GOLD COAST – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Gold Coast – The Australian Traveller Guide
Gold Coast Accommodation
The accommodation options are more expensive the further north you stay, so places like Main Beach and Broadbeach are the more pricey places while the sedate Burleigh Heads is a good middle of the road option down to less expensive Coolangatta. For the campers, South Stradbroke Island is a chilled oasis not far from the busy Gold Coast.
Most times of the year the Gold Coast is pleasant. Peak season is the Christmas holidays but only in the depths of winter, June to August would it be chilly.
Avoid travelling to the Gold Coast during the schoolies held usually during the second two weeks of November. It’s a time when all the school leavers go crazy on the GC and is better left to the 18 year olds learnign how to drink andparty. If you can;t avoid it, head south towards Burleigh Heads. This beautiful eastcoast spot is home to almost half a million people and is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia; it’s also less than an hour from Brisbane by car.
A free Airport Link shuttle provides transfers to the highway where you can catch a local Surfside Buslines service (13 12 30) or the Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle offers hotel drop off ($21 one way, 1300 655 655). Major car rental companies are well represented at the airport and most have offices in Surfers Paradise. Daily bus connections to the Gold Coast are available from the Brisbane Transit Centre (from $20 one way, 1300 473 946) or Citytrain services depart Brisbane for Robina station where Surfside Buslines provide transport to the Coast. Taxi fares can vary enormously due to traffic and the spread out nature of the Gold Coast (13 10 08). Consider hiring a car or your credit card may have to brace itself.
Top off your sun, sand and surf break with a visit to one of these top spas. 1. spaQ at QT Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise SpaQ is not your average ‘set-menu’ spa – it’s all about making each treatment specific to you. As part of the ‘Freshly Picked’ menu, you can individualise your ‘me time’ on arrival, after you’ve cleared your head in the complimentary hammam-inspired steam room and ice fountain. Did we mention the Australasian Spa Association’s Therapist of the Year is on staff? Hello Rebecca McMurtie. Try the ‘Skin Rescue’ Too much Goldie sun? Your skin will love...
The Gold Coast can overwhelm you with choice, some of it a little underwhelming. Here are some suggestions to help you sort the worthwhile from the worthless. Graze without the masses Sharing is caring at Social (1) in the new Oracle precinct of Broadbeach. Co-owners Amy & Matt Jefferson (People’s Choice Chef of the Year for three consecutive years) are all about that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from tapas style dining, serving up delights such as spiced soft shell crab. As pizzas go, it’s all about the right balance between crust and toppings. That’s where the mouth-watering menu at...
You might reckon you know a thing or two about how to build a sandcastle after all those summers honing your technique, but seeing the professionals at work will inspire you to a whole new level. You can catch the pros at the third annual Australian Sand Sculpting Championships, to be held along the Surfers Paradise foreshore from Friday 14 February to Sunday 2 March 2014, with the main competition taking place over the first weekend. Expect to see some detailed works of art along this year’s theme of ‘myths, legends and fairy tales’. There are daily beachfront sand-sculpting workshops...
For many, the intensity of the Gold Coast is anathema to what they consider a relaxing beach holiday. The good news is there’s a softer, quieter side to this stretch of coast, and it lies to the south. The beaches of Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads – and even Kingscliff, just over the border in NSW – are more sedate and still boast the laidback surfing culture, iconic lifesaver’s huts and shady pandanus trees under which to while away an afternoon. Kids will love the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, and there’s some gorgeous hinterland to explore. See queenslandholidays.com.au for more information. ...
Emma Campbell, 15, works as a ‘teen concierge’ for the Marriott Surfers Paradise. The avid surfer and aspiring musician wants to show what the Gold Coast has to offer for visitors her own age. Bored? Get on a board The Gold Coast Surf Academy knows that a trip to the Gold Coast wouldn’t be complete without trying out the feeling of riding a surfboard! There are has two locations: Broadbeach (10-minute drive from Surfers Paradise) and one closer to town, on the southern side of Surfers, just off Frederick Street. I can recommend the school’s friendly assistance, encouraging instructors and skills...
