Gold Coast was one of the cities I was totally looking forward to. It did not disappoint. We touched down in Coolangatta and it reminded me of long summer nights and carefree spring breaks. Standing at the border of Queensland and New South Wales, time doesn’t seem to matter because apparently, I was standing between two different time zones. Great excuse when you’re late.
My family was in for a treat, Gold Coast is home to Harbour Town, a hub, no, maybe a small village of outlet stores that they can shop in. Great, this gave me time for JiuJitsu. We we’re eating way too much and I really needed to train and run. Aside from falling for Gold Coast’s vibe, I fell in love with the warmth of the people especially when I went to train with Arte Suave and it’s kind and vivacious owner Emanuela D’Annibale who was introduced by my good friend Monica Joson. The dojo was spotless with pristine white mats and sun streaming thru the clear wide windows. This was the first time I’ve seen several blackbelts from different teams, all at one time, for open mat and I got to roll with most of them. The vibe was chill. Full of positive energy. This gave me a much needed lift and surge of endorphins.
Next day, I took a long run on Surfers Paradise, the crashing of the waves, sun and sand made the workout feel more like a meditation than exercise. Sadly, the Gold Coast leg was our shortest stop. I would love to be back someday and explore this suburb more.
The very famous Byron Bay was our next stop. And I hoped the stories about it were true. Thank God, they were. Byron Bay reminded me of being on the set of a 70’s summer movie. My family fell in love. We definitely felt the Love. The ambiance was so chill, hippies walking barefoot on the streets, artists playing their favorite instruments on sidewalks and vegan options everywhere. We felt so at home.
We took a nice long walk on the Coastal track from Wategos Beach to the Lighthouse and back. Signs even thanked us for walking because we didn’t add to the carbon footprint that will eventually destroy the world. It said “we saved one kilogram of greenhouse gas by walking”. Why was this trek so special? During the hike, we saw a pod of Dolphins (my spirit animal) and huge Manta Rays frolicking in the ocean. Things also got pretty exciting on Wategos Beach when the alarms started going off and the lifeguards were shouting at the surfers to come back. There were sharks fast approaching. Only in Australia.
Byron Bay will always be remembered as a haven of positivity. We ended our nights with parties on the beach with people we barely knew but felt oddly familiar with. We will be back for the Beaches, Hippies and Acai Bowls. Peace out for now. On to our last stop, Cairns.