Coordinates: 28° 35′ 45″ S, 153° 13′ 23″ E
We came to the Gold Coast for MardiGrass. In what is deemed the “Rainbow Region” we split time between Surfer’s Paradise and Nimbin. Great selections were available in laneways (an automobile-free alley) if you knew where to look. Our guide was a jovial fellow named George who is at the vanguard of medical marijuana voting initiatives. He described it as being “Johnny first cab off the rank.” The analogy is to a line of waiting taxis, when medical dispensaries are allowed he plans to be the first to open doors.
MardiGrass is a festival in favor of ending prohibition in Australia. It’s decriminalized here and since 1993 this gathering has the strangest entertainment of any we have seen. There is an athletic race where you carry gunny sacks, buckets of water and bales of pot branches long distances to re-create the tasks of harvesters working in the surrounding hills where the surprisingly potent local botanicals are grown. The parade has insanely creative floats and handy- crafted decorations that blew us away.
At night we attended Harvest Balls and Picker’s Balls. Then during after hours we hit the “Doof” parties, basically outdoor raves on rooftops with secret passwords to enter. The Gold Coast is a tourist mecca with perfect weather, beach culture and marijuana out of site but never out of stock.