Monday, February 28, 2011

Last night in Oz, in the Brisbane airport

Flight:  Virgin Blue Brisbane to Nadi, Fiji, 3.5 hours, horrible airline not even a glass of water with the flight.

We checked out of our great condo at Sunshine Beach, Noosa by 11am, and headed south towards the city and the area beyond.  We have been in Queensland for a week, but other than Rick and Travis' venture to Goondi and our day trip to Australia Zoo, we hadn't done much exploring.  We thought we should at least see the Gold Coast area before we left Australia so the kids would know what that was about when they decide to come back to Australia on their own.

Two hours to the city, across the beautiful bridge on the Brisbane River (no longer in flood) then another hour and a half  to the Gold Coast.  The drive had the passengers dozy, so we didn't have to deal with the "ask" when we passed all the theme parks - Dreamworld, Waterworld, Movieworld, Drop-your-dollars-here-world, and the like.  We did the scenic drive over to Surfers Paradise, and yes, there are even more skyscrapers and fancy buildings that on our 1993 trip, and even fewer places to park.  We did eventually find a stall (next to a "gentlemens club", closed thankfully) and headed to find a cafe that would still be open for a "late lunch".  Very few places in Australia are open between 2 and 6 pm and if you miss lunch hour, you are stuck with a meat pie from a petrol station.

Derek voted Italian, so we sat on the sidewalk patio and were greeted by a Canadian girl from Manitoba. Nice, as we are all starting to yearn for home.  Pizza was good, prices were more reasonable than we had seen for a while, and the beer was cold... what more could we want for our last day in Australia?  We headed over to the tourist shops for a few "prezzies" and then back in the direction of the airport.  Flight  the next morning was an early one, with us needing to be at the airport for 5:30 am and still needed to return the rental van, so we were looking for a cheap comfortable option, which apparently does not exist in this part of the world.  Our first 4 hotels quoted us $500, $450, $375 and $425, and truly, the last three looked like any small town motel so "comfortable" and "clean" were probably debatable.  What to do?

Well, all this travel, but this was a first.  We went to the airport at 8 pm, took back the vehicle, and found a few comfy couches in the departure lounge.  Not comfy, but yes, clean, and the price? FREE.  Wifi not included at this airport though.  I hope the resort in Fiji makes up for the crappy night in Brisbane, but judging by my trusted "Trip Advisor", I think it will.                        

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