Gold Coast Day 5


On our final full day on the Gold Coast, we mainly wanted to go for a walk around the Grand Prix track, and get ready to leave early the next day.


In the morning, we saw whales from our apartment balcony. That was pretty cool. ;)


We also ended up doing a beach walk. The weather was gorgeous as always, and we had a lovely few hours out and about, wandering.


At some point this morning while we were getting ready, I said maybe we should try to organise a helicopter flight for today, as it was one of the “things you do” when you are on the Gold Coast, and it was something Sephyroth had never done before.


I called Seaworld Helicopters and managed to organise a flight for 4pm that afternoon. We very nearly missed out entirely, though. This was the only opening they had for the day.


It was fantastic. Those folks over there have everything running like clockwork, they know what they are doing and they are excellent at it. You can take as many photos as you want while in the helicopter, and they even have a spot where they get you to stand for a picture of yourself with the helicopter just behind you.


You do not have to pay for theme park entry – they have an office at the side of Seaworld, and a staff member comes and gets you and takes you to the helicopter area.


Here we are, coming back in to land. It felt like a great end to our Gold Coast holiday. But our trip was not over yet – we still had a night in Tamworth and two nights in Bathurst on the way home, plus almost two weeks more of time with Sephyroth before he flew back to the USA, during which we had a Canberra overnight trip planned to see the Doug Anthony AllStars, and my aunts and uncles were coming in from Adelaide for a local concert.

Next week – Gold Coast to Tamworth, with the most expensive hamburger lunch ever known to man, and a very annoying blue car with no place to overtake it, for over an hour.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 3

The colourful feet of Snoskred and Sephyroth.

The Thursday plan was – Tambourine Mountain – Skywalk – Tea and Niceties Lunch – Gallery Walk


Again we were awake at 5am. By 9am we were breakfasted, showered, dressed, and out the door. We headed up to Tambourine Mountain which is just over a 40km drive from the Gold Coast – probably the last 25km of that drive is quite windy and curvy.


I had done some research into bushwalks we could do here, there were quite a lot of free options. In the end given that Dreamworld was cancelled for us and unlikely to be reopened during our stay we decided to go for the “up money” option at just under $20 per adult which is Rainforest Skywalk.


We spent nearly an hour and a half walking, taking photos, and checking out the small but perfectly formed gift shop.


Lunch was at Tea and Niceties which I had also researched. For food I chose the BLT and added egg and cheese. Om nom nom!


For drinks the boys had an iced coffee. I forget what I chose – probably a cappucino – because their iced coffees were super memorable.


The gardens here were gorgeous and some lizards surprised us during our lunch.



Lunch was super delicious however there was a bit of an ordering drama which meant only one pie was delivered to the boys who had ordered one each. We had to wait a little longer for the second pie.


After lunch we took a walk along Gallery Walk. For me personally there were only two shops here that were worth the effort but I am super spoiled having Berry within a short drive of home. There was a glass studio which had gorgeous jellyfish paperweights sitting on top of LED spinners – and I still wish I had bought one.


I did buy a lovely bracelet from Crystal Mountain. It is the one with the round beads you can see in between my watch and my Swarovski bracelet. You can’t see it in the photo but it has gorgeous gold flecks in it.

With the boys having had enough of shops, we headed back to the Peninsula around 2pm, where we tried to come up with a plan for the next day. We decided on Currumbin Sanctuary – a place none of us had ever been before. It turned out to be one of the best days of the trip.

You will have to wait two weeks to know more about Currumbin, though, as I am taking a Christmas break next week. :)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 2


The original Wednesday plan –
If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=good & did not go to Dreamworld Tuesday –
Dreamworld –

If we did go to Dreamworld Tuesday –
q1 – morning view
Pacific Fair OR Harbour Town
q1 evening view
DINNER – In @ Peninsula


With Dreamworld now being closed, it was Pacific Fair for us today. Again we were up at the crack of dawn, 5am. We sat around for a bit just enjoying the beach views, had breakfast, got up and dressed. We were in no rush to go anywhere and just enjoyed hanging out and chatting. Around 10:30 we headed downstairs and went to the local owl store – the one who had the door problems the day before. When we got there, people were actually working on the doors. I guess the day before fix was only temporary. The Go cards cost us $10 each and meant we could ride as many times as we wanted for the day.