The operatic notes of Mozart will be heard among the rolling waves of the Gold Coast next year. Opera Australia will perform The Magic Flute at Coolangatta’s Greenmount Beach on a purpose-built, beach stage with a live orchestra. Opera on the Beach, part of the Bleach Festival, the Gold Coast’s largest arts and cultural event, is headed by stars from Opera Australia, but also draws on local artists for the production. “This will be a very special event, tailor-made for Queensland, and designed for a 21st century audience with a superb live orchestra, stunning lighting and sound design, sumptuous costumes...
The Gold Coast will soon have its own art and foodie precinct away from the loud bars and thronging crowds. Developers of The 4217 (the area’s postcode) are aiming to transform the old Surfers Paradise Transit Centre site into “the new social meeting place in Surfers Paradise, bringing together passionate food providores and ever-changing art installations”. There will be up to 20 specialist retailers on the site including a coffee house (which roasts onsite), an Italian gelataria, a mix of restaurants and, most importantly, a chocolatier. The 4217 will be decorated by Australian artists inside and out, including scope for...
A retreat named after the popular Channel Ten television show is 're-opening' its doors to the country’s ‘biggest losers’. The Biggest Loser Retreat is a rebrand for the former Golden Door Health Retreat, after its parent company entered into “an exclusive partnership with Shine Australia - producers of The Biggest Loser”. But don’t expect Michelle Bridges or Commando to be your trainers if you are considering signing up, as the company’s website makes clear. “Whilst the television show is not screened at the retreat, and the presenters do not work at the retreat, our program simulates some of the philosophies...
Sea World on the Gold Coast plans to have a 1000-person conference centre in place by 2015, the resort has announced. The 750m² design adds to the resort’s existing six “mid sized” conference venues. “We have been offering exceptional mid-size conferences for many years and this new centre will allow us to do business on a much larger scale,” said Sea World’s General Manager Bikash Randhawa. The new facility will include a large veranda aimed at outdoor receptions, the "latest" audio-visual equipment, and a porte-cochere (large porch) with vehicle access. The resort has four restaurants and 402 rooms to help...
A $26 million refurbishment of the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast is now complete. The extensive work includes upgrades to the hotel’s 295 rooms and suites and to its dining and bar areas: Terraces Restaurant and Pearls Bar. The five-star resort’s new high-end offering is the ‘Royal’ suite (185m2), said to be inspired by designers Ralph Lauren and Christopher Guy. The Sheraton Mirage’s Oasis pool area and lagoon have also been transformed with extensive landscaping work. See sheratonmiragegoldcoast.com.au
Parents looking for a family-friendly holiday have a fresh set of options on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Paradise Resort is re-opening 100 refurbished rooms in mid-July, representing a $2 million investment. This marks only stage one of the refurbishment by the Zagame family, who purchased the resort in 2010, with 99 rooms in wing three undergoing renovation. Owner Robert Zagame, who owns his own fashion label Rob & Lulu, had a hand in designing the colourful family rooms located in the refurbished wing, including ‘Astro’s Alley’ and ‘Dusty’s Digs', named after the resort’s characters. The shared areas have also received a...
Forget boot camp and bunk beds; the former Camp Eden has undergone a $7 million facelift to reopen as a health and wellness retreat in the Gold Coast Hinterland’s Currumbin Valley. Now with secluded treatment pavilions and beautified lodges, guests can try anything from kayaking and Qigong to laughing yoga. See edenhealthretreat.com.au
Recently named Asia-Pacific Spirits Producer of the Year for 2013, Tamborine Mountain Distillery – in the Gold Coast Hinterland – claims to be “Australia’s most awarded distillery this millennium”. Inside the Tudor-style building, visitors can sample an array of vodkas, schnapps and liqueurs in hand-painted bottles – we’re told the Lemon Myrtle Vodka makes a cracking martini. And rumour has it, the distillery is also creating a medicinal range... tamborinemountaindistillery.com
World Heritage-listed rainforests, bohemian towns, surf beaches and a legendary food and arts scene, you can find the country’s best features between Bryon Bay and the Gold Coast - one of Australia’s 16 Ultimate Escapes Stretching from Byron Bay to the Gold Coast and west into the hinterland of the Great Dividing Range, the Green Cauldron is one of the few places in the country where mountain rainforests meet the ocean. The region encompasses secluded and surf beaches, subtropical rainforest and 12 national parks. Many are found in the Gondwana Rainforest World Heritage Area, a magnificent landscape created from an ancient...
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