A Gold Coast Family Vacation

It felt rather surreal for hb and I to have returned to the same place where we first visited 16 years ago, when we were poor, ‘starry-eyed’ Uni students.

Then, we took a 30+ hours Greyhound coach ride from Melbourne and spent a week in Gold Coast, hopped onto public transportation to get the various theme parks. Being poor students, we could only afford one expensive steak dinner, from a steak restaurant which we discovered while strolling along the 5km stretch of long sandy beaches along Surfers’ Paradise.

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The Gold Coast that we remembered 16 years ago, definitely had less buildings peppering the skyline.

This time round, we opted for a less busy place to stay in Gold Coast, specifically, Broadbeach, instead of Surfers’ Paradise, which was quieter and had plenty of amenities. Broadbeach has a nice stretch of the beach, with good restaurants.

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So what do you do in Gold Coast with an 8 year old?

Gold Coast is theme park central in Australia, so visiting the theme parks is a mandatory major part of the visit there.

We spent 4 days in a theme park, mostly weekdays, from the time the parks were opened in the mornings to the late afternoon queuing up to take the various rides in Dreamworld, Wet & Wild, Movie World, and viewing marine life and watching performances at SeaWorld.

Dream World

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi2KungFu Panda themed section in Dreamworld 

Dreamworld main attraction is its Big 9 thrill rides, rides with names like ‘The Giant Drop’, ‘Tail Spin’, ‘Tower of Terror’, ‘Wipeout’, ‘Cyclone’ etc, you can probably know what to expect.

I used to be very game to take thrilling rides in theme parks, but not anymore. All it took was one ‘deceiving’ rickshaw looking ride known as ‘Pandemonium’,  in KungFu Panda theme section, which kept me off from taking any ride for the rest of the day. I definitely did not do well in the ride which soared 8 meters high, sent round and round in circles, side to side and upside down at up to 3.8 G-forces!

The little boy on the other hand, seem to do quite well even after taking the rides.

Dreamworld had a wildlife area with a small section of Australia wildlife, which provided a good respite from the crazy rides.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi3Birds in Dreamworld Coroboree

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi9The customary photo with the Australian Kangaroo

Seaworld

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This theme park was Kyle’s favourite amongst the others, I think it was the experience of viewing marine life, animals, sitting rides and watching animal shows, all found in one place.

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The highlight of Kyle’s SeaWorld visit had to be the 30 minute Helicopter ride, taking in the aerial view of Gold Coast and the Hinterlands…

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and getting his personalised trucker cap and temporary tattoo :)

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Mount Tamborine

We took a drive up to the Hinterlands, Mount Tamborine when the weekend came around. It was a refreshing change from the theme park experiences, but it fell short of what I expected the place to be like. If you have been to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, or Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, and expect something similar to these places, you would be sorely disappointed, like how I was :(

Apart from some quaint cafes along Gallery Walk, the row of shops sold mainly china-made goods and offered new age services like tarot reading. I was hoping to see some shops with locally sourced products or hand crafted goods, but there was none. The only shop that was worth visiting was the shop that sold Tamborine Tea.

The Gallery Walk experience was such a disappointment that we decided to skip the nature hikes and took a drive back to Broadbeach.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi10We had a Devonshire Tea set in a quaint cafe along Gallery Walk

Burleigh Heads

We headed over to Burleigh Heads on Sunday morning to visit the monthly Art and Crafts Market at the beachfront, which was about a 10 minutes drive away from Broadbeach.

There were quite a number of interesting stalls with handmade items, and locally produced products. Although it was smaller than expected, it was worth the visit.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 78Along Burleigh Heads Beach

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 59Spotted a Peaceful Protest along Burleigh Beach

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the things we felt we didn’t see enough of from the last 6 days of our Gold Coast trip were animals, so a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was a must-do on our last full day in Gold Coast.

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Kyle spent his time feeding Kangaroos and spotting the lizards that freely roamed around the Sanctuary

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A key milestone he achieved from his visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was attempting the Treetop Walk Challenge, as he overcame his fear of heights by braving through the course with hb behind him.

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I think a week in the Gold Coast is adequate to experience the most of what Gold Coast can offer, while I would most likely need another week at home to recuperate from the trip 😛

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 17The view from our room in Broadbeach

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An Update on the Home Front

It’s been a crazy busy last 3 weeks for me at home, packing and unpacking from boxes, finding storage space in the new place to store things I haven’t touched since 2012.

What initially turned out to be home leave for the hb, turned out to be a reunion time for our family and rewarding time at home, despite the haze.

The hb and I have given/thrown away more than half we owned the last time we moved out of our family home, so the move was not tedious, with only 25 boxes and only 4 pieces of old furniture. From these 25 boxes, we did further editing by throwing out more than 15 garbage bags of our stuff, and still counting.

The recent week I have been asked this question from Kyle many times, “Did you throw away my xx?” 😛

My answer will be mostly No, as I have found space to store his things, out of sight. There is now so much more space for us to store our stuff, a far cry from just sharing one wardrobe sharing a room in my mom’s place or in the rented room. We now have one wardrobe each and share a storeroom space.

Kyle s Room 3The first room to be fully furnished was Kyle’s 

I am so inspired to maintain this space clutter-free, so I have learnt to be very careful with any new purchases for the home.

It’s an exciting time, since I never expected that I would be able to have the opportunity to furnish and decorate a new space so soon. And I am beaming with joy that I am finally getting my own craft space!

Hb and I will share the study room space, but ‘His’ and ‘Her space’ will be segregated in the small room. Important for a shared space when we have varying tastes in decor (read: Hb is into an ‘organised mess’ style).

Homeupdate1These are the only things that I am seeing from my side of the Study/Craft Area

I am extremely blessed to have an easy-going hb, who left all the decorating of the home to me (all, except his corner in his study area).

My crafting endeavours have never been limited by space, or the lack of it. For the last 2 years K and I have shared a study table and most of my craft materials are stored in cabinets and drawers. So finally having a table and a corner of a room all by myself, is a luxury that I am extremely thankful for. I am looking forward to working on new things and painting more in the months ahead!

I am about 90% done decorating Kyle’s room, while the rest of the furniture will be delivered next Monday. Since we have been sitting, eating, watching TV together on the floor, I am anticipating to finally seeing more furniture in this space!

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Onward to thirty-nine and thriving

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I am thirty-nine today.

Some women would prefer to keep their age a secret after the thirties, but I wear my ‘being on the wrong-side-of-thirty’ badge proudly. It has been an eventful 9 years being 30-something, a roller-coaster of a ride, but I can finally say that I have arrived.

The definition of ‘having arrived’ means to be a success and being famous. To be a success is subjective, and being famous is meaningless. There are many successful and famous people who haven’t discovered what their life purpose is, and haven’t found true contentment, despite their wealth and success.

My definition of ‘having arrived’ is the culmination of knowing my life purpose and finally finding peace and contentment.

I think a friend put it so aptly when I met her in Jakarta last week, “There is something about you that is so different from when I first got to know you in March last year. There is now this peace and joy within you.”

Indeed it is this peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that can only be obtained when my full confidence is placed in a loving God and when I know how to be thankful in all circumstances. I have learnt to LET GO and LET GOD take over for all things.

The changes started when I started telling God, “Not my will anymore Lord, but let your will be done in my life!”

Often we humans have so much good things to say about Him, but our actions prove otherwise. We try to wrestle our own way, have a long list of things that we desire and ask for, and cannot trust that He can do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Why are we so afraid to surrender our own will, to let His will take over for our lives?  We may say that we trust God, but in reality, I think most of us don’t. In fact, most of us think we know better for our own lives and will prefer not to surrender that control that we have on our lives, over to God.

All I can testify reaching 39 years of age today, is that God is truly faithful, He is so good and loves His children.

I am filled with thankfulness as I am overwhelmed by the blessings (both spiritually and physically) God has given me since the start of this year. All it took from my end was full surrender and a realisation that I needed to align my life fully with His will for me, and go where He led me to.

He has once again proven that indeed He is an awesome God and I cannot help but to share this testimony of God’s faithfulness and love.

The icing on the ‘my cake’ turning 39 this year….

I have just collected the keys to a new home 2 days ago. Kyle and I will be moving out of my mom’s place, as we have got a new place, albeit temporary for the next 2 years, as hb and I will only be able to purchase a new place in 2017 due to stringent HDB rules. The boy and I are looking forward to more weekends to be spent with hb, as he will coming back to SG more frequently each month.

When dh first suggested that getting our own place last week, I told him that I was content with the current arrangement. But it didn’t take long for him to convinced me that it will be nice to have a new place to come home to. Following the next 3 days, we confirmed a place, then purchased the furnishing and appliances.

I haven’t been praying or expecting for a new home, since we moved out of our rented place in 2012. I just trusted God for things to happen in His perfect time. I didn’t expect our financial turnaround to happen so soon, and the amazing thing is, this is just the beginning of God’s restoration for our lives!

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For quite sometime, I have avoided looking at Interior styling photos on Pinterest and that has been quite challenging especially since I love Interior Decorating. So with this, the passion for Interior decorating is officially re-ignited. So I will likely be blogging about Interior Decorating in the next few weeks 😛

It’s going to be a busy but fun last quarter of 2015 and I look forward to a joyful and content 40s to come. And I am glad that the term ‘mid-life crisis’ will continue to be a foreign term that I will never need to relate to.

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