Surfer’s Paradise is the kind of place that needs to be seen to be believed. For starters, that any country would have a town named Surfer’s Paradise is slightly strange to me as town names are meant to have deep and ancient meanings (San Diego named after Saint Diego, Dartford named after the fording of the River Darenth, London named after the Belgian town of Nodnol) but as part of a marketing campaign in the 1930s the town changed its name and by gum did it work.
Surfer’s Paradise today is like Blackpool, uprooted and moved to the Gold Coast of Australia and then injected with steroids. It is, as one fellow traveller aptly put it, Skeg-Vegas. Giant gleaming high-rises overlook miles and miles of golden beaches. Tattooed, muscled surfers are everywhere. Never have I felt less tanned in my entire life…and I used to live 5 minutes’ drive from Essex.
I arrived at Surfer’s with the intention of chilling out for a couple of days before my long trip up to Cairns. This intention was shattered when I was coerced into going clubbing at 10pm by some of my new room mates. Several beers, jager shots and hours later I crawled into bed at 3am. Quite the set up for my first full day in Surfer’s; spent mostly meandering around the town and continuing my trend of visiting high rise observation deck . Tuesday proved slightly more fruitful with another venture to the top of the Skypoint for my ritual ‘coffee in a high place’ and a trip to the highly recommended Infinity attraction; a sort of funhouse of mirrors and special effects. Estimated ride time: 40 minutes. Actual time for me to get around: more like 20minutes. Sufficed to say this is something it’s probably better to do as a group; not that it’s in any way bad. It was a lot of fun. Just a bit short when done on your own.
Surfer’s Paradise is really geared towards the long-term visitor. In the brief couple of days I was there I got the sense that a week here (complete with an all-access pass to all of the local theme parks) is the definitive getaway for a lot of folks in this area. As it was, I merely spent a relaxing couple of days bumming around and attempting (and on one day succeeding) to drink my hostel bar dry of Tooheys.