Gold Coast, Australia - Southport & Surfer's Paradise

Gold Coast Travel Blog

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Gold Coast, Australia - Have A Happy Day!!

So, we decided to take off from Sydney earlier than expected because the weather was just terrible there! 

Heading for either the Gold Coast or Brisbane, anywhere in the north would be great.  No concrete plans, so completely flexible to all possibilities!  What’s new?!!

All we’d heard thus far was that hitchhiking was discouraged, especially since the infamous Ivan Milat, the backpacker murderer!  OOOHH!!  Scary!

Were we afraid?  Nope!  We figured if we managed to successfully hitchhike all throughout Latin America and New Zealand, why would we stop here!  Besides, Arnaud is great at sensing the good from the bad, in folks, that is.

Gold Coast, Australia - Vers Surfers Paradise!

Anyway, we couldn’t just cross out this option without even having given it a try!  And that’s what we did!  

We set out from Rhonda’s, our host in Sydney, and carried on, as usual.  Well, being that Sydney is such a big city, we figured we’d have quite a challenge in hand. 

All there are around, are huge highways, no small roads, which we much rather prefer.  Anyway, there’s always a solution, right?!!  Of course!

We decided to start off at the freeway on-ramp.  We set down our bags, as our host patiently and curiously waited on the side to see when and if we’d get picked up.  I think she had her doubts, but was immediately reassured and ecstatic when a driver pulled up just 10 minutes after we had put down our bags and started hitchhiking.

Gold Coast, Australia - Juanny in the beautiful Gold Coast
 Great! 

Funny really, because I can still picture Rhonda run up to the driver and thank him for having stopped for us.  Just like a concerned mommy!  Awww!!!  Very sweet and wonderful woman!

Anyway, we were on our way!!  And though we weren’t going too far, it was just perfect, because our first ride would be taking us to the perfect spot for continuing our hitchhiking adventure in Oz!

We got out in Gosford, and pretty much immediately after being dropped off, we were back on the road!!  So far hitchhiking seems to be working out just fine here!!  So, no complaints, thus far!  And check this out, our next ride was going ALL the way to Brisbane, potentially, our final destination in the north!  How great was that!!

We had a LONG ride ahead of us, nearly 12 hours!  But, hey, luckily time was on our side and better yet, fortunately we were guaranteed a lift all the way north!

Everything was going smoothly, making our routine stops at most "Driver Reviver" sites with our ride, everything was going perfect.

Gold Coast, Australia - Surfer's Paradise

But it was too good to be true . . . When nightfall came and just as we were only 3 hours away from Brisbane, our driver started dozing off, so Arnaud decided that we’d be better off getting out while we could! 

Hey, better safe than sorry, right?!  Yeah so, we decided to camp out in this tiny town called, Woodburn, and continue the next day.

The following morning, things were looking brighter already . . . the sun was out and we got picked up pretty quickly, as well.  We met a great guy, who was heading for the Gold Coast, but who you’ll find out more about a little later on. 

We had thought that we’d be going to Brisbane first, but there was now a change of plans . . . we’d pay a quick visit to the Gold Coast first!!

And once again, unfortunately, the rain even followed us up north!!  Here we finally were at the infamous Gold Coast, ready to soak up the sunshine, but all we got was rain, rain, and more rain!

Luckily we had a cushy place to stay, but believe me it didn’t come without any difficulties!!  Arnaud has his work cut out for him here in Australia!!

Now remember, whenever we don’t have a contact or guaranteed accommodation, we always try to find a place to pitch our tent .

Gold Coast, Australia - La plage de Surfer's Paradise
. . preferably in a complete stranger’s yard!!  Must sound really unheard of and crazy, but believe it or not, it’s worked out perfectly for us ‘til now.

All throughout Latin America, in every developing country we’ve traveled to, we’ve gotten by pretty well, and have met incredible people this way!!  Unbelievable??  Not at all!  Generosity is everywhere . . . even in poor countries!!

In wealthy countries, like Australia, however, the reaction to our request is received very differently, though!!  Just imagine having a complete stranger come up to you and ask, "Hi, would it be possible to pitch our tent in your yard?"  How would you react?  Of course, a little more is said, but that’s pretty much the gist of it!

I was just cracking up, when Arnaud came back to tell me all about people’s reactions.

Gold Coast, Australia - Enfin, à la plage!!
He heard it all, excuse after excuse.  He was even told, "I can’t believe you just asked me that!" or "You can’t go around asking that of people!"  Yeah, generosity in rich countries . . . not as common as in so-called poor countries.

In any case, the happy ending to our story did come about eventually.  After over 2 hours of searching, Arnaud came back to say he’d found someone, who agreed to let us set up camp at his place.

Pete, a Kiwi from the North Island of NZ, was stoked about having us!!  He even upgraded us!  There we were getting ready to set up our tent, when Pete decides to let us crash in his campervan instead!!  Now, we weren’t about to refuse his offer.  No way!

So, we were set for a couple days in Southport.

