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How to get the most out of the Gold Coast

Gold Coast

How to get the most out of the Gold Coast

story by: Anna Sarjeant

If you've booked a Gold Coast holiday, here are a few ideas ​for making the most of your GC time. ​

1. Beaches

The Gold Coast itself is a bit of an obvious choice here, so we’ll break it down...

For surfers:
Veteran surfers know all too well that Snapper Rocks, with its long sand bank and ‘right hand point break’ is the perfect beach for surfaholics. Even if you don’t ride waves yourself, observe world-class talent from the boardwalk. For novice surfers, Kirra Beach is a better option, catering nicely for the beginner surfers close to the shoreline, with challenging waves further out. Check out the iconic Kirra Beach Hotel, which has been serving frosty post-surf beers for over 50 years.

For families:
Burleigh Heads boasts a protected beach and safe swimming, but its greatest draw is the adjoining park area. Fringed by rows of pine trees which provide ample shade, there’s also a children’s playground and barbecue facilities, as well as a convenient toilet block, which as any parent can appreciate, are a God-send after a full day at the beach.

For solitude-seekers:
The GC is a busy little hive so don’t expect to find a private beach all to yourself. However, if you’re looking for something a little more isolated than Surfer’s Paradise, try Mermaid Beach. This one's set away from the GC’s signature high rises so it instantly feels quieter. With golden sand, picnic areas, DIY barbecues and quite possibly mermaids (as yet unconfirmed but it’s another good reason to visit), it’s the ideal all-rounder.  

​2. Fishing
Fishing charters
With all that ocean and its waterways, the Gold Coast boasts a wealth of fishing opportunities. You can choose to ‘tackle’ it alone or book a fishing charter. You might like to book a big game fishing charter and go in search of tuna and shark, or take to the deep seas and catch yourself some snapper, perch and mackerel. There are numerous companies that offer both full and half day charters, all with fully qualified staff, including a skipper and deck hand.

DIY fishing
If you’re keen to snag yourself a shark DIY style, head to Nerang River parklands; one of the best shore side fishing spots for bream, mud crabs and even shark (during summer nights only).  

​3. Golf
Just 40 minutes’ drive from Brisbane and a mere 30 minutes from the Gold Coast, Hope Island is home to three of the country’s most well-regarded golf courses.

Links Hope Island Resort
Boasts a par 72 course of elevated greens, wetlands and tussock-fringed rough, as well as 128 challenging pot style bunkers and the odd kangaroo. Consistently ranked as one of Australia’s top ten golf resorts, there’s also a Mediterranean inspired Golf Club, aquatic driving range and twilight tee-off times available. 

Sanctuary Cove Golf & Country Club
Also on Hope Island, this one features two world-class golf courses; The Palm Golf Course and The Pines Course. The Palm course has undergone an intensive multi-million reconstruction in recent years and is said to be one of the country’s most challenging. With championship tees and numerous hazards, players are tested by the deep greenside bunkers and contoured greens.

The Pines Course cuts through 101 hectares of dense pine forest, dappled by six man-made lakes and 14 demanding holes. As Australia’s only Arnold Palmer signature course, don’t expect this one to be a doddle.

4. Shopping
For indoor malls, look no further than Surfers ‘Paradise Centre’. Parallel to the iconic beachfront, on the corner of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Cavill Mall, this is the largest Shopping Centre in SP. Limber up for 100 speciality shops, supermarkets, dining and all day entertainment such as Tenpin Bowling. If you’ve got shopping stamina, this is your challenge.

For something a little more chilled, stay outdoors and soak up the laid-back vibes of Surfer’s Paradise beachfront markets. Open every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 3pm-8pm, you’ll find 100 stalls, plenty of charismatic entertainers and creative mementos made by talented local artisans. Located along the Surfers Paradise Foreshore (north and south of Cavill Mall).

Outlet stores
If you love a bargain - and who doesn't - you'll want to check out Harbour Town; your one stop shop for multiple factory outlets all in one place. You’ll receive up to 70% off big-name brands and for tourists, there’s a free shuttle bus to and from. Pick-ups include one stop in Broadbeach and three options in Surfers Paradise.

Upmarket malls

Of course, you don’t ever want to be too far away from a regular mall either. Robina’s town centre is a mecca for shopping fiends. Offering all the big brand names, high street faves and a promenade stacked with cafes and restaurants, this modern and upmarket shopping complex will satisfy even the most discerning shopper.

5. Waterparks
There are numerous aquatic adventures to be had in Queensland, none more so than the region’s plentiful water parks. From the theme park style biggies to the smaller, lesser known goodies, there’s an option for everyone.

For all age ranges:
White Water World will satisfy all age​s. Most rides require the fun-seeker to be 120cm or taller, but there’s also a huge toddler pool complete with slides, as well as Wiggle Bay which is perfect for older toddlers. An all-time favourite – that thrills both the young and the old – is the famed Hydrocoaster, which is a roller coaster come water slide, combining double the amount of fun in a single ride.

For tweens:
Wet n’ Wild offers some of the tallest and fastest slides in Australia, from the Aqualoop to the Tornado, but on the whole there isn’t anything too scary, making it the perfect option for ‘in-between kids’ in the 9-11 age group. There’s also a children’s aquatic playground and a giant wave machine, as well as rentable cabanas that shade you from Queensland’s el-scorchio sun, complete with sun loungers, deck chairs and coffee tables. 

For the budget conscious:
Because water parks can be wallet-cringingly expensive, Aquasplash offers a cheaper alternative. Located in the sea at Marine Parade in Southport Broadwater Parklands, an assault course of inflatables sits atop the water. With slides, obstacles and bouncy platforms, leap from one section to another, under the watchful eye of professional life guards. Suitable for anyone from one years and up, Aquasplash is Australia’s first open water fun park.

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