COOLANGATTA, Queensland, Australia A popular tourist playground,
known as the Gold Coast, is famous for its beaches, world standard
resorts, theme parks and sporting facilities. Situated in the
southeast corner of Queensland, the Gold Coast stretches 20 miles
from Southport to Coolangatta, close to the New South Wales border.
Initially, it was the beaches of the Gold Coast that were the
major attraction there are over 30 patrolled beaches, about 300
days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 75 degrees
but in recent years the region has proved to be a draw for many
Australians relocating to this rapidly developing area. Surfers
Paradise, the central point of the Gold Coast, is 45 miles south of
In the last decade or so the area has seen the development of a
number of excellent resorts, including Hyatt Regency Sanctuary
Cove, Couran Cove Resort on South Stradbroke Island and Royal Pines
Resort, to complement the Marriott Surfers Paradise Hotel, Sheraton
Mirage, Hotel Conrad and Palazzo Versace.
The hotels and resorts have excellent restaurants but there is
plenty of choice all along the Gold Coast. Favorites include Café
Romas at Southport Marina, Mango’s on the Nerang River near Surfers
Paradise and Omeros Bros. Seafood Restaurant at Surfers.
Shoppers are well catered to with a number of large shopping
plazas and malls; Pacific Fair at Broadbeach is Queensland’s
largest with over 250 shops, landscaped grounds, movie theaters,
children’s park and a village green.
Gamblers also appreciate the casinos on the Gold Coast. Jupiters
Casino is located inside Hotel Conrad, which is aligned with the
Hilton chain. The casino has about 100 gaming tables and a similar
number of gaming machines, while the high rollers are catered to at
Club Conrad. Andiamo’s is a popular restaurant at the hotel.
Apart from fantastic beaches and great surfing, the most popular
sporting activity takes place on the greens. There are more than 40
championship and resort courses with groomed greens and outstanding
layouts usually surrounded by natural wildlife, flora and fauna.
Well-known courses include Hope Island, Palm Meadows and The Palms
My favorite is the challenging course in a beautiful setting at
Royal Pines Resort, home to the Australian Ladies Masters
Championship. The Royal Pines Resort has a wonderfully friendly
atmosphere, great restaurants, numerous packages and a spa.
For the young at heart, the theme parks at the Gold Coast are a
major draw. Dreamworld offers a number of exhilarating rides
including the Tower of Terror and the gravity driven roller coaster
Cyclone. Plus, visitors can watch the Bengal Tigers go through
their paces it’s even possible to have breakfast with them.
Other parks attracting large crowds are Warner Bros. Movie World
(the Police Academy stunt show is a don’t-miss) and Wet ‘n’ Wild
Water Park. At Southport Seaworld, Australia’s largest