Kategorie: Australia

Australia – Find the best travel stories about Germany, Europe and the rest of the world at the online travel magazine Breitengrad53 by Jörg Baldin

Flying high at Surfer’s Paradise

Ihave a fantastic view from my 20th floor hotel room in Surfer’s Paradise in Australia. To my left and right there is the seashore as far as the eye can…

Ihave a fantastic view from my 20th floor hotel room in Surfer’s Paradise in Australia. To my left and right there is the seashore as far as the eye can reach. In front of me just now the sun is looking over the horizon. Waves meet loudly and with a lot of foam with the beige-coloured sandy beach. Far away a surfer tries with fast arm movements to get his board up to speed, to then jump on it with one short leap and surf the wave perfectly. A successful morning session on a beach, which in this form you will not find often in the world. But it is also the beach of Surfer’s Paradise, the lively place with an impressive skyline and lots of possibilities to spend your time not only on a surfboard or on the beach.

Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise - Australien - Joerg Pasemann (13 von 21)

Surfer’s Paradise offers contrasts, like barely any other city in the world. On one side of the road you actually find a paradise: clear, turquoise water with the waves a surfer needs to be happy. A broad, beige-colored beach, with sand that squeezes through your toes and in doing so squeaks because it is that fine. Sunrises and sunsets that are so beautiful they give you goose-bumps. And of course there is plenty of sun. The person who once gave this place it’s name, must have found exactly this paradise.

A German built the first hotel in Surfer’s Paradise

A German, of all people, started in 1889 on the other side of the road to open the first hotel. Johann Meyer built in Elston, the place’s former name, the „Main Beach Hotel“. Due to the expansion of different bridges and roads later, more and more tourists and investors started coming to Elston and this way the former paradise became a lively place, which since 1933 is called Surfer’s Paradise.

And this way the town on the Gold Coast is now regarded as Australia’s secret capital of entertainment. This is not without good reason: plenty of attractions developed in the town in the last few years, which offer variety, next to the more boring activities on the paradisiac beach on the other side of the road. Let alone the lively nightlife. A lot of backpackers like stopping in Surfer’s Paradise on their journey to finally let it all hang out again after the exhausting Work& Travel.

Breathtaking view from a height of 270 meters

The most prominent building on the Gold Coast surely is the Q1 Tower, which was built only in 2005. It is one of the highest residential buildings in the world, which at the same time is equipped with the fastest elevators of Australia. With 9 meters per second the ten elevators wind up to the highest end of the building. Who prefers going by foot can look forward to 1.330 stairs to climb the 230 meters up to the 78th floor. There you can find a cafe and a lounge from which you have a fantastic panoramic view.

Who prefers even more height has to go the last 40 meters by foot anyway, secured with professional climbing equipment, a special suit and two belts that hold up to 5 tons of weight. „Skypoint Climb“ is the name of the adventure which promises, apart from lots of adrenaline, a breathtaking view from a height of 270 meters over Surfer’s Paradise and the whole Gold Coast.

I believe i can fly- takeoff with iFly

Another highlight of Surfer’s Paradise is called iFly. This is indoor skydiving, so basically parachuting without a parachute. In a sort of glassy tunnel, an air flow which can be as fast as 286 km/h is generated with which real sky diving can be simulated. But before you can enter the state of floating a lot of preparation is required. At first you are explained with which posture you should enter the tunnel as a beginner: chin up, arms stretched out in front of you, knees slightly pulled up. Who actually manages to float with the support of a „flying instructor“, can look forward to an incredible feeling. Steering is controlled with the hands, back and forth- going happens with the legs. As an outfit you have an overall, a helmet with ear plugs and saftey goggles, which protect your eyes from the strong wind.

Who reached the horizontal position one meter above the floor, experiences an emotional roller-coaster: concentrated, trying not to crash against the tunnel walls, and happy. After all you not just have the sensation of flying, you actually are. All without assistance. Only with the air that brutally blows in your face. After one minute the magic is over and you are literally longing to have that sensation of flying again as soon as possible. Amazing!

Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise - Australien - Joerg Pasemann (10 von 21)

(c) all Images by Joerg Pasemann

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Info: A big thank-you for the invite to Tourism Australia

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Straight into paradise with the Iceberg

Die Gischt spritzt über die Reeling, der Vollmond zieht Steuerbord an uns vorbei und der Wind spannt die Segel voll aus, die “Iceberg” ist an diesem späten Abend voll in ihrem Element. Seit neun Uhr ist die zwölfköpfige Gast-Besatzung sowie die Crew an Bord dieses umfunktionierten Rennschiffes, das zweimal in der Woche für zwei Tage die Whitsundays umsegelt, an Bord.

Foam is splattering over the railing, the full moon is passing on the starboard side and the wind is blowing strongly into the sail. The “Iceberg“ is completely in its element late this evening. Since nine o ‘clock the twelve guests and the crew members have been on board of the former racing ship that now sails around the Whitsundays at the Great Barrier Reef for two days twice a week.

The group of islands is part of the Wonders of Nature and is the most beautiful sailing area in Australia. Airlie Beach, a small town in Queensland, is not only the starting point of this sailing trip but an absolute must for everyone who travels Australia, as well.

“Iceberg anyone, Iceberg?” Jessie’s rough voice breaks the silence this early morning at the Airlie Beach harbor. There is the usual hustle and bustle at this assembly point as the town’s harbor is the starting point for almost all sailing trips around the Whitsundays.

A tinge of Jack Sparrow, the famous pirate in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, surrounds Jessie. He is part of the two-man crew of the 16-meter-long sailing ship and he is a true all-rounder. After calling every passenger by name and welcoming them with his remarkable voice, it is time to pack the belongings and finally get on board. When packing for the trip, the passengers really need to focus on their essentials as they can’t bring a lot of luggage on board. There is very little space on the boat which is why some guests need to share a cabin. If you pay a bit more, you get a double bunk – but not necessarily more space.

Just before entering the boat, all shoes are gathered and stored in a bag. “Sand is prohibited on board”, Jessie says. At this point you finally get to know the second crew member. The skipper’s name is Tristan and he is the owner of this ship, too. After having successfully assigned the bunks, we are ready to go: “Cast off!”. We are sailing towards “Hamilton Island”.

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Tristan and Jassie at work. (All pictures by Joerg Pasemann)

Sails are set shortly after the ship has left the harbor

Jessie is now rigging up the boat and asks a guest for help – since the passengers are supposed to help out the crew members if they need a helping hand. Shortly after the ship has left the harbor the sails are set and, eventually, the massive ship is slowly leaning on its side. While the skipper is operating the huge steering wheel, Jessie is wiping sweat from his forehead – the hardest part is done.

Tristan calls himself an ambitious sailor: „I like to sail as long as I possibly can and I will only start the engine once there is no wind at all”, he explains to the guests who are relaxing in the sun now. Tristan, however, at this point emphasizes the importance of protecting oneself against the sun and suggests to apply sunscreen regularly: “Never underestimate the sun”, Tristan (who soon will be called Tris by everyone) warns.

The “Iceberg” gradually speeds up now

The “Iceberg” gradually speeds up now. The wind has turned and the boat is slowly tilting into a steep sloping position. While some guests are lying in their bunk beds by now, most of the passengers are enjoying the feeling of sailing on board. We arrive at Hamilton Island, which is the biggest of all islands of the Whitsundays, at around three o’clock. “We are late”, says the skipper, which is why lunch is prepared by Jessie, the ship’s cook and the helmsman at the same time and is served at full speed. “I am doing my best to keep the boat in a horizontal position to make sure the food isn’t slipping of the plate”, the skipper says, but he really struggles in doing so.

At 4 o’clock we find our first anchorage. It is time for snorkeling now as the island group is a part of the Great Barrier Reef and therefore is perfect for snorkeling and diving. About one hour later, we are leaving the bay in order to anchor at a different place. Here, again, the place is perfect for admiring the beautiful reef while snorkeling.

It is getting late and the light is slowly fading. Now we are headed for “Turtle Bay“, this day’s destination and our place to spend the night. At full moon and under half-reefed sail the “Iceberg” makes its way through the water and reaches the bay at half past eight. Protected from the wind, this is going to be a comfortable place for the night. We will continue our trip early next morning…


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