Gold Coast, Australia

Gold Coast, Queensland, on the sub tropical to tropical east coast of Australia, is a family destination with theme parks, highrise buildings and Broadwater Parklands Southport. Host of Commonwealth Games 2018.

We’re not racist but …

“Why don’t they like people coming to Australia by boat?” Our child doesn’t understand why people in Australia are reportedly up in arms about welcoming people from other countries, people who are desperate to start a safe life here.

“Coming over on a boat is dangerous, and no-one wants people dying in the process,” I begin to explain.

“But that could take ages and they’re only trying to escape hardship in their own countries,” she reasons.

“Yes, but people objecting don’t think any reason is a valid reason to enter the country without a visa. They want them to join the queue.”

“They’ll all die waiting.”

I can’t answer, there’s no logic. See, this argument floating around, the one about “illegal immigrants” who take government funds, who don’t contribute to the community, who don’t assimilate – it just doesn’t stack up.

Calling people “illegals” and making diverse peoples feel unwelcome here while ignoring wealthy overstayers implies that it’s ok to be an economic migrant in Australia, but not someone fleeing for their life, often losing it in the process. Particularly an “illegal” who has brown skin, one with a funny name that has double the number of vowels than ‘normal’ names have.

Humankind this isn’t. The conversation continues.


Tap Into Mt Tamborine

The green behind the Gold Coast‘s glam is as cool and alluring as its bronzed image is bold. The entire hinterland stretch offers tranquil spots with majestic views. All there’s left to do is to get up there.

A few people cycle, some bus it. Others walk, hikers often seen sweating on slopes while warming up for the 96km Kokoda Challenge. We pack our chariot with a few children and set off.

Tamborine Mountain [525m (1,722ft) above sea level] is made up of North Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Mount Tamborine villages and its peak was named Wonglepong by Aboriginal Australians.

There are a few ways to attack the volcanic plateau. Turn off at Oxenford, or take the more vertical, winding route of Henri Robert Drive as we did, our bodies leaning into the turns like racecar passengers. It can be done in 30 mins, I allow a cruisey 45 from the beach.

It’s a 10-minute stroll to Gallery Walk from our parking spot. Mt Tamborine bedazzles visitors and residents alike with drawcards, but in the balancing act that is family life, fairies are our focus. We wander into Fairies On The Walk and become entranced by seemingly thousands of sparkling, glitter fairy wings, precious presents, and hanging, cackling witches. Fortunately there’s no “Touching Tax” in that shop because we’ve left our fingerprints smeared over nigh on every gift, crystal and spellbox.

After the fairy fiesta we spy a fudge shop, where we spend what seems like the best part of an hour. We taste, and buy, and taste again, then buy some more “for Grandma”. (she says hers never arrived in the post). We walk past the cuckoo clock shop, then backtrack for a nosey, losing ourselves in the ever-dwindling day.

It’s time for a snack. We eye up the gorgeous restaurants and make a note to return, seeing as we have a terror in tow. We resume the wandering – a rhythmic stroll, holding hands, holding children, holding fudge – and I awake from the strolling reverie at something-o’clock.

Finding that my hands are finally fudge free, I make a To Do list:

  • Thunderbird Park
  • Glow Worm Caves
  • Rainforest walks (Witches Falls was Queensland’s first National Park)
  • Skywalk
  • Songbirds in the Forest
  • The Polish Place
  • Witches Falls Winery
  • Cedar Creek Winery
  • Tamborine Mountain Distillery

We have some more travelling, and taste testing, to do!

A version of my article first appeared in Proctor Magazine, May 2011.