- Brisbane – Surfers Paradise
- Birthday celebrations
I now had a real life friend in Emily to travel Australia with. Unlike New Zealand, I had met very few people travelling Australia alone. Not only this, but I also had a friend with me for my birthday which made it 10x better!
We pulled up in Surfers Paradise (again, Aussie name but actually less surfing occurs here than you’d think; more partying surfers than surfing surfers), and jumped on the shuttle bus to our hostel, where we let it slip that my birthday was the following day.
First on the agenda was food, so we set off to find the supermarket in town and used it as a way to explore the main streets of Surfers. On the way back to the hostel, we were collared by a promoter of a bar crawl on that evening. At first we were dubious but the price came right down, and included food, club entry and free drinks in each place, so we purchased our tickets from the guy with the good eyebrows and went back to make lunch.
We had to wait an hour for our room and once it was ready, found it to be pretty small and stuffy but a bed is a bed. What we hadn’t bargained for was the gross ill girl festering in the corner, spluttering her germs across literally anything in the way. The more time we could spend out of her way the better! We needed to be healthy for birthday and Christmas celebrations.
That afternoon we went to the beach which was absolutely packed, and attempted to top up our tans, although the sun had other plans. I actually found it cold at one point and had to put my clothes back on! We didn’t stay too long as our evening started relatively early and therefore were back at the hostel, showering and dolling up a few hours later.
First up for the night was at a place called Melbas where we had a BBQ buffet, beer, and played a few rounds of flip cup resulting in more free drinks (because we were/are winners). From Melbas, we crossed the road to Beer Garden for more free alcohol and beer pong. Em and I had just had a hilarious conversation about my future surname needing to be more exotic than ‘Kent’ as ‘Gabriella’ is Italian. Our drunk options were ‘Bolognese’, ‘Tagliatelle’ and ‘Risotto’, and we therefore became Team Bolognese for beer pong.
First off we comfortably beat two Swedish guys and then fenced off the Asians in the semi finals, coming back from 3-1 down to win. Our final was against 3 Australian basketball players and both teams had 1 cup to go but alas, they beat us to the win. However, we were still #winners because they shared their free drinks with us since we were such fierce competition (and also female).
The next stop was at a venue called ‘Avenue’ where it was karaoke night. Some other irrelevant girls beat us to singing ‘Wannabe’ again so we chose instead to dance and sing along to our own versions of the songs at the back of the club, along with one of the bar crawl promoters, Ash. This seemed to attract attention so that we quickly made more friends in the form of Will and Jake, two members of the Aussie navy.
The last venue was at the club SinCity, where we danced for the next hour or so until it reached midnight. On the chime of the hour, i.e. my birthday, Will bought me various celebratory drinks before the four of us, having been drinking since 6.30pm, returned for an after party at the boys apartment. And boy could we not have chosen better friends to make that night as their apartment was 14 floors high, overlooking the beach, decked out with fancy furniture and decor. When we arrived at the apartment block, I sat in the lobby pretending to be posh because it was just an incredible place!
The evening continued to be filled with music, dancing, a taxi taken though McDonald’s drive-thru, baileys, and all kinds of funny chats until Em and I eventually returned back home on 3 hours sleep. And at this point it was time to FaceTime home for birthday family time and card opening.
After the call home, a guy named Josh came around the hostel trying to get people to go on his tour in to the rainforest. We spoke to him for a while, told him it was my birthday, and made a deal to go if he could take us for breakfast first. It turned out to be such a good idea as we had our own private 1/2 day tour and a great breakfast spot. This was followed by a natural water slide in to the rock pools of a rainforest creek and a wonder around the forest, a stop-off at an organic honesty-box farm and farm shop which overlooked the entire Gold Coast and passed the border to New South Wales, and then on to spot wild kangaroos which let us come within 2m of them before Josh ripped up some grass and scared them all off!
We got Josh to drop us back at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to continue the birthday fun. The sanctuary had all kinds of Australian wildlife from koalas and kangaroos to the Tasmanian devil and crocodiles. We wondered around in awe of the crocodiles, stood for ages watching the baby koalas on their mums back and fed and stroked the kangaroos. The tiredness was definitely hitting us by this point and as we left the sanctuary at 3.30pm, seeing the beach right in front of us, we knew that our next few hours would be spent napping on the Currumbin part of the Gold Coast: a much quieter spot than at Surfers.
When we woke two hours later, the sun had gone in and the breeze picked up so it made sense to head back to surfers on the bus. Having had such an action packed day, our stomachs were also beginning to rumble and the seafood platter and cheesy garlic bread at a local restaurant did more than suffice in attending to my birthday dietary needs.
Em was still very much at the “hit the wall” stage of her hangover so she napped whilst I showered and got ready before we had a few drinks in the hostel lounge. Neither of us were after a wild night considering the night previously but it was still my birthday and celebrations were trquired. The staff knew it was my birthday and tried to encourage me to drink a sh*t cup (essentially as much vodka and rum in one cup as you can), to which we snuck out the back of the hostel and in to town to avoid this!
We found a cute little rooftop bar overlooking the beach to have some cocktails at before heading back home around 11pm. After a lovely chat with one of the hostel staff, we eventually climbed in to bed to the sound of the festering girl spluttering in the corner, and were out like lights almost as soon as our heads hit the pillows. My birthday was action-packed, hungover and a lot of fun.
We checked out pretty early doors the next morning and head off to Byron Bay for the last stop before reuniting with my gal pals in Sydney!
So, 51 days in to ‘life from a bag’ and I am another year older (23 say whaaaat), have had another birthday to definitely remember (actually double birthday since I had both an Oz and UK one and celebrated a day earlier here too), and am still absolutely loving life here in Australia. Next up, Christmas!