We left Hervey Bay after seeing Fraser Island and made our way to Surfers Paradise. Along the way we had heard from a number of people that surfers paradise wasn’t that great and it was “just a big city.” We decided to go ahead and book 3 nights in Surfers Paradise anyway to check it out. My sister had done a study abroad in Australia and she was in surfers paradise so we also wanted to see the place she had stayed.
We had been staying in a lot of hostels up to this point. We were ready for a change of pace from hostel living. This was partly because hostels are pretty old and run down and partly because we were basically the oldest people at each hostel. Australia has so many schools (18 year olds) and people traveling for gap year that it’s an extremely young crowd (18-25 mostly). We decide to try a shared airbnb to keep costs low and hopefully stay in a nicer place with someone we had a better chance of relating to.
We stumbled across an Airbnb listing for a place right in the heart of surfer paradise. The place looked awesome in the photos and it was only $65/night. It seemed too good to be true but it was also the owners first time doing an Airbnb which is why it was so cheap. We decided to give it a shot and booked. We arrived around 3:00 that day and made our way over to the place which was literally across the street from the bus stop. We made our way up and were greeted by David who is the owner.
As soon as we stepped in we knew we had made the right choice. The condo was brand new, had amazing views, and we even had our own on suit bathroom! This was the nicest place we had stayed in a LONG time so we were both really excited. David gave us the tour of the apartment and made us feel right at home instantly.
After we got settled in we started chatting with David. David was a very interesting person to talk to and we loved getting to know him over the course of our three days at his place. David was previously a business professional who decided to go a different direction and was now a psychic. David’s specialty is reading flowers which makes him unique within his profession. What we both really enjoyed about meeting David was how positive he was. As we talked with him each night we both felt very welcome at his place. He was always very happy to talk about traveling and life in general and it was so nice to have someone interesting to talk with. David made our stay in Surfers Paradise significantly better and he even gave us recommendations on things to do locally which we ended up doing. Our stay with David was the start of us focusing more on Airbnb and less on hostels.
Over the next few days we spent a lot of time just walking around the city. We were about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the ocean. Next to the ocean was a big board walk type area with lots of restaurants/bars/shopping/etc. Each day we wandered that direction to check everything out. Our second day there we stumbled across a Greek place for lunch. Ashley thought it was decent but nothing special, but I thought it was literally the best Greek food in the entire world including Greece itself.
At this point I think we need to take a step back and talk about something very important to Ashley and I. Sweet Chili Sauce and condiments. In Australia they take condiments extremely seriously. So serious that they charge for condiments everywhere. At first this caught us off guard when we had to pay extra for ketchup. We soon realized that the extra cost has a benefit. At nearly every place you go there are multiple options for condiments above and beyond the standard Ketchup. They have sweet chili sauce, aioli, bbq, and other condiments at a lot of places. The extra selection is nice and over time we began to love sweet chili sauce. Sweet Chili Sauce goes with fries better than ketchup does and I love ketchup with fries. America, it’s time for us to take a step back and rethink our condiments. Sweet chili sauce is a necessity and something that should be offered with french fries in all situations!!!! If you have an opportunity to try sweet chili sauce and french fries soon please do it, it will change your life.
We spent the rest of our time in surfers relaxing and checking out the local sites. I noticed a 7D cinema nearby and we decided to try it out. It was kinda pricey at $30/person but I thought we should do something while we were there. You got to see 3 different mini shows so we decided to give it a shot. Once inside it started and we quickly knew it was a waste. It was a computer animated show that looked like it was made in the 80’s. They hit you with random fans, cold air, random fragrance, mist, etc to give it a lot of effects but it just felt cheesy. Lesson learned! All in all, we really enjoyed checking out the city each day though.
One of the things that David had recommended to us was a little river cruise that was take you up and down the canals. It started just a few minutes walk from the place and it was something like $20/person which included lunch. We decided to check it out and signed up. Upon arriving there were only about 15 people on the relatively big boat. The guide on this particular trip was awesome. This seemed like kind of a run down tourist attraction that wouldn’t really be that cool but it was awesome. She had all these terrible (but funny) jokes throughout the cruise and did a great job of telling us interesting bits of information as we went up the river. I personally enjoyed her stories about the various owners of huge mansions, their personal lives and how their made/lost a fortune. The cruise took a couple hours and it was a perfect way to check everything out on our last full day in the city.
Overall, Ashley and I loved Surfers Paradise. It was a fun little city with lots of stuff to do and it was worth a few days visit for us!