Treat yourself, and any visitors you may have, to some of the Gold Coast's best days out during the school holidays. Use the time off with family and friends to get out and about and enjoy doing something different.
1. 4WD Tour Mount Tamborine
First up is the chance to explore Mount Tamborine by 4 Wheel drive, on a day tour with Southern Cross 4WD Tours. The day is filled with: rainforest walks and waterfall views, a canopy treetop walk and lookout climb, wine tasting, off road 4 x 4 driving, following fire trails though Eucalyptus Forest, amazing panoramic views over the coast, wildlife information, boomerang throwing and whip cracking, morning tea of fresh scones and a BBQ lunch, bird feeding, a river swim in summer months and the shops and galleries of Gallery Walk. Despite such a packed itinerary, there is no feeling of being rushed from one place to another. You can also book this day out as a private group tour if you have a special occasion you want to celebrate with family.
For a day on the farm and a taste of outback life, without leaving the coast, get down to Paradise Country. There are demonstrations to watch, animals to meet and things to do. The sheep shearers are on form with their Sheep Shearing Show and Ram Parade. The whip cracking, boomerang throwing displays, sheep dog round up and stock horse shows are fun to watch and give a real taste of Australia. There are koalas, kangaroos and an Aussie farmyard full of animals to get up close to. As if that wasn't enough, there's also Gold and Gem fossicking and Clancy's Opal Mining to experience. You can book general admission or also add lunch, BBQ style in the barn.
3. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary & the Green Challenge
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a great day out. The Green Challenge is a high ropes course included in the entry cost and is not to be missed. It's lots of fun, challenging and good for a whole family experience, as it will still appeal to teenagers as well as younger children. There are so many animals to see and shows to watch that it pays to pick up a map on the way in and try to rough out a plan for your day, so you can see as much as possible. There's the chance to cuddle a koala, feed a mob of kangaroos and even hold a snake or baby croc. The free flight bird show is also something you definitely shouldn't miss.
Cruise the Broadwater from the heart of Surfers Paradise, on a buffet lunch cruise. Here's your chance to see the homes of the rich and famous on the Broadwater. You'll also cruise past the Palazzo Versace (Australia's only 6 star hotel), and Marina Mirage with its flotilla of yachts. The private helipads, boats tied up in front of houses and beautiful upmarket homes make for an entertaining tour, which is all enjoyed while selecting your lunch from the delicious on board buffet.
5. O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
Head for the hills to O'Reilly's, a rainforest retreat on the Western edge of World Heritage listed, Lamington National Park. The road is twisty as you head into the Hinterland but the drive is worth the day out. It offers rainforest walks, history, hollow trees you can climb inside, a treetop walk made up of 9 suspension bridges and a 30m high observation deck, bird shows and a mountain café. There's a vineyard at the bottom of the mountain too, which offers great picnic baskets and a creek side setting. Escape to O'Reilly's and feel like you have travelled far from home.
If you live on the Gold Coast and feel like a day trip, you might want to consider travelling north to the Sunshine Coast for a day at Australia Zoo or an overnighter so you can visit the hatching turtles at Mon Repos. This event holds something to delight all ages. It's nearing the end of the season, so if you are keen to go then now's the time or you will have to wait until the laying starts in November at the end of the year.
Another great day trip is to head south this time into New South Wales and go snorkeling with turtles at Byron Bay.
The Planetarium, in Brisbane, has just re-launched this Easter weekend. If the holidays turn wet, then a trip to Brisbane and the Planetarium is an excellent fun day out. The skydome has been revamped, there's new displays in the gallery and foyer and see the stars on the new state of the art projection dome.