Gold Coast, Australia - Arnaud au paradis
And since we were just around the corner from the very trendy Surfer’s Paradise, we thought we were in store for a real treat . . . spoke too soon!!  :(

Our day at the beach would be postponed for now, because the rain refused to let up!!  Still, we had a relaxing time here, and despite the ongoing bad weather, we did get one good day in.  So, of course, we made the best of it, and took a stroll along the beach and soaked up a little sun!!

As far as the Gold Coast is concerned, although it’s a tourist trap, it’s well worth it, so do visit it; however, make sure it’s not in wintertime!!  :)

La route du nord était devant nous, on avait juste à se faire déposer par Rhonda, notre contact de couchsurfing, une femme célèbre dans sa petite ville pour être la plus âgée des diplômés policiers : 58 ans !!!!!

Elle nous déposa donc sur cette branche d’autoroute et attendra en retrait que quelqu’un s’arrête.

Gold Coast, Australia - La caravane!!
Après 10 minutes, un mec s’arrêta et la voilà qui se mit à courir vers la voiture. Elle voulait juste remercier le gars pour s’être arrêté et elle voulait aussi préciser que l’on était des gens bien. C’était plutôt drôle de la voir faire :)

Le stop marchait plutôt bien, car il faut savoir que les distances sont un peu différentes en Australie (12 fois la France par exemple) et on devait aller jusqu’à Brisbane. Et par chance on rencontra ce couple de 50 ans venant de ramener le petit fils des vacances scolaires. Ils habitaient devinez où ?? À coté de Brisbane.

Le trajet était assuré, on pouvait profiter des cafés gratuits sur les aires de repos (excellente idée, cela incite plus facilement les gens à se reposer sur les longs trajets, ces promotions sont disponibles uniquement pendant les fêtes).

Gold Coast, Australia - Arnaud, Juanny, Pete, and the Campervan!!

Donc on passa toute la journée en leur compagnie. Ils s’arrêtèrent aussi pour nous montrer nos premiers kangourous en liberté. Ce fut un grand moment d’émotion !!

L’heure se faisant tardive, la nuit tombante, les yeux qui se ferment, le conducteur qui commence à s’endormir au volant. Il était temps d’être raisonnable et de demander au chauffeur de nous laisser à la prochaine ville, Woodburn !!

Après une bonne nuit de repos sous la tente au milieu du parc, Ivan nous prit en stop en direction de Gold Coast. Le feeling passait plutôt bien entre nous. Il avait lui aussi voyagé un peu partout autour du globe en stop, en bateau. ..

Un anglais se la coulant douce en Australie. Et avant de nous laisser en bord de route il nous proposa de passer quelques jours chez lui si on revenait par là!! OK « mate » (mon pote) si on voit de la lumière, on passe dire bonjour !!

Nous voilà dans Surfer Paradise, une ville au bord de l’océan, un Nice australien quoi !! Le problème était que cette destination n’était pas prévue au programme et bien sur aucun contact à l’horizon.

La bonne vieille méthode du porte à porte était revenue au goût du jour. C’était de nouveau un challenge, dans les pays pauvres cela passait, la générosité était toujours au rendez-vous, mais dans les pays riches, cela reste à prouver !!

Au début les réactions étaient plutôt normales, du genre : les gens n’arrivaient pas à croire que je leur demandais si je pouvais mettre ma tente dans leur jardin. D’autres me répondaient que c’était impossible ou bien interdit par la loi. D’autres se fendaient bien la gueule.

Puis ce vieux petit couple accepta ma proposition, mais vu leurs âges assez avancés je m’attendais à une petite surprise, quand c’est trop facile, il y a toujours un petit problème. Car quand je fais du « tap tap », Juanita garde les sacs et moi je fais le tour du quartier, quand je trouve un endroit, je leur dis, ok je reviens je vais juste chercher ma copine et les sacs, et pendant ce laps de temps, il peut se passer plein de choses.

Quand on arriva, la femme nous attendait, mais le mari s’était absenté, au fur et à mesure que l’on discutait, j’avais l’impression qu’il y avait comme un malentendu. Elle croyait que je voulais juste laisser ma tente pour 1 journée et revenir la chercher le lendemain, quand elle comprit le problème, elle réagissait différemment, et je ne voulais pas non plus m’imposer.

Et voilà le mari qui arriva et la fille aussi, venu de nulle part, je dirais pour moi c’était fini, je n’avais plus qu’a chercher un autre endroit, c’est pas que les parents étaient contre, la fille était plutôt inquiète que 2 étrangers mettent leur tente dans le jardin de ses parents. C’est quand même compréhensible, donc Juanita se mettra de nouveau sur le trottoir :) et moi à la recherche d’un nouveau jardin.

Je revins quelques minutes plus tard avec un jardin tout joli tout mignon et surtout sans surprise en revenant. Le temps de déplier la tente, l’impensable se produisit, Pete le propriétaire de la maison nous proposa de dormir tout simplement dans sa caravane, de replier notre tente et de profiter de sa grande et belle seconde maison !! La seule chose à dire dans ces moments là : « c’est du bon boulot !!! »

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Gold Coast
photo by: RJ1982