I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. It had been a long two days, a big two days, an adrenalin-packed time full of loop-de-loops and whizzing and “awww how cute”-ing. I’d had an injection of the Gold Coast and I was coming down off my high.
Eye of the Tiger
Rocking into a field not far from Surfers Paradise at about 10am the day before, I’d had a smile like a Cheshire cat as I knew I was about to embark on something I didn’t do everyday – barrel rolls in a plane with no roof.
My noble steed was a Tiger Moth and the man at the helm was Jeff… but I’m going to call him Fabrizio for effect. Introduced to the red beauty that was going to make me pee my knickers, I was a bit premature. A little bit of wee had come out already.
Fabrizio, the dashing Spaniard, gave me my safety demo (basically, “don’t touch this, this or this… oh wait, don’t touch that either and if you need to evacuate, undo this. Muy bien chica”) and we took off into the morning sun to gain a different perspective of the über-delightful coastline of the Gold Coast.
Broken into several main areas, the bit that stands out the most is Surfers Paradise. And for more than one reason. Its soaring skyline with Q1, the tallest residential building in the world, towers over the beach and lures every visitor to it’s Miami-esque nightlife and “you want it, you got it” nature.
I had already taken the super-fast lift up to the top of the tower to see it all from another angle and squint as hard as I could to see New York some thousands of kilometres away. Anyway, back to the plane…
As we headed towards the ocean, over the intricate waterways which divide a lot of the Gold Coast, I would have been convinced we were travelling at a walking pace had it not been for the burr of the engine and the wind in my hair. Thankfully we were going just a little faster as Fabrizio spoke to me through the radio.
“Okay, are you ready for a loop-de-loop?” To which my reply was, “Um, I’m kind of shitting myself here.”
“It’s okay.” He obviously wasn’t concerned about me soiling the seat. “We’ll do a nice, friendly one and see how you go.”
Remember when you were young and your older brother used to spin you around by your wrists or ankles in the backyard, what Australians call a ‘whizee’? Well a loop-de-loop is like that, but feels 10 times slower and 4,962 times better. Let’s just say my first loop-de-loop went very well.
The only downside was when the g-force planted me in my seat and proceeded to pull every slightly loose part of my skin downwards – giving me a flash-forward into what I’ll look like in 20 years. I looked hot to say the least.
Then the barrel rolls and ‘stalls’ began. You know that old chestnut where they proceed to spin you towards Earth in almost dead silence before pulling you back up to the sky again. All in a day’s work my friends. All in a day’s work.
We came into a very smooth landing, the right way up, and I was smug that I didn’t have to reach for the sick bag once, although my stomach wasn’t normal to say the least.
So what do you do when you’re feeling dodgy? Why, head to the theme parks and spin yourself around some more of course. Next stop. Dreamworld.
Following a Diet Coke, some chips, more Diet Coke and a burp or two (I’m painting a lovely picture of myself here), I braved the Tower Of Terror. Unfortunately I didn’t even have time for my junk food to settle while waiting in the line as we’d picked up these handy little gadgets which ‘electronically’ stand in the line for you. Worth the extra dough if you’re keen to see a lot in the short space of time and not for those who are trying to let their queasy stomach recover.
So what next then? Plane-flipping, seat-gripping thrills are done, so what else is left? Of course, strap yourself to the inside of a giant inflatable ball and roll down a hill… naturally. This crazy invention is called Zorbing and there’s two ways to do it. You get wet one way or another with both of them.
The first, which I did with my friend, involved getting strapped inside the ball and bouncing your way down the hill. But how did I get wet? Well, laughing hysterically and uncontrollably tends to produce an unknown amount of slobber and boogers. The second is a little more hygienic but not necessarily ladylike. With the ball half-filled with water you roll down the hill trying to stand up and run inside. The un-ladylike part came when I fell over and my bum flew over my head. It continued when I squeezed through the entry/exit hole, mimicking a rebirth as a part of some freaky cult ritual.
By this stage my belly was a little dodgy to say the least. My head was fuzzy, legs were wobbly and I had delicately returned my eyeballs to their sockets. But was I complaining? Not one bit. I returned to my hostel to freshen up and get some much needed sustenance. The onion rings went down faster then you can say, “may I take your order,” and the G&T was smoother than a baby’s bum. I was back on form and ready to take the night by the horns.
I awoke the next morning still on a high from my well… high, and knew that there was one last whip around before the pace slowed slightly. After lining my stomach with a fry-up, I threw myself aboard a jet boat to fling around the Broadwater. Eighty km/ph on water is VERY fast and spins, darts, slides and splashes reminded me that I really shouldn’t have had that milky cappuccino… or maybe I’m just a little bit soft.
Drying off from the part-drenching we had endured, we headed away from Surfers down to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Yeah sure, it seems like a pretty chilled place with all the koalas to cuddle and kangaroos to feed. That is until you strap yourself in a harness and swing through the trees on flying foxes, rope ladders, chain bridges, the works. I had opted for the most physically demanding of the courses and lived to regret the pains in my previously-unused muscles some days later.
Upon driving around the lower areas of the Gold Coast, we pulled into our final destination for one more night before wishing the place farewell. Sitting by the pool and watching the waves crash, I could feel the G&T cooling my veins which had been filled with adrenalin for two days straight. I let out a massive sigh and headed upstairs for a siesta. I certainly did not need rocking.
The damage & the details: Beds at Islander Resort Hotel (Ph: 1800 074 393, www.islander.com.au) cost from $30/night; Tiger Moth Joy Rides (Ph: 0418 787 475, www.tigermothjoyrides.com.au) cost from $125; Dreamworld and Whitewater World (Ph: 1800 073 300, shop.dreamworld.com.au) cost for dual-park entry $85, Zorb ride at OzBall (Ph: 07 5547 6300, www.zorb.com.au) cost from $40/ride, Paradise Jet Boating (Ph: 1300 538 2628, www.paradisejetboating.com.au) cost from $55, QDeck at Q1 Tower (Ph: 1300 473 325, www.qdeck.com.au) cost from $19, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Ph: 1300 886 511, www.cws.org.au) cost for park entry and Green Challenge from $49