Every time I go back to Queensland, I make a pact with my boyfriend to go back more often. After this past long weekend on the Gold Coast, we’ve made plans to go back once every three months next year!
Melbourne has public holidays for not one, but two sporting events every year. In September, we get a long weekend for the AFL Final and in November, we have a day off work for the Melbourne Cup. I couldn’t care less about attending either event, so all I see is holiday potential.
For the AFL Grand Final long weekend, my boyfriend and I zipped up north to the Gold Coast for three days of Queensland sunshine. We were lucky enough to stay at my boyfriend’s family’s holiday apartment on the Gold Coast, which made the trip super easy to plan.
We flew up on Thursday night, and after just one night sleeping to the sound of the crashing waves, I woke up feeling like a much sunnier person. One of my favourite things about visiting Queensland is being woken up by the sunshine, even if it is at 5:30am on the Gold Coast. It almost makes me think I could become a morning person.
First up was a trip to the beach. It was a spectacular day with blue skies and warm but not sticky weather, and I couldn’t wait to take a dip in the ocean and chill out on the sand. It’s advisable to stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10am-2pm, so we went down early before the sun got too full on. Getting a natural tan is so tempting, but there’s nothing cute about skin cancer (or leathery skin), and Australia has the highest skin cancer rate in the world…so I’ll pass.
We had breakfast at a nearby cafe, Lola’s, which has become a bit of a tradition whenever we are on the Gold Coast.
I actually can’t remember anything else we did during the day, but I suspect it was a combination of beach, pool and napping, followed by a mandatory fish & chips for dinner.
We walked down the beach on Saturday to Broadbeach, in search of coffee and breakfast. Saturday’s weather was even more beautiful than Friday’s, and the beach was dotted with colourful characters. I was kicking myself for not bringing my DSLR with me, but at the same time, it was nice to be in the moment for a change.
Think wizened old fisherman casting a line into the surf, against the backdrop of skyscrapers, leathery yogis doing intense looking breathing exercises on the sand and adorable doggos playing in the surf.
We had breakfast at The Cardamom Pod, a super cute vegetarian cafe, but by the time we got there it was too hot for coffee so we stuck to the most glorious smoothie bowl I’ve ever eaten, which was a raw take on a snickers bar.
First I’m not only waking up, but actually getting out of bed before 6am, now I’m breaking my daily coffee streak! The Gold Coast works in weird and wonderful ways.
After breakfast we hit the beach again, before heading back to the apartment to chill out for a bit. The apartment has beautiful ocean views and you can hear the waves rolling in 24/7, so it was super relaxing to have no plans (and no laptop!) and just listen to the waves and spot humpback whales on the horizon.
In the afternoon, we walked the other way along the beach, to Surfers Paradise. I needed some canvas shoes to wear on the Sunday’s whale watching cruise, but the cheapest things I could find were $80 converse. I already have two pairs so there was no way I was buying a third just out of convenience. It wasn’t a total flop though, because I got a gelato on the way back.
Again, the afternoon was mostly pool time and nap time. Deeeeelish.
My boyfriend’s parents arrived mid afternoon, and we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Broadbeach. It was nice enough but I’m not going to recommend it either, so it shall remain nameless. At least we had good company!
My first goal was to wake up early enough to take photos of the sunrise, which we could see from our bed. My second goal was to hit the beach and do an early photo shoot of the the landscape and locals before my boyfriend got up. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day so the sunrise wasn’t quite as spectacular as previous days and there weren’t as many people on the beach.
I went down to the beach anyway and ran into my my boyfriend’s dad, so we went for a walk up to Surfers Paradise and back.
For my Dad’s 50th birthday, I was taking him whale watching, and it was finally time for him to redeem his present. I met my beautiful mum, dad and not-so-little brother at a cafe on Tedder Avenue for a coffee, before heading to Mariner’s Cove down the road for the whale watching cruise.
I was rendered literally speechless when my thirteen year old brother got out of the car and found he is now taller than me. I nearly cried. I have a gorgeous younger sister, but she’s still slightly shorter than me, so it was a real shock to to find the little brother I remember carrying around as a baby, bigger than me. Moving away from home is weird.
It was so good to see my family, and going whale watching with them was the perfect way to end the weekend. I’ve written a full blog post about the Gold Coast whale watching cruise, which is live on the blog already.
Three days back in my home state is never enough, but it was so worth the trip. Spending time in nature is the quickest way I know how to reset, and I came back to Melbourne with so much more energy for the busy months ahead.
Have you visited the Gold Coast? Where is your favourite weekend getaway?