We decided to go towards the university and hospital end of the track first. Trams appear quite regularly and it was not a long wait before we could board. The strange part is the tap on and tap off. I would expect that to be on the tram itself however the tap device is actually located on the stations, not the trams. The tram is fun to ride. It goes pretty fast at times. The best part is being able to sit, relax, and watch the world go by out of the windows. It took us about an hour to complete the full tram ride and end up at Pacific Fair.


Recently Pacific Fair has experienced a refurbishment. They have put a lot of work in. However part of the charm of Pacific Fair – and the International Marketplace on Oahu in Hawaii – was the “market” feel of the outdoor area. That is all gone at *both* locations – the International Marketplace has undergone a massive overhaul just like Pacific Fair and both locations have added in a lot of “high end” Up Money type stores.


Our lunch destination was Grill’d. We really love their “healthy” burgers. On the way there, we discovered one of the few Australian locations of Bath and Body Works. It is quite a bit more expensive than the US version. It was the perfect time for lunch time, just after 12:30.


I chose the sliders – Classic Slider has grass-fed beef with cheese, mustard, pickle, tomato sauce & egg mayo. Vintage Slider grass-fed beef with aged cheddar, Spanish onion, relish & herbed mayo. These were both pretty good, but my personal favourite has to be – Beet Chick Slider which has chicken breast with beetroot, mint & herbed mayo.


We also got the tasting plate of chips to share. I had never considered Zucchini chips as a concept before but wow, they were pretty incredible.


After lunch we wandered around. It was a super hot day and quite a bit of the new Pacific Fair is outdoors without much in the way of shade, so going into the airconditioned stores was a welcome relief from the heat. Eventually all the hot-cold-hot plus the fact the boys sat out in the sun waiting while I went into places like Zara or Topshop or H&M ended with some cranky people, people feeling a bit unwell, and people feeling a bit blah overall.

I think we were all feeling a bit depressed about Dreamworld, the constant news coverage up there did not help us to cheer up, either. We were unsure what we wanted to do next but I felt like something sweet, so we headed to Cowch for a treat.


This place was cute, with all the cow udders hanging from the ceiling. It was kind of like a cow themed Max Brenner. I ended up choosing a cappucino because it was afternoon coffee time, the boys went for milkshakes.


After this, we decided it was time for one last lap of the shopping centre and then back to the tram to go home. The trip back to our hotel was around 15 minutes on the tram and we headed upstairs for a rest and to do the potatoes for dinner.

For dinner I wanted to put some cheese on the potatoes but discovered we did not have any. So Sephyroth and I went for a walk to Paradise Centre to get some cheese from Woolworths. This was the first time we had walked in this direction.


After dinner I remembered that there were night markets on the beach, so off we went for a quick stroll. Mostly it was “tatt” as my Mother would call it – people selling fake opal jewellery and pretending like it is real, general junk I would not want to buy. However there was also a guy making glass creations right there in his tent, and a few bits and pieces worth looking at, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time, though we did not buy anything.

After we were done, we headed to Gelatissimo for an icecream. It had been a very hot day. I chose the chocolate sorbet which is so delicious and icy cold. I can’t remember what the guys chose. We then did a walk around the Cavill Mall area, then back to our apartment for an early night. Because clearly nobody would be getting any sleep ins anytime soon. ;)

Next week – Thursday @ Tambourine Mountain.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Gold Coast Day 1


On Tuesday morning (25th October) we were surprised to wake up just before 5am. We really had no choice in the matter, as the moment the sun rose, there was too much light to sleep. Our today plan looked like this –

If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=bad –
q1 – walk from our hotel – sort Dreamworld passes.
Aldi on way home – Southport Park
DINNER – In @ Peninsula

If weather forecast for Wed/Fri=good
q1 – walk from our hotel – sort Dreamworld passes.
Harbour Town
Aldi – Southport Park.


Once we got up and went out to the lounge area to sit and wake up, the weather was absolutely gorgeous BUT we discovered that our American friend had not had a very good nights sleep. Which made the today plan very clear. You cannot go to the theme parks sleep deprived, it just will not work out well for anyone. So Harbourtown it was.

I had a quick shower then I went down to the local convenience store to get some milk for breakfast while the boys had their showers. As I approached the store I saw someone in black behaving very strangely and when I got to the store, it turned out this guy had abused the shop owner and then broken the doors to the store.

