, not everything tasted as good; like most other backpackers were younger and looking to party all the time, meeting new people all the time seemed to get repetitive, hostels could get messy and loud, backpacking could feel like a big waste of money at times, personal space was hard to come by, internet availability being almost non-existant at times, and we wouldn't experience the comforts of home for a looong time. But still we were looking forward to our year of travel and adventure!
When we got back to Brisbane, P picked us up in the mess that is Brisbane CBD, and brought us back to our old room at their place. It was almost like nothing had changed since last. Though during this stay we would be meeting aunt Audrey for the first time in 12 years, go to Markus' first exhibition, and go skydiving! More on that though in the next entry.
Again I try to be careful with my data usage, so a sample of the pictures from our time in Surfers can be found here.