Monday, May 18, 2015

Jom Gold Coast - Brisbane!

Gold Coast - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
(27/04/2015 - 02/04/2015)

Travel Agency:Personal
Airline:Air Asia
Total Package:RM1696.00 for 2 persons (Flight only)
Hotel in Brisbane:RM633.00 - 3 nights at The Cliff House Motel
Hotel in Gold Coast:RM229.00 - 1 night at The Horizons Motel
Currency Rate:RM2.89 = AUD1.00 (Australian Dollar $)
Time Difference:UTC+10:00 (+2 hours from Kuala Lumpur)

As always, this trip was obviously a sudden plan. We were having a wonderful 4 days in Gold Coast and Brisbane. Let's start this amazing trip now.

Day 1 : 27/04/2015

Main Destination:Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Depart:Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) at 9.45pm
Arrive:Coolangatta International Airport, Gold Coast (OOL) at 7.30am (+1 day)
Total Expenses:RM32 return bus ticket from KL Sentral to KLIA 2 for 2 persons.

This is only the departure day for us. As usual, we parked at KL Sentral and took the bus from KL Sentral to KLIA2 with the cost of only RM16 per person for return trip. We departed from KLIA2 to OOL at 9.45pm as scheduled and arrived at 7.30am at OOL the next morning. Before we took-off, we have targeted one good Laksa from the Quizinn Food Court at Level 2M of KLIA2. The taste was really nice and you will surely plan to have it more on your next trip through KLIA2.

Almost finish. Hihi..

The flight was full and the choice of seat is advisable if you plan to go with your family. Of course, going with Air Asia needs you to pay for the chosen seat. But as long as you stick together with your loved ones, that will be the best.

Day 2: 28/04/2015

Main Destination:Gold Coast and Brisbane
Ambient Temperature:24oC
Total Expenses:$29.90 - Lebara prepaid sim card
$329.33 - Redspot rental car
$71.00 - Breakfast, dinner and shop at Coles

We arrived OOL at 7.30 am in the morning as scheduled. The temperature was nice and the sun shines brightly receiving us in a wonderful mood. The first thing we did was to get some refreshment and clean ourselves at the available toilets. 8 hours flight was really an exhausting though.

Next, we went to the car rental counter, which we have booked a week earlier. After some comparisons made between few rental providers, Redspot provides the best results with all the reviews made by many of the reviewers. So here is the table of comparisons made for your reference. For your information, this is only a reference with my own opinion. Do get your own for a better satisfaction. 

The red colour columns indicate the worst reviews that I have seen. But check your own again. Perhaps it could be better someday.

When we got the car, the first thing we did was to take pictures of the existing conditions by showing and recording the existing scratches and wears for our safety. And yes, you are advisable to take the latter pictures upon returning the car for your record too.

Kia Rio - Our car for the whole 4 days

Although we found few scratches outside and inside of the car, still the car provided was in a perfect condition. 

Few of the scratches found on the car

For your information, Australia uses right hand drive system, same as Malaysia. So for Malaysian, I don't think you will have problems driving in Australia. Just beware of the signs and speed traps that are located everywhere, accompanying you, especially on the highway. 

Our first moved was to find a grocery store and had a breakfast. Apparently, we were too hungry to get through this whole fine day. The first place we stopped were at the Coles shopping market, with some cute little shops around it. And yes, we went to the Genki Cafe near Palm Beach as the opening of our day.

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

Egg Benedict with spinach

Genki Cafe Palm Beach

As the menus provided in Gold Coast were quite expensive, we went to Coles and bought some nice butter croissants for our snack packs. The price is much cheaper to get things in the supermarket than buying from the restaurants. Still, the price of the groceries is higher than Malaysia.

We then moved to the Gold Coast city for some touring around this beach city. Many beaches are located side by side, including Palm Beach, Mermaid Beach, Miami Beach (not to confuse with the one in USA) and the most famous is Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise from the Gold Coast Highway

Bridge at the Gold Coast Highway near the Sea World

As usual, we will not going to miss the chance to go to the mosque located at the city we went. Time for Zohor was due and we then went to the mosque at Gold Coast that is operated by Islamic Society of Gold Coast Inc. I really think this is an active mosque because there were few activities running during our Zohor prayer and everybody seems so friendly. At the same time, the mosque was seen to be taken care very well. Praying here is really recommended.

Mosque of Gold Coast Islamic Society 
Next we went to The Spit, and had a chocolate break at the beach, facing the city. Hot day with some cool eyes.

Beach near The Spit
Beach near The Spit 
Beach near The Spit
Then, we went to the Mermaid Beach, near to our motel in Gold Coast on our latter days. Just to survey the area and to enjoy the view before our journey to Brisbane.

Mermaid Beach

View of Surfers Paradise from Mermaid Beach

Yeah, too hungry to start our journey to Brisbane without something to eat. You can actually find a lot of halal restaurants in Gold Coast. Since our last stay in London, we really miss to eat donner. So we chose Jumbo Kebab at Nerang Road. The price for the regular size was about $9 for ala carte and you can also pick a pack with a regular size wrap, fries and a soft drink with only $14.00.

