Saturday, December 21, 2013

The illustrated holiday


Just got back from a lovely holiday to Surfer's Paradise, a small city on Queensland's Gold Coast (north-eastern coast of Australia, all golden beaches and blue skies). Beautiful mild summer weather, perfect for beach and pool-going, and ironically we left a heat-wave back home.

We started with a visit to my mum and then my niece in Sydney, then flew north. I don't like heights and I'm not a good flyer but I did ok and it went smoothly. Given my fear of heights, I was a bit worried about our holiday apartment on the 33rd floor:
But I was fine. Admittedly I only went out on the balcony a couple of times. I loved lying on the bed looking out at this view!

The first afternoon we just hung around the hotel pool, which had a pirate ship waterslide. My daughter must have gone down it a hundred times.

The next day we walked to the beach. The surf was a bit rough so we stayed well within our depth and toyed with the waves and built sand castles. I spent quite a while sitting on the sand with waves washing over my legs. Very peaceful and lovely. Unfortunately, despite being covered in sunscreen and only being out for an hour, I got quite sunburnt in a distinct line on my shoulders and chest where my cossie had covered when I was putting the sunscreen on, but then the material must have moved down a little bit as I moved around. Burnt on the first morning! Curse my lily-white skin.

We stayed out of the sun in the middle of the day by going on an Aquaduck after lunch. This is a bus that goes into water (calm water, Surfer's Paradise is a long strip a few blocks wide with an ocean beach on one side and the broadwater on the other) and chuggs along beside the enormous houses of the rich and famous. I spotted a couple of dolphins. Then in the afternoon it was back to the hotel pool for more slides and then time in the indoor heated pool and spa.

Next day we went to Movieworld ("Hollywood on the Gold Coast!") which I think is like a miniature Disneyland. Rides, shows of motorbike stunt riding and precision car driving, a short 4D Ice Age movie where the chairs shake and water gets sprayed at you at appropriate moments, people wandering around in moviestar costumes. Willy Wonka, Marilyn Monroe etc. The kids loved it, not so much me. I didn't fit on the kiddie rides and the adult ones were much too scary for me. I got to try Ben & Jerry's ice cream which I was very interested in doing because it seemed to be so popular in the US but it was horrible! Some kind of chocolate variety - chocolate temptation I think. So sickly sweet and rich. It cost a fortune and I could hardly eat any of it. What a waste. However, the kids had a great day and Tim got to go on a couple of grown-up rides so it was a good day overall.

Another morning at the pool. We unwisely stayed out for more than two hours and this time poor Jasmine got quite badly burnt on the arms and Tim on his shoulders. We spent the hot after-lunch period playing putt putt golf (mini golf) in a sort of indoor warehouse space so we were out of the sun. We had planned to go to the beach in the late afternoon but couldn't risk any more time in the sun so it was back to the pool which was shaded by the building in the afternoon.

On our last full day we went to SeaWorld which was my favourite day. Sea-lion and dolphin shows, a SpongeBob Squarepants parade, more rides for kids and grown-ups (and I fit on the kids' ones), patting manta-rays, an enormous lagoon aquarium, a SpongeBob 3D movie (not as gimmicky as the 4D movie, but better), dinosaur island (not sure how that fits with the sea theme) and my favourite was Buccaneer Bay which involves sailing around a little bay in a pirate ship shooting water cannons at people on shore while they fire back. We got soaked! Awesome.
Dinosaur island, obviously.

Buccaneer Bay!

Dolphins showing off nose strength!
We tried really hard every day to avoid sunburn but I guess that was impossible unless we had stayed in the room all day. Jasmine's arms were exposed to more sun as we walked around SeaWorld and even Aiden, who has more olive skin, was a bit pink.
On the final morning the kids had one last quick swim before we packed up and flew home again. It turned out that we only played at the beach once, on the first morning, but we were near the beach many times walking to and from restaurants for lunch and other outings so we got to enjoy the sight and the sea-breeze without the sand in our cossies. 

We were exhausted at the end of every day and I usually crashed at the same time as the kids each night, straight after dinner. We ate out every meal except for two breakfasts of fruit and toast in our room, and also had snacks while out and about. I haven't weighed myself yet!
The flight back was a bit more trying as there was a bit of turbulence at the end. I spent the final couple of minutes hyperventilating and hanging on to the arm rests, in tears. But we got down safely.
I'm not in any of these photos because I took them with my iPhone, Tim also took lots of photos with an actual camera so I'm in some of those. I might post some after I've seen what they look like. Or not.
It was a really great holiday but I also love being home again. My own house, my own bed. Can't beat home. 

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