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Adam the Tour Guide: Gold Coast
The first in hopefully a series as Adam attempts to report on skating conditions in various places around the world. Hi there folks. Adam the Tour Guide here.

I'll be travelling for the next few months, and I'm taking my skates along with me, so I'll be reporting back on what the skating conditions are like everywhere I go.

As a bit of a trial run, I did a drive up the coast yesterday, to see what skating on the Gold Coast is like.

First up, Lismore ( my home town ), Ballina, and Byron Bay. To sum up in a few words... don't bother. Lismore, despite the roundabouts, which make for interesting places to pause, has generally bad surfaces, and the roads are either not well maintained, or where they are, use course grained asphalt. Ballina is a little better, with some interesting backstreets, but the same road crews seemed to have done their roads, with the surface still too coarse for my liking. And Byron, well, there just isn't really anywhere TO skate. I would forget the skates, and bring the towel. The beaches are just so much more interesting. :)

Having given up on any chance of decent local skating, I started my way up the coast. You won't find much in the way of towns, at least in terms of skating, between Byron and the border, so about an hour of driving later, I arrived at Tweed Heads/Coolangatta.

As you come into Tweed ( don't take the Brisbane turn off ), you reach the work of Queensland road crews, who have a much higher opinion of hotmix than the Far North Coast crews obviously do. But although it LOOKS inviting, don't be fooled. I stopped at various petrol stations and shopping centres to have a look/skate around, and was quite dissapointed. The good surfaces last for about a block around major facilities, and then turn into crap. In general, there isn't anywhere significant to skate south of the river.

Getting a bit frustrated, I moved on to Coolangatta ( the half of the city above the border ). As you drive up you will reach the Twin Towns Services Club, and a roundabout that has the border go right through the middle of it. Interesting enough, and second you pass into Queensland, the skating improves dramatically. The first half a kilometre of Queensland is a shopping strip. Interestingly, there was a hotrod car festival on, so pulling into a difficult to find car park, I threw on the blades and headed in.

The Coolangatta shopping strip is about 5 blocks long by two blocks wide, and joins on to the beach along one edge. The streets surfaces are hotmix with bicycle lanes, and the footpaths are a fine grained pebble like surface, that, although looking a bit touchy, was actually quite decent. I spent about 45 minutes cruising around, and playing with traffic. Around the main shopping area appear to be quite a few different places that look decent for exploration. At the north end of the shopping strip next to the beach is a fairly vicious but very exciting looking little hill, that would be great, if you could time the lights at the bottom.

Unfortunately, just as I was starting to head inland through a nice looking park, the rain, which had been holding back for about an hour, finely decided to start, ruining much chance of continuing. I headed back to the car on the footpath undercover, and a quick walk to the beach showed that it was raining all the way up the coast, which was annoying, since it ( I thought ) would bring my day to a halt.

In the vain hope of punching through the rain to the north, I headed out again. To briefly comment on the areas I saw ( without actually skating on them ) the skating looks pretty patchy between Coolangatta and Palm beach, not much to talk about. The best looking skating seemed to be the airport, which has quite a few winding roads and concrete areas, although you probably don't want to get too adventurous, and head for the runway. :)

Looking for somewhere to have dinner, I headed in to Pacific Fair. My god, if heaven had a car park, it would be copied from Pacific Fair. This gigantic
 
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