Being a backpacker has its benefits….

It’s quite interesting on how small the backpacking world can be. My experience backpacking in South America has brought me to many new friends in Australia. I had met Mickey from Bolivia who is currently living near Sydney and since I am in the Gold Coast, he suggested I talked to his friend Matt.

Since then, Matt has been a wonderful friend taking me around the Gold Coast! We have also met backpackers Jasmine, Karolina, and Andrea all through Mickey.

I haven’t blogged much so I thought I combined everything that has happened in the past week in this post.

The drive to Tamborine reminded me of the national parks that you would find in Northern California. Fields full of green trees, beautiful flowers, and random birds chirping away. I didn’t have my iPhone to take pics in Tamborine but thankfully, Karolina had a her camera!

The main road of the town is full of eateries, specialty shops, and mom and pop cafes. One of the coolest shops I thought was unique was the Cuckoo Clock Nest (http://www.cuckooclocknest.com.au/). Here you will find varieties of grandfather, mantle, and wall clocks. It was cool to see the cost of the clocks and the intricate details that are put into each one.

Cool Clocks!

On the same street, don’t forget to go into Fudge Heaven (http://www.fudgeheaven.com.au/). There are over 40 different types of fudge and have won best fudge in Australia. I am not a fan of fudge but the samples that they had for us was pretty darn good.

We decided to drive to the north side of the mountain for some liquor tasting at Tamborine Mountain Distillery (www.tamborinemountaindistillery.com). Upon arrival, you will noticed that the place is surrounded by a luscious backdrop with an old world ambiance of colonial times. This was my favorite activity that we did at Tamborine. For $5AU you get about 5-6 small tastings of different kinds of spirits that have won many awards. I really wanted to buy a couple of their bottles; however, I wasn’t sure if I can bring it back home due to the customs. Thank you Michael for the wonderful time at your place! Don’t forget to try the Limoncello and Wattle Toffee which were my favorite.

Karolina, Jasmine, Michael, and I Patio of Mt. Tamborine Distillery

Lastly, we decided to go to the botanical gardens. The leisure walk around the garden and rainforest was gorgeous. Too bad we didn’t thought about having a picnic here because the place where we decided to have lunch was closed and the view of Surfers Paradise was overcast.

Rainforest Walk

The following day, Matt’s friend Lee was able to take the ladies and I on a his yacht for some lunch and lounging on the bay surrounding Surfers Paradise.

Matt and I Yacht View of Surfer's Paradise

Afterwards, we all decided to do a night cruise and ride in style to our restaurant. Since the ladies have never been to a restaurant like Benihana’s, we decided to park the yacht right in front of the plaza to get some our grub on 🙂 Jasmine and Andrea were amazed by the chef and variety of food on the menu that they had never tried before.

Matt, Nick, Jordan, Lee, Myself, Jasmine, and Andrea

Since it was the ladies last night out in the Gold Coast, we decided to hit up Surfers Paradise and go dancing. Before we were able to do that, the yacht broke down.

Matt, Jasmine, and Nick

I honestly don’t know why people rave about this area but it reminded me of Miami with the bright neon lights and over rated clubs and bars. However, we had gone to a place called, “elsewhere” (http://www.elsewherebar.com.au/) and I must admit, it was not that bad. Perhaps it was the good times that I had that night with new friends Nikki and Shaun. Our friend Shane was able to get us no cover charge and a card that paid for all of our drinks!

Nick, Shane, Jasmin, and Andrea

Our new friends Shaun and Nikki

Pretty sweet night.

I normally would not write about my”party” night but I want to remember 20 years from now of all the spontaneous things I had done when I was 27. Meeting and hanging out with new people from all over the world.

After we danced, talked, and took many pictures, we decided to go back to our new friend Shaun’s house. Since half the group was tired, we decided to go back to Matt’s house and bike to the beach at 5am to watch the sunrise.

Matt riding his lo rider :)

Surfer's Paradise Sunrise

The next morning, with less than 2 hours sleep, my friend Sam (who I had originally met in Bolivia), and others decided to spend the day in Bryron Bay.

Byron Bay

This town is full of tourists and I am not sure why it is since it is pretty small. The vibe here was very bohemian and tropical.

We didn’t do much but relaxed next to the beach and tried some new Australian craft beers: Stone & Wood and One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale. It was the first beers I had in Australia that was pretty decent and didn’t taste like Bud Light.

The next morning, my new friend Shaun and I had a picnic at the beach and celebrated St. Patty’s day! It’s crazy, because I thought it would be huge full of people on the street and green beers. I didn’t see one green beer in sight but saw something new: a bottle of rum and coke! It was actually disappointing to not see the same festivities like it is in CA.

Picnic at Broad Beach Broad Beach

Coolest deck of cards ever! Rum and Coke

Later that night after playing a card game, we decided to make a book full of adventures that we must do before I leave the Gold Coast! One of the tasks was to go to Boonah, QLD. Shaun had one where he had to try a Poptart haha. A box of poptarts costs $10AU here! That’s crazy since they are super cheap in the States.

The next morning we decided to do a mini road trip to the small town of Boonah to meet his family.

Boonah

Shaun’s parents own a newspaper company and I thought these printers were pretty neat looking.

Old School Printer

The rest of the afternoon we explored Mount French where we saw this beautiful sunset. Afterwards, his sister-in-law and mom cooked us a home made meal.

Chilling on the side of the cliff

Sun setting Boonah, QLD

All of the random adventures put a toll to my body since I was unable to sleep for 2 hours within a 38-48 hr time span.

As I mentioned before, I love traveling as a backpacker. I’ve been able to explore the country and try new things off the beaten path. In addition, you meet new people from all over the world and learn more about their culture and history. I have also noticed that since I am traveling in Australia, solo, it has strengthen my social skills and doing things that I would never do back at home.

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