OZ BLOG: Day 11 – 14, Condom Kingdom And Other Issues… Surfer’s Paradise & Brisbane, Australia

Yeh, for reals. There was this massive adult shop called Condom Kingdom with huge flashing lights and an open shop front. How it is allowed to be there, slap bang in the middle of the high street, willies all over the place, is beyond me. But anyway, back to introducing you to Surfer’s Paradise as one of the ‘greyest’ towns I’ve ever encountered.

Okay, it was pissing it down with rain for the duration of our stay in both Surfer’s and Brisbane so I guess I’m not really giving it much of a chance. But even the buildings seemed lifeless. Dead and grey.

We got off on the wrong foot with Surfer’s by managing to run our van battery flat after leaving the lights on as we nipped into McDonalds. We needed to reroute the map because we thought we had taken a wrong turn. Turned out we had actually turned right on to the road we needed and if we had just continued a little further we would have found Surfer’s Main Beach on our own.

Instead we sat in the rain waiting for roadside assistance.

Once settled in the campsite, three of us took a walk to find the main hub of Surfer’s. This was when we encountered the only colourful part of town… that being Condom Kingdom. We had some dinner in an Irish bar, where we got rained on. Physically and mentally. The place was just so depressing. The shops were overpriced for the same stuff you found everywhere else. And the surfing was non-existent. We didn’t find one place offering hire boards or lessons.

The whole stay would have been grossly disappointing had Jurassic World not come to cinema screens the day we arrived.

We chose to visit the cinema on our second day in town. We caught a tram and paid the decent price of AUS$7 (roughly £3.60) to see an afternoon showing. This is considerably cheaper than cinemas at home… and the tram that we had to catch there and back.

Without getting into a full blown review of the film… it was insaaaaaaane. If you haven’t seen it… I suggest you do. Or you’re probably going to die an unsatisfied person.


The weather continued to be pretty miserable throughout the rest of our stay, and things didn’t get any better when our van appeared to have trouble charging its second battery from the mains. We spent our last evening in Surfer’s with no gas and no electricity. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something really annoying about paying AUS$4000 to rent a van that doesn’t work in various ways and having to endure that because it’s out of work hours to report.


This was when I suggested getting out of there and into Brisbane. A city has gotta be better than this rundown seaside tourist trap, right?


It’s funny to think that I actually kind of fell in love with the idea of moving to Brisbane before even visiting the place. You know, I’d done it before and it worked out for me. I loved Salou, I loved Tarragona and I loved El Tarter.

I had a friend who lived in Brissie and although she had, admittedly, given the place a bad rap in the past, she had since realised that she was wrong and the underground entertainment scene and diverse mix of  events was refreshing and pretty hip. All in all, it sounded like a mini London. Somewhere I could see myself living and working and making friends.

But things just didn’t work out between Brisbane and I. It was a doomed love affair.

Once again, we used public transport to get into town… which was surprisingly easy to figure out this time around. But almost immediately after arriving the boys had managed to piss Fliss off to the point that she went home on her own.

Okay… so we’ve all been cooped up in a van together for two weeks now. I guess the bust ups had to start somewhere.

Jack, Guy and I had a drink and a little bit of food in an English style pop up bar on the high street before heading back to the van to check up on Fliss.

The arguments were all resolved the next morning and we all tried again to enjoy a family outing in Brisbane. We met Claire later in the evening where she took us to a charity comedy show in a tiny little coffee shop type place, where we sat on little wooden crates and experienced some really quite funny Australian outlooks on life. And some really quite bad ones.

After a pretty hefty amount to drink, we visited the Bearded Lady to enjoy some more local talent AND to take advantage of Australia’s quite common use of BYO.

BYO is when you can ‘bring your own…’ booze or food. Obviously, we were in a bar so the BYO was ‘bring your own… food (or coffee).’ But I’ve seen bountiful restaurants (usually Thai, Indian or Chinese) advertising BYO booze… considerably cutting the cost of your meal out that evening.

I then sat on the granny carpet, watching this live band with beef noodles hanging from my lips and spilling my large glass of red wine all over my new maxi dress.

The night ended badly when I started a rant about how I figured Jack was being a selfish prick after his behaviour towards Fliss last night. I instantly regretted opening my mouth so I apologised the next morning and things slowly started to get back to some kind of mutual happy ground.

AND THEN… We all decided that Brisbane was no good for us. None of us wanted to spend money shopping, or drinking, or eating. Turns out Brisbane was one of the best places to do all those things… but that just wasn’t what we were looking for.

Frankly, we were bored.

We checked out a day early and once we were on the road again, with the prospect of doing something other than get dog faced wasted, we all chilled the fuck out. The tension in the campervan dissipated and we were looking forward to trying something totally different.

Three nights on a very remote campsite, only accessible by rickety barge, in a national park where families of kangaroos hopped around your van just to scare the shit out of you.

The next week in Noosa is what Australian holidays are made of.

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