Surfers Paradise., Gold Coast
"I always thought of the Gold Coast as a place of harmony, sunshine, partying and surf but while on our recent holiday there I witnessed a lot more. Sure they have the surf, the partying and the sunshine but we saw no sign of harmony in fact I put it close to disarray. The place is dirty, tacky and dated. The streets are littered with trash, graffiti tagging is rife and youths are snarling at you on every corner. We really didn't feel safe outside the hotel after dark".
On the Gold Coast pre paid tourist deals that are usually paid before departure will take you shopping in specially prepared shops designed just for you. These shops are in the outer areas and are away from the local shops where the prices are much cheaper.
We see bus loads of tourists taken by Asian tour companies to these outer locations daily.
These shops will pay a heavy commission to the tour operator to drive you there. This means the price will be more expensive for you.
ALSO DO NOT PAY MONEY TO WALK ON OUR BEACHES! OUR BEACHES ARE FREE!! Tour companies may charge you to go to the beach and walk to the water. This is FREE for everbody.
Unique Suggestions: Please ask if you can also shop in the local shopping centres and areas where the locals frequent. Ask your operator to do this for you. You will meet friendly locals who will sell you your requirements at usually cheaper prices.
Fun Alternatives: Ask to walk the streets of Surfers Paradise for some shopping.
Other good places to shop are; Australia Fair shopping centre, Pacific Fair shopping centre and Harbour Town shopping centre.
Don't shop at Surfer's Paradise, if you can help it. I made it a point to ask the cashier in the hotel where the locals would go for their shopping and I was recommended the Pacific Fair. I wasn't disappointed. Despite the shops looking up-market, the prices for souvenirs were so much more competitive than at Surfer's. Even the Copenhagen Ice-cream. A double scoop of ice-cream in a cone cost me AUD5 at Pacific Fair while a similar scoop at Surfer's cost me AUD5.90.
Be careful. You might buy a shuttle ticket to and fro the airport when you arrive. if you do and you're staying for a while it's fine. But if you're in for a quick trip, it's a scam. You need to book 48hours prior to your departure so if you weren't immediately aware of that (it's written somewhere in the brochures they give you but considering your mind will be too busy trying to get as much done in a short span of time, this may escape you as it did me) you won't get to book a service for the day you are leaving. to be safe, just get a cab to the airport when you leave if you're just staying for a few days. less headaches and no money wasted.
Watch out for people in Surfers Paradise (namely at the Chevron Renaissance) who offer you "free" prizes. They are just time share scamers trying to get you into their seminars. You have to sit through a 2 hour session with a salesman trying his best to suck you into handing over alot of money, before they will give you your prize, which is not worth it anyway (a bottle of wine or a "holiday"). Trust me, I've been there and done it!!
Unique Suggestions: If you don't mind wasting 2 hours for a bottle of wine or some dodgy holiday, go for it.
Fun Alternatives: I suggest to just say no to the prize, and just keep walking.
A lot of people think that the Gold Coast stops with Surfers Paradise but there are so many other better places to see. Please get a map and see as much as you can.
Unique Suggestions: There is plenty to see in Surfers Paradise so have lunch or something there are quite a few nice cafe's and reataurants.
Fun Alternatives: Head down south towards the border there isn't as much down there in the way of shopping centers and highrises but the scenery is a lot better.
Nearly every tourist shop in Surfers Paradise - by tourist shops I mean: Opal Shops, Souveniour Shops, etc. They are just such a rip-off. Places charging a fortune for little stuffed koala toys, etc - if you want some real Australian mementos - please visit the markets - either the Carrara Markets on Saturdays and Sundays, or the Markets along Surfers Paradise on a Friday night.
Surfers Paradise - I put this here because a lot of tourists go to Surfers and thing that's what the Gold Coast is all about. Surfers is very commercial and unless you want shopping, clubs and lots of tourists, don't make it the only stop on the coast. Surfers Paradise beach is fairly average, so make sure tyou venture further south to see the beauty of the Gold Coast. this pic is taken from Point Danger on the Tweed Coast.
Well, from my intro it is no secret that I think Surfers Paradise is a TOURIST TRAP. Full of overpriced shops maily owned by Japanese and Asian people, Surfers is slowly beginning to become a 'nicer' place to visit.
Although the night life is supposed to be its highlight, it can get pretty dirty, nasty and down right scary after 1am. Best to stick to one of our many lovely resturants and a fling at the casino.
I must admit, Surfers now has Friday night markets along the esplande and there is a new shopping complex called the Rennaisance that is quite beautiful.
I guess it is the place to stay due to all the hotels, but if you want my advice stick to Broadbeach or some of the lovely apartments at Main Beach.
The pistol shooting place on the Cavill Mall is way too expensive. Don't do too much touristy stuff with the touristy organisations. They overcharge. Ask the locals where to go, the surfies are usually friendly.