We got the opportunity to justify a holiday to the gold coast! My Sister-in-law was having a housewarming, after buying an apartment in Brisbane, and we would be flying up secretly to surprise her. But we decided we would get the flight up there to the gold coast instead, and a few days early, and have a little holiday first.
So we got up at the ungodly hour of 6am and drove off to be sandwiched in peak hour traffic for nearly 2 hours to get to the airport… Had just enough time to get through the line to drop off the suitcase, grab some sushi at the airport for breakfast, and get on the plane (normally we leave plenty of time, but traffic was terrible!)
When we got to Gold Coast (at 11) we’d decided to get a taxi to Surfers where we were picking up the hire car (which ended up costing just over $50, so in hindsight, we should have slummed it on the bus)…
The car I’d hired? (yes, note the *I*)….
In case you live under a rock and don’t know.. I have a thing for Jeeps (Well, only the army Jeep type ones like the Wrangler, I don’t like the Cherokee or other kinds). I think it comes from growing up watching MacGyver driving around in a Jeep, and things like MASH. I don’t know why I find them so appealing, but I absolutely adore them. A Jeep Wrangler and a ’76 Corvette Stingray are my dream cars.
So when there was talk of hiring a car…. and hubby had stupidly made an offhanded comment that he wasn’t able to find any Jeep hire places in Melb and had only seen them on the Gold Coast…. the conclusion was obvious! 🙂 Faced with the prospect of hiring a “normal” car, or a beloved Jeep…. of course I was going to go the Jeep! It was only about $10-$20 more per day than a “normal” car, so I figured it was worth spending that to allow me to drive my dream car. (I’ve been a passenger in one before, but not driven one)
Of course, it took a little while to get used to…. Firstly I’m so used to driving a manual car now, and this was an auto, so every time I got to traffic lights, I had to remember I didn’t have to change gears. The other problem was that I’m used to there being a right hand indicator on the right side of the wheel, and a left on the left…. This had the left stick for the indicators (down=left, up=right) and the wipers on the right. So for the first day, almost every time I went to turn right, I washed the windscreen *ahem*
The other thing I found highly amusing…. When we were looking at the Jeep (for the condition report), I noticed the driver door opened out more fully than the passenger one. As in the passenger one would stop opening when it got to a certain point – the driver one would go past there. I didn’t think too much of it, because I’d only really noticed because there was a van next to the Jeep, and we had to hold the door to stop it banging into the van…. But when we’d driven off and parked in a carpark (so I could check out a Japanese grocery store in Southport), I realised you had to keep hold of the door, or it would swing open all the way – to touch the front of the Jeep… So I had a closer look, and found that there is a webbing strap that hooks over a little metal bar – that’s what they use to keep the door from opening too far (I don’t know why – I presume so you could take the doors off? so it’s got a different hinge to a regular car)…. And what had happened is that the strap for the driver’s door was snapped. So…. me, being me… I happened to have a container of safety pins in my handbag.. so I set about fixing the strap….
I MacGyvered my Jeep!
Before you start… yes, *my* Jeep…. it was *my* Jeep for the duration of my hire of it 😛
Right… so Jeep strap fixed, Japanese shop visited (disappointingly it had no real bento supplies as I’d hoped, but I did pick up some multicoloured noodles and some furikake)… we headed off to our hotel to check in.
After trying to find suitable accommodation online (cheap but fairly decent), we settled on Royal Palms Resort in Palm Beach. (the taller one)… I’ve marked where I think our apartment was. We were on the 11th floor. The hotel next to it seems to be somewhat connected – same design, they share an entrance…
I’d seen pics online, and they shows a lot of variance in the furnishings of the room – They seem to be owned by different people and decorated individually, so I was pleased ours was nice, I was expecting it to be decorated in that old fashioned cane stuff with gaudy prints.
The lounge and master bedroom had a balcony (The single bed room was between them) And there was a bathroom + ensuite. Nice!
