Sydney to Broadbeach

Woke up early – 0630 but not early enough! We’d obviously moved faster than expected because when I looked outside the ship was already backing up to the berth on Circular Quay. It’s a totally stupendous berthing location: on one side the ship is right up against the Sydney Opera House, on the other is the historic Rocks area and Sydney Harbour bridge, and right off the front is the stunning skyscraper landscape of the Sydney CBD.
The day was fine and setting up to be very warm. Some clouds but no wind. We went up to the buffet and had some breakfast, then back to the cabin to grab out the last of our stuff and say goodbye to Jerry, our steward. He’s been great. So helpful.
We plonked down in one of the lounges with our kindles and a cup of tea and waited till about 10 when we wanted to get off. There was quite a queue for disembarkation but it was moving really quickly. We were off by around 1045. Intended to get a Taxify cab but my phone was playing up and in the end we had to go for a traditional cab. It was about a 30 minute trip to the airport and it cost 60 AUD, about 30 quid.
We were flying on Qantas from Terminal 3. It was all very painless, friendly, helpful check in. No line at all. Said goodbye to the bags and went through security and plonked down again in a bar/café. Had a couple of drinks and played on our wifi till it was boarding time. A nice terminal, plenty of space, shops, quiet.
The flight was about 100 minutes max and on a very modern 737. It was full up. Amazingly and as a lesson that BA could certainly learn, we were served a hot meal and a drink. The meal was really tasty: an Aussi Pie – hot, gravyful and succulent. Yum. We were really impressed with Qantas.
Less impressed with Gold Coast Airport. It’s really small and we had to walk across the tarmac. This could have been bad. The skies were black with rain and storms. The baggage took ages to arrive and they kept changing the baggage carousel so everyone was charging around. Then the baggage carousel broke down and eventually a man came out and – literally – threw the cases out. Then they changed the carousel again….. anyway, eventually got all our bags and came out to find the Jucy car rental bus waiting for us.
A quick ride to their rental office. Their main business are camper vans really but they rent cars too. The camper vans are interesting. Not the standard type, but strange adaptions of people carriers with lift up roofs etc. Might be ok, but no a/c and that would be a red line for me. No, too old for that I think.
The chap was so helpful though and really nice. He upgraded our car foc and we have got a nice Hyundai, something like an I20 or 30 and we fit in really well as well as all the cases. It was about a 30 minute drive to the Ultica Freshwater Point Resort in Broadbeach where we are staying for the next 2 weeks. Broadbeach is on the Queensland coast, somewhat south of Surfers Paradise and has amazing beaches as well as a very vibrant café/restaurant scene from what we can tell.  The weather is definitely tropical.  You can feel the extra heat and the humidity.  On a first look, it’s a bit like Florida.  Well, a lot like Florida.  Really looking forward to exploring properly over the next few days.  We were just so tired when we got here this afternoon!
Our apartment is very spacious and modern – lots of glass walls and a large outdoor dining balcony. It has a weird bathroom. I just don’t get the modern trend for this. The bathroom leads right off the bedroom and has a massive glass wall right next to the bed. Ok if your partner is in the tub, but the loo is directly facing the bed so you’d be face to face!!!! There is a blind which we have pulled down. Call us inhibited if you will LOL!!! Just as odd though is that not only is there no door from the bathroom into the bedroom, but there actually isn’t a wall either and opposite the massive gap is a run of mirror fronted wardrobes. So, take it from me, that even with the blind down to close off one view, it is entirely possible – in fact unavoidable – to lie on the bed and get a full view of your partner on the loo reflected in the mirrors. This is odd but we will get over it! The kitchen is well equipped, there is a dishwasher, washing machine and tumble drier so all in all a good home from home.
After we unpacked which took a while…… amazingly despite this apartment being perhaps 6 times larger than our cabin, it actually has less useful storage space – we walked into town. It was less than 10 minutes walk to an amazing array of restaurants and bars. You are literally spoilt for choice as to where to eat. Lots of Italian restaurants, but also seafood, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese….. we opted for an Italian. It was absolutely jumping – nearly all the restaurants were. I had barramundi, grilled, with vegetables and Bob had linguini with clams and calamari and garlic bread. Washed down with some cold beers (Bob) and some cold chardonnay (me). We went home with over half the bottle of white wine. The bill was about £25 quid each all in. We intend to self cater mostly over the next fortnight because we can, and after that once we are travelling we will have choice but to eat out.
The barramundi was a massive portion and deliciously cooked. I don’t think I’ve had it before. It was a really nice moist fish anyway. Would certainly have it again.
Stopped at a small grocery on the way back just for some morning essentials. We are meeting Jane and Lee for lunch tomorrow which is exciting. It will be nearly a year since we saw them in Patnem. Later on, we’ll drive out to Coles or Woolworths and stock up with food for the next week, then we’ll be all set. Can see we are going to have a nice time here. There is a lot to do in the area, both around the beaches, the shopping and the parks and mountains of the hinterland.
It’s funny to be off the ship and stranger still to realise that QM2 sailed on without us tonight. Odd to have to think about buying food!

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