I’m taking HarleighQ back to her roots with a true and traditional, good old fashioned travel post!
I recently spent the most perfect four days with a group of my West Australian based agents in the place I like to call ‘The Bali of Australia’.
Particularly for the people of P Town, the Gold Coast can be seen as an alternative to their old faithful holiday destination. It’s four hours east rather than three hours north, so not much of a difference travel time-wise. The airport is small and cosy, and very easy to navigate; even I managed to find the transfer information desk.
The easiest way to do the Goldie from Perth is to fly into Coolangatta airport. Jetstar offer direct flights most days. However, you can fly in to Brisbane if you would prefer. It’s about one hour from Brisbane airport to Surfers Paradise. Coolangatta is half an hour in the other direction.
The beauty of the Gold Coast and Queensland in general is the kind nature of the locals. I’ve never met friendlier people than those you will come across with in the Sunshine State. People know how to merge! This makes for very pleasant driving and that is why I will always recommend a car hire. Not only is it easier to get around, although the public transport system there is fantastic, you can come and go to the theme parks as you please rather than relying on transfer buses. You can check out the other beaches too. This is a massive highlight.
I was really stoked when I found out that during free time, a group of my agents made their way to the surf club in Burleigh Heads upon my recommendation of ‘living like a local’ and checking one out.
The beaches come incredibly close to rivaling that of the ones that we have back here in Perth. They are beautiful and can be spectacular surf spots, most of the time.
My personal favourite is Currumbin. I enjoy the vintage cars and old school surfies riding their bikes around the area. It is a very groovy place positioned between the main beaches (Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach) and Coolangatta (the airport).
There’s a TAB and BWS on every corner too.
The Gold Coast has such a 70s holiday vibe. Some of the hotels are pushing that age but haven’t lost their charm. We were lucky enough to check out some of the ones scattered along the front of Surfers Paradise. The views from their ocean facing rooms were spectacular. The value of these hotels is unparalleled.
One of the things I love most about the Goldie is the fact that it appeals to all ages. There is a very healthy party scene, but families are heavily considered in all areas. There are five star escapes dotted between huge family resorts. We saw pirate ships and lagoons, day spas and Jacuzzis. They show no bias in Australia’s favourite holiday destination!
As far as the theme parks go, they really are fun for everyone.
I have officially visited all five now and I must say I can’t wait to go back. My personal favourite is Movie World, for the fact that I can hug the Joker, Batman and Harley. Having said that though, Shrek lives in Dreamworld. That’s a tough one.
There are rides for all fear levels, but if you see a small child heading to a ride that you are too scared to go on, you know what you have to do. We let the wee ones give us pep talks before going on a lot of the them and it had to be the highlight of my day; especially when later on we ran into them again, and they asked us if we were still okay and having a good day. What little angels.
The theme parks are located inland from the main beaches. They are approximately 30 to 45 minutes away from Surfers Paradise, depending on your mode of transport. You can’t stay at them, but I wouldn’t recommend it even if you could. The beach is what makes the Gold Coast. Also, the parks can individually be knocked off in one day, quite easily.
Where Surfers has an incredible amount of family activities, excellent shops and a beach that is well guarded, Broadbeach is like her mellow older sister. Broadie is where you will find the spectacularly renovated Star casino, Dracula’s Cabaret (a superbly camp 18+ dinner show), and more restaurants then you can poke a stick at. The best part is it’s only one beach down and still super easy access to the theme parks and airport. Both places are connected by the very clean and incredibly easy to use tram line. Well, I managed it.
I would recommend Broadbeach to the more seasoned crowd. If you’re a foodie, huge shopping centre fan, have done Surfers before or just want somewhere to chill, this is the spot for you.
A fun fact about most of the apartment hotels in Queensland is that they are half residential, half owned by the property itself and rented for holiday purposes. This means you really can live like a local.
I have to touch on one of my favourite things to do while living in Brissie that is super easy to do from the Goldie too, and that’s visit the northern New South Wales coast.
Byron Bay and its surrounding towns are pure hippy heaven. If you enjoy that sort of vibe, it’s a must see, and barely a 45 minute drive from Surfers Paradise. I took my family down there for lunch one day while they were visiting, and they fell in love too. The view from the Lighthouse alone is enough to overwhelm anyone’s expectation. It’s spectacular.
As I’m sure you can tell by the tone of this article I am definitely more of a Gold Coast fan and the Sunshine Coast. I do enjoy both, however, the vintage and rockabilly scene down south is so heavily embraced by many of the locals. I can’t help but feel completely at home when I am there.
So, fellow Western Australians, if you are looking for an awesome value alternative to your usual Asia escape, you’ve found the perfect spot.
Explore your own backyard. I promise you, she’s a wonder. You won’t regret it.
Looking for some recommendations?
A few hotels I love:
– QT Surfers Paradise 5* – Amazing for couples or groups of friends looking for somewhere funky and fun
– Mantra Crown Towers 4* – One of the best family hotels, self catering apartment style
– Breakfree Beachpoint/Imperial Surf 3* – they might look basic from the outside but those views
– Mantra Broadbeach on the Park 4* – quite possibly the most perfect location in Broadbeach
A few restaurants I love:
– Cucina Vivo – incredible fresh Italian located in Star Casino
– Chiangmai Thai Restaurant Surfers Paradise – award winning Thai located at Mantra Crown Towers
– Clifford’s Grill and Lounge – tapas style fine dining at the Watermark hotel Surfers Paradise
– Easy Street Diner – American style cuisine in Broadbeach (stop smirking, sideways crew!)
Have I missed anything? Let me know your top tips for the Goldie!
All my Queenslander love