With Surfers being built around a maze of canals and waterways, there’s tons of other water-based activities to try. You can take a sleek jetski out for a spin or kayak around South Straddie, a sand island with a chilled-out campsite that’s a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Surfers.
Sometimes as a traveller, you do something that is so much fun, you don’t want to tell anyone else about it. Well, my “precious” is Lamington National Park... (Do’h, that’s blown it). Just over an hour into the hills west of Surfers, Lamington is the largest sub-tropical rainforest in the world and is a wonderland of bushwalking.
We made our camp at the wonderful Binna Burra site and then headed off onto the Tullawallal Circuit for an interpretive walk with our guide, Chris. As well as spotting pademelons (a mini kangaroo) hopping through the bush and taking in all the flora and fauna of the area, we were shown the house of the very poisonous trapdoor spider – a tiny flap in the side of the path which we all took turns to open up.
With loads of different species of trees to choose from – including the extremely rare 4,000-year-old Antarctic beech – I managed to find a favourite: the python tree, which uses camouflage to hide itself. Think about it... a tree that disguises itself as a tree so it can’t be seen. Genius.
After a restful night’s sleep in our cabin, and waking up to some gorgeous views of the hinterland, I headed off to make a fool of myself once again.
It was time to work on my bush skills at the Quamby Base Camp, in the beautiful Canungra Valley. After some great home-cooked tucker it was time for some whip-cracking.
Owner Don showed us how it was done first, and because you needed a strong wrist, I thought I had a chance. After a few goes, I was just like Indiana Jones – that’s if Indiana Jones’s whip made no noise and continually hit him in the nuts.
Okay, on to boomerang throwing – it couldn’t get any worse, eh? Again, Don showed us how to do it and told us how all his visiting backpackers would get the hang of it pretty quickly.
I stepped up, took a deep breath and let rip. The boomerang took flight and flew straight over Don’s fence and into thick grass on the other side of the road. Even Don’s dog, Nipper, let out a howl of pain at how bad I was. With the bush experience over too quickly, it was back to the madness of Surfers again.
And I’ll leave you with a pearl of wisdom from my mate, Richie, who told me this interesting fact over a couple of coldies: “If you don’t remember anything else about your trip, remember this: statistically, you’ll get laid on the Gold Coast more than anywhere else in Australia”.
Just make sure you bring your own vaseline.
words by: Paul Hansford