Continuing our series of travelling with parents, Gillian McVeigh goes surfing, zorbing and partying on the[Gold Coast] with her mum. Their shrieks were heard back in Ireland

Bright lights, booze and bikini clad hotties. This has to be what most people think of when they hear the words[Surfers Paradise]. However, I was doing it a little differently. For starters my mum, who had just flown in from Ireland, was going to be my boozing buddy.

Secondly, we were on a journey to finally meet my great-aunt who had emigrated to[Australia] over sixty years ago and had not been back to the Emerald Isle in almost 30 years. And we had a week of surfing, zorbing and theme parks planned. This was going to be interesting.

As the name suggests, one of the top activities in Surfers, is surfing. I decided now was the time to finally put my surfer chick aspirations into motion. The Mother also had ambitions of becoming a surfer chick herself. Well, she does have the blonde hair and blue eyes, and looks much more Australian than I ever will.

We booked a surf lesson at the scenic area of The Spit, just a few miles away from the high rise land of[Surfers Paradise]. With our bright red rash shirts on (to set us apart from the real surfer dudes) we were good to go. Narly bro.

Our group was made up of ourselves, along with another total beginner and a boy from the Netherlands who thought he was Kelly Slater, after having had two lessons already.

The mother and I giggled childishly as he practised diving on to his surf board and perfecting his pose as he balanced on the board.

“Even I can do that on the sand,” I thought, “let’s see you in the waves, poser boy.”
Chris, our instructor, was very patient and chilled out, as all surfers worth their (sea) salt should be.

He promised that he would have us standing before the lesson was out and indeed I did manage to get upright for a second or two before landing gracefully in a heap.

It wasn’t easy though. It took a lot of falling off before I finally stood up. But when I did, it was gold.

At one stage I was gliding along… admittedly on my belly not my feet… when
I saw The Mother jumping up and down waving her hands frantically.

“Oh no, she’s drowning!”, I panicked. But it was much more dramatic than that. “A bit of decency Gillian Patricia McVeigh!” she cried. “Your bikini bottoms were round your thighs there.” I’m sure mine wasn’t the first white ass they have seen. And it won’t be the last.

After a spot of getting to know my newly found Australian family, it was time to sample the nightlife. The Mother decided to sit this one out, so it was off to the pub with my cousins. Surfers really comes to life at night as the streets swarm with scantily clad revellers waiting to see what the night will bring.

There is a real feeling that you could get away with anything in this town. Dancing on the tables, shot drinking competitions… nothing is off limits. In fact it’s almost mandatory. So of course I took full advantage.

I was hoping to bump into some hot surfer called Brad who I could impress with my tales of “catching waves”. Instead I hooked up with Brendan from County Longford who was also “doing the coast” with eight other Paddys. Glamorous or what?