Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conquering Fear at the SkyPoint (Q1) - A Day in Gold Coast Part 1


My first morning in Australia was punctuated with a charged buzz running down my spine. The sun was up and I was raring to see the lake just across the house. After a sumptuous meal (below) which Girlie prepared for me, I rushed out of the house. In the waking hours, the street was as deserted as it was in the evening. The slumbering vibe in this area reminded me of Laos' sleepy towns. In it's sun-drenched atmosphere, it was how I've always pictured Australia to be, with a generous dose of sunshine.



The houses fronting the lake are prime properties. Each has his own jetty, and a smattering of swimming pools here and there. I crossed the deserted road and came into a small parcel of children’s playground. Right beside it was the lake, placid and inviting. Not long after, Girlie and I were ready to scour Gold Coast in all its sun-kissed splendor.
                                                               
This was the anticipated morning ride. The GPS of the red VW was working overtime, its voice blaring imposingly from the speakers. Outside, the wind was mild and I couldn't help but notice the distinct amount of unoccupied space stretching through the landscape. Australia seems to have an infinite supply of unused, unoccupied land. After all, it’s the 6th largest country in the world where land mass is concerned. It has a bounty that has made it the world’s 12th largest economy. So it’s no wonder that the country has a program that seeks to populate the hinterlands with productive foreigners willing to migrate to the country, but they do so by  sort of “throwing” these migrants “into the wild”.

Deserted playground

Oystercove Promenade, Helensvale

Lakeside homes

The road to Surfer's Paradise.

In what's Australia's version of the American "Spring Break", "schoolies" flood Surfer's Paradise to have fun.

Our first stop was a residential highrise called Q1, short for “Queensland Number One”, the world’s 5th tallest residential building. The Marina Torch in Dubai takes the top spot.

Located in Gold Coast’s commercial epicenter of Surfer’s Paradise (a suburb), the Q1 rises amongst high-rise apartment buildings and a long stretch of white sandy beach popular with surfers and holiday makers.

With a height of 1,058 feet (322.5 meters), Q1's architectural form is inspired by an “olympic torch” and its name is derived from a 1920’s Olympic sculling (rowing) team. 

Tourists can enjoy the breath-taking 360 degree view of the Surfer’s Paradise and the Gold Coast at the SkyPoint aka QDeck, the building’s observation deck located 750 feet (230 meters) off the ground, at the pinnacle of Q1. It sits between 77th and 78th floors, and is not for the faint hearted.

A ticket to the SkyPoint isn’t cheap and costs Aus$21 (P860). Girlie bought a couple at the lobby then we hopped into the lift that took 43 seconds to reach level 77.

My jaw dropped when I saw the sprawling view from north to east, and south to west. It was also the perfect weather to view the city with. It’s in moments like these that you are rendered speechless because a specific description escapes your vocabulary.

This is also a moment of sheer intimidation and amazement. Where do you place your existence in the presence of such beauty? Man has augmented divine creation. The bluest ocean beckons to the east while the white strip of beach stretches from north to south.

The deck felt safe because it’s enclosed by a sturdy roof that doesn't show the infinite sky, but the glass partition that covers Q1 inspired shivers. Each side had descriptive signboards detailing what’s seen on your viewing window. I had to pretend I wasn't scared, but my heart was pounding. I have actually developed a minor degree of acrophobia, the morbid fear of heights, that wasn't there when I was younger. Yet this affliction has never stopped me from pursuing altitude from different places; not in Australia, that’s for sure.

Opening hours – Sunday to Thursday: 7AM - 9PM, Friday and Saturday: 7 AM to Late (18+from 8 PM), Last admission is 30 minutes prior to close. Admission prices: Adult: A$21, Children (5 to 14): $12.50, Family (2 adults + 2 children): $54.

For more information and updated rates, check out this link: http://www.skypoint.com.au/Buy-Tickets/Buy-Tickets.aspx?tileid=634326826508500865

This is the Eye in the Sky!

     

SkyPoint Observation Deck

The northern view of Surfer's Paradise

The south and inner southwest side.

The northwestern side.











Be not afraid...


If you want adrenaline rush, fork out A$89 for the stupefying Day Climb where, for 90 full minutes, you could climb and walk the external planks. If you complete the walk, you will be awarded with a Commemorative Climber Certificate, a signature cap, and a group photograph. Frankly, I'd rather croak first! :)

2 comments:

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Picturesque & Captivating !

eye in the sky said...

@ Ramakrishnan:

A bit scary too.:)