The sun is just peaking over the horizon. Its warmth filters across rolling waves that lap the white sandy beach like a rhythmic heartbeat. I wriggle my toes in the cool water as sand particles dance around my feet. Breathing in, filling my lungs with warm salty air, I scan the horizon.
Dawn is just breaking, and already the dedication to the ocean has filled the perfect peeling waves with surfers. With 52 kilometres of ocean beaches and a sub-tropical climate averaging 287 days of sunshine annually, it is clear to see why the Gold Coast is a surfer’s paradise.
Racing the rising sun I walk along the shore line towards Burleigh Headland. Every thought empties from my head as I bask in the glorious beachscape before my eyes. I have seen many beaches around the world, but nothing quite compares to the Gold Coast beaches. The sand just seems so white and soft, the water blue and more clear and the sun brighter and welcoming.
Reaching the headland, I begin the ascent to the top. The well-worn track winds through seaside vegetation. The wind picks up strength the further up the headland I climb. Passing other early risers undergoing rigorous exercise activities, I decide to pick up my pace too. .
As I reach the lookout at the peak of the rocky headland, the sun is just lifting off the horizon. I don’t know if it was the steep climb up or the view, but my breath is temporarily snatched from my lungs. As far as the eye can see is blinding white sand met by rolling sets of waves. If the Gold Coast is the sixth largest city in Australia, I don’t know where all the people were hiding. .
The sun, now higher in the sky, sets off an array of pinks and oranges that offset the deep blue of the ocean as if it was a painter’s canvas. The mix of these colours makes me feel just as warm and fuzzy on the inside as the suns caressing rays make me feel on the outside.
Now quite hot, the appeal of a swim in the ocean calls. After descending the headland I begin the walk back down the beach. In the distance I see a man with two children, knee deep in the waves twisting side to side from the waist down. Intrigued, I approach them and ask what they are doing.
Local to the area, Mark has brought his children down to the beach to help with what he called “pipi shuffling”. He explains to me that the clam like pipis make great bait for fishing. After one of the children scream out in excitement at the pipi clasped in her hand, I decide to give it a go also.
I begin to shuffle my feet from left to right on the soft, wet sand, burying them. Before long I feel a pipi rubbing against my foot and grab it. Satisfied with my prize, I hand the pipi to Mark and wish him luck with the fishing.
Some people come for the shopping at numerous shopping centres, small boutiques, specialty shops and markets. Some are enticed by the restaurants and cafes offering cuisine from around the world. The evening entertainment from nightclubs, restaurants, clubs, hotels and Conrad Jupiters Casino to Broadway musicals, ballet and theatre are a highlight for others. Maybe it’s the large selection of wildlife and theme parks that draws the crowds.
Of the abundance of attractions the Gold Coast offers, the endless beaches and warm waters averaging 22 degrees celsius are by far my idea of a relaxing holiday.