Wednesday, October 19, 2011

千九百六十二: Gold Coast

my first time eating Churros! (spanish donuts) in Brisbane / with condensed milk

anyway, here's the very very late blog post about the Gold Coast trip - was in Gold Coast for the Gold Coast Airport Marathon from 2011-6-26 to 2011-7-5 - although I only joined the half marathon- and here it is :

amazed and happy with my results - only walked 2 water stops around 100 - 200 m each time. Had targetted around 2h30min, but i guess this is definitely much better! Actual results 2hr04min btw :)

Ok for some elaboration of the trip, here is the short & long of it. Long if you have the time to read, here's the short of it.

Sunday Day 1 - Brisbane day trip via Airtrain
Monday Day 2 - Car rental -> Mt Tamborine & Cedar Creek Wineries & Cedar Creek Falls, Mariner's Cove/Mariner's mirage
Tuesday Day 3 - Car rental -> Coolangotta, Point Danger lookout, Little Nerang Dam, Springbrook National Park - Best Ever Lookout, Cav's steakhouse
Wednesday Day 4 - Day of relaxation - Mini run/walk after waking up at Surfer's paradise along the beach, then just shopping at surfer's paradise, went for dinner at Fisherman's wharf
Thursday Day 5 - Movie world
Friday Day 6 - Paradise Country Farmland , then headed to the GC Expo hall to collect our bibs for the marathon, then checked out Broadbeach
Saturday Day 7 - GC Expo to shop for sports stuff, then Harbourtown for some outlet shopping & went back to some self cooked pasta dinner for carbo & slept at 10pm.
Sunday Day 8 - Marathon in the morning (woke up at 3.30am), lunched at Australia Fair, reached back with aching legs, showered & conked out until 8pm, dapao-ed dinner & slept at 10pm again.
Monday Day 9 - Sea World Whale watch it was fantastic to watch the whales dive in and out of the sea. Sea World in the afternoon, went to Marina's Mirage in the evening, Chinese food for dinner at Surfer's Paradise.
Tuesday Day 10 - Checked out at 5am and had to board the flight home at 10am.

Pictures have finally been uploaded to flickr too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexxis/sets/72157627137341024

& now for the long of it..

General thoughts about the trip instead of a day by day rundown - it's too long - both for the person reading it & the person writing it.

Before the marathon, we went sightseeing & some of the highlights were Brisbane, glow worms, Nerang Dam, Springbrook National Park & the Paradise Country Farm. Not saying the other places weren't fun, but these were the places I liked alot :)

I was having sorethroat/cough/flu throughout so generally kinda slept through alot of the transport and was heavy headed during the walks and was quite a grumpy / listless travelmate i think.

We went to Brisbane for a day trip on Sunday when I reached, that's where i had churros, and since it was a Sunday, it was a very peaceful day in the CBD area. We wandered around taking pictures of the historical buildings, there was the winter festival going on so there were crowds and fun stuff going on. We wandered to Southbank and it was great there, with the park and the ferris wheel and I just did what everyone else did, laid back on the grass and enjoyed the view of the sky. :D

my view from my place lying down on the grass

an artist spraypainted over old records

There are Nando's everywhere in Australia - i guess it's probably like fast food for them. Didn't have a chance to try it anywhere yet, so took the chance to have. was coming down with flu/and sore throat as well, and it was a torture eating western food which was mostly xxx with chips which is French fries.

Food was a problem, because of my sore throat, everything western seemed less than appetizing. We wandered around alot looking for Asian food although we did try eat the local food for the first few days. Their steaks were pretty good, oysters too :)

We saw glow worms at Cedar Creek wineries, it was a man-made cave, but no pictures there because it was too dark and glow worms are just too small anyway. Lunch was pretty good, I had steak with some of Cedar Creek's dessert wine. We also tried steak & oysters at Cav's steakhouse at Frank St (Labrador) which was pretty good, but quite a big slice of steak so it's better to share so that you can try other food as well. Cedar Creek Falls was nearby, but not super majestic, it's just a mini waterfall. There were some quaint little shops at Mt Tamborine, before we reached Cedar Creek, and apparently fudge is their specialty. We got large chunks of fudge to try, but after a few bites they were too sweet for us

We took a drive to Little Nerang Dam (cos we all haven't seen a real dam before) and it was in so deep into the woods that we thought we were lost. When we finally reached it, we saw a campsite and we were like thinking "people would drive all the way here just to have a picnic?!" Most of the parks have a picnic /campsite so it was quite common to see kids/families even in the most difficult places to get to. We did get lost a little here and there as we were driving based on the street directory, not GPS, but that kind of added the fun to the trip because we hit unexpected places, like a lookout spot for a beautiful sunset was also a sorta gravestone for a pet.. :(

Back in GC, the weather was cold and rainy after our 2 days of driving around, and I guess I had underestimated the cold. There was winter sales ongoing though, & managed to get 2 sweaters from the surf brands at very good prices. We spent quite abit of time wandering around surfer's paradise, made a trip to the outlet malls (Harbourtown). The remaining time we tried to make trips to Movie World, Sea World, whale watch & also to the Paradise country farm. The wet weather almost ruined our chance to whale watch. We had planned to whale watch the first few days we were there, but due to stormy seas, the trips in the first week was cancelled and the very next trip was our last day in GC which was quite lucky for us that we didn't get a flight back the day after the marathon. it was just so majestic! to see the whales for real first time in my life in the wild. The whales were moving up north and GC waters happen to be in their route every year. This was probably the best part of the wildlife I experienced in Australia.

a whale making a dive

All too soon, the trip was at an end and we reluctantly parted ways at the airport. It was a fruitful trip, gave me back confidence for 21km, and of course a relaxing vacation does wonders for the mental health (makes me want to have a longer vacation at least haha)

& I guess i can now finally start sorting through photos from Taipei & Italy!


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