I could not get inside until the owner figured out a fix. He told me what happened and that he does not understand why people have to act this way, this is not the first time he has had some trouble. I bought some more expensive milk than I had intended, just because the guy was having a not great day. It was the Paul’s farmhouse gold which they add cream to, so it kind of looks like real cream on the milk.


We decided to go to Q1 to sort out our 7 day passes then Aldi, then see how we were doing. Just a note for those who are wanting to do 7 day passes etc, you can get these sorted out at Q1 rather than having to wait until you get to Dreamworld. They give you basically a ticket, which is valid for 7 days.

At Q1 I discovered that my previously known about vertigo has become a lot worse. While I loved the views from up there, I had a lot of trouble when I got too close to the windows and held onto the poles in order to feel safer and less like I was going to fall. The views were fantastic and we spent quite a bit of time up here taking photos and working out where things were and what we could see from up here.


A quick trip to Aldi – we had to detour around Paradise Island due to a poor lane choice. We just drove around it. This was not the only time we had to do this during our visit. I have to say the accommodation here looked quite interesting and I understand one of the resorts there is especially great for kids.

Managing to sort out our route, we went via Chevron Island to Aldi at Southport. Traffic was surprisingly heavy until we realised it was essentially peak hour – it was only 8:30am or so. It felt like we’d been up for hours. And we actually had. Thanks Queensland!


The apartment is self catering, so we knew ahead of time there is only a small amount of things like toilet paper supplied. On this occasion, unlike previous stays, we had no dishwashing powder or tablets supplied and no washing powder. I had brought our own from home. We went to Aldi in Southport and got paper towel, toilet paper, all the extra stuff one needs in a self catering apartment. We had our own car so this was easy for us to do.

For our dinners, the plan was to bbq each night with one exception, providing the BBQs seemed ok. Our second option was to use frypans in the room we were staying in, and that is the one we ended up going with. The BBQs were not especially clean at the Peninsula. I do recommend if you want to BBQ, bring along a BBQ mat..

We decided to use the large frypans in our apartment to cook our “BBQ” each night. I got two bulk packs of chicken which we cut up and I placed into a ziploc bag with lemon and lime juice and garlic infused olive oil to marinate.


I had brought Masterfoods pepper steak to shake onto the chicken, it is our favourite. Each night we would just take out the amount of chicken we needed. We also got some steak and sausages. I would parboil some potatoes and sweet potatoes and then put them in the oven either as roast potatoes with some spices I blended myself and/or with butter and cheese. I would cut up an avocado which we would have as the salad. Super simple but very tasty.

We went back to Peninsula and dropped off our groceries, had a quick lunch (sandwiches for some, protein shakes for others) then headed out to Harbourtown. WE LOVED THIS PLACE. It truly had something for everyone. The facilities are great, we went to the visitors lounge and got the discount card, I left the boys there to have coffee while I went to find the bathrooms which were beautifully clean.


From airplane models in the window of one of the lesser known worlds in Australia “Cuban Cigar World” to half price Swarovski bracelets to discount sporting team apparel at stores like BLK and ASICS to very reasonably priced books to Lindt chocolate where you can also get a coffee or shake, there really is a great variety of stores and items to be found here.

We could have easily spent a whole day here exploring the various stores. As it was, we spent a couple of hours happily browsing and found some great bargains. I did get a half price Swarovski bracelet.


My American friend who happens to be into Australian cricket found a bargain official Australian cricket t-shirt and a book of Formule One circuits. I found an Adelaide Crows training t-shirt for my Dad. We needed to pick up a good chopping board as our apartment did not have one, and we found a huge one for $15 at a kitchen place. It returned home with us and I wish I had picked up a couple more, it is great.


When we returned to our unit, we did some food prep for dinner, cutting up the two bulk packs of chicken, peeling potatoes and putting them on to boil. We decided a swim was in order. It had been a very hot day. We all got into our swim gear and headed down to the pool about 4:30pm, leaving our electronic devices safely locked in the unit safe.

As we walked into the indoor pool area, I heard a woman say to their child “Something happened at Dreamworld”. I mentally filed that away as something to check out later, and we enjoyed our swim, starting in the outdoor pool and then going into the indoor pool for a while. We were there for well over an hour. When we returned to the room, there were several somewhat panicked messages from my Mother on both my phone and my other half’s phone, asking were we all right and had we gone to Dreamworld.