Jumbo Kebabs at Nerang Road, Ashmore

At around 5.15pm, we went back to the Gold Coast mosque for Maghrib and Isha' prayer and shoot to The Cliff House Motel, Brisbane for our 3 nights stay. 

The journey to Brisbane took us about 1 hour 30 minutes. Not too long and we were still fresh when we got there. The motel look comfy and really nice. In addition, it was also one of the cheapest motel in Brisbane, which was only $70 per night. With this condition, I really think it was a good place to stay.

Corridor at The Cliff House Motel

Stairs at The Cliff House Motel

The garden at The Cliff House Motel

Room at The Cliff House Motel

At night, we did not plan to go anywhere. We feel exhausted for not having any breaks since our arrival in Gold Coast. So, we just took some simple meals bought from the Coles this morning as our dinner.

Day 3: 29/04/2015

Main Destination:Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and Mount Coot-Tha
Ambient Temperature:27oC
Total Expenses:$31.50 - Entrance fee per person
$18.00 - Koala cuddling per photo
$38.15 - Dinner and groceries at Coles

Apparently, visit to Australia will not complete without the touch of koalas and kangaroos. So we did that at the famous koalas' zoo, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This zoo is said to be the 10th most visited zoo in the world and the largest zoo that keep families of koalas. Do take note that online purchase entitled you for a discount. As for adult, the ticket price of $35 will be reduced to $31.50 when you purchase through its website. Do visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary's website for more info about this zoo.

Upon purchasing the tickets, please ensure to register with PayPal as they would not accept any direct methods for completing the payment. So if you plan to get the discount, do not forget to register with PayPal before you proceed for the payment selection.

The journey from our motel to the Lone Pine took about 40 minutes. As the zoo opened at 9.00 in the morning, it is advisable for you to arrange much earlier. Luckily, the weather was so nice throughout our visit.

The Lone Pine map

Entrance at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine pay entrance

Upon getting inside the zoo, you will see this board all over the zoo. So do not feel worry as you will not get loss of your way.

What to see and where to go

When you purchase the ticket, you will be given the schedule of events that will be shown in the Lone Pine. So choose the right time to be there should you think of not to miss all of the show. Here are some of the pictures shown during one of the shows.

The parrot

Dingo, the family of dog

Sleepy Koala


Leaves that koalas love

Next to the stage, there is a photo cuddling site for those who wants to take a picture with koala. You will need to pay for $18 per photo and you are not permitted to use your own camera, until you pay for it. This is the rule, and of course you will need to follow it. 

Koala cuddling at Lone Pine [1]

There are many other types of Australian animals too. Such as tasmanian devil, dingo, kookaburra, kangaroo and platipus. 

Tasmanian Devil

The lizard

The ostrich


Next thing that we were waiting for was to play around with kangaroos. There will be a place where you can find a freely tamed kangaroos at the Kangaroo Feeding Area. This animal is really tame and you do not have to feel worry with them. So have a look and of course, photos!

Kangaroo field

There is also the WiFi facility, everywhere in the zoo. They even call one of the stops as 'Blogger's Peak' to make sure you can write your blogs about the Lone Pine and do not miss a thing. Very accommodating.

Blogger's Peak

Next we went for the sheep dog show at the Nature Kingdom area. During this show, they demonstrated the sheepskin cutting during the show.

Nature Kingdom

Sheepskin cutting demonstration

A complete piece of sheepskin

The sheep dog show is our last visit after 3 hours at the Lone Pine. For those with kids, you may need about 4 hours to ensure that you could complete the tour. Therefore, spare at least half a day to this zoo so you can feel satisfy with the amount paid. 

When we went out of the entrance, there were a weekly markets at the car park area. If you still have time, take a look at the food as some of the stalls were also selling halal food. You may want to have a try.

The market outside the Lone Pine entrance

So we then went to the other mosque available around that area, which is about 20 minutes driving from the Lone Pine. We understand that it is owned by Islamic Society of Darra. Unlike the one we found in Gold Coast, this mosque seems a little quiet and I could not even find the right way to the ladies praying area. So I just pray at the area dedicated for men, since it is already empty.

Darra Mosque

Next we went to the Kangaroo Point, Cliff Park. The location is very near to our motel at The Cliff House motel, as near as 5 minutes walk. Here you can see the whole city area of Brisbane and this place is good for some photos. At the top of the hill, there is a cafe, which you can have a break, while waiting for the sunset. If you plan to go down the hill. you may take the stairs near the cafe. It was quite steep and I know that I couldn't climb back. So, no step down for us.

From The Cliff Cafe

Stairs to the park

Panorama of The Cliff Park

At night, we went to the Coles near our motel area for a pastry for our breakfast. As we plan to eat Indian cuisine, we went to the Bollywood Ishtyle Restaurant at the Greenslopes as this is one of the halal food found near that area.

