Gold Coast - the Goldie for Oldies!

Words by Dorian Mode and photography by Lydia Thorpe

The Gold Coast isn’t simply for the young but the young at heart

You know, the Gold Coast isn’t only for the under 30s. It’s wonderful for the over 50s like ewes and me. The primary reason Mrs Pictures and I keep returning to the Gold Coast is the consistent and enjoyable weather. This fact is often underrated. Sure, you can holiday in Cairns or Townsville but you are swimming in your clothes. Humidity Hell. Also, its proximity to home is attractive to us. It’s just over the NSW border. So if you fret about clots or bad hips on planes, you are in the Gold Coast before they’ve served that terrible instant coffee the airline now charges you for.

Once you arrive in ‘Goldie’ it’s an easy commute to the city proper. You can shuttle-bus it to the light-rail stop then onto town, or do what we do, use Uber. Yes seniors, Uber! If there’s two of you it’s actually cheaper than the shuttle bus, would you believe? The Uber cars are clean. The drivers are polite. There’s often bottled water for passengers. And you know exactly what the trip will cost before you book the fare. No cash. All on the VISA or Mastercard. Download the app and try it. It’s actually ideal for seniors.

We choose to stay at Vibe Hotel – just off the strip at Surfers Paradise. With sweeping views of the Narang River, it’s a nook of town where you escape the white noise of Surfers Paradise. There’s a lot to like about Vibe for seniors. The rooms are high spec and there’s a wonderful pool with dozy lounge chairs and a relaxing bar for all to enjoy. And being in the heart of Surfers, Vibe is a lazy stroll from the beach, the busy esplanade and an outstanding selection of restaurants. And I mean outstanding! (Psst! Mrs Pictures likes the fact that Vibe is right across from Coles and Liquorland – for those extra treats in your room.) On our first evening, we dine at an Indian restaurant called Sher-E-Punjab, recommended to us by chums who recently retired to Southport. We order the banquet for two. As our pals suggested, the food is so inexpensive and generous, we can’t finish it all. I still have a papadam in my jeans.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Queensland's earliest and best nature-based tourist destinations.

The following day we jump the light rail to Main Beach for a stickybeak. Here we breakfast at Hotshots Cafe. Ordering the ‘bagel board’, we again – cannot eat it all. We notice this is a theme on the Gold Coast: enormous servings of quality food at bargain prices. Hey, it’s not like we eat like sparrows. Or should I say lorikeets, because later that day we head south to visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Voted one of the Gold Coast’s most popular tourist destinations, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the jewel in the crown of the National Trust of Australia. And is one of Queensland’s earliest nature-based tourist destinations. Maybe you recall visiting it as a child? I remember going there as a kid in the 1960s. I can still remember feeding flocks of shrieking lorikeets, slightly terrified, like Rod Taylor in The Birds. These days there are lots of fab animal shows and indigenous cultural shows. I guess the Nat Trust had to lift its game with the ubiquity of wildlife parks, a la Family Erwin.

Another fun activity is the Aquaduck (seniors $37) As the name suggests, this amphibious tour-bus is a city tour and waterways cruise all in one.

If you’re visiting Goldie you might consider hiring an electric scooter. (Ahem, this is not the kind of scooter some of you more elderly readers of this column are thinking of – see pic.) These fun scooters mean you can explore ‘the strip’ without wearing out your sensible shoes. It’s kinda fun. You can expect to get up to 4 hours from the battery on an electric bike and because it’s the anarchy of the Gold Coast, no licence is required for some reason. Another fun activity is the Aquaduck (seniors $37). Pick up is from Cavill Ave right near the Vibe. As the name suggests, this amphibious tour-bus is a city tour and waterways cruise all in one. If you’re computer literate, simply type in “aquaduck Gold Coast” into YouTube to get the full picture. It’s a lot of fun and something a little different: hitting the water from the city streets.

If you’re visiting Goldie you might consider hiring an electric scooter - no license required!

That evening we simply return to Vibe Hotel and order the Driftwood Burger and eat by the warm pool, all set against the dappled light of the Nerang River. Happy hour prices mean we enjoy a few too many gin and tonics but we don’t seem to notice – until the sore head the following morning.

Psst! Seniors, don’t forget you never ever ever book during that hideous bacchanalian festival known collectively as ‘schoolies’. If you’re not computer literate, pick up the phone and ask the friendly folk at Vibe Hotel when the school kids hit the strip. Don’t forget!!

View from the balcony of the Vibe at sunset. Stunning!

VIBE HOTEL
Three blocks from the beach and overlooking the Nerang River, this cool senior-friendly hotel is a 6-minute walk from Cavill Avenue tram station and 5 km from Sea World

Airy, modern rooms and suites, some with river views, feature private balconies. All have free (limited) Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, as well as minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms add kitchenettes, while suites offer full kitchens and separate sitting areas with sofa beds. Room service is available 24/7.

Amenities include a hip, a seasonal poolside bar/cafe, an outdoor pool with a hot tub, and a bright lobby cocktail lounge. There’s also meeting space and a gym.

Address: 42 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Phone: (07) 5539 0444