Wrapping Up the East Coast of Australia

by Brian Carroll on June 11, 2012

Post image for Wrapping Up the East Coast of Australia The last few destinations I had on my list for Australia were Byron Bay, the Gold Coast (Surfer's Paradise & Broadbeach) and ultimately Brisbane.  As I would be arriving into these areas toward the end of fall in Australia, I sensed that the vibe in the towns would be a little more chill than what one might expect in the spring or summertime.

Byron Bay lookout

First up, Byron Bay.  Byron Bay was one of those destinations where my expectations were set high.  Among travelers and locals alike, the consensus on Byron Bay was that it was a really cool, unique beach town (right up my alley).  Arriving into town, what stood out most was the abundance of rainforest that crept up to the coastline, giving the area a distinct contrast of scenery and an untraditional feel compared to most beach towns. Byron Bay is well-known for surfing, providing an abundance of breaks ideal for longboarding.  Noteworthy is also the fact that it is the most easterly point in all of Australia.  Anyways, I ended up spending the days meandering the local beaches/unique shops and the nights, grabbing drinks with other travelers.  While not a very large city (you can probably walk from one side to the other in 10 minutes), it packed a good punch in terms of entertainment value.  And for those of you ladies that are into drinking and dancing on bars, picnic tables and other sorts of furniture, you can get your fair share in Byron Bay...just make sure you can balance in your heels.

Walking through Surfers and Broadbeach

Having initially bypassed the Gold Coast & Brisbane to first hit Byron Bay, I then made my way back North, staying in Surfer's Paradise and Broadbeach.  These two towns sit adjacent to one another and are very similar in nature (as is much of the Gold Coast), featuring an abundance of apartment buildings and skyscrapers set along the coast - the area is basically littered with them which at first seems cool, but at the same time, really takes away from any true city character in my opinion. With a name like Surfer's Paradise, it is no wonder that the area is a tourist destination (especially for Aussie's during school breaks).  With theme parks, skyscrapers, the beach and lots of clubs, it quite often is seen as the Vegas of Australia.  I ended up spending a few days in Surfer's catching a mix of sunny and rainy days and grabbed drinks a few nights with a group of German friends I met.  It was a cool area to check out, but to be honest, a few days there was more than enough. Following Surfer's Paradise, I caught a bus to a town 10 minutes down the coast known as Broadbeach.  Now Broadbeach is similar to Surfer's Paradise in appearance, but it is a little more upscale, catering to more locals and well-to-do tourists.  From the outset of my travels I hadn't anticipated staying in this area, but it so happened I was lucky to take advantage of a 1 week timeshare there, offering myself essentially a vacation from traveling (rough life I know).

View from Apt.

Now that might sound a little ridiculous, but after unpacking/packing consistently, sharing space and common facilities (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, etc..), I was grateful to be able to get away from that atmosphere and enjoy a place to myself offering privacy, relaxation and accommodation significantly larger than what I'd been experiencing while traveling or for that matter, even what I was used to in Hermosa Beach. Last on my Australian roadtrip was Brisbane.  For me, while I was interested in checking out downtown Brisbane to see what it offered, it truly just served as a layover for my final destination of this overall trip, Fiji.  One thing that was nice while in Brisbane was the opportunity to catch a couple US sporting events on TV (NHL & NBA playoffs).  Having missed out on March Madness and pretty much all of the NBA/NHL playoffs until this point, it was great to watch an American sport for the first time in about 4 months, though I did miss the atmosphere of catching the games at a local bar with friends back home.  Overall, I spent two nights in Brisbane and as I post this, I'm getting ready to head to Fiji for some island relaxation which will ideally provide a good combination of tropical beaches, tropical drinks, chicks in bikinis, volleyball, snorkeling and swimming with Mantarays.  It's going to be rough...

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