Saturday, January 13, 2018

48 Hours in the Gold Coast

Trip date: February 2017

I flew from Melbourne, after a great but too short visit with friends, to Australia's Gold Coast to meet Rachel who was there on business. The Gold Coast seems like a seaside Las Vegas, or like Orlando. Lots of high-rise hotels, conference centers, theme parks, and cheesy restaurants. But any time for me near a beach is a good time, so I was happy when Rachel invited me to come and share her room at the Sofitel Hotel on Broadbeach.

It was a flat taxi rate of $55 from the airport to Broadbeach. I tossed my bags in the room upon arriving and hit the beach for a nice walk while Rachel attended a conference. The beach is very pretty but strangely has no shops or cafes that line it, just apartment buildings. I would have loved to sit with a glass of wine and enjoy the view!

Instead, I headed “inland” a few blocks and grabbed an outdoor table at a random restaurant on the main drag Surf Parade. I ordered a margarita, which was horrible, and some skewers, which were ok. Disappointed, I left after round one in search of something better.

Hank Ginbar. Now this was more my speed! A nice list of gins and a bartender happy to make me a cold martini. We started chatting, the chef sent out a few bites, and the bartender started giving me tastes of some gins I hadn't had, including this Australian one with Butterfly Pea which is a flower that turns the gin purple!
Rachel met me and after another round, we wandered and chose a random restaurant for dinner. Strangely a lot of places stopped serving dinner after 9pm.

We got up early the next morning for a 3-mile walk on the beach. It was sunny and already quite warm by 7am. The beach was littered with Blue Blubber Jellyfish, which can get to 1 1/2 feet large!
The rest of my morning was spent working, indulging in the huge breakfast buffet that the hotel put out (which included dumplings!), and then sunning myself by the pool until mid-afternoon. Ahhhhh!
I finally ventured out of the hotel, found a cheap salon for a mani/pedi, and then did a bit of shopping at a few of the cute boutiques I passed.

Rachel and I met back up at Hank for predinner drinks, where they again were absolutely wonderful to us and again sent out tasty treats from the kitchen. Hank is sadly closed now or I'd tell you to go there when in Broadbeach.
We had an absolutely fantastic dinner that night at Etsu Izakaya.  The only signage out front of the barn-like doors is a red lantern, making it almost hidden in plain sight. Inside, the space was dimly lit with a bar full of Japanese whisky and a menu filled with delicious Japanese food! This is a must-eat-at restaurant if you are on the Gold Coast!

We had another early morning beach walk the next day before packing and being picked up by a private car for an hour drive to Brisbane. We were meeting friends for a big girl's trip to an island in the Great Barrier Reef! I couldn't wait!!!

Gold Coast photos here.

Other posts from this trip: 
The Longest Way to Oz
An American Down Under
Meet Up in Melbourne
Yarra Valley Wine Tasting
Welcome to Fantasy Island

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