The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

March 18, 2017 by David Herd

Catching up with old friends

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Great week Surfers Paradise Australia catching up with lots of old friends, here I am at Melbas with Michael Wood & Greg (Noodles) Craig.  This was my first stop before driving south to Sydney via Kingscliff, Yamba, Port Macquarie, Forster, and Gosford.

Melbas on the Park

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

I first visited this iconic bar on New Years Day 1982, 35 years ago. The reason I am so sure of the date is it was the day after my unforgettable NYE on Sydney harbour with my overloaded boat being showered by sky rockets.

O’Malleys on Cavil Avenue

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia After Melbas we wandered down to O’Malleys to have a couple more drinks and watch the rugby league.

The view from O’Malleys

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Overlooking the famous Surfers Paradise Beach.

Cavill Avenue, what a great poster & a Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia That photo is always going to grab my attention. 🙂

The Avenue in a new location

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia The Avenue moved across the road to make way for a new property development. 

Orchard Avenue Surfers Paradise

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Certainly on of the most famous streets in Surfers Paradise.

Costa D’oro restaurant

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia I can remember eating at this restaurant over 35 years ago.

Corner of Orchard & the Gold Coast Highway

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia You can clearly see the light rail tracks that stretch from Helensvale to Broadbeach.

 Certainly one of the highlights of my trip.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Caught up with Karen Greenwood an old girlfriend from 1991, 26 years ago. As you can see see still looks fantastic. 🙂 So many terrific memories came flooding back, it certainly made it a Great week Surfers Paradise Australia. We are at Franks seafood cafe on Chevron Island.

Here we are 26 years ago.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

I could’t resist posting this photo from 1991.

Fabulous breakfast

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

Green Days restaurant on the corner of Bundall Rd & Ashmore Rd offer my favourite breakfast.

Green Days restaurant

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia It is difficult not to feel totally relaxed here.

 Great week Surfers Paradise Australia           photo Greendays 6.jpg          Great week Surfers Paradise Australia

Open for lunch every day & dinner Friday & Saturday.

 Two of my best friends

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Ross Kennedy & Bryan Dart are two very old friends, we met for a few drinks at the Benowa Tavern.

Talking about old friends

 photo IMG_7141.jpg Here are two of my oldest friends, both in years I have known them & years they have been on this planet. Tony Murphy aka Murph the surf & David Robertson aka Chocolates.

 Back to Rossco and his new home.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Paradise waters is now home for the Kennedy’s.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia           photo 7da78189-070f-47dd-9a38-cc47984d2fcc.jpg           photo IMG_7154.jpg

A wonderful location with beautiful water views.

Last but not least the Legendary Lloyd Ross.

Great week Surfers Paradise Australia Caught up briefly with Lloyd & hope to see him in Thailand soon.

Thanks for visiting my  Great week Surfers Paradise Australia photo blog.

 Here are some more posts on my wild wicked ways. :)

                   Life 2015                  Family history                   Life 1982

fivestarvagabond          David Herd          David Herd Sydney

  Adelaide 1972                 Iron Bar Freddy               Sydney 2006

David Herd Australia          Big Tim Bristow          Lobster mornay at the Freeway photo April24FreewayHotel-33.jpg

  Thailand 2008                Gold Coast Babes               World trip 2003

David Herd Thailand         David Herd Gold Coast          Copacabana beach

      Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                                                through these links below.  Book now & pay later.
                                                                 Plus free cancellation .?
                                                       Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                                                  Amazing Bangkok busses               Amazing Bangkok busses

      That’s all folks

Thailand Europe Vietnam Japan

Pattaya webcam

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

January 8, 2016 by David Herd

Melbas on the Park

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy is a huge part of Surfers Paradise folklore. Here is my photo record spanning over 25 years showing my friends and I having fun at this iconic nightclub and bar in Surfers Paradise. In the early 80s it was also one of the best restaurants due to the expertise of owner/manager the late great Paul Allen.

My Melba’s three L scenario, Legends were made, Lies were told, Ladies were pursued. 🙂

This is not a travel blog just a personal photo collection from Surfers Paradise Australia.

