Australia’s famed ‘Gold Coast’ region is the country’s main vacation destination. Located in the southern half of the state of Queensland, bordering the Pacific Ocean, Australia’s Gold Coast extends over 70km (43miles) from Labrador in the north to the twin towns of Coolangatta (Queensland) and Tweed Heads (New South Wales) in the south. The Gold Coast is usually accessed via the city of Brisbane, which lies about 80km (52 miles) north of Australia’s favorite beach playground. In recent times, the borders of the Gold Coast region have been expanded to include the inland area as far as the Nerang River, a main waterway of the region.
The Gold Coast is renowned for its year round agreeable weather, which features more than 300 glorious sunny days, and its more than three dozen golden sand beaches, which offer a plethora of water based activities like surfing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, whale watching, kayaking and more. Aside from these beach side activities, the region is also home to several theme and amusement parks and thus is a favored family holiday destination in Australia.
The beaches of the Gold Coast are deservedly known all throughout the world for their shimmering white sands, cerulean waters and the numerous water sporting recreational activities that they offer. These Gold Coast beaches extend over 30km (18.5 miles) and are patrolled by lifeguards for long stretches. When visiting the region, it is advisable to stay within the areas monitored by the lifeguards, for weather conditions have been known to change quickly and the ocean currents can often be treacherous as well.
The Surfers Paradise beach is one of the best-known beaches of the Gold Coast. Extending over 3km (list in miles), this beach offers the archetypal beach town experience for it is equipped with hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops and high-rise residential towers. Surfers Paradise is often considered to be the beach capital of Australia and as its name suggests it offers ample opportunities for water sports like surfing, swimming, body boarding, beach cruising and more.
The Kurrawa Beach at Broadbeach
The Kurrawa Beach at Broadbeach is favored by families, for aside from its vast expanse of clean sand, the beach is also equipped with shaded grassy areas which are popular for picnics. The Kurrawa Beach at Broadbeach also offers easy access to shops and restaurants and the beachfront is also equipped with abundant free parking opportunities as well.
Main Beach is located in the northern half of the Gold Coast region, so it has a somewhat quieter profile than its southern siblings. Main Beach is located close to the region’s immensely popular Sea World Attraction and hence is the ‘go-to’ beach for day-trippers from Brisbane.
Other heavily trafficked beaches of the region include Currumbin, Rainbow Bay, Burleigh Heads, Snapper Rocks, Duranbah and Broadwater. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, whale watching and picnicking are just some of the many activities offered by these stunning beach havens of the Gold Coast.
Theme Parks of the Gold Coast
Aside from beaches, the Gold Coast is also known for its high concentration of theme and amusement parks, which are a huge draw for vacationing families. These theme parks like Dreamworld, Wet’n’Wild Water World, Paradise Country, and Whitewater World are all located in the northern Gold Coast suburbs of Coomera and Oxenford, which are situated on the outskirts of Brisbane.
Sea World, which is located close to Main Beach and Surfers Paradise, is Australia’s largest marine theme park. The park offers daily shows that feature dancing penguins, Jet Ski stunts and popular cartoon characters. Other attractions include exhibits of marine creatures like sharks, manta rays, stingrays and penguins. The park also offers various opportunities to interact with these marine animals at its ‘Sea World Animal Adventures’ section. Sea World also offers many thrilling rides at its Castaway Bay adventure zone like Battle Boats, Sky Fortress and Sky Climb. Other attractions at include a Sky High Skyway cable car, a monorail and a water park.
If roller coasters and adrenalin stimulating rides are your thing, then Australia’s Dreamworld park should be a considered a ‘must-do’ on your Gold Coast itinerary. This park, which is more than thirty years old, offers thrilling rides like the Cyclone rollercoaster, the Giant Drop, the Tower of Terror II, The Claw, the Wipeout, the BuzzSaw, the FlowRider, the V8 Supercar experience and the Mick Doohan MotoCoaster. Also on offer at the park are many live interactive shows and unique animal attractions.
WhiteWater World is a fun water park located next to the Dreamworld theme park. WhiteWater World also offers various fun water rides like the eight-lane racer, the Bro, the Rip, the Cave of Waves, the Wedgie, the Green Room and child-friendly rides like the Wiggle Bay and the Pipeline Plunge.
The Australian Outback Spectacular
The Australian Outback Spectacular is a dinner theater show that seeks to showcase Australian tradition, culture and music through a live performance that features Australia’s leading stunt riders.
Photo courtesy of ©The Australian Outback Spectacular
Wet ‘n’ Wild
Wet ‘n’ Wild is another water park that offers various exciting slides and rides like the Kamikaze, the giant wave drop-in Surfrider, the Tornado, Buccaneer Bay, Terror Canyon, Mammoth Falls, the Super 8 Aqua Racer and Speedcoaster, which offer hours of fun for children and adults alike.
The Warner Brothers Movie World
The Warner Brothers Movie World brings the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the Gold Coast with its various movie themed rides, stunt shows and attractions. The park which hosts a daily parade that features popular movie and cartoon characters, also hosts movie themed rides like the Green Lantern Roller Coaster, the Superman Escape and the Batwing Spaceshot amongst others. Other child-friendly attractions at the park include the Kids WB Fun zone and the Road Runner Roller Coaster, along with a family entertainment section that features attractions like the Hollywood Stunt Driver and the Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs.