When the borders finally open – Gold Coast adventures, Part I

We were extremely grateful we had a wonderful 2.5 weeks in New Zealand in January. It turned out to be our last overseas (or any) holiday before Covid-19 put a stop to any travel. With Australian state borders finally starting to open we now have the option of doing some domestic travel.

During October, we as ACT residents, were able to travel by air to Queensland (no such luck for our over the border buddies in New South Wales). There also wasn’t the option of driving as the road borders were still closed (we really do live in strange times!). Luckily we picked up some decent priced flights up to the Gold Coast, direct from Canberra. So a short getaway for the end of October/start of November was planned.

The little frequent flyers were busting to get back to the airport and on a plane. Air travel has been frequent for them up until this year. Zinnia could barely remember flying and this was going to be her last flights before we needed to start paying for her own seat.

Luckily the 737 had barely 40 passengers (so we had half the plane to ourselves). Air travel was slightly different with the addition of masks and copious amounts of hand sanitiser. Plus the need to go through the immigration/international arrivals to have have our border declaration passes checked.

Once officially allowed into the Sunshine State, we collected our bags, picked up the hire car and with car seats and kids installed, it was a 20 minute drive to Broadbeach, where we were staying 5 nights at the Qube. Our 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom apartment on the 33rd floor had magnificent views, and was plenty big enough for us to hang out in comfort for the 5 days, enjoying sunshine, food and plenty of swimming.

The kids were happy to eat every meal on our balcony! Less mess to clean up and they were happy as clams. Especially with all the delicious Queensland fruit to consume.

The sunset and night time views were pretty spectacular. We were glad we didn’t pay for the upgraded ‘ocean view’ as the views on our side didn’t disappoint and the kids spent endless hours watching the trams go past in front of our building.

The balcony also proved popular for storm watching. We got plenty of those too!

Luckily after the storms came some warm sunshine and impressive sunsets, so no complaints really! When the views are this good, hanging around in an apartment eating and watching the sunset isn’t so bad…….

The kids made the most of the Qube pool. They are all part fish, and would live in a pool given half the chance. Despite it being a fairly big apartment building we often had the pool to ourselves or only a few other people – who normally fled from the noise in short order.

The views from the pool weren’t half bad either. Astrid, who you’d think would be pleased to have a couple of weeks off swimming training, insisted on wearing her training cap and doing some laps!

With a storm ruining our chances of making it to the beach on our first day, we had instructions from the kids to make it down the second day. A short five minute walk from the apartment it wasn’t too much effort to wander down complete with all the sand castle building paraphenalia.

Mid-week the beach wasn’t exactly overly populated. We almost had it to ourselves sometimes! We really are lucky here in Australia to have such beautiful beaches……

The water wasn’t to bad temperature wise. As usual there were some strong currents so it was a short paddle and plenty of sandcastles.

Soon the darkening skies were having us packing up, before flashes of lighting had us heading back to the apartment in a jiffy…….

It turned out to be another impressive storm, and certainly better viewed from the apartment than the beach!

When we weren’t at the beach the kids were happy to swim non-stop. Zinnia is quite a fan of practicing her water skills. Duly encouraged by her older siblings!

Astrid and Soren were constantly racing each other and their parents (pretty sure she is faster than me some of the time) and generally having plenty of fun in the water.

There of course had to be the official ‘throw the child in the air’ photos. Zinnia is a fan! The others are required to jump on their own these days….

Who needs school when you can swim in sunshine all day!

It hadn’t escaped the kids notice that there were more than a few gelato shops within a 2 minute walk. The gelato was pretty impressive. When you can’t be in Italy, this was going to have to do! Zinnia definitely knows what to do with icecream these days……

While we copped a few afternoon storms the beach was the place to be in the morning! Beaches with less sand and more relaxing are more my style, but the kids love getting sand everywhere and jumping in the waves.

Zinnia was not at all phased by the coolish water and repeatedly getting dunked by waves. She thought it was hilarious and had excellent wave jumping lessons from her bigger siblings…..

The only problem was dragging them all away from the waves and the sandcastles. It’s exhausting for parents but the kids are happy to play all day. The warm sun meant a couple of hours was our limit despite sunscreen, rashies and hats, but try telling that to the 1 year old!

While the weather was generally sunny between storms, we did cop ferocious winds a couple of days, which made even swimming in the pol near impossible! An escape to nearby parks was in order. Swings and slides were popular with all three kids.

Zinnia even had her first flying fox experience! Not willing to let Astrid and Soren have all the fun.

The wind was so bad the beach was not the place to be, even for a weekend it was fairly deserted. The photos do not show the ferocity of the 70km/h winds. A few brave people were happy to brave getting sand blasted in their faces. We stuck to parks, walks and takeaway Japanese!

Luckily after the afternoon storms had passed, it was still warm enough for an evening swim. The kids were happy to swim and enjoy a BBQ in the pool area, watching the sun go down. The adults were keener on wine and relaxing, but we lost!

While I think we only copped a storm 4 days out of 5 we were in Broadbeach, the Saturday afternoon storm was mighty impressive. Fourteen centimetre hail and a SMS from the emergency services telling us to take shelter immediately due to life threatening conditions. We watched a little from our apartment and high tailed it to the Pacific Fair shopping centre in between storm cells going over, for some retail therapy and hot salted caramel donuts!

By the time we returned the sunset was glorious, and the weather forecast perfect for the next few days!

After watching the impressive post-storm sunset, we made the most of our final night in Broadbeach and had a wander to see the Christmas lights Despite it being the end of October, Christmas decorations were up everywhere!

The apartment was located in an awesome spot, we could walk to pretty much everywhere and there were so many fabulous restaurants within a 1-10 minute walk that we couldn’t choose. While the beaches weren’t that full, the restaurants were certainly busy at night (less so during the day). In this Covid-era world you need to book everything but we had plenty to choose from and so many fabulous meals. I realised when I got home I didn’t take a single food photo for once (too busy eating). We had fabulous tepanyaki, sushi train, Spanish and a few meals and Asian fusion restaurants. The kids also got their fish and chips!

For our last day in Broadbeach, we awoke to a beautiful blue sky, no wind and plenty of sunshine. The kids voted for 1 last beach outing before we needed to pack up and head off to our next stop. Off to the beach we went, and the weather had the beach absolutely packed!

Nippers were in full swing and we certainly didn’t have the place to ourselves. The kids didn’t care and we all had a great time in the water and getting covered in sand yet again!

With check out time approaching we had to extract the kids from their happy place once again. There were of course protests, but luckily the next few days were going to be kid heaven – we were staying at SeaWorld and visiting theme parks. It was certainly an experience in a pandemic, the lack of international and even Australian tourists made for a unique time, but more about that, and plenty of photos soon.

For now we gave Broadbeach a big tick for relaxed fun, stormy weather and all! Anto and I hadn’t been to the Gold Coast in years and we can safely say that it has improved, fabulous beach, much better food, great hotel and a lot less tourists made for a great time with the kids.

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