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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

On the Buses in the Gold Coast– made my day! (Day 129

Travelling on the buses in the Gold Coast for A$10 in one day - great fun. We saw not just the touristy stuff, but also a variety of areas and well as a surprise event in the evening.

The packed lunch was made, the sun screen slapped on and the one day bus ticket in the pocket. We were off to explore the area, the only aim was to head north for the Art Gallery. Our first bus of the day took us to Broadbeach South Station, the next was going to take us to the Art Gallery, however on the way we saw that we were passing SkyPoint Observation Deck on the Q1 Building which is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world at 322.5 metres high. We jumped off the bus, got our ticket and rode in one of the World's fastest elevators that took us from ground level to the 77th level in 42.7 seconds. Quick eh!

The “Wow” are starting in Australia – the 360 degree views of the entire Gold Coast was stunning, from Byron Bay in the South up to Stradbroke Island in the north. The long golden beach and surf was just beneath us, and scattered with people that looked like ants playing on the beach. The colours of the surf were amazing, the white froth, greens and blues. We both stood watching the power and beauty of the waves for ages.

Moving round, in the foreground we were overlooking homes and offices, of which over 80,000 caress the 446km of canals. That’s nine times more than Venice! Who’d have thought! Also the usual city scape of tower blocks rising up but still small in comparison to this giant. In the far distance the jagged mountains of the hinterland framed the scenery. We sat and had a coffee enjoying the panorama.

It was lunchtime, so down the lift and round the corner to the beach. We are amazed how clean they are. As it was the weekend, there were a few people playing, swimming and surfing, but not hoards as we get in the UK. We wondered about having a boat ride around the canals and found a place nearby. Alas, no places available – perhaps Monday afternoon we’ll do this.

Our next bus was either the 731 or 740. One arrived earlier than scheduled so we missed it. It was far too hot to run, so we walked instead and finally arrived to the Gold Coast City Gallery, which turned out to be a free area of Art within the cinema complex in Evandale Park. Two Exhibitions were on. One was Jarjums Life, which was curated by local children aged 4 – 9, including self-portraits with honest and often funny views of these kids’ lives and their dreams for the future.

The other exhibition is Across Country which is a collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from Indigenous artists. I loved the vibrancy of colour, the artwork using tiny dots to create patterns, the long Mimih Spirit wooden sculptures from the folklore of Indigenous Northern Australians – Mimis are fairy-like beings with extremely thin and long bodies that lived amongst the rock crevices protecting them from the strong winds. They are said to have taught the Aborigines how to hunt and cook kangaroo and how to paint.

Despite the Gallery being small, it was thoroughly enjoyable and not overwhelming as other larger places can be. As we were leaving, we could hear music, a choir singing beautifully in harmony. Tim went to investigate and met a Maori lady – she informed us that there was a free concert from 6pm where they would be performing. Fabulous – we will return.

We had a couple of hours to spare so decided to use our one day bus tickets to the full and see as much of the city as we could. We hopped on one bus to Southport, and then changed for the tram that took us to Griffith University. The place was desolate. We crossed the road and found a group of police standing chatting and a group of security people. We had come across one of the areas where the Commonwealth Games are being held from 4th to 15th April. This is going to be the largest sporting event in Austalia this decade, with more than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories. On one hand it’s a shame we’re not here when it all kicks off, on the other, it would be very busy and expensive – hey ho!

Some of the athletes had arrived and were acclimatising themselves…we didn’t see any. Because of this, security was strict and certain bus routes had been altered – to our detriment. Yes – the next bus we were going to get had changed its route due to road closures required for the Commonwealth Games. Damn! There was no notices, no instructions what to do, where to go. We ended up walking for ages along the most scenic of highways – not! At least I was clocking up lots of steps on my fitbit.

Eventually we got to a bus stop for the number 735 that took us back to Southport. What we deduced is that people of this region are interested in cars and health. We’ve never seen so many car garages, selling every type of car under the sun and well as loads of Medical. Physio, Dental, Health insurance centres. By the way, local people also love having their nails done. In 1 small shopping centre we went to yesterday there were at least 4 nail parlours!

At Southport, we had a 35 minute wait. We got chatting to Erin who works for WhaleWatch – the same company as in Kaikoura where we saw the magnificent Sperm Whale. We had such a lovely chat with this young lady, sharing our trip and hearing how you can spot whales.

Erin also told us about a good friend of hers from home, Lauren Parker a top triathlete who had a freak accident where both her bike tyres burst at the same time and she ploughed into a rail, breaking stacks of bones and given 1% chance of ever walking again. Nine months later she competed in the St Kilda Paratriathlon Oceania Championships and she has now been selected as part of Australia’s para-triathlon team for the Commonwealth Games. How inspiring is that!

We arrived back at Evandale Park, nearly missed the bus stop as we were chatting so much, and went to the concert in celebration of Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is the charity WWF’s biggest movement to protect our planet. All around the world people choose to mark Earth Hour by switching their lights out for 1 hour at 8.30pm, a symbolic show of solidarity to protect and conserve our world. Did you switch your lights out? Was there much publicity about this where you are?

We didn’t stay for the whole time, yet what we saw was great, a didgeridoo player, the Maouri choir, the Native American story teller and dancer, Pacific Island dancers. Sadly we left before the main orchestra. Two buses later we got back to our Airbnb and greeted by a huge cockroach in the Kitchen which was quickly dispatched by Tim. A great day with Nine bus rides for A$10 each – pretty good eh!

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