We turned on the TV to find out what was going on and heard the very terrible news, that 4 people had been killed on one of the rides. My poor mother had been thinking it could have been us for a good couple of hours there, because she could not get in touch with us and our original plan had been to go to Dreamworld that day.

If we had gone to Dreamworld, that ride is definitely one we would have gone on. Though we would have chosen to ride it earlier in the day, we may not have been able to because there was a problem with it. They were saying the park would be closed Wednesday, and to be honest I do not think we would have wanted to go if it was open.


We were kind of in shock, that this could happen, and that it had happened on a ride two of us there had been on many times before, and that we could have been in the park queuing for – or even *on* the ride – when this happened. There was a small element of “this could have happened to us”, which was certainly something to think about.

We spent the rest of the evening cooking dinner, watching the news coverage, and trying to make a new plan for Wednesday. We decided to get Go Cards in the morning and then take the tram all the way to both ends of the track, then visit Pacific Fair and have lunch there.

I will tell you about Wednesday NEXT Wednesday! ;)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Peninsula Apartments, Gold Coast


A note about the accommodation – We had considered many different properties for this Gold Coast stay, but our family have long been loyal customers – since the 80’s – at the Peninsula Apartments for several reasons – we love the views from this building, we love the location, we like the fact that you get 2 bathrooms in a 2 bedroom apartment, and we love the pools here.

Oh, we have occasionally strayed for shorter stays – we tried out the Marriot because of the snorkelling lagoon, a couple of times we have been placed elsewhere for a work conference which was not our choice. But if we are here for a week or so, the Peninsula is our preferred option.

The Peninsula next to Q1

However I had been reading the reviews across the web and they were quite mixed. I was well aware that this is partly because the building is made up of apartments owned by different owners, so the decor, furniture and facilities vary greatly from apartment to apartment. They also have two levels of apartment – the deluxe and the basic. So that can cause the review variation as well.

As we arrived late we had to retrieve our keys from the night box, which was easily done. The keys came with directions to our carpark including a map. Even so we struggled to find it because we did not understand there are two levels and we were looking on the wrong level. It had been a long day, and everyone was getting tired. We did eventually figure out where we needed to go, found the carpark, unpacked the car, and headed up to our room, 13F.


We had hoped we would get a great apartment, but what makes up a great apartment? The one we did get had amazing views even on the 13th floor. As I sit here typing this on the lounge, I can see ocean and beach from every window. Does that make up for the fact that the furniture is probably as old as the building, which was built in 1982?


Does that make up for the fact that the cleanliness is not exactly optimal? The floor needs a good steam mopping as a matter of urgency. Someone needs to walk on the tiles with bare feet, otherwise staff will not realise how sticky and awfully dirty they are.The carpets desperately needed to be replaced in our room. The bathrooms are functional and perfectly fine, though they are getting on in years too.


The kitchen was functional but very old. The appliances were also very old, except for the fridge and cooktop which was younger than the other appliances. The laundry had a new washer but a very old dryer that only dries half the amount of the washing – 7kg front load, 3.5kg dryer.


There were no blackout curtains. Every morning we woke with the sun. On the one hand that is fantastic because we are on holiday and would like to be up super early. On the other hand, Queensland does not have daylight saving. When we stayed we woke up 5am on the dot every morning. It has taken us 2 weeks to get back to waking up at a more normal time.


The beds and pillows were comfortable. The bedroom set was very old. There were two large leather couches in the lounge room, when in the room this is where we spent much of our time as the view from them was spectacular.

The dishwasher is definitely from 1982 – it is an old dial dishlex which is so old even the dishlex logo has vanished. On our second day we put the dishwasher on when we went out – as our one experience with it thus far taught us this thing was incredibly noisy! – and returned home to find the floors were covered in water. It seemed to us like the dishwasher seals had failed.


Now I want to make it very clear and make sure they receive the praise they deserve – the staff here are fantastic and trying to do their best with the property they have. Every interaction with staff was a positive experience. Well done team, you are awesome. Every day when we went through reception they were burning some gorgeous scented candles there, it smelled amazing.

When we discovered the dishwasher was malfunctioning, I went to the front desk and saw Sharon, who immediately followed me upstairs to check out what was going on, and she called out the appliance guy to attend the next day. She brought along some towels which we placed in front of the unit so we could still use it without water going everywhere.


