Surfers Paradise

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. Twenty-five years, and I don’t look a day older than one! Alas, I can’t say the same for my Travelling Companion. I spend most of my time inside a book (well, duh) while my TC sees the world. Read all about me and follow my blog posts to share my experiences as bookmark and travelling worm.

I’ll keep it meaningful. Like a t-shirt.

Today’s travel notes

I’ve spent the last few days in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. That’s in Queensland, Australia, dudes. I spent most of my time tucked away with a book, because the Travelling Companion was working. Still, we did get out and about. The TC is depressingly awake at ungodly hours of the morning.

My impressions? Laid-back luxury.

Surfers Paradise is treacly-beautiful. Chocolate-box stuff. And never mind “Surfer’s Paradise”, it’s definitely a shopper’s paradise.

Did we come away with the mandatory souvenir? Oh yes. Though I have to concede here that we avoided the usual bit of arty attire. Instead, we acquired “Dracula’s Crawling it’s alive! Hand”. It’s noise-activated and comes with an SM-type leash. This souvenir I approve of. It suits the TC to a T.

The Gold Coast is about 45 minutes’ flight from Sydney. We flew Virgin Blue — highly recommended. Straight up, a bit of a swoop around some thundery cloud-peaks, then back down for a fast landing. Do it at sunset for maximum view-value, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Once you’re in the Gold Coast, there are only two things you need to know: “Beach Side” and “Dry Side”. Once you understand that these are the two sides of the Gold Coast Highway, you can get anywhere any time.

We didn’t do the big xxx-world attractions. We did do the “Haunted House”. Clever disorientation techniques, mirrors, uneven flooring and sticky dangling face-stroking bits in the dark had the desired effect on the TC. I was safely tucked inside a book in a bag, but I felt the tremors and heard the hesitant giggles. This is where we found Hand.

Travel tip

A peg comes in handy when you’re travelling. Use it to seal your bag of coffee. Or just to hang out with. Like I’m doing in the photos.

Recommended restaurant

The Tandoori Place, 30 Laycock Street, Surfers Paradise. (Web site.)

Delicious food and winning service.

The book I’m in

Sleep, Pale Sister, by Joanne Harris.

The photos

Me walking on the wild side (Jonathon Livingstone S was a bit close for comfort):

Me with Jonathan\'s footprints

Me hanging out with some fishermen, an ibis, Jonathan and Peg:

Me hanging out with Peg

Me and Peg on Neptune’s chair:

Me and Peg on Neptune\'s chair

Pre-dawn, and nobody is awake but me, the TC and an ibis:

Ibis at dawn

Surfers Paradise (that’s what it says):

Surfers Paradise sign

Dawn over Surfers Paradise:

Surfers Paradise at dawn

The main drag in Surfers Paradise, with Neptune’s chair:

Surfers Paradise main drag

Just some of the shops:

Surfers Paradise shops

Hand — his complete handle is “Dracula’s Crawling it’s alive! Hand”:

Dracula\'s hand

Haunted House (Hand’s erstwhile home):

Haunted House

Q1, the tallest residential building in the world — that’s its claim:

q1_surfersparadise

A worm’s eye view

Dawn on the beach:

Write your letters in the sand — a wave washing over a footprint:

Wave over footprint

Other travelogues of note

  • Kamil‘s travel photography blog. Aaaasome, he’s been kite-surfing.
  • Jessicaca found herself in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies week, and left. Oh dear oh dear, you poor thing.
  • Shah thinks Surfers Paradise is Australia’s version of Miami. I’ve got news for you: Miami is but a pale imitation 😉
  • Austin has some golden-hued photos to complement my silvery snaps.

That’s all for today dudes.

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Kangaroo Valley, Berry and Kiama

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. Twenty-five years, and I don’t look a day older than one! Alas, I can’t say the same for my Travelling Companion. I spend most of my time inside a book (well, duh) while my TC sees the world. Read all about me and follow my blog posts to share my experiences as bookmark and travelling worm.

I’ll keep it meaningful. Like a t-shirt.

Today’s travel notes

Yesterday I took a round trip down Australia’s east coast. We started off just north of Sydney and drove through the city, past Wollongong to Kiama, Berry and Kangaroo Valley, then through Mittagong back to Sydney.

My impressions? Just out of Sydney yet so very different.

It’s an easy day’s drive. You’re never more than two hours away from the city, but of course there are lots of unavoidable scenic views, lunch opportunities and shopping stops. These tend to slow you down, so do take them into account. In my experience, your round-trip velocity depends largely upon your companions. My Travelling Companion is a bit of a liability in this respect.

The previous paragraph notwithstanding, I did enjoy the views. There are some good photos below, including some of me suspended in the usual fashion over some breathtaking drop. There was also a bit of wildlife, including those big furry grasshoppers*, your common-or-garden sulphur-crested cockatoos, the wilder black cockatoos, a coupla kookaburras, plus galahs, ravens and butcher birds.

Also along the side of the road was the occasional self-service kiosk, where you can take fudge or potatoes or whatever and leave the money in return. Honesty rocks!

* “Furry grasshoppers” — That’s what we locals call the kangaroos 🙂

A word of explanation: worm or caterpillar?

Some of my readers may be concerned about the difference between a worm and a caterpillar, and in particular you may be wondering which one I am.

In my experience, caterpillars are ephemeral and fickle creatures, apt to take flight when things get tricky. Your humble worm is here to stay.

Travel tip

Never underestimate the return trip.

Recommended restaurant

Berrylicious cafe, 89 Queen Street, Berry.

