Well I would love to say that I spent time sunbaking in Surfers Paradise… but it didn’t quite work out that way (frankly I just like alliteration…) In fact, my bare feet didn’t even touch the sand. My eyes saw it, but there was no touching. I was surprised at how ‘open’ the beach was… endless, open, beach. Honestly though, I thought it was just too brutal for my little bub. He would have hated the cold water- and he’s a baby, he can’t actually swim, and is it terrible if I say that I don’t even really like the beach? I mean, I grew up on the beach, I like it… I just don’t like it… if that makes sense at all. Anyway, here are my top 5 tips/points about traveling to Surfers with your baby.
- LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. .We stayed in the Novotel, right next to the mall. We had stellar views out to the north and around facing the beach. The staff were super friendly (I’m starting to learn that babies are beacons for kindness) and the cot they provided- whilst clearly well used (and never cleaned), was perfectly adequate, even if he did pee through the sheets on the first night!
2. THE JOURNEY to Surfers was much more pleasant than anticipated. He slept in the car on the way up, it took a fair while to get checked in, however, but checking in our pram and capsule into oversized was a lot easier than we expected as well (previous blog).
3. SO WHAT DID WE DO? Firstly, my husband was working, and working long days, so that meant it was just the little one and I to entertain ourselves out of our normal environment. I have to admit, I found this a little more tedious than I’d hoped. Every morning we’d go for a swim in the pool and spa, which were perfect temperatures, and we were able to do this without really sharing the area, due to the time, and me wanting to avoid the heat of the day. We would then go back upstairs for his morning sleep, play when he woke up (which was a little more difficult without our usual ‘toys’, then around his lunch sleep time, we’d head out into the mall and the streets for a stroll- seeking air con where we could. The afternoons were once again spent playing and residing in the room.
There were a few reasons we didn’t get out more- the heat, the fact that I had an infant- not a toddler, and he is super grumbly either in the pram or carrier, if not asleep. I wasn’t prepared to ‘fight’ just to get out the hotel room. It actually wasn’t necessary. The days were slow, however, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a new thing. Leisure time I feel, will be an acquired taste for me.
On our final morning, I walked up the road to the the Observation Tower. It was $25 for myself, nothing for an infant, and despite what i’d consider a pretty steep entry price, you can see from the pics below, that the 360 degree view was pretty spectacular. There was a cafe up the top as well and many people were having breakfast. Our bub blissfully slept through the whole experience, clearly taken by the view, so I did a few rounds before heading back down and finding myself a chai for the stroll home. Timed to perfection, he woke just as we entered the cool lobby.
4. PUBLIC TRANSPORT. On the third day, I found the courage to try the tram- our first ride on public transport, and found it so unbelievably easy to just wheel on and off further down the track at Pacific Fair. Which is MASSIVE. Ridiculously so. We spent a few hours there, though it wasn’t quite the shopping experience I had initially envisioned. I purchased nothing except a few delicious macaroons on the way in, and that was it (not forgetting lunch). Lucky for me and my squirmy son, there were lots of spaces I could let him out of the pram and roll around, like big cushions and chairs spread throughout the centre, and the food court had huge cushioned seats in one area so I could let him roll around there while I attempted to eat (and not let him roll off). I regretted not taking his carrier, as carrying him in one arm and wheeling the pram in the other during his awake time drove me a little insane (actually it really just hurt my arms) and I had to try and time the trip back with his sleep. So it made for a long shopping trip, but manageable.
5. GOOD FOOD. We ate at some nice places along the mall and surrounding streets- of note was Latitude 28 Restaurant and Bar, in the mall that was pram friendly and open. They also had gluten free meals, including pizza and pasta, which was a bonus for me. And on our final night (using trip advisor) we walked a few blocks down to Alfresco a lovely Italian restaurant, again, with gluten free pizza and pasta (if only my own city could get onto this…) and we had another divine meal.
IN CONCLUSION: So, was traveling domestically with a baby doable? Totally. I’m glad I went despite the realisation that travel for me now is going to look different to what it ever did before. Yes you can travel with a baby but it won’t be the same kind of travel. Those days are gone. I’m encouraged to know he did well on the plane (this time…) and despite it being a very different kind of adventure that I’m used to, I’d happily do it again.