So beautiful, yet so hideous. Even after 2 visits, I am still genuinely unsure of what I think of Surfers Paradise.
The “main” and surrounding beaches are undeniably stunning. I really do think it would be hard for anyone to put up a robust argument to the contrary. For me, novelist Frank Moorehouse sums up the place perfectly:
“The Gold Coast resembles a city that has been designed as an architect’s model of a highrise city which had slipped off the table and washed up on a stretch of beautiful beach where it grows magically into real dimensions.”
However, if “the man on the Clapham omnibus“* was to be parachuted into the town centre on a Friday or Saturday evening, I think it is a safe bet that he would say it is a foul and debauched den of iniquity. Fast-food-stinky, loud and full of hen and stag parties, for me at least, it is truly horrid.
Again, Frank Moorehouse sums it up so aptly:
“Perfect one day, peculiar the next. Nearly every Australian has a story to tell about the Gold Coast. The holiday, after all, is itself something of an odyssey, the setting out from home to weave a personal fantasy involving adventure and risk an ordeal. The holiday is retold as a set of stories, shaped and embellished, and usually illustrated, by photos, postcards, T-shirt and baseball cap slogans – Gold Coast clothing tells its own stories.”
A large proportion of the high rise buildings – some built in the 1970s and 1980s – are past their best. Incongruous with the natural beauty of the area, the monstrosities are so out of place with the indigenous landscape that they are almost surreal. Yet the area has a certain hip vibe which is so tangible and contagiously that, all its flaws aside, you can’t help falling slightly in lust with the place.
If you are in Australia, you definitely have to visit Surfers Paradise. If only so you have your own story to tell about the place.
*An imaginary person whose opinions or ideas are considered to be typical of those of ordinary British people.