Excellent hamburgers, a variety of breads and some good options for vegetarians.

The book I’m in

The Radiant Seas, by Catherine Asaro.

The photos

Me suspended over the drop at Bulli Lookout, with Wollongong in the distance. Here’s a tip — if you’re coming from Sydney down the Princes Highway (route 1) towards Wollongong, ignore the first turnoff labelled “Bulli Lookout”. It takes you to a private hotel and an inferior lookout point. Instead, drive past the hotel or take the second turnoff to Bulli Lookout. Anyway, here’s me and the view:

Me suspended over Bulli Lookout near Wollongong

Me waiting for the blowhole to blow at Kiama:

Me at Kiama waiting for the blowhole to blow

FYI, here’s a “duh” moment — a sign next to the blowhole says something like this:

“Danger. Do not go beyond this point. Deep hole and blowhole.”

Me not getting wet:

Me not getting wet

Me at the drive-through bottle store in Berry. Check out the hubcaps on the wall:

Me at the bottle shop in Berry

Kiama Post Office:

Kiama Post Office

Kiama outcrop behind the blowhole, and the blue blue sea:

Kiama outcrop behind blowhole

In the hills approaching the town of Kangaroo Valley:

Hills approaching Kangaroo Valley

More of those hills (do you see what I mean about the TC being a bit of a liability with respect to stopping for photographs of anything that moves or doesn’t move):

Red autumn trees near Kangaroo Valley

Hampden Bridge, outside the town of Kangaroo Valley:

Hampden Bridge near Kangaroo Valley

A worm’s eye view

You’ll see some pictures taken from a worm’s viewpoint in my earlier blog posts too. Now I’ve decided to put this sort of picture in a special section.

Kiama rock looks volcanic, with lots of small cosy holes:

Kiama rock

Autumn leaves in Berry:

Autumn leaves in Berry

Brother caterpillar tripping the light fantastic (on plastic sheeting in Berrylicious Cafe):

Caterpillar in Berry

Hair lichen on a post near Kangaroo valley:

Hair lichen near Kangaroo Valley

That’s it for today dudes.

Manly

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, viz 95 HBM 80-1. Twenty-five years, and I don’t look a day older than one! Alas, I can’t say the same for my Travelling Companion. I spend most of my time inside a book (well, duh) while my TC sees the world. Read all about me and follow my blog posts to share my experiences as bookmark and travelling worm.

I’ll keep it meaningful. Like a t-shirt.

Today’s travel notes

Today I’ve been in Manly, haunt of surfers and rollerbladers on the east coast of Australia just north of Sydney.

My impressions? Ramshackle charm plus lots of action.

It’s all happening in Manly. Rollerblading, skate boarding, surfing, diving, snorkelling, street markets, skid row sidling up to millionaire’s lane.

The ride on the Manly Ferry is one of the most beautiful in the world. The boat takes half an hour to wend its way from Manly Wharf to the city, passing close by the Sydney Opera House and the coat hanger. (That’s what the locals call the Sydney Harbour Bridge.)

A good place to snorkel is Shelly Beach, at the southern end of Manly Beach. Shelly Beach faces west, at an angle to the main beach and sheltered from the waves rolling in from the ocean. Take just a couple of paces into the water, and you’ll find Nemo. Scuba divers bubble way down below. My Travelling Companion gets distressingly enthusiastic about close encounters with gropers. Settle down, a groper is a fish.

Rollerbladers abound. There’s a good path running along the beachfront. For a longer run, set off in Manly Vale at Addiscombe Road, follow the cycle path down Kenneth and Pittwater Roads to Manly Lagoon, through Manly Lagoon park to the sea, then all along the beach to Shelly. This is about 4 kilometres of easy skating. If you’d like a hill or two, there are two good slopes in Manly Vale. There’s a skate park across the way from Manly Lagoon park. My intrepid Travelling Companion has crawled the lower slopes but never really dropped in.

A word from a wise worm

Bladers beware: surfboards are a hazard. This could happen to you: You’re in the zone, skating along with the sea by your side, the wind whistling past your ears, the cockatoos screeching overhead and the picturesque surfer-dudes posed next to the path assessing the waves. Surfer-dude turns to greet mate on other side of path. Surfboard swings over path. Rollerblader hits ground.

Travel tip

Dare to be different — like the flower in the photo down below.

Recommended restaurant

Ironbark wood fired Italian restaurant. 208 Pittwater Road, Manly. www.ironbarkmanly.com.au

They have gluten-free pizzas. This worm didn’t know such things were possible. I guess there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.

A fan

A humble worm says thank you to STA travelbuzz for reviewing my site.

The book I’m in

Stern Men, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The photos

Me and the Manly Ferry:

me and manly ferry

Me looking for a cosy hole on Manly Wharf:

me and manly wharf

Smooth empty tarmac, blading heaven. The path along Manly Lagoon:

Path along Manly Lagoon

Manly Beach seen as you emerge from Manly Lagoon Park:

Manly Beach seen as you emerge from Manly Lagoon Park

Blading from Manly Vale to Manly:

shadow roller blader manly 2shadow roller blader manly 2shadow roller blader manly 3

shadow roller blader manly 4shadow roller blader manly 5shadow roller blader manly 6

Blader in Manly:

rollerblader in manly

Looking across Manly Beach to Shelly Beach at top left:

manly and shelly beach

Manly Corso:

manly corso

A seagull on Manly Corso. (Beware all worms!):

seagull in manly corso

Surfer dudes doing it the hard way:

walking surfers in manly

A white azalea flower daring to be different:

white azalea on pink bush