At first glance the Gold Coast can appear as the tackiest tourist trap on the east coast of Australia. The overbearing hotel high-rise buildings and the cheesy second-rate amusement parks can leave the anyone asking – why bother?
My recent trip to the Gold Coast got me thinking about travellers sharing a common thirst for knowledge. The basis for any travel is the inner human necessity to explore and to learn, to bring something worthwhile home with us.
…travelling for me has always been about sightseeing, shopping and (shock horror) drinking but this experience brought me a personal satisfaction…
Cooking lessons, sailing, surfing and yoga classes – all popular activities that many people seek out when travelling, thereby adding enrichment to the overall experience. Sure, these activities can be found on the Gold Coast and they’re pretty enjoyable. But what about a more unique experience?
You might be surprised to discover there are some classes of a different kind that can really bring out your creative side, all while working up a sweat and getting your hands dirty.
Flying into the local airport of Coolangatta, at the southern end of the Gold Coast, you’re right on the door step of the most beautiful, pristine beaches around.
Palm Beach, a stone’s throw from Coolangatta, is something of a forgotten surfie community circa 1970. Old-school beach shacks and units skirt the white sands with uninterrupted views of the turquoise waters. Children still play out on the street and too-cool Gen Y’s cruise by on skateboards with a surfboard under one arm.
Down a little sandy path, right on the beach front I found the home of artist and jeweller Ophelia Braithwaite. Phee (as she is known) opens the doors to her well-equipped studio to offer silversmithing workshops to holidaymakers and locals alike.
With the view from here – it’s not hard to see where her inspiration comes from:
A silversmith workshop with Phee is nothing like I expected. Firstly, I had individual attention all day, because she only teaches up to two people at a time. There were no expectations, I didn’t need to be an expert, because Phee guided me through each step and answered every question – clearly demonstrating her vast knowledge and experience.
The hands-on approach to the workshop meant that I was able to take home an awesome solid silver creation (see below) but we also had a laugh and enjoyed lunch by the beach too.
This was just the kind of creative outlet I was looking for. Travelling for me has always been about sightseeing, shopping and (shock horror) drinking but this experience brought me a personal satisfaction that you can only get from attempting something new.
And then I popped open a coldie to celebrate my achievement.
What kinds of classes have you taken while travelling?
Ophelia Braithwaite is a professional jeweller with her work stocked in a number of galleries in south east Qld. She has held workshops for a number of years. For more information please visit Jewellerycourses.net.au