That night we found someone had removed the arm from the middle shelf of the dishwasher which was sending a large stream of water directly to the bottom of the dishwasher. They had put the arm in the under sink cupboard. Once we replaced it, the amount of water leaking out reduced significantly.

The appliance guy felt that someone had used dishwashing detergent in the unit which was causing a lot of sudsing to occur. Well I hate to be the one to tell you this, appliance guy, but my personal suspicion is, all that stuff is what the seals are meant to keep inside the dishwasher. If they were functioning. It was not all sudsy water coming out, we were getting a lot of plain water too. Which given the unit is 34 years old, it has done extremely well to last this long, but there comes a time when the owners need to just buy a new one.


We kept the towels in front of the unit for the remainder of our stay. The dishwasher was still leaking but it never was as bad as the first day.


The BBQs were a bit dirty, so if you were going to cook on them I would recommend using a BBQ mat.

There is an IGA a couple of streets over towards Cavill Ave, and there is a Woolworths in the Paradise Center along Cavill Ave, for people who need to pick up extra items.


With all that said, no amount of old appliances and unclean floors can take away from the great location and the amazing view. You can just put some socks on and enjoy the view. We did see whales from the balcony.

Even so, it is probably time for us to try out a new Gold Coast Home Away From Home. We will be sad to move on, because we have loved staying at the Peninsula for so many years.

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016

Sydney to Gold Coast


Monday 23rd October was another absolutely gorgeous day for travelling.


Officially on the road just after 8am, we wanted to go via the Sydney Harbour Bridge which none of us had ever driven over. Of course we picked the worst possible time of day to do this, but it did not add too much to the trip time when we checked it vs the other possible route.


Once we got over the bridge, we set the next waypoint for Heatherbrae Pies near Newcastle, and we were there by 10:30am. All the way to Newcastle, there was this white Hyundai i30 which would slow down so we would overtake it, then they would speed up and overtake us, then they would slow down and we would overtake them again..

It is actually pretty rare for any one vehicle to be near our car for longer than 10-15 minutes. We were sure they would stop at Heatherbrae too, but they did not and drove off never to be seen again by us. Overall the Hyundai i30 was the most overtaken vehicle during our trip. There are a lot of these out on the roads.


The boys chose the Ned Kelly pie and I had the bacon quiche which was very yummy. There was a slice of tomato hidden in the bottom, FYI those who do not like tomato. The boys had ordered milkshakes which seemed to take forever to arrive and when they did arrive, they were not in takeaway cups, so this extended our stop slightly.


Back on the road we set the next waypoint of The Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. I wanted me that chocolate covered frozen banana! We did also have to stop for fuel on the way. The banana was everything I hoped it would be. One fellow traveller chose the frozen banana as well, the other chose the banana bread. The kitchen was closed as it was about 3:30pm by the time we arrived.

On the way we saw some of the motorsport trucks heading back down the coast after the Gold Coast 600. Sephyroth always has the camera ready, and he got a shot of the Erebus convoy.


I had packed plenty of car snacks so we were all set for snacks and the pie/quiche was an early lunch. The boys got hungry again near Grafton and we stopped at the Transit Centre which I am not sure we would return to. I had heard great things but the reality did not live up and at the time we were there the restaurant was not open.

If we were planning this trip a second time, I would plan an overnight stop on this drive. We’ve done it before as a day drive, but it is a long day and my other half loves driving and truly enjoys it, plus we have a Ford Focus X-R5 turbo which makes it awesome. I would not suggest doing this trip in one day to anyone else. Especially not overseas tourists. :)


As the sun was setting we saw a lot of kangaroos in fields near the roads and I began to worry somewhat about that. Where we live, I know where the roos hang out and where to avoid, I did not know that for where we were at dusk and I think that is somewhat vital info.

Luckily no wildlife jumped in front of us, and we made it safely to the Gold Coast around 8:30pm – having lost an hour at the border. So 9:30pm AEDT. I think our American friend did pretty well this day, he did not fall asleep very much along the way. Around 7pm he took a nap for about an hour.

Next week – I will tell you about our apartment at Peninsula Apartments. The view was pretty awesome. The other stuff, not quite so great.


(Apologies this is late, I meant to finish this yesterday afternoon but obviously plans did not go as planned)

Gold Coast, Snoskred Travels 2016, Sydney