Surfers Paradise

Monday, 26 October 2015

On the bus to the Greyhound station to head up to Surfers we met an older guy who is 50 in November and started travelling at 45. He's got a daughter our age, is a carpenter back home and decided to come travelling when his parents passed away and his daughter was off doing her own thing. You rarely meet people older than 30 so it was actually pretty interesting to learn about his life and his spontaneous attitude (he even gave us his spare pack of cards once we told him we'd been looking for some for over a month). He was definitely entertaining while we waited for the bus to come as we swapped stories, riddles and card games. I managed to get two seats to myself even though the bus was packed and we made the 2 and a half hour bus journey up the coast to Surfers Paradise. Funnily enough Surfers is actually in a different time zone to New South Wales as we were entering Queensland which meant we gained an hour and were only 9 hours ahead of home instead of 10 (although my boyfriend thought it was always 9 hours and he should see this seeing as he told me he always reads the first paragraph of every blog post and skims the rest). While driving through Surfers to the bus station, it completely surpassed my expectations. I thought we'd be entering another quiet little beach town as we'd been told it was dead in the day, but we were surrounded by high-rise buildings, a multitude of bars and restaurants and most importantly, the beach. It had much more of an atmosphere than I expected and I instantly took a liking to it.

After waiting an hour to be picked up by our hostel, we were taken to Surf n Sun where we were staying for the next 3 nights. The pool looked a bit minging but there was an outside wooden seating area, big TV room and kitchen which seemed great until we got a little bit more information. The wifi was VERY temperamental and had to be reset every hour because it basically didn't work and there was categorically no wifi access in the rooms. It wasn't that bad having to be downstairs to connect until we were told that the communal area was only open from 8am until 10pm which is pretty shoddy when you pay for a hostel which claims to offer free wifi. Anyway, the rooms were pretty clean and basic although Kate did walk in two find two of the girls taking up the entire floor space doing Pilates.

We decided to make the most of the sun and head to the beach after getting some ice cream but we ended up spending the entire afternoon being hounded by Wicked sales reps and ended up booking on to a bar crawl for the Friday when the V8 Supercar races were on which meant it would be really busy. After having a little wander I started to fall in love with the place a little more. I can't really even describe why, it just felt like I was on holiday and I like that feeling when I get to a new place. Me and Kate had been craving a McDonald's since leaving the UK so we decided to be naughty (definitely gonna come back looking like a little piglet) and get something off the saver menu. I don't know why but the McDonald's in England are seriously behind the times. All the menu boards were interactive and when you order a burger you customise it yourself choosing which bun, salad and sauce you want. It looked so much more upmarket and offered so many more things which we don't have back home which is pretty disappointing.

Having done a small food shop for the next few days we made our way back to the hostel and bought tickets for the biggest bar crawl in Surfers - so we were told. Wednesday and Saturday were apparently the big nights and 150 people all join from different hostels for a bar crawl which costs 30 dollars per person. The price of the ticket got you a sausage sandwich at pres, entry into 2 bars and 2 clubs and a free drink in each so we had high expectations. However, after doing a bar crawl most Wednesday nights for the past 2 years at Uni, I can hands down say it was the worst bar crawl I've ever been to. Pres were pretty fun but the first bar was dead and after an hour we headed to the next bar which was even worse. It was like a slightly posher Wetherspoons with a rap battle. No word of a lie I couldn't even laugh about it because it was that bad. 

The free drinks didn't even taste as though they had alcohol in and the two reps from the hostel who sold us the tickets were too busy trying to pull to care if anyone was actually having a good time. The third place was more of a club and credit where credit is due, although it wasn't that busy the music was good and we actually managed to have a bit of fun in there. But, because we had sobered up and were annoyed we'd paid for a crappy 'bar crawl' which should be classed as a tame OAP Wednesday rather than a bar crawl, we left at half 12 to get pizza and go to bed. And I couldn't even stay up and do anything because there was no internet connection so not only had I been on an OAP night out, I'd also been transported back to the 1950s. So our first night out in Surfers was an absolute fail and probably the worst night out I've had since being away.

