Australia’s Gold Coast sits just one hour’s drive south of Queensland capital city Brisbane. As its name implies this cosmopolitan city is built beside a sweeping sandy beach that runs for 42 km’s. With such proximity to the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder it’s also referred to as Surfers Paradise. The beach is beautiful all year round and even during winter, the sunshine (on the most part) still shines brightly over the golden sand, making a long, slow walk a must.
Some of Australia’s best cuisine is on offer here, and the choice is enormous. Italian flavors mixed with European style combine to produce distinctly Australian cosmopolitan dining experiences, relaxed and classy. Broadbeach to the south and Main Beach to the north, are two of the Coast’s most popular dining suburbs, bursting with caf©s, restaurants and colourful people. In such a competitive environment, professional, friendly staff ensure your dining experience is unforgettable.
And when you tire of the sand and sea, and fulfilled your dining fantasies, head off and enjoy some of the best entertainment in the southern hemisphere. This is theme park central, where your every thrilling desire can be fulfilled. There are five, yes five, major theme parks on the Coast, each offering very unique experiences.
Fancy becoming a movie star? Well try Warner Bros. Movie World on for size. As soon as you enter the grand archway you are immersed in the pizzazz of Hollywood, (they do call this ’Hollywood on the Gold Coast’). All the Looney Tune and DC Comic characters live here and from Bugs Bunny to Batman, the child in all of us cannot resist the buzz of meeting these life sized characters in person. Everything from the shops, restaurants and rollercoaster rides are tied into the movies, and cater to all ages. You’ll feel like you’ve been on set all day, as the cast and crew pull you into the world of movie magic. Adding to the rush are some of the most thrilling coaster rides in the country.
The Gold Coast, ’where its summer all year round’, as they say, means you can still enjoy the thrills of Wet’n’Wild Water World. This completely water based park has more slides and water rides than you can imagine, and the good news is that the water is heated in winter.
And for an experience that will leave you breathless with wonder, make sure you visit Sea World. This marine park abounds with creatures of the sea that you can meet up close while being educated about their world and the threats now facing them in the wild. All kinds of marine life live and play at Sea World but some of its most beautiful tenants live at Polar Bear Shores. This breathtaking exhibit has been lovingly created in a unique environment ensuring these gorgeous creatures are continuously entertained and stimulated. An underwater viewing area provides an enticing aspect and the bears get obvious joy seeing visitors through the glass. Right next door is Shark Bay where you can see tiger sharks both from a top viewing platform as well as a massive underwater viewing area. Shark Bay is filled with an incredible 5.4 million litres of water and hundreds of colourful marine species.
If you find the time, book in for a Sea World Animal Interactive programme. There are many options here, from swimming with dolphins or seals, to donning snorkel and diving into the reef at Shark Bay.
Another animal kingdom encounter can be enjoyed at Paradise Country. Australia’s most famous animals are on show here and you’ll be able to experience real Australian bush culture including koala cuddling, boomerang throwing and whip cracking demonstrations, cow milking, eucalyptus tree planting, sheep dog muster and stock horse roundup. And no Aussie experience is complete without billy tea and damper around the camp fire.
For those who prefer serious thrills then Dreamworld is your thing. Dreamworld is filled with thrill rides, impossibly high rollercoasters, and is home to Nick Central. The Nickelodeon TV Channel has set up Nick Central right inside the park and the kids will love getting slimed and meeting Spongebob Squarepants and the Rugrats (ask the kids, they’ll tell you who they are!).
Adjoining Dreamworld, WhiteWater World has delivered some of the most exciting water based rides in Australia. These are cutting edge rides you’d expect to find in places like the US and is certainly one of the most adrenaline pumping experiences you can have with your bathing suit on.
And when you feel you can’t take any more fun and entertainment, chill out in the Gold Coast Hinterland. They call it the ’green behind the gold’ and it’s truly magnificent. Tamborine Mountain is just thirty minutes drive from downtown Surfers Paradise – a haven of cosy tea houses, art and craft shops and fine dining. Set amongst rolling green hills with stunning views of the coast, it’s easy to spend a whole day here taking some of Australia’s most beautiful rainforest walks. Wildlife abounds and the sweet song of the rainforest birds will continue to play in your mind long after you leave.
Perhaps on your final night you may want to kick your heels up and enjoy some of Surfers Paradise’s famous nightlife. So many bars and nightclubs line Cavill Mall you’ll have trouble picking just one. The key is to experience as many as possible in one night to truly appreciate the atmosphere. Check out Broadbeach as well for some fabulous fine dining, and the annual Blues on Broadbeach Festival around May.
The Gold Coast has so much to offer as a holiday destination, perfect for families and creating those special memories full of fun and laughs.
Images courtesy of Gold Coast Tourism