New Years Eve 1990 Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

On the left is Tony Fazio who was manager at the time, now living in Perth I believe, on the right is Steve Jones one of the legendary bouncers who sadly passed away far too young, RIP.

Adam & Eve

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


 I think her name was Amanda but don’t hold me to it. A cocktail waitress who was a very sexy lady.

Dinner before we hit Melbas

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

In those days there was a Japanese restaurant next door where I regularly had dinner before hitting the club. Melbas was only on the 2nd floor then, downstairs was all shops.

 Paul’s son Dave Allen part of Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


Dave is a terrific guy, in 1990 he was working behind the bar, in later years he was General manager.

Another New Years Eve around 90/91

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

 Harley Bradstreet one of my greatest long time friends, no Melba’s blog would be complete without him. For a while in the 90s he was actually one of the chefs there, it’s still unknown how many diners were rushed to hospital after eating one of his creations, forgive me mate I’m only joking.

A mutual friend of ours Southport solicitor Larry Wilson coined a famous phrase regarding Harley, he said “anyone can have a bad decade”. That really summed it up beautifully, I often used to refer to this great little guy as my own personal disaster area, but a nicer guy than you could never meet.  Narrelle with the great smile worked behind the bar and was Tony Fazzio’s main squeeze at the time, a few years later I recall introducing her to her future husband, Jack Delanty, a one eyed Collingwood supporter from Melbourne.

 July 7 1992

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

 July 7 1992 was my birthday so naturally we celebrated at Melbas. Great friend Andre Buzek on the left was dentist on Chevron Island who was always offering cut price dental work to any sexy young lady who crossed his path. Sadly Andre lost his life in a car accident in Cuba about 4 or 5 years after this photo was taken.

Greg Johnstone on the right now lives in Thailand as I do, we occasionally have a beer together. At the back are Roger Williams and Len Jones, Roger went back to Adelaide and Len now lives in Sydney, the name of the girls eludes me.

A very happy bunch of people

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

The young guy at the back is Justin, another one of Paul Allen’s sons.

The legend himself in 1992

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


Paul was larger than life and ran Melbas with an iron fist. I originally met him when he was head waiter at Eliza’s restaurant in Cavil Avenue. Two of his customers financed Paul into Melbas around 1981, they saw potential in the way Paul interacted with customers and figured he could develop the best restaurant night club on the coast, they were right.

I vividly recall my first visit on January 1st 1982, we had a huge night on Sydney harbour on New Years Eve which ended at dawn, so on the spur of the moment we flew to the Gold Coast checked into St Tropez in Orchard and wound up at Melbas that evening.

At the start Melbas was 75% restaurant and 25% night club separated by a glass wall. Even though the restaurant was top class each passing year saw it get smaller and the nightclub bigger until it disappeared altogether.

An article from the “Age” in May 1981

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

The whole paper and other articles can be seen here.

Grahame aka “Biff”, Kitty & Helen Burke.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


January 1982 a couple of days after we arrived the party continued on the Gold Coast. The new sexy girl in the middle was “Kitty” a totally uninhibited Dutch girl who I knew from Sydney, but that’s another story.  🙂 Helen Burke on the right was soon to become my new girlfriend, in November 2014 I visited her at her winery at Dromana in the state of Victoria, my how time flies when you are having fun. The big guy is Graham La Roche aka “the Biff”, a legend in his own lunch time.:)

Lets jump forward to the year 2000

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


One of Paul Allen’s rules was to hire the best looking girls to work behind the bar, in my book the best of them all was Aurora. She is definitely part of Melbas Gold Coast Legacy.

The usual suspects Xmas 2000.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

From the left we have Jim Bell, John Sinclair, David Herd and Tony Murphy. Jim rented a room in my home for 15 years from 1995. John moved to Thailand around 2001 and Tony still lives on the Gold Coast.

Lovely Kerry

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


Xmas 2000 and Kerry Townsend-Smith was one of the head girls, I first met her when she was a waitress at the Boardroom, a well known Southport gentlemen’s club. From memory after Melbas she moved to Koi at Broadbeach, a lovely lady with a great personality.

