I’d heard that Surfers Paradise was like the Aussie version of Miami, but I didn’t want to believe it till I saw it with my own eyes. Unfortunately, the rumors were true and I was really disappointed. This glitz and glam just didn’t fit into my “Crocodile Dundee”-version of Australia at all. Where was the Aboriginal culture? Where was the untouched natural resources? Where was all that vast, space? It surely wasn’t in Surfers Paradise.
As the bus approached, the skyline buildings littered the skyline and stretched high into the sky. Buildings of glass and concrete commanded your attention just as much as the miles-long beach in front of them. When we got into the city, all the buildings had a shine that bespoke of the wealth that comes from casinos, night clubs and high-end stores. The city was extremely commercial and almost too American for my liking. I hadn’t come all the way to Australia for something I could get at home!
For some, Surfers Paradise truly was a paradise that filled their nights, and oftentimes early morning hours, with excitement. It was a place to go out drinking and come home with a brand new friend. It was a place to lose your inhibitions and disregard the consequences of your actions. That’s all well and good for them, but that’s not why I came to Australia and I wasn’t about to change my agenda now.
So what did I do in Surfers Paradise? Well, if I’m honest, I spent most of my time at McDonald’s using their free wifi and catching up on my email. I also walked north on the promenade and the miles of beach just kept amazing me. Appropriate swimming areas were marked by flags in the sand where lifeguards monitored the water. I even stopped to watch a photo shoot on the beach.
In the evening, I wandered around the night market and strolled through the open-air mall that was hosting one of Australia’s newest talents. He was probably the Aussie answer to Justin Bieber. Afterward, I did a bit of grocery shopping and turned in for the night.
While others were probably just getting ready for their big night out, I was happily munching on a sandwich and trying to figure out what was going on in the Aussie-rules football that was playing on tv in the room. Yes, not your typical night in Surfers Paradise, but it suited me just fine.
In the morning, I woke up and checked out of the hostel, glad to be leaving Surfers Paradise. Perhaps its worth another visit under difference circumstances, such as a holiday getaway with the girls. But as a long-term traveler looking to get more out of the cities I visit, this was not the place to be.
|Slide Album: Surfers Paradise|