You can find pleasure in simplicity while on holiday
I CAN remember holidaying on the Gold Coast with the family back in the day and enjoying all the fun activities that didn't cost a fortune.
No nightclubbing. No NRL or AFL teams to drain the wallet.
Nowadays, I'm a young father but the one-year-old muchkin was left behind for her own mini-break so that "my better half" and I could spend a weekend enjoying the simple things in life once again.
We finished work on Friday afternoon and made a beeline for the Outrigger at Surfers Paradise.
The resort is a couple of hundred metres north of Cavill Avenue, close enough to the action but still far from the madding crowd.
Cocktails and canapés were first on the agenda, before we headed off on foot to mini golf.
Yes, on foot, because this weekend was all about leaving the car in the underground car park and enjoying the things that are within short walking distance from Outrigger's front doors.
King Tutt's Putt Putt has three different courses of varying degrees of difficulty.
Due to the cocktail indulgence and some scary-looking high heels that some of our female colleagues were wearing, we attempted the Jurassic mid-range course.
And yes, I did come away with the win but hey, who's counting?
After a few giggles, a table was waiting for us at Outrigger's Deja View Restaurant for dinner and more cocktails.
I chose the buffet, boasting some of Gold Coast's finest seafood that is handpicked from local trawlers.
By the time we tackled the dessert bar, we knew we were definitely on holidays.
We waddled to the elevator and had a night cap on the balcony overlooking the Gold Coast nightlife and out to the beach.
The cure for our cocktail hangovers was fresh air and exercise, with pushbikes waiting for us in the foyer the next morning.
We rode north towards Southport along a footpath that flirted with the coastline.
Note to ladies: high heels and long white dresses do not mix with chains on bikes.
A whale frolicked in the water not far from the beach break, that gave us an excuse to stop for a cold drink of water and to enjoy the scenery.
We clocked up a few "k"s and pulled into lunch at The Main Beach Pavilion Beach Café.
The Bathing Pavilion was opened to the public in 1934, so some great historic photos line the walls.
With my grilled fish and prawn salad, I sat down on grass only metres from the beach.
The Gold Coast was no longer about high-rises and nightclubs.
Surrounded by trees and sand dunes, you wouldn't know you were within a 20-minute bike ride of Cavill Avenue.
After a relax on our return, we were off to the Wax Museum to hob-knob with the likes of Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Barack Obama, John Howard and many more.
Sunday's Aquaduck amphibious vehicle adventure took us past the Versace Palazzo to check out how the rich and famous spend their time on the Gold Coast, before taking on the canal system to view from afar some of the most expensive real estate on the Glitter Strip.
We passed one holiday house with a helicopter on the jetty plus many mansions worth up to $20million each.
But give me simple, inexpensive pleasures any day.
* The writer was a guest of Outrigger Surfers Paradise.