By December 21, 2011 Read More →

Australia: Gold Coast Relaxation

Melbourne to Adelaide Gold Coast

As I write this we have now spent the last three days on the Gold Coast in Broadbeach, just south of Surfers Paradise.   If we had stuck to Plan A we would have spent these days in Adelaide (in torrential rain as it turned out) and be on our way to Sydney.  But we changed our minds late last week, cancelled our train bookings and caught a flight to the Gold Coast instead.   Mostly because I found us a nice little pad to stay in at a good rate (for Australia anyway) and we thought Christmas by the beach was a good idea

If Surfers Paradise can be described as Blackpool then Broadbeach is Lytham St Annes.   Its a bit quieter (more preferable to us now at our ripening ages) than the Main Beach area and suits us just fine.

The Flight

Our changed plans have enabled us to sample an as yet untried Australasian low cost carrier.  I can only say that our first experience has been a delight. It was good value seeing as we booked it two days before we flew (£65 each) and on check in we were offered the emergency exit seats so we could stretch our city weary legs on the journey.  The flight was comfortable and as we got off and made our way to luggage reclaim out popped our rucksacks first, as Gregg on Masterchef would say – “It doesn’t get better than this”.

I had looked at airport transfers from the airport to Broadbeach and we had three options

  • Taxi – $55 (£36)
  • Shuttle Service  – $19 (£13.50) each
  • Public Bus Service  $6.90 (£5) each

In our new flashpacking budget conscious travel we chose public transport and I couldn’t tell the difference between a taxi.  The bus stop to catch the bus was right outside arrivals and the stop where we got off was a mere 2 minutes walk to the hotel. It also has to go down in history as one of the cleanest buses on earth, I have snapped an iphone pic of it in the gallery below.

Gold Coast Christmas Accommodation

Via one of the accommodation aggregators we bagged an offer rate on an apartment in the Surf Parade apartments for 10 days at a rate of $75 (£50) per night which takes us all the way through the peak Christmas season.  We have a full kitchen, a lounge, a washer dryer, a whirlpool bath and lots of space in which to lose things and a balcony which overlooks the ocean .  My favourite thing however is the flats screen TV which swivels from lounge to bedroom which enables us to follow our favourite Australian TV .  We are becoming fans of the morning TV Sunrise team on channel 7.

Is it a holiday or is it a trip

It is at this point in the trip that we are starting to realise that this is more than one our usual yuletide jaunts as we gently think about what to do next after Sydney and Alice Springs which is about as far as our planning has got to.

We are beginning to settle into a rhythm now and totally relaxing.  We keep ourselves busy with the research for our next mini adventure and planning how to get the most out of our budget.

Savings so Far

You will know that we have deemed our trip as a flashpacking foray around the world but what does this mean?   For us, so far, it means staying in the best value accommodation we can get.  That is not always the cheapest; as with this place in the Gold Coast having a fully functioning kitchen and laundry means we are not spending ridiculous amounts of money eating out, buying coffees and availing ourselves of the local bars for a tipple each evening.

In fact we priced a twin room in one of the local hostels with only a shared bathroom, communal kitchens and paid laundry and this came in at about £5 less per night than we are paying here.  So if you are travelling in pairs or as a couple the hostels are not always the best value.  While we are on the money theme here are our money saving exploits so far

We have our very nice travelmate flasks which we fill with ice and water every day and take then with us on trips or to the beach – no $2 bottles of water required.  Given the Australian kindness in providing water fountains everywhere we can even top them up before the ice melts.

Spending a bit of time on the net on travel and hotel sites ferreting out the best deals – I estimate so far this has saved us nearly $200 (£140)

We have spent $130 (£91) on food shopping at Woolworths (own brand items wherever possible)  and $24 (£17) on two on offer wine boxes at the local bottle shop.  As we enter day four on the Gold Coast we are not even half way through either the food or the wine.  We take bananas, apples  and bars and self made tasty wraps with us when we go out and are eating mightily healthily given our previous diets in the UK .

We take public transport where we can – even with heavy backpacks – and so far we have probably walked about 20 miles each around Melbourne or up and down the beach at the Gold Coast. In fact I was so inspired today on the beach I even managed to run between two surf rescue stations (about a mile) until I got knackered and reverted to a brisk walk. Maybe I’ll manage three next time.

So far I am not missing any of the ‘luxury’s we would normally be imbibing  in and instead am enjoying what the city of Melbourne had to offer for free, which is a lot, and the main thing the Gold Coast has to offer, beautiful miles of beaches and a warm inviting sea.

How’s the Kit holding up?

I thought ten days in I would give you an update on how our kit and gadgets are holding up .

The mifi is still my best friend, although I have managed to use up over half my data allowance blogging and researching those deals, but if that saves us $60 on a few nights accommodation or a trip then it is s price worth paying.

The flasks and kettle have been a godsend for ensuring that we have a cup of coffee first thing even when the accommodation does not provide any facilities

We have our first casualty – the zip fastener on my day pack has broken so I fear we may need to purchase a replacement, but not until I have tried a repair by nicking a fastener from somewhere else to see if I can fix it.

The ipad/phone battery boosters have saved us twice from imminent u-nconnectedness

The three gang UK plug has been brill and while the health and safety mob would have a fit seeing what I hang off it it means I need just one Australian socket adapter and I can charge just about anything.

Whats up next

We have hired a car for the next three days so we are off to spend some of our savings on exploring other areas of Queensland, a trip to Fraser Island, Noosa and Byron Bay.

Hope you all enjoyed the brief snow showers at home and it’s still looking all Christmassy.


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Posted in: Australia

3 Comments on "Australia: Gold Coast Relaxation"

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  1. Formby-ite says:

    Thoroughly enjoying the blog, keep up the good work!

  2. Amandah says:

    The Gold Coast in Australia looks inviting. Australia is a great vacation destination.