A definite highlight in 2000

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


One of the most gorgeous ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Skye Edwards from Launceston.

Skye-Jilly Edwards (born c. 1972) is an Australian beauty pageant titleholder who won the Miss Globe International 1994 in Istanbul, Turkey and represented her country in the Miss World 1994 pageant in Sun City, South Africa. She was rated in the top 50 models in Australia by Ralph Magazine.

Perfect except for one small thing

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Yes, Skye was a smoker, come to think of it so was I in 2000. I finally quit for good 2 years later.

Here is an article on Skye’s current life.

Melbourne Cup 2004 with Michelle

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

You could always guarantee the best eye candy on the coast would wind up at Melba’s on Melbourne cup day.

 The Butterbean Brothers in 2005


Two legends in their own lunch time, the Butterbean brothers aka Larry Krausz & Ross Kennedy. Larry just moved to Pattaya on November 28 2015 and is now my neighbour. (Sadly our buddy Larry passed away in January 2017 after suffering a major stroke in Thailand October 28th 2016)  Rossco originally from Melbourne where he sold hot dogs outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and is now a mover and shaker on the Gold Coast. He quit his holdings in Surfers Paradise strip clubs and restaurants to become the glass splash-back King of the Coast. We have a long & happy history together with the highlight being a legendary road trip to Sydney, Falls Creek & Melbourne in 1996. What an incredible year 1996 was, read all about it here.

 December 2003 Xmas lunch.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Sadly two old friends in this photo have passed away. Second from the left Ron Collier died April 26 2012. I first met Ron in Melbourne in the 70s before he & Yvonne moved to Byron Bay, a great character who loved life to the max. Second on the left is Noel Smith a regular Melba’s customer who passed away in 2011.

Graham La Roche aka “The Biff”.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

A true Aussie legend, I also met Graham in Melbourne in the 70s, as his nickname suggests he was a hell of a fighter. Fought with the famous Jimmy Sharman’s boxing troupe throughout Victoria in the 60s and was never defeated. Graham was on-board by boat in Sydney Harbour on New Years Eve 1981 when we got smashed by fireworks because I stupidly anchored in the drop zone, read about it here.

For many years Graham has run a successful tiling business at Carrara on the Gold Coast.

Historic photo from National Library of Australia

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


 Lovely Linda in 2005

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


I think this beautiful lady was Maltese, I only wish I was 20 years younger and 4 times wealthier.

Melbourne Cup 2006.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Important evens were always celebrated at Melba’s, here I am with good friends David Robertson aka “Chocolates” and Phil Thomson aka “Baldrick“. Chocs was famous for the huge volume of “Forsters Light” he would consume daily while Baldrick was famous for……… nothing really. 🙂          

Xmas 2006

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Here is my good mate Craig Sulzberger aka “Sudzi”, this was around the time we were planning to visit Rio de Janeiro for Carnival in 2008.  We also had a great time in Florianopolis and Balneário Camboriú.

Xmas 2006 Greg Craig aka “Noodles van Cleef”.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Another terrific old friend who was a regular member of our Melba’s drinking crew. Also known as “Coupons” which he collects to swap for free stuff. 🙂

Another gorgeous staff member

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

  Service with a smile.

2007, German and gorgeous.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Not only gorgeous but a sparkling personality as well. I can’t remember her unusual name, Zea or something like that.

Concentration plus

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Keep that red wine flowing my dear. 🙂

2007 Alan Jones

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Twice world Formula 1 champion, a true living legend if ever there was one. Pictured here with myself and well known Gold Coast sycophant David Hoskit.

My birthday 2008

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

As I said previously all important events were celebrated at Melbas. One of the clowns, I think it was Noodles decided I was old enough for a wheelchair. I can guarantee one thing for sure, Chocs would not have paid for that bottle of red, & everybody who knows him would agree with me. 🙂

Just so cute

 Melbas Gold Coast Legacy It was 2009 and I think her name was Linda, another one of the super cute Melba’s bar staff.

