Gold Coast, Australia

From Airlie Beach’s nearby Prosperpine Airport, I flew to Brisbane. Continuing my tradition of not making reservations started to become a problem because the high school seniors (known as Schoolies) are finishing up their university entrance exams and flood hostels and resorts along the Gold Coast for a raucous week of alcohol-fueled debauchery.

So, when I arrived in Brisbane one evening, the first five hostels I visited were fully booked. As it began to rain, I found a hostel named Somewhere to Stay. It was in South Brisbane in a cool neighbourhood that reminded me a lot of my old haunt in San Francisco’s Mission district. I spent a couple of nights there, while I sorted out future travels and hid from the torrential rains that made for a spectacular show from the hostel, but which were not especially welcome when hiking around with a bag.

In Brisbane, I enjoyed long strolls along the river and the lovely parks that stretched along its banks. While I was in town, I also took advantage of the free internet at the exquisite State Library of Queensland. There was free wireless in the library and since the main floor was completely open, you could use the internet there at any time of day. I’m sure there don’t block torrent traffic because some dicks were there downloading during the day and it was completely crushing my news reading.

Anyway, the library was great as was the enormous video game retrospective called Game On. It featured hundreds of games from the last 30 years or so. Really neat.

From Brisbane, I headed to Byron Bay for a day. Byron was lovely, but it was full of the aforementioned Schoolies and I’d had enough of squealing 18-year olds vomiting in my room at 4 am and beaches so stuffed that you feel like a sardine. So, I hopped on the local bus to Lennox Head, where I checked into a brilliant YHA Hostel called the Lennox Head Beachouse. It wasn’t too busy, was pretty small by hostel standards and was filled with travellers who were interested in playing on the beach and relaxing with a book. Fun, fun, fun. I met a lot of really interesting people there, including an Australian woman who left San Francisco about the same time that I did.

After a few days of spectacular weather, and some hilarious conversations with lifeguards about idiots who need to get fished out of the ocean, I made my way back to Sydney for some more adventures with friends old and new.