Dan’s friend Liz hosted us for four days south of Brisbane in the Gold Coast and was an excellent tour guide. On our first afternoon she showed us around to the various beaches and towns lining the Gold Coast. We had heard from other travellers that Gold Coast would be trashy, but it turns out that this is limited to the city of Surfer’s Paradise, home to the sort of clubs, hostels, and people that can make beach towns unbearable. The smaller towns of Currumbin, Coolangatta, Palm Beach, and Burleigh were chill and charming.
On Easter Monday we drove down to the famous hippie town of Byron Bay. Due to the holiday the area was packed – we couldn’t even stop to get out of the car to see the lighthouse. On the drive back we took a back road detour through the hinterland to see Minyon Falls.
The weather was not terribly cooperative while we were in Gold Coast, but on the least rainy day we made it out to the beach at Currumbin. It rained on us literally the minute we arrived at the beach, but we braved the short downpour and were treated to a few hours of sunshine.
On our last day we drove out to Springbrook National Park to do some hiking. Our former perception of Australia was mostly sandy beaches and dusty outback, so it was a pleasant surprise to find dense rainforest, rolling hills, and a silly number of waterfalls not far from the coast.