TAKE IT IN
With a plethora of stylish accommodation to be found along the Gold Coast’s entire stretch of shoreline, ranging from budget-friendly hotels and motels through to soaring beachside skyscraper hotels, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to checking in and chilling out.
We’ve set up at Xanadu Main Beach Resort, which offers luxurious self-contained apartments (ideal for families!) with a fully equipped kitchen, laundry and lounge room, as well as spacious balconies overlooking the glittering coastline. There’s also a pool and spa, fitness facilities and foosball and air hockey tables for the kids.
The highest hotel of them all, though, and the one with unrivalled views, is Q1 Resort & Spa in Surfers Paradise. Even if you’re not staying here, you can still get to know Australia’s tallest building at the SkyPoint Climb.
This one is for the daredevil parents and their thrill-seeking teens (climbers must be aged 12 and up), and with options to test your limits throughout (think: leaning over the edge and sitting on the steps of the building … who’s game?) it’s the perfect opportunity to discover a new comfort zone. Hey, it’s day one of your holiday adventure, and the Gold Coast plays hard and fast!
You can choose from four different awe-inspiring climb categories: sunrise, day, twilight and night. Our recommendation? Book in for the sunrise climb to get the best of both worlds – climbing in the dark, watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean, and then climbing back down in the early morning light.
Rise to the sound of waves crashing at your doorstep, and stroll down to your nearest brekkie option – you’ll find countless cafes, no matter where you’re staying on the Gold Coast. Fuel up, because you’re going to need the energy for your next family adventure!
The GC Aqua Park can be found at Broadwater Parklands in Southport, running right along the waterline of The Spit (with views out across the Southport Marina, where you can marvel at mega yachts lined up in the bay).
The kids are sure to burn through some energy splashing around this incredible inflatable obstacle course, complete with trampolines and slides, floating calmly on the water.
Prefer to take it up a notch? Check out Mariner’s Cove Marina for some epic watersports options. Paradise Jet Boating offers endless fun for the whole family. We had a ball skipping through the pristine Broadwater, doing 360-degree spins, high-speed drifting, incredible beach buzzing and other exciting manoeuvres in as little as 10cm of water, all while exploring the Gold Coast’s unique waterways.
If you’re staying in or around Broadbeach, you can’t pass up a lunch or sunset drink at Kurrawa Surf Club, where you can relax and sip in those famous ocean views, cocktail or coldie in hand.
While you’re there, rent an electric bike from Crooze Cycling and explore the beaches at your own pace. Cycling to Burleigh Heads will only take 20 minutes. Stop off to give your legs a break and have a drink, and you’ll still be back within the hour.
Or, for a slower pace to your Saturday afternoon, take a look around on board Hopo Cruise, a hop-on, hop-off-style sightseeing ferry that stops at five of the Gold Coast’s top attractions: Surfers Paradise, Sea World, Marina Mirage, Broadwater Parklands and HOTA, Home of the Arts.
There’s no better way to take in the golden sands and turquoise ocean this strip is famous for than through the window of a helicopter. Imagine their faces when you tell them they’ll be going on a scenic joy ride with Sea World Helicopters!
Or, for a totally different, but equally thrilling, viewpoint, head out to sea to meet up with some mighty marine mammals on the Sea World Cruises whale watching tour.
The whale-watching season runs from 30th May to 1st November, but you won’t just encounter humpback whales – the tours often sight bottlenose and common dolphins, sharks, turtles and albatross as well.
Words: Maddie Joslin
Photos courtesy: Queensland Tourism & Events, Hopo Cruise and SkyClimb