Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Paradise Australian Style

I can forgive those of you who think I have returned to the U.S. and am now in Florida or some other beachy, palm tree-lined resort town. I am still Down Under, and this picture of Surfer's Paradise - that is the real name of the town - is an example of how much the U.S. life style has gone international. Surfer's Paradise is the largest town in a strip called the Gold Coast along Australia's eastern shoreline.  Smaller towns have cute names like Coolangatta, Kiri, Nobby Beach, Mermaid Beach, Palm Beach and Miami Beach.

Gold Coast weather is warm enough for swimming and sunning all year round, although it is cooler in the winter. The area attracts Northern Hemisphere vacationers from throughout Asia and Europe.

Additional examples of American gone international - the following are all here: 7-11 convenience stores, KFC, Hungry Jack (Australian for Burger King), Target, K Mart, Subway, and especially McDonald McCafes. They seem to be everywhere. There are other American retail and food chains here...But so far what has not crossed the Pacific is the proliferation of large bookstores to the detriment of local ones. There are small local bookstores everywhere. They are fun to roam around in. Many have small cafes attached, encouraging browsers to stay a while. But once again I digress...

Surfer's Paradise's first successful resort hotel dates from the 1920's, but the resort really did not take off until hippies, surfers, and beach bums discovered the place in the 1950s and 1960s. Driving down the coast road, it is not much different from Miami Beach - highrises, tourists, cars, beach bums. There does not, however, seem to be as many seniors out and about. But driving around the country there are a number of retirement communities. Australia is experiencing economic problems - no country has been immune from the financial crisis - and the prevalence of retirement options will continue to grow once the economy improves again.

We did not go to the Gold Coast solely for fun in the sun. My cousin lives there and we had a wonderful family reunion. Early morning walks, dinners on the  barbie (barbecue), a visit to the Sunday flea, food and miscellaneous-stuff market, and we met new family members - spouses and grandchild.
This is a picture of the lifeguard tower on Gold Coast beaches. They do not have to worry about too much sun exposure!

And speaking of too much sun exposure...a current controversy in Queensland is the banning of long shorts (Bermuda shorts or just above the knee length) for men working on the railroads. The justification is that it is a preventive measure against skin cancer. 

Most of our accommodations have been wonderful. The one exception is our one night in "The Dump". It was the only place we could find on our drive up the coast one evening, an RV resort with cabins. It is memorable for the contrast to our other digs. But we slept there, got up in the morning and were out very quickly. It was not a place where we wanted to linger!

We are still having problems with e-mail post deliveries. If anyone has had the problem or knows of an answer or where to go to find relief, please let me know!


  1. I have never been to Australia. I love that i am getting this vicarious tour!

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