Like every restaurant we went in Australia, the price was also costly, compared to the quantity of food supplied. We ordered butter lamb with plain basmati rice and tandoori chicken with breads. The total paid for the menu was about $29.00.

Then we went to another main attraction, which is the Mount Coot-Tha. From the hill top, you can see the full view of Brisbane. The view at night will be a little romantic for couples. And for a nice photo of Brisbane, try to go during the day. As long as it is not a rainy day, everything will be perfect. One more thing, no entrance fee!

Day 4: 30/04/2015

Main Destination:Sunshine Coast
Ambient Temperature:18oC
Total Expenses:$8.80 - Refreshment at the highway to Sunshine Coast

Today was not the best day as we planned. We thought of taking some selfies with a morning view at Mount Coot-Tha. Unfortunately, there was a heavy rain since the night before. So we went straight to the Sunshine Coast to avoid the bored.

Briefly, Sunshine Coast is famous for its surfing too, just like Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast. We understood from the locals that the beach in Sunshine Coast is more beautiful than what can be seen in Surfers Paradise. From the City of Brisbane, you may take another 1 hour to Sunshine Coast and see the most spectacular beach in Brisbane.

During the journey, there are some stops at the highway where you can buy some refreshment. As usual, good and nice coffee would be perfect.

Wild Bean Cafe

Unfortunately, again our day has been with a hard rain, from Brisbane highway to the Sunshine Coast. Nothing can be seen in perfect. Too much condensation occurred and we are far from our plan.

Our main intention was to meet our old time boss in Little Mountain. After some chit chat, at 4.00pm, we started our journey for dinner at Mooloolaba, 20 minutes drive from Little Mountain. They then brought us to this restaurant named Mooloolaba Fish Market. The seafood was so cheap and the total spent for four of us here was only about $40. Those that we took include fresh oyster, cod fish and chips, bugs, fried calamari and prawns. Everything was so fresh and you can't imagine how lovely the taste was. 

The Mooloolaba Fish Market

That's all that we did on this day. Nothing much to tell due to the unfavourable weather, unfortunately.

Day 5: 01/04/2015

Main Destination:Gold Coast
Ambient Temperature:19oC
Total Expenses:$32.50 - Lunch and dinner
$71.50 - Souvenirs
$22.30 - Parking (Ouch!)

Like yesterday, the rain was still heavy and nothing much we can do. Early morning after check-out from the hotel, we went straight to the Queen Street Mall. Here, we bought some cheap souvenirs and after some comparison from many of the shops in Brisbane, the price is much cheaper here. The final shop that we went to was Discount Souvenirs. Compared to all the shops around the Queen Street Mall, the prices were almost the same. 

For those who plan to go by car, be prepared for the parking fees. Too expensive here. We have to pay about $20, just for 1 hour parking. Arghhhh!!! So, find the right parking space in the internet before you go. 

Queen Street Mall

Then we drove straight to Gold Coast as planned. Due to the reviews given by many of the netizens, we went to Marina View Restaurant at Hope Island. It is just a 30 minutes distance from the City of Brisbane. Compare to the Mooloolaba Fish Market, the price here is much higher. But still, the fish was nicely cooked and I do love the taste. The rain stopped for about an hour before continued back afterwards. Really disappointing.

Marina View

Marina View Seafood
We then checked-in at the Horizons Motel. The motel looks quite old. Nonetheless, the room was so comfy and it was a satisfying stay in the motel.

Horizons Motel

The rain was still heavy even at night. We can't stay any longer. We went out even with the heavy rain and went to Surfers Paradise. The cheapest parking in that area will be near the Marie Street. Find it there and have a walk near that area.

We couldn't walk longer. The rain was heavier and the wind blown so fast until the umbrella we brought seems to be unused. So we got back after getting another souvenirs at Sensational, at the Surfers Paradise Boulevard. This shop is just beside Dracula and the koala bears sold at this shop are the cheapest found around this area (I just went to about 4 other shops. So survey your own too, please...)

So our dinner was just the things we bought at the Coles we found at the Surfers Paradise again. Cheaper and nicer. Burrppp!

Miss my olives

Pizza from Coles

Day 6: 02/05/2015

Main Destination:OOL to KLIA2
Ambient Temperature:22oC
Total Expenses:$8.00 - Breakfast

Sad, really sad. Our last day seems to have the nicest day of all. The rain stopped at about 4.00am. So we walked at the beach before we drove to the Coolangatta Airport. 

Surfers Paradise

Another shot

The waves

That's all about our trip to Gold Coast - Brisbane. Full with only 2 days itineraries. Unfortunately, we don't have the chance to complete our plan to be at Sunshine Coast and Surfers Paradise. But still, we feel glad to see the most important figure in Autralia - Koala.

Let me show my last meal at the KLIA2 airport after arriving. Chicken curry laksa. Still I think the Assam Laksa is better than this. See you in our next visit! :)

Chicken Curry Laksa at Quizzinn, KLIA2


[1] 11 May 2015.

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