by Chris Harrison
Your gateway to Queensland, be it by air into Coolangatta Airport or by road from northern NSW. Gold Coast or ‘The GC’ is a must-see tourist destination for all international visitors. With 57km of white sandy surf beaches, its many world heritage listed rain-forests and the titles of ‘themepark’ and ‘nightclub capital of Australia’, Gold Coast has something for everyone.
For the best views of the coast I tried Skypoint, at 322 metres (1058 feet) and with the observation floor, which includes as outstanding restaurant, on Level 77 (at 230 metres/755 feet) its the highest of its kind in Queensland. Skypoint offered some amazing views north to Brisbane and south to Byron Bay. For an even bigger thrill try, like I did, the Skypoint Climb and actually walk outside the glass.
I was also thrilled at one of the Gold Coast’s many theme-parks: Dreamworld and Whitewater World can be booked together and offer great value. While out at Coomera (24kms from Surfers Paradise) why not make it a trifecta and check out the Australian Outback Spectacular, its great friendly entertainment and a three-course dinner is included.
The next day you just have to get onto the Gold Coast Broadwater, a river and inlet system that’s 8 times bigger than rivals Venice or Amsterdam and full of on-the-water activities. I tried SUP (Stand Up Paddle-Boarding) from Budds Beach with Go Vertical and tried spinning 360 degrees in a high-powered jet boat with Paradise Jet Boating from Marina’s Cove, Main Beach.
If you’ve now had enough exercise and adrenalin for one day why not head back towards Coolangatta and drop into Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Set in around 45ha of native forest the Sanctuary has developed around its world-famous lorikeet feeding. Its now a major tourist attraction and has a Queensland Heritage Register listing. By far the best way to get around is by the new Segways – easy to use, fun and safe transport.
If the Gold Coast is the ‘holiday’ capital of Australia, then Surfers Paradise is the ‘nightlife’ capital. This reputation is founded on a host of stylish pubs, clubs and lounge bars which offer the party crowd a very special night out. Go out with friends or go out with Backpackers Big Night Out or Wicked Club Crawl and meet some new friends.
After partying into the early hours of the morning, you can sleep or lounge by the pool, or you can go out and tackle an adrenalin adventure or natural wonder somewhere in this sun drenched region. Why not try exploring the hidden retreats and spectacular bush-walks of the protected Mt Tamborine National Park. The Skywalk is an exciting new eco-adventure set in 30 acres of pristine rainforest. The walk takes approximately 45 mins and includes walking out onto a 40 metre high cantilever bridge at the highest point of the upper canopy.
This is just a quick snapshot as there are more activities and attractions for young and adventurous travellers on the Gold Coast than any other city in the Southern Hemisphere.
To enquire or book something I did:
Skypoint Climb, 07 5680 7700, skypointclimb.com.au
Dreamworld, 07 5588 1111, dreamworld.com.au
Australian Outback Spectacular, 13 33 86, outbackspectacular.com.au
Go Vertical SUP Hire, 0423 716 625, govertical.com.au
Paradise Jet Boating, 1300 538 262, paradisejetboating.com.au
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, 1300 886 511, cws.org.au
Skywalk, Mt Tamborine, 07 5545 2222, rainforestskywalk.com.au
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