Gold Coast Adventures of the Over-30 Set

Surfers Paradise

When I first came to the Gold Coast as a 23-year-old, I was attracted by the bright lights of Surfers Paradise. My friend Alexa and I laid out on the beach all day, then hit up the bars at night. We visited Surfers to verify its reputation as a tacky, glitzy party town. Since that’s what we expected, that’s what we found.

This time, devoid of expectation, I saw a whole new side of the Gold Coast. While this was in part because of my new, mature world view it was also due to the freedom brought on by having a car. With a car, travel completely changes. For example, the Greyhound Bus driver probably wouldn’t have pulled over whenever a brown tourist sign struck my fancy. Jared, thankfully, is more indulgent of my whims.

Tropical Fruit World

Tropical Fruit World: go beyond your wildest dreams

“Ooh, Tropical Fruit World,” I said. “Let’s go there.”

So we did.

To really get the full TFW experience, you have to shell out the big bucks. Forty-five of them, to be exact. We did not do this, so we missed out on the Plantation Safari and Miniature Train Ride, among other things, but it doesn’t keep me up at night.

Access to the gift shop and the fruit stall is free, so we soaked it up. I had my photo taken with the pregnant-looking avocado and hit up all the food samples on the back table. Then we selected exotic fruits to purchase: a custard apple and a black sapote, also known as chocolate fruit.

The path from the shop to the car park takes you through an array of fruit trees from around the world. By the time we got to the car Jared had amassed a collection that included an avocado, mangosteen, velvet apple, and some sort of tiny sour plum. All were inedible except for the avo.

black sapote
Black Sapote, or chocolate fruit. Have you tried it?

As we tucked into our chocolate fruit in the car, I thought about what a very different experience it was to come to the Gold Coast as an almost-35-year-old. Getting crazy wasn’t splurging on a cocktail, it was biting into a foreign fruit. Which, by the way, did taste sort of like chocolate. Sort of.

Pickled Pig Brewery

Pickled Pig Brewery Tweed Heads
Best beer story ever.

Another sign, this time in a shopping center parking lot in Tweed Heads, led us to the awesome Pickled Pig Brewery. It’s an independent, eco-friendly microbrewery tucked away in a warehouse, reminiscent of Byron’s Stone & Wood. There are a couple of tables in the room, but most of the space is occupied by the production line: bottles being sanitized, filled, and sealed for your drinking pleasure.

The staff were so friendly, encouraging us to try whatever we wanted. Each time we asked to sample a beer one was opened and split between the two of us. If Jared hadn’t been driving we probably would have made ourselves at home. We bought a mixed case of Moonlight Ale (an American pale ale/IPA blend) and Stoned Mango (do NOT judge by its name, this beer was awesome). All beers are free of additives and preservatives, meaning you can have a few beers at night but still keep your wits about you in the morning.

Rocks Galore

Gold Coast Snapper Rocks
Snapper Rocks with the Goldy in the background.

We stayed in Kingscliff, which is just south of the Queensland-NSW border. It was a short drive to Coolangatta, home of the famous surf break Snapper Rocks. Jared surfed the point while I stuck to the little waves of the bay. The views from the top of the point were spectacular, especially at sunset.

Elephant Rock Currumbin

Just north of Snapper Rocks is Currumbin, where you will find Elephant Rock. I’m including this because try as I might, I can’t see the elephant. I climbed to the top, I walked a distance down the beach, I looked at it from all angles and still, no elephant. There is a nice-looking cafe and great views of the skyline at Surfers, but I came to see an elephant so I was left wanting.

Elephant rock
View from the top of Elephant Rock.


Obviously, there are more things to do in the Gold Coast, no matter what your age. There are bars and restaurants, casinos and theme parks – if you’re looking for action, you can – and will – find it here. But if you’re like me and you just want to take it easy? Well, something like Tropical Fruit World might be right up your alley.

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    1. I didn’t really do the Gold Coast justice here – it’s really well set up for events so I think it’s a great spot for the Commonwealth Games! Also, beer = fun for all ages so you’ll do just fine.

  1. I think I see the elephant. It’s laying down though and its trunk is flat out in front of it. The big hump in the back is it’s torso area and the little hump is its head.

    Pretty pictures!! Also, I love mangosteen. Love. But not as much as passion fruit. Also, did they have durian??

    1. Hmm I sort of see it now…certainly much closer than I ever did before!! Jared reminds me that the mangosteen was pretty good once we let it ripen, but I have to try a good one soon. I don’t remember seeing durian, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I’ve never actually tried durian, though I have passed up many opportunities. Next time maybe!

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