Dani Tobin, a real wild child.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Over the 25 years of drinking at Melba’s I met some wild crazy ladies, and Dani certainly makes it into my top 10. I see her occasionally on Facebook and she seems to have quietened down a little little, hopefully we may catch up again one day. This photo is from 2009.

The usual suspects in 2008

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

We usually met around 5pm most days and left around 7 pm to sneak home dodging the breathalyser.

2008 Drinks for my AFL tipping comp

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

 I ran an Australian Rules tipping competition for around 10 years and Melba’s were one of our sponsors.

2009 AFL footy tipping dinner

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

  Here is part of the mob at our end of year dinner in 2009.

Straight out of the Folies Bergère

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Another gorgeous drink waitress who contributed to Melbas Gold Coast Legacy.

I’m including this song just because I like it.

It’s a happy song and for some strange reason it makes me think of all the happy times I had at Melba’s.

 Isabella Rovai and Marilia Costa

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

These two beautiful Brazilian girls worked behind the bar in 2011.

Another knockout

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy


Is it any wonder we made Melbas our local pub?

Rolando Hanipale

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Rolando was one of the big happy bouncers at Melbas.

Another Legend Lloyd Ross 2009

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

When and why did Lloyd become a legend you may well ask? Well sometime around the turn of the century Lloyd relocated his office from Bundall to 50 Cavil Avenue right next door to Melbas. I am sure that no other customer has ever spent more in this bar than Lloyd, for a start most days from 11 am he would conduct his business in the south east corner of the bar surrounded by various friends and associates. He would normally pull up stumps around 6 pm and head home to Main Beach.

One memorable evening around 2007 Lloyd was enjoying himself so much he stayed on much later until the place was jumping. The crowd in the bar at that time was several hundred, so without any fanfare he ordered 600 shooters at a cost of $5,000, guaranteeing his place in Melba’s on the Park folklore for evermore. It didn’t stop there, he followed up with another 600 to consolidate his legendary status. 🙂

Ross Kennedy September 24 2011

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

Only a few days before making my huge life changing move to Thailand I started having farewell drinks at my favourite bar with my favourite friends.

My last visit November 2014

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

After my road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road I flew to the Gold Coast to catch up with friends and family. Phil Thomson and I kept alive our tradition of drinks at Melbas on Melbourne day.

Nothing changes

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy Here is a group of old friends in August 2017, still rocking on after all those years. 🙂

The Brazilian girls are still gorgeous.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy This gorgeous creature hails from Rio di Janeiro.

Caught up with Geoff Robinson from Gosford.

Melbas Gold Coast Legacy A Thailand tragic, much like yours truly. 🙂

That’s all folks for Melbas Gold Coast Legacy

 photo Farewell David 001.jpg A final gathering of the usual suspects before leaving for Thailand. I hope you enjoyed my Melbas Gold Coast Legacy post.

Here is Glenn to describe how I now feel in September 2017.


                      Here are some more posts to check out 

         Sydney                               Paris                                   Bangkok           
 497d0b6e-c0bd-4ba2-86be-c02100f050a8        65470622-d17a-4b90-bf97-2574df4c412d        1a2160c1-41f7-465a-954c-631e083eb229
          Tokyo                        Rio De Janeiro                        Budapest
f59e958e-8eaf-48b4-8e96-c291a0c13d1a        f044491e-69aa-4082-b49b-1ff33557d7d4        a6a948cd-f30a-49ea-a905-82be4d202cc9
           London                            Beijing                            Capetown
2246c6cf-5fa6-4fbe-ac30-b569253ad2a6        f65d714b-f44c-4b2e-9505-3511ebecbb80        4e82052a-24d0-41e1-ab84-10e8f27634d1
            Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you            
          book through these links below.  Book now & pay later.
                                                                 Plus free cancellation .
                                               Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
                                            d0c59ff5-7f2b-41b5-9312-4556d4a62037            01a75360-9573-473f-acba-3a187f779b7f

Slide show here.

Pattaya live webcam
9a1fec74-4461-46cd-8663-97f5893c8f6e (1)

That’s all folks

1g Duck

This gallery contains 1 photo.