Habitat: Joel Parkinson, Parko’s Cooly Castle

Location, location, location! If any dwelling reflects this time-honored real-estate mantra, then Joel Parkinson’s Gold Coast crib is it. I’m not even in the front door and already yearning to check out the view. The steep climb up the twisting Coolangatta back road is the reason. My crappy hatchback barely manages the grade, but I know any of Parko’s four cars handle it easily.

Buzz in through the security gate … ahh, a pool! … and straight to the front door. An exotic Hawai‘ian-inspired thatched awning supported by two immense wooden pylons frames a grandiose entrance. King Parkinson opens up, and immediately his two boxers Trey and Bruno rush out.

The front of the house has a breathtaking view–from the mountainous Hinterland beyond Currumbin Valley on the left, across a vast expanse of Pacific blue to the Duranbah breakwalls and mouth of the Tweed River on the right–it’s nothing short of spectacular. Even the skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise can be seen some 30 miles north, stretching to Stradbroke Island’s southernmost tip.

Even today, with hardly any swell, surfers can be seen threading tubes on the Superbank, zipping between gaps in the distant beachfront hotels and lower branches of the Norfolk pines.

“Over there is the ‘Collapse-o” (a.k.a. The Calypso, the boys’ local watering hole], and see that brown block of units?” adds Parko, pointing directly ahead at the urban sprawl covering Kirra’s infamous hill. “That’s me mum’s place.”

At one end of the veranda is a spa and this joins the pool, which stretches back round to the front of the house. “Tried to do some laps yesterday, but it was too cold, gotta wait ’til summer, I reckon.”

Back inside, past the Ping-Pong table, past the jumbo-vision flat-screen TV (a magnet for the entire Cooly crew on footy night), and up the stairs. Shit, there’re plenty of rooms!

The master bedroom and bath are like something from Elvis’s mansion. Huge bed, massive hotel-style bathroom, another flat-screen telly mounted on the far wall, a walk-in wardrobe, and you guessed it–views, views, and more views. With the sea breeze blowing through and floor-to-ceiling windows in each corner, it feels like we’re standing on clouds.

Time to check out the garage.

Varrooom! The huge door rolls up and there they are, two gleaming street machines. The lime-green utility is a V-8 HSV Maloo (“It’s really good,” says Parko proudly), and the all-white sedan is a Holden SS, both heralded among Aussie rev-heads for their style and pure grunt.

There’s an outboard engine in the corner for the boat (at Dad’s), a three-seater jet ski next to that, and exactly 40 surfboards nicely racked, just like in a surf shop. This leaves no room, of course, for the 4×4 (parked down the street) and the hotted-up 1970 Ford kept under wraps at Dean Morrison’s place.

Cars, toys, pets, surround sound, pools, views … feeling a little overwhelmed, your correspondent can conjure only one final question for our host: “Is this your dream home?”

“Nah, no way,” he says. “I love it, but I don’t even have a yard, mate.”–JJ