Tag Archives: coolangatta

Wasting away in UnCoolangatta

Surf Camp – Coolangatta
January 28th – February 1st


This place sucks. I am excited to leave.


OK, I’ll elaborate: there is nothing to do in Coolangatta, and in a bad way. “But Adam, there was nothing to do in Yamba, and you loved it there!” — Yamba is charming because it was willing to admit and embrace its sleepy surf town vibe. Coolangatta tries to be the coolest kid in school, and fails rather miserably.


Too many depressing surf shops. A few interesting looking music venues that are never actually open. Restaurants that are open for lunch but closed when I try to show up for dinner. Rain when I want to go to the beach. The much larger and busier Surfers Paradise is an easy bus ride up the coast, and would probably have been a much better place to stay.

The Coolangatta Sands Hotel hostel (weird, I know — hotel here may describe a place to eat and drink, and not a traditional hotel. Plenty of hotels here don’t offer lodging. Here we have a hotel which offers hostel accommodation — hence “Hotel hostel”) is brand new, and has air conditioning in the rooms and a nice balcony with swanky sun beds — but THERE IS NOTHING TO DO. We were supposed to be surfing, but the waves are non-existent. They’re supposed to be fantastic when they’re on. Boo.


This city is full of old people, who come to the hotel for the early bird specials and to stuff coins into the pokies in the back room. Every old person seems to have the same plan: (a) gamble, (b) gamble, (c) gamble, (d) die. I have seen the same silver fox of a man here every lunchtime and dinnertime, and the asshole won the giant crab I was also betting for during Friday night crab racing. [I actually see him walking into the hotel while I am typing this on the balcony.]

Also, I’ve had a bit of the flu the entire time I’ve been here. This probably isn’t doing Coolangatta any favors during my review — just sayin’.




Surf camp is officially over. We made the best of our final days by going to a nearby park and drinking a lot of goon. The whole 14-day experience was a lot of fun overall, but by the end I was getting bored of eating meals and hanging out with the same people every single day. I suppose that’s one of the risks to committing to a lengthy guided tour with a bunch of strangers!

A few weeks as a lone wolf should help balance things out. Next stop: Hobart, Tasmania! Alone! I would have left here on the 31st, but it was a few hundred dollars cheaper to endure a few more days of boredom.


– The manager here, Adam, asked me if I’d be interested in staying on for an extra two weeks as a part-time cleaner in return for free lodging. No way, buddy!

– I think I’ve now been in Australia for longer than my entire Spring 2008 vacation. And I haven’t even started my adventure!

– There are a ton of Mexican restaurants here. They all look horrible.

– After surf camp ended I had one night as the only occupant of a four-bed dorm room. Privacy is heavenly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel Journal