We are about a twenty-minute drive from the beaches and shopping centres/malls of this famous holiday get-away. One of the great advantages to pet-sitting is that accommodation is free. This is an area of Queensland that has something for every tourist. It is a backpackers’ haven with kids trying to surf and baking themselves in the sun.
There are about 20,000 permanent residents according to the 2011 census. The weather is great with maximums of 25C (77F) and lows of 17C (63F).
We are looking after two darling black Snauzers, Roxy and Ellie.
Seniors move up here for the weather. With the high cost of Sydney living, retirees can sell their homes, buy a condo here and have lots of money to bank. Many of the high-rise condos have an architectural flair.
Can’t Grow Crops on Sand!
German immigrant Johan Meyer came to the area in the late 1800s. His sugar cane farm failed. Being quite the entrepreneur, Johan started a ferry service and build the Main Beach hotel. He even had a post office in the hotel. The area was named Elston around 1901 and tourists began arriving. A Jubilee Bridge and road built some 20 years later increased tourism. By the 1950s high-rise buildings were being erected. Seaside entertainment like ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not” and theme parks followed.
High School graduates called “schoolies” invade the place during school breaks increasing police enforcement.
Stretches of Quiet Beaches
It would be unfair to state that Surfers’ beaches are body-to-body packed. In late afternoon, Trish and I strolled with just a few people walking their dogs and a couple of windsurfers riding on the air currents.
Meter maids were introduced in 1965 by an entrepreneur who opposed the installation of parking meters. The “sexy maids” were hired to top up expired parking meters. They wore tiaras and gold-lamé bikinis. Today, they still have the bikini but wear an akubra hat.
When an Escape is Needed
After experiencing the beach, bars, park themes and general late night noise, there is an easy escape to small towns and Tambourine Mountain.
Tambourine Mountain offers a country feel with rainforest walks. This will be our next house/pet sit and I am looking forward to it. I miss hearing all the parrots and other birds here in the burbs. I do recommend house/pet sitting as a means of travel and an immersion into different cultures.
Getting to Surfers’ Paradise
There is the usual way: flight, train, Greyhound bus, hired vehicle.
Since we were previously house sitting inland in New South Wales, we made our way by bus to Byron Bay. We stayed three nights in a self-contained cabin just outside the town. Starting off for Surfers’ Paradise, we found that the Greyhound bus was full of backpackers. We had not been able to get on-line to book our ticket. However, there was a shuttle bus where about four of us travelled to Surfers’ at the same price. This is worth noting for future trips. We have been very fortunate with homeowners offering us the use of a car.