It was time to move on from Byron Bay, I could have stayed there much longer but time was ticking and I needed to move further up north as the wet season was fast approaching. There was around 10 of us from surf school that travelled up North together as our next leg got underway. Next stop was Surfers Paradise a great name for our next location to home our surfing skills we all thought!! Surfers is everything Byron Bay is not. This is apparent as soon as you arrive – loud, brash, tall high rise buildings, lots of fast food chains and more Irish pubs than in the the whole of Ireland put together and only 1 long beach – 5 km to be exact.
It reminded me of an upmarket Blackpool but with hotter weather and a nicer beach. We arrived at our hostel called Backpackers in Paradise a small hostel around 5 mins walk from the centre of town. Like the name of the town the name of the hostel was greatly misleading too!! We were greatly disappointed on arrival to our rooms – no carpet, just a stained wooden floor (stained with what we are still unsure), a shower that only dribbled water yet a sink that would not stop gushing out water,a bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned since the dark ages and the temperature of the room could have been used to calibrate a industrial catering oven. The previous guest had also kindly donated a pair of used boxer shorts on one of our beds as a welcoming gift or an undignified comment about the hostels facilities! On top of this the weather had turned and it become very cloudy and muggy, around 90% humidity so the room turned into a sauna and only 1 very small fan to attempt to cool us down!! As we had already pre-paid for 4 nights and the manager was not prepared to give any refunds here we stayed. The hostel also lacked the party atmosphere us surfers had become used to in Byron. This was not going to put us off though as this was supposed to be the party capital of the Gold Coast and over the next 4 days we certainly did enjoy ourselves at night! Unfortunately there is very little to do in surfers apart from go to the beach, shop in one of the many extensive shopping malls or go to a theme park out of town.
The one true attraction in town is the Q1 Observation deck and on a clear day you can see all the way up North to Brisbane and all the way down South to Byron. Its the 20th tallest building in the world, probably now the 21st after the Burj Dubai, but it is the highest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere. However every day we wanted to go up the top it was cloudy and therefore pointless! Also as it was still school holidays and trip to the water park seemed like suicide! Many of the days in Surfers was used to re-cooperate, relax and stay away from our cockroach infested room, oh forget to tell you about our friends that came out at night!!
I hated the place so much that I forgave my last night and headed back down to Byron Bay for 2 days to celebrate Australia Day and to meet up with some old friends Marie and Lidia (Marie had her birthday on Australia day) before heading back up North. Surfers was a let down but architecturally a really impressive place, somewhat I imagine Miami to be like, one very long beach with sky rise buildings adorning the promenade. It was really the party capital of the Gold Coast and the town really came alive at night with so many night clubs and bars you almost didn’t know where to go. The adventure would have been made slightly better had our accommodation and weather had been better. Ah well you learn from these mistakes and again it was time to move on to the next stop… Brisbane.