Friday, October 04, 2013

Let me be honest: The Gold Coast didn't really grab me

A precursor: Don't read this if you love the Gold Coast. It will only make you mad and we might not be friends any more. (Don't say I didn't warn you!)

So, one of my other hats in life is to coach and consult on blogging and social media and with this in mind I headed over to the Problogger conference on the Gold Coast in September for two days of incredible speakers, meeting so many other great bloggers and generally just geeking out on stuff that is totally amazing for me.

But, I have a confession to make. It was my first visit to the Gold Coast as an adult (and I don't really remember much from my childhood stop there) and it really didn't grab me as a destination. I knew it would be pretty touristy, and that theme parks were the big drawcard (and I'm not into theme parks at all), but I thought it would still be nice enough. But I just didn't like it that much. I'm sorry.

The view from my apartment on the Gold Coast
I arrived at night and the shuttle bus from the airport seemed to go round in circles before dropping me off at an apartment complex near the conference hotel. Nothing wrong with the accommodation but the surrounds all seemed to be under construction. You'd have to zoom in to see it on the panorama above though - I thought I'd show the pretty version!

So, on the one hand, there was the beach and the ocean, and it was lovely. I always love the ocean. When I lived in southern Germany and it was an entire day's drive to get to the seaside, it freaked me out quite a bit, after growing up with the ocean only a five-minute drive away. So being able to stay in an apartment with a view of the sea was dreamy. Even though it wasn't that warm, I slept with the window open so that I could listen to the sound of the waves. Oh yes, cliched but true, I love it. We were lucky enough that from our balcony we even had a clear view to the ocean, despite the preponderance of high rise buildings. (Big thanks to my roomie Jo of Zigazag who booked it!)

But on the other, there was the current state of Surfers' "Paradise". Most of the accommodation saw its heyday some decades ago and from my window I could see half-demolished buildings (not very attractive), lots and lots of construction work and vacant blocks, and between our street and the town centre (a short walk) there was a crazy amount of roadwork to negotiate, complete with great big holes in the street. Apparently they're working on a tramline and have been for quite some years. So, from a purely surface level, the city didn't seem that attractive.

I obviously only scratched the surface of what the Gold Coast has to offer, but the meals I ate and the walks I took just didn't really convince me that it was a place I want to return to in a hurry. All the advertising brochures left in our apartment raved on about all the theme parks - and although I have confessed to loving Disneyland I'm way too wimpy to spend days on rollercoasters and huge waterslides. I'm sure there is more to the Gold Coast than  meets the eye (or than met my eye) but with so many other places in the world I want to visit, I just won't be putting it back on the list for a while yet.

But all was certainly not lost. I had an incredibly fabulous time at the conference, and with absolutely no sponsorship changing hands I will happily say that the QT Hotel, where Problogger was held, was fantastic. And on top of all that, I managed to catch up with a gorgeous friend of mine from my ESL teaching days who at the moment is reluctantly making the Gold Coast her home (it's a long story). This is me and her! These are the main memories I'm taking away from the Gold Coast - and who knows, maybe when I'm exploring other parts of Queensland one day the Gold Coast and I will start our relationship afresh again and I might feel more positive.

9 comments:

  1. Hm I had always thought it might be nce to go there but I have honestly changed my mind. I suppose as soon as somewhere becomes well known, it is spoiled, really. Beautiful greeny blue sea though. Luckily that can't be built over....

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    1. Yes the sea was gorgeous - and the beach long and white. Of course here in Western Australia we have fantastic beaches too so my expectations there are quite high. I've heard that just a short drive either direction from the Gold Coast is much less touristy/theme parky and much more pleasant!

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  2. Totally agree Amanda! We had a lovely time but it wasn't due to exploring the area as a destination ;)

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    1. Yes indeed Jo! Although I think you got to see some nicer parts on the Sunday. I'm sure there's more to the Gold Coast than met my eye ...

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  3. This happened to me in Munich. You can't love everywhere! I suppose there's always another beach to enjoy, though. :)

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    1. You're right, you can't love everywhere. Though I kind of pride myself on ... well, loving everywhere! I proved myself wrong.
      No love for Munich? But it's a fabulous city!

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  4. Interesting post, usually in these sunny spots people to seem to enjoy it so I like seeing a bit of a different review!

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    1. Haha thanks, the sunshine didn't even come out much while I was there!

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  5. Ditto! And so proud of you for having the courage to tweet this! I've subscribed to your blog but for some reason I haven't started getting your posts in my inbox. But thanks to FB and Twitter I've been kept in the loop :) Anyways, in my opinion, the Gold Coast is awful. Here are three words to sum it up: Soulless. Bling. Cheap (and I'm not talking accommodation). I'm going to be in trouble if anyone ever asks me to write a feature about the Gold Coast. I'll either have to excuse myself very politely, or suggest a new angle: The Hidden Gold Coast – where to go when you're not all about show. Somehow I don't think this pitch will go far :)

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