Before Flying to Australia…
1. Apply Visa. JA Travel never fails me: swift, polite, and cheap.
2. How to Get to Brisbane from Gold Coast Airport. There are numerous ways with varying prices.
(i) limousine (about 1.5 hours),
(iii) Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle,
(iv) public transport via Go card. Take Bus 760 from Gold Coast Airport. Alight at Varsity Lakes station to transfer to train to Brisbane. (about 2 hours.)
3. Hire Cars. Remember to bring your driver’s license. It is best to look for a cheap deal online, and reserve a car first, because it is more expensive when you book it over the counter at the airport. These are the 6 car rental companies available: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot, and Thrifty. Don’t get a GPS (see #4).
4. Pre-paid SIM Cards. Buy Optus Prepaid SIM card (A$2) from the convenience shop at Gold Coast Airport. Opt for the Prepaid Daily Plus plan (A$2 a day), which gives you unlimited calls, SMS, and 500MB data. With this plan, you can use Google Maps on your smartphones and not get lost.
Airlines Flying to Gold Coast
Gold Coast Airport is a small one-storey airport, which serves a few airlines like Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, and Tiger. A group of Australian food bloggers invited me to give a talk at their conference, and they managed to get Scoot to sponsor my air tickets. Scoot flies directly to Gold Coast from Singapore a few times a week. About 9-10 hours’ flight. It’s a red-eye flight, so by the time you sleep on the plane, and reach Gold Coast, it’s day time.
I hate flying because I’m 1.8m and have a short body and long legs, long beautiful legs that airplane seats threaten to cut the blood circulation off. Thankfully, Scoot flew me there on Business class and back on Stretch seat (economy class but with extreme leg space). The seats were so spacious I could somersault (if I knew how to). Between the two classes, my flat, meatless ass told me that the business class had more comfy seats. I drowned myself in it, but for the stretch seat, I was impatient to arrive. So if it’s long distance, it may be worthwhile getting ScootBiz.
Always pre-purchase food for long distance flights. The beef stew was greasy and thin, but the nasi lemak was awesomely spicy, so spicy I wondered how angmohs could take it. I had a full meal an hour before embarking the plane, and yet when the nasi lemak was served, no grain was left behind.
I surmised that service was better in ScootBiz than in economy class because there were lesser passengers in ScootBiz. ScootBiz has ruined me: I fear that I have become pampered and spoilt by their excellent service.
Getting Around Brisbane and Gold Coast
If you’re traveling only in Gold Coast, go for the Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle, which gives you airport transfers, public transport in Gold Coast, and transfers between theme parks.
If you’re following my itinerary, and going to both Gold Coast and Brisbane, then you may want to purchase a Go card (A$10) at train stations or any convenience shops. The Go card can be used for public transport (trams, trains, buses, and even ferries!) in both places. You can top up the value day by day. An important website, Translink, helps you plan your journey, and guess what, because you have the prepaid SIM card (see above #4), you can access the Translink website any time.
If you need a taxi in Brisbane, call 133 222 (Black & White Cabs) or 131 924 (Yellow Cabs). You can also download the app Uber to request for a private car.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.