Thursday, February 6, 2014

Australia September 2013 - Translink Bus & Rail To Brisbane

***This post is part 9 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

Utilizing the TransLink Journey Planner, I mapped out the exact itinerary from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane. The wonderful thing about the website is that it identifies specific points of interest such as hotels and landmarks, and takes into account walking time to get to the closest bus stop.

After entering all the relevant information, several routing options are calculated, each with detailed transfer information, fare price, and estimated total travel time. For the entire journey, my total cost was $10.17 AUD during off-peak hours ($12.71 AUD during peak hours). I would highly recommend using this tool if you are visiting South East Queensland and plan on taking public transportation.

After checking out of the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, I walked two blocks south to the bus stop on Ferny Avenue (Gold Coast Highway) at Ocean Avenue. The 709 bus arrived on schedule, and in less than half an hour, we arrived at Helensvale Station, where I transferred to the VLBD rail line on Platform 2.

709 bus to Helensvale Station

Helensvale Station and train schedules


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Australia September 2013 - Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Exploring Surfers Paradise

***This post is part 8 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

While traveling through Surfers Paradise last year, I wrote a brief post about the best hotel upgrade I'd ever received. Since I only had one night in town, I arrived at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa not expecting anything beyond a relaxing break after a busy week in Melbourne and Sydney. The hotel was just two blocks north of the TransLink bus stop at Ocean Avenue, and the walk to the entrance took less than five minutes.

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa

Upon entering the grand lobby, one of the bellhops offered to take my backpack, but I declined. Looking around, I was quite impressed with the elegant interior design and the sheer size of the building. At the check-in counter, I was greeted by a super friendly agent who took one look at my belongings and asked if I was backpacking through the country. Traveling solo can be lonely at times, so when someone engages me in conversation, I usually welcome the opportunity with open arms.

I told her about my month-long journey through Australia and how I was absolutely loving it so far, although it was a shame that I was only visiting the Gold Coast for one night. She typed away at her computer while chatting, and finally, when handing the card key to me, she smiled and quietly said that she had upgraded me to an Ocean View Executive Suite. Initially, I had no idea what that meant, so I thanked her for her help and went on my way.


When I opened the door to 1501 and entered the room, I was flabbergasted at what I saw. The front desk agent had upgraded me to a one bedroom, one-and-a-half bath suite with a living room, dining area, wet bar, walk-in closet, two private balconies, and to top it all off, stunning views of the lagoon and ocean. Never in my life had I ever received such an incredible upgrade. Even more amazing was the fact that I was neither Gold nor Platinum, but only a lowly Silver Elite member.