The blankets were that gorgeous coral fleece… We had one too (in the wardrobe), so we took the blue beadspread thing off and used the fleece blanket – not that we really needed a blanket, the room kept it’s heat because the sun hits the front windows all day
The view straight out from our balcony. When the pool area wasn’t being demolished (more on that below), you were supposedly able to walk through a gate onto that grassy area by the beach. But we had to go out the front, and down the side street to get there. Still not far, and beautiful view.
Looking right – The beach continues around to an inlet on the other side (behind that hotel in the background). We wanted to go walking down there, but we didn’t have time 😦
And… looking down from the balcony… onto the beautiful serene lagoon pool, with it’s waterslide and poolside bar….
… that had been ripped up…
They called us about a week before we left, to say they were refurbishing their pool, so it would be unable to be used – and that they would arrange for us to have access to their sister-hotel’s heated pool instead. Annoying, since I’d really liked the look of their pool, and it had a waterslide… but since it wasn’t heated, the heated pool next door seemed a better option. (Even though as it happened, we never got a chance to use it)
Unfortunately what I didn’t consider was that it would mean there would be jackhammers and backhoes and stuff happening all day – starting at about 6:30am…. I’m actually a bit pissed off that they didn’t have that mentioned on the “wotif” site we booked through, as we booked only a week before, and they would have known they were redoin the pool long before then. We had been looking at another place which sounded perfect, until I read in the description that their pool was being refurbished and that there would be construction noise etc. and we decided not to book there, because I’ve lived on the Gold Coast in an estate that was being built, and I knew they start work at the crack of dawn…
So knowing in advance so we could choose to book there or not would have been nice (we wouldn’t have booked had we known), but… anyway…. it did spoil the view somewhat, and was mildly annoying (we didn’t want to keep the balcony door open because of the noise, and it contributed to us waking up too early)… but all things considered, it was still a good place.
So.. by then it was about 2pm, and we’d not had lunch yet. So we decided to go get some rolls and sandwich makings and eat at the beach.
To give you some idea of how terrible their underground carpark was though (cramped and awkward)…. we had the option of walking about 3 blocks to the supermarket (and walking back again with bags of groceries) or driving in the beloved Jeep…. and I’m not the biggest fan of exercise…. yet *I* actually suggested we walk! 😀
So, we got our groceries. Hubby and I were too hungry to wait to walk to the beach to eat, so we ate in the apartment, but MiniObsi took hers to the beach, eating it as she paddled…. then we lived dangerously and let her swim only moments after eating 😛 It was cold, so I refused to go in (and hate being photographed so I’ve artfully cropped myself out of these shots lol)
Then we went back to the apartment and had a little rest, before getting dressed up and driving down to Murwillumbah to have dinner with some of our gaming friends. Being our only night that was really free, it wasn’t the best night for a dinner (Tues), especially as we found out when the RSL we’d planned to eat at was actually closed on Tuesdays in winter…. But we found somewhere else (a pub) and that was fine.
I should also mention at this point that the other little Jeepey niggles surfaced that night – the first being I didn’t know how to turn the lights on, as the high beams were on when I turned them on, and I couldn’t figure out how to get that off, so after washing the windscreen a couple more times, and driving with only the park lights, I eventually figured it all out 🙂
(At least it wasn’t as weird as my old Torana – the highbeams on that was a button on the floor you stepped on to activate lol)…
and we’d had the interior lights (on the mirror) on so we could read maps… but could not figure out how to turn them off… so we’re sitting in the carpark (luckily waiting for someone, so we weren’t being too annoying to everyone), trying to read the car manual and work out how to turn the damned lights off. I think in the end you needed to have had the keys in the ignition to turn the lights off, or something stupid like that.
So.. lovely evening meeting people in real life that we’ve only talked to online 🙂 and we drove back, gawked at the lovely view from our balcony again, and went to bed – Exhausted from our long day.