The search for Australia’s most commercial beach
Last week in my post Heading North of Perth into Midwest Australia I put up a stunning time-lapse video, it may even be the best video on this website.
As at the time of writing, not a single comment on it. Undeterred, I have another timelapse video coming up today. Before that though, let’s talk about my old home town.
Anybody who has read my About me page will know that I was born and raised in Southend. Southend is a seaside town and it has what is known as The Golden Mile. It’s not really a mile long, but it is very commercial.
On one side of the road is the beach, on the other side, wall to wall entertainment. Pubs, cafes, amusement arcades, discos, souvenir shops, more pubs and more amusement arcades.
The pride of Southend though, back in the day when I was a kid, was a huge amusement and theme park with rollercoasters, rides and the ‘Wall of Death’. It was called the Kursaal.
As a 12-year-old I used to, and I think it’s okay to admit it now, bunk in to the Kursaal through the back fence from Woodgrange Drive. One summer I even managed to get a part-time job working on the hammer, you know, hit the metal plate, ring the bell, win a prize.
The Kursaal, unfortunately, closed down some time in the 70s and much of the land was sold off to developers. It did reopen again in 1998, but it was a much smaller venue with no outdoor rides.
The Golden Mile remains though and we can check it out with this wonderful video posted on YouTube by Bruce and Twiggy.
As they drive along the seafront in their car, the sea is to the left and on the right you will see the Golden Mile. As I said above, it’s wall-to-wall entertainment. In this video you will see:
- The Forrester (pub)
- The Seashell Shop
- Hyperdrome Amusement Arcade
- Spar General Store
- Southend Rock and Gift Shop
- Fish and Chip Shop
- Falcon (pub)
- Las Vegas Amusement Arcade
- Neptunes (café, I think)
- Coral Bookmakers
- Stardust (gift shop)
- The Hope Hotel (pub)
- Monty Carlo Amusement Arcade
- New York Amusement Arcade
- Chinnery’s (pub)
- Electric Avenue Amusement Arcade
- The Rose Restaurant
And more and more and more.
All the above is within about 5 or 6 minutes walk. I also know there are one or two more pubs in that area and all that is before they turn a slight right up Pier Hill in the video I’m about to show you.
Talking of the pier, Southend Pier used to be the longest in the world and have a bowling alley at the start of it and more amusement arcades and pubs at the end of its 2 1/4 miles. Underneath, either side of the pier, is an outdoor theme park called Adventure Island, although in my day it was called Peter Pan’s Playground.
Here’s the video:
So, why am I telling you all of this?
I just wanted to show you how commercialised Southend seafront is, and it’s not the only seaside town in the UK that has wall-to-wall amusement arcades and theme parks around it. I think Blackpool and Skegness are even bigger.
Australian seaside towns
I have been to lots and lots of Australian seaside towns and so far I’ve not seen anything that comes anywhere near as close to the commercialism of those UK resorts. I’ve still got a few more beaches to go to though, so maybe I’ll find something similar, but I’m not so sure.
So far I’ve been to beaches in all of the major cities and I’ve not seen any chockablock with amusement arcades in the same way that Southend seafront is. In Australia, the actual seafront itself is usually very quiet and understated. I think that’s great, but of course, I’m no longer 12 years old.
Australia’s most commercial beach
I haven’t been to Bondi Beach since my very first holiday in Australia back in 2002. I’ve heard it’s a little more commercial now, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Australia’s most commercial beach.
Glenelg Beach in Adelaide was reasonably commercial, as is the beach at Mooloolaba, but I don’t think it’s either of these. St Kilda Beach in Melbourne has Luna Park nearby, but again, it’s not Australia’s most commercial beach.
I’ve heard Cairns is quite commercial, and I’m sure Airlie Beach has plenty going on, but I’ve never been. So for my money, Australia’s most commercial beach is Surfers Paradise.
Even Surfers though doesn’t have wall to wall amusement arcades, or very much happening along The Esplanade on the seafront itself. But there’s plenty to do when you go walkabout and, of course, the Gold Coast has many of theme parks in the area.
It also has the benefit of a stunning hinterland known as The Green Behind the Gold. Southend doesn’t have one of those; it has Rochford.
Here’s that timelapse video:
If anybody knows of a more commercial beach in Australia than Surfers Paradise, I’d love to hear about it, please let me know in the comments below.