Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Gold Coast with Dawn & Tam

Currumbin with Dawn & Tam

When we arrived in Toowoomba on Dec 22nd Tam and Dawn gave us a little scroll with a ribbon around it, on the scroll was a print out of a gorgeous apartment/resort complex on the Gold Coast - they had surprised us and booked a 3 day trip for all 4 of us on Jan 2nd, what a treat!!!

So after New Years we packed up our stuff, dropped the dogs off at Tam's Mums house and drove 2 hours to the Gold Coast from Toowoomba (with Dawn singing Madonna 'Holiday'!)

The Gold Coast is a long stretch of coast just south of Brisbane, along the stretch it has various different suburbs, we were headed for Palm Beach/Currumbin area:

The Gold Coast is famous for being very glamourous, glizty, lots of casinos, strip clubs, nightclubs, plenty of high rises,  a big holiday destination for Asian countries and lots of commercial outlets.  However, the part we were staying was very far removed from that strip, it's a really relaxed, pretty area which is mostly used by the residents of Palm Beach or Australians on their annual holidays instead of being overrun by foreign tourists.  

By some miracle the weather had cleared and we arrived to blue skies and sunshine! The apartment was gorgeous, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 massive comfy sofas and a balcony looking over the bay next to us. 

Dawn and the bambino

We all sat up on the balcony people watching for a while, we watched Dad's taking their sons surfing, families trotting over the dunes to the beach with cool boxes and little beach tents, groups of teenage girls on school break with perfect tans, Ray Bans, hair in cool top knots and very short shorts (am I getting old?!) giggling at the surfers as they walked by them.  It was also a dog walking area, so there were couples out jogging with their Great Dane's, there were families dragging their mutts to the beach, there were new Mum's jogging with the buggy and their dog running alongside. Was great to visit an area of the Gold Coast that we might not necessarily have gone to if it wasn't for Dawn and Tam who know the area so well.

We spent the next few days laying on the beach, dipping in and out of the pool, watching the cricket (obviously not me), Mart did a bit of body boarding and did really well too.  

On the last night we drove south along the coast to a place called Kirra and had dinner at their Surf Living Saving Club (SLSC) that overlooked the beach.  

Mart and Dawn trying to win on the 'Pokies' (slot machines)

Oysters Kilpatrick

Fresh Seafood Platter - it was gooood

knocking back the oysters
The SLSC's around Australia are 110% part of the beach community, with the first being set up in 1907 in Bondi (here's a little history: Surf Life Saving Clubs).  

The launch of Burleigh Heads SLSC in 1923

The SLSC's train the lifeguards that patrol the beach and they also have a bar and restaurant selling cheap meals and beers.  

Alongside this they also run a group called 'Nippers', this is for kids (girls and boys) aged 7 upwards to learn how to handle the ocean, be safe and get fit.  So the club would usually take place on a Tuesday afternoon after school finishes, they meet on the beach, they do some running on the sand, some ocean swimming and get on boards, paddle out to sea to a flag and back again.  They also ask the kids to work up to a particular level and they get awarded bronze, silver and gold lifesaving badges, most of these 'Nippers' will go on to be lifesavers on their local beach.  It's also a great social get together for the families of the nippers.  

The SLSC's also run fundraisers, like fun swims and lifesaving competitions for adults. Also, if there's an event on their beach, ie a Rip Curl Surf Pro Comp they'll support the event organisers so that they can use their facilities etc they are without a doubt a massive part of Australia. 

Surf Life Saving Comp

The mens Surf Life Saving Comp

not bad eh?

Ah the final thing, they, along with many pubs, run something called a 'Meat Raffle'.  Once a week the local butcher donates a massive tray of meat and the patrons of the pub/SLSC buy raffle tickets for it. Brilliant! Pork chops anyone?

It was a great little break for us all, especially as we'd been couped up in the rain with cabin fever for the past 2 weeks! Thanks Dawn and Tam ;-)


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