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Adventure from Burleigh Heads to Southport

Home > Gold Coast > Beaches | Coffee | Travel
by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published November 5th 2013
Just Don’t Ride The Buses
Burleigh Heads
I think I could live here forever

It's not even 9am on a Saturday, it's sunny and very warm, and Burleigh Heads is buzzing. Hundreds of people have set up their towels and water bottles for a free exercise class at Justin's park on the beach. Apparently this happens twice a day.

exercise
Getting fit at the beach

The most I can manage is a quick photo, as I am off to get a bus to see my friend in hospital. I notice there is a queue at the coffee shop on the corner and wonder if the exercisers will cross the roads to indulge or if this would completely defeat the purpose.

There is a row of open windowed cafés full of people relaxing and laughing. I am a total misfit. The most exercise I will do today is mounting the bus steps and I don't drink coffee.

relax, cafe, coffee
Time to relax

The bus driver is unsympathetic when I ask him a barrage of questions. I have never navigated a series of buses in Queensland (or any other place actually). It's going to take hours and I can't afford to make a mistake or I'll miss my plane home. He must think I'm short of a shilling because he repeats the numbers and respective pole colours to look for. When I ask if I'll know the Pacific Fair where I need to get off, his expression changes, so I tell him I am from Melbourne. He says, "Oh, that explains it," and I still don't know whether to be insulted or not.

I just want to see my friend but the Indy 500 is on and there are road works all the way to Southport.

Pacific fair, shopping
Entrance to Pacific Fair

I see the sign Pacific Fair, not to be confused with Australia Fair. Why on earth would these Queenslanders call two major shopping centres almost the same name? A local told me that years back this was the largest shopping in the Southern hemisphere. They have recently spent $11 million on renovating it and about to spend half again on improving the parking… presumably so that more people don't have to travel by bus.

A fellow bus traveller was raving about the place. She loves it because it is full of cool shops, bargains, and a giant chemist with perfume selling cheaper than duty free, $20 instead of $110. She also loved the outdoor spaces, "You don't feel closed in," she added. I am horrified to find out she is a Kiwi and knows more about it than me.

The connecting buses are not well connected. I underline that I had plenty of time to have a look at the shops. I could easily be sucked into shoe shopping. It takes great personal restraint, I can hardly resist but somehow I do. I notice they have a café at Pacific Fair that sells burgers and chips for just $6. That's unheard of where I come from.

Shoe shopping - so tempting

In the time I waited for the bus I could have panted my way through Tai Chi, lost hundreds of dollars at the Jupiter's Casino across the road. I could have tasted all the gelato flavours at Burleigh Heads, visited the latest exhibition at the Exhibition Centre up the road. Maybe I could have walked to Surfers because it turns out to be only 10 minutes on the bus.

bus travel
Proof that I travelled by too many buses!

I should be appreciative because I'm not the one in the hospital so I try to enjoy the long slow route to Southport. I must come back to enjoy all that sunny Queensland has to offer but I will definitely hire a car.
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When: Anytime
Where: Burleigh Heads
Cost: Free
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