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Journal for 25-Jun-2003 : Mermaid Beach (Gold Coast)

Spent a couple of days sitting around doing not much. The Gold Coast is a 40km long strip of holiday homes and resorts stretched along a golden white sand beach that gives then place it's name. We walked up to the shopping centre. Like much of the Gold Coast this is a rather over the top affair. Like a lot of the housing here, it is set on a canal, so you can moor your cabin cruiser at the jetty and duck in to do your shopping.

The complete lack of any planning controls has resulted in some rather innovative architecture. There is no one style to speak of. Tuscan villas sit next to Spanish gabled mansions, next to 30 story holiday apartment skyscrapers, next to weatherboard beach shacks. Architectural principles of seamlessly blending buildings into their surroundings have been thrown out the window, with every property trying to out contrast it's neighbour with distinctiveness. The clash of colours and styles is enough to give anyone a headache, or a laugh when you realise how much someone's multi-million dollar dream home looks like the space craft "Red Dwarf". Mercifully, the half-life of buildings here is less than twenty years, so if you don't like it now (and who does?), just wait a short while and it'll be completely different.

We got to do a bit of walking too, down to the Burleigh Heads National Park (quite nice, but like all Queensland national parks, very very small), where a bush turkey scared the life out of me. We also enjoyed a meal at a real Italian restaurant staffed by real Italians with real Italian menus written in Italian. We enjoyed a delicious desert called "Semifreddo", which thankfully was more than half a chocolate frog.

Oh, and sunny Queensland had turned on the cloud and rain for us. The weather forecast for tomorrow shows it bucketing down on us for the run up to Brisbane. And at the end, the weather girl cheerfully threw in: "and don't forget the gale warning!"

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