The Gold Coast is known for its culture of "fun in the sun". So if you are holidaying on the Gold Coast, where are the "must visit" places you need to make sure are on your itinerary? The secret to a successful family holiday is including something for everyone in your plans.
1. Start with a night out the whole family will enjoy. Outback Spectacular is a visually stunning show with lots of action, combined with a great meal out. Professional to the point of slick and full of energy, it tells the tale of the horse - the true symbol of the Australian outback. Outback Spectacular is a world-class theatrical performance with a difference and one I would wholeheartedly recommend.
2. The Gold Coast is all about beaches and your choice along the coastline is endless. This Guide to the Best Gold Coast Beaches summarises your options well. I personally like Currumbin Beach and the Alley, North Burleigh and the creek at Tallebudgera - all good places to swim if you have kids. Sounds obvious but swim between the flags. The Surf Life Saving Clubs are excellent places to enjoy a quality, affordable family meal out. The North Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club features in this article.
3. Also famous for its Theme Parks, it's difficult to visit the Gold Coast without experiencing: Sea World, Movie World, Wet n Wild, WhiteWater World or Dreamworld. Check out pass options which can significantly reduce the cost and give you entry to several parks. They are great and memorable, so whether you have little kids or you are big kids - just do it.
4. If you are from overseas you have to experience native Australian wildlife. Here's your chance to cuddle that koala, hang out with a kangaroo and see the Tasmanian Devil you watched in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, as you were growing up. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a great family day out. If your time is limited, take in David Fleays Wildlife Park instead. Paradise Country is also a good option. It gives you the animals and a taste of Aussie farm life. You can stop in at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the Lorikeet feeding which is lots of fun.
5.Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has the added bonus of a high ropes course, which is included in the entry fee. Older kids and teens will love this one and take great delight in making their way through all the challenges in front of mum and dad.
6. Don't forget the Green behind the Gold. O'Reillys is located on the western edge of Lamington National Park and is a different place to visit. Wind your way up the mountain, take in the views, walk in the rainforest and enjoy the boardwalk and treetop experience. The high viewing tower will test your nerve. Stop by the restaurant for a lunch out or take a picnic. There's also an alpaca farm to visit on the drive back and a vineyard at the bottom of the mountain where you may see duck billed platypus in the creek.
7.Springbrook National Park is also one of my favourite places. There are a number of walks to choose from. The Purlingbrook Falls Circuit is a 4km return hike, which takes you behind the waterfall, with most of the trail in shade which is welcome in summer. Carry on to the Warringa Pool - it's a great swimming spot. The Best of All Lookout is aptly named.
8.The Q1 affords spectacular 360 degree views, at the observation deck, up and down the coastline and inland while also orientating you on the coast. Its claim to fame is the title it holds of: Tallest Building in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit at the end of the afternoon so you can see the daylight views and then watch the lights come on at night. It's a 5 minute walk from Cavil Avenue, the main street in Surfers Paradise.
9. You really can't come to the Gold Coast without visiting Surfers Paradise. Have your photo taken with the famous Meter Maids, pose under the surf shaped sign at the beach, swim, enjoy the nightlife and if you can be there on a Wednesday or Friday evening then all the better, as you can also check out the beachfront market for a bit of shopping.
10. Try something you have never done before. Push your comfort zone boundaries out a little. There's plenty adventure options such as ballooning or jet boat rides. Or try something new like surfing (have a few surf lessons with Currumbin Surf School) or learn how to dive. For something completely different - try your hand at croquet or go stargazing at the observatory up Springbrook Mountain while you are there for a Glow Worm tour.
What a holiday destination, with so much to see and do, you'll just need to come back. Or like us, you can always move here. Wonderful climate, amazing places, superb coastline and great people – why would you want to be anywhere else?