Thursday morning we headed to the ticket office in town to buy tickets for WetnWild which were 55 dollars each. It's the Splash Planet water park they go to in Inbetweeners 2 and we'd been told it was so much fun so it was firmly on our to do list. We'd been told we could get a return bus which actually stopped running at 11.20am, even though we bought our tickets after that and the ticket lady didn't bother to tell us. BLOODY FANTASTIC. So after paying 50 dollars for a taxi we finally arrived at WetnWild. Despite the fact it was a little cloudy and spitting we had such a fun day. Because of the weather it wasn't busy in the slightest and we managed to go on most rides as a three which was nice. Our last ride of the day required a two man inflatable tube to be carried to the top but the guy said there was a spare one up there so me and Abby walked all the way up the stairs only to be told that the spare one had been taken. We then had to walk all the way back down, get a tube and managed to cut the queue straight to the front. We literally sat  in the double tube ready to go and the attendant called a 1040 which is a storm warning. The entire park went into shut down mode because of the danger of thunder and lightening and we could only laugh at our misfortune, after making our way back down for the second time. 

Not only that but when we got off the bus back in Surfers we got caught in a torrential downpour so of course the only option was to run to the nearest Dominos and get a 5 dollar pizza to warm up. After braving it and walking back to the hostel in the rain we did some laundry before cooking a curry. We decided to have a chilled night in and make a nice meal, play some cards and just relax. We've been pretty non stop for the last week or so and none of us could be bothered especially after the night before and you know what, it was SO nice. It's easy to go all full speed when you're away but sometimes you just need to recharge. You'd never be this busy at home all the time without making some time for yourself so that's exactly what we did. We even went to the convenience store to buy chocolate and juice in our pyjamas at 9pm. Wild Thursday night, I know. Unfortunately the wifi was once again horrific and because the TV room shuts at 10pm, we took advantage of an opportunity for an early night. Call me grandma but I was more than content in my long checkered pyjama bottoms with a cuppa and my book before bed. 

We enjoyed a lay in the morning after and decided to go to the V8 Supercar event which is a big annual car racing event in Surfers. Because the security gate blocks off the hostel we got free tickets worth 200 dollars and the setup looked pretty cool. We got to walk around the outside of the track just off the beach and got a beer at a double deck wooden bar before we walked round to the other side, planted ourselves on a grassy hill to watch the racing and enjoyed a frozen cocktail. We also realised that Caitylyn Jenner's eldest son Burt Jenner races trucks and was at the V8 races. We unknowingly walked past his truck AND got a picture (above) which is pretty cool. I used to go racing as a child with my family as our friend raced MGF cars so every year we'd always head to Silversone, Brans Hatch, Donnington or somewhere else in the country for the weekend. There was always a big group of adults and a big group of kids so it was nice, and a little bit nostalgic, to be back on the outskirts of a track. After a nice morning in the sun we got lunch, headed into town to get an ice cream and popped into Peter Pans where Abby booked on to the same skydive as me and Kate. She came on this trip absolutely refusing to do any such thing but turned out willingly booking it after a little bit of persuasion. So proud.

Friday night was our last night in Surfers and we'd bought tickets from a promotion company called Wicked for entry into 4 big clubs and 4 free drinks. We were hassled pretty much on every street corner by male promoters during our entire two days there and because we rocked up on Wednesday and didn't really know the deal with nightlife we bought the tickets through them as we were promised a massive night with hundreds of people, made even better by the fact it was the opening night of the V8. Oh, how naive. Yet another 40 dollars wasted on bar crawl tickets. Firstly as a quick tip, you're best off telling them you've already bought tickets through them to avoid being bombarded 13 times while walking through town as the reps were everywhere. And secondly, buy your own alcohol, pre drink at your hostel and go to one club (Vanity is the best of a bad bunch) at about half 11 like you would at home. Why? Well, the bar crawl starts at half 6 for starters which isn't ideal. We skipped the first bar and went out at 8 but were in bed by 11. 

While Vanity actually had good music, every bar had sex position games or something similarly trashy which might be fun for 17 year olds on a boat party in Malia but not for me. We also went to Cocktails which was pretty dead and Sin City which was the unclassiest club I've probably ever been to. We've noticed that some Australian clubs try and sell nightclubs on sex and in Sin City the bar girls were dressed in lingerie which was both seedy and tacky and wholly not what I desire from a night out in the slightest. We had fun in Vanity like on Wednesday but it went downhill from there, apart from the reps who were walking round with free pizza all night. So moral of the story was don't trust bar crawls - do your own night out. Surfers is beautiful in the day, WetnWild was so much fun and it's such a nice place to holiday but the nightlife we personally experienced, the lack of wifi and the TV area shutting at 10pm really let Surfers and the hostel down. 

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