Go for Goldie

Bleary eyed after waking at four o’clock in the morning, we touched down in the Gold Coast amidst a downpour. Hmm, there was nothing in the weather forecast about rain, I reflect. When I imagined my first moments on the sunny Gold Coast, I had no idea that I’d be yelling into a phone in pouring rain in an obscure airport car park. A wrong turn while navigating the World Wide Web left me signed up with a rental car company operating out of the back of a car. When they said mobile office I didn’t realise just how literally they meant it. The four of us piled into the old Mitsubishi from the 1990’s – at least we didn’t have to worry about keeping it in immaculate condition.

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A seagull screaming for ice-cream, downtown G.C.

It was a surprise to see a cluster of scantily clad young women prancing about the main streets of the Gold Coast while on the local council payroll. I nearly spat my breakfast. When I investigated afterwards, I found that Surfers Paradise Metermaids have been in operation since 1965. These young lasses dressed in trademark gold (get it?) are in fact local icons. You can buy their collector’s edition calendar online now. These girls are pulling in far more cash than their sterner looking, starched counterparts in Melbourne, that’s for sure.

"Surfers Paradise" By Henry Lawford "Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)" ww.flickr.com/photos/herry/6651912683

“Surfers Paradise” By Henry Lawford
“Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)”
ww.flickr.com/photos/herry/6651912683

I spent time getting to know the four-legged locals. After hanging out with Wallabies, I found myself agreeing to cuddle a Koala. Cinnamon was lovely except for the razor sharp claws. To her credit, she did not lodge them into my bicep. My husband went for Windjana, the owl.

“Where do you live?” Darren, her handler asked us.

“Melbourne”

Darren explained that Windjana’s cousins (called Powerful Owls or the Ninox Strenua species) live in the Royal Botanic Gardens, located nearby our apartment building.  They hunt at dawn and dusk and can see with 8x optical zoom (sounds like a camera advert). Her coussies also specialise in crushing possum skulls and possess the ability to break a human arm, hence the protective gear. Darren tells us this, all while my husband’s arm is in Windjana’s tight grip. 

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My new friend, Cinnamon

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Darren in Windjana’s tight grip

What better way to relax than sharing a Mexican dinner at Montezuma’s among friends with long island iced teas? Perfect. We finished up by chair dancing to Bon Jovi at the local Karaoke. Here’s a tip, if you sing Guns & Roses with the owner, he’ll give you a drink on the house.

While boarding the plane bound for home, I noted the sunshine I was leaving behind on the Gold Coast. The miserable Gold Coast scene I touched down into seemed like a distant dream. This is more like it, I thought.

The Facts: I flew from Melbourne to the Gold Coast and it took about two hours. Flights operate daily from Australia’s main cities.

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