The Gold Coast has a bit of a reputation. Think kitschy theme parks, art deco skyscrapers and drunken teenagers on schoolies. All I could think when I was there is how hard the Gold Coast seemed to try to emulate Florida. I imagine the GC going to bed every night hoping it will wake up and be transformed into Miami.Although the theme parks aren’t on par with Orlando’s and Queensland’s Keys aren’t as famous as the ones in the US, the Gold Coast manages to keep up with Florida’s tropical climate most of the time but when it rains, it really rains. Last year when I was in Miami, I managed to escape the day before Hurricane Irma did most of it’s damage and had to fight a lot of warm showers in the days prior. This year, in the Gold Coast, I managed to visit in one of the rainiest days in the year. This meant the majority of the things I had planned weren’t going to be possible.
In a storm, Surfer’s Paradise and the famous 57km of coastline were a whole lot less appealing, as were the surrounding national parks. I’m not one for theme parks or getting drunk by myself so I decided to do the one rain-friendly tourist attraction left on the Gold Coast. Q1.I’d already done Sydney’s Tower and the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne. I love a good viewpoint so I had high hopes for Q1, even in the rain, as it’s Australia’s only observation deck by the sea and gives you 360 degree views of the city and the vast stretch of open water.I visited right before sunset. I hoped for a pastel wash of colours in the clouds, but I don’t control nature, unfortunately. The sun set quickly and in what seemed like a matter of minutes, night swept in. The skyscrapers lit up and the city became alive with colourful lights. Turn to the left and you’ll see streams of headlights in traffic ribboning the roads around the buildings, turn to the right and you’ll see an empty blackness. In between, the strange transition where the city meets the sea.Despite it’s gaudiness and lack of things to do in the rain, you can’t deny the Gold Coast has a charm to it and is very beautiful, despite everything. I think seeing the city from above is one of the best ways to experience this. You can’t see the teenagers vomiting goon when you’re 230m above ground, at least.Entry is $25 making it one of the least expensive observation decks in Aus, but still not a cheap feat. If you have the dough to spend and fancy an extra adventure, it’s possible to climb the tower itself decked out in one of those funny suits. Prices for this fall between $70-$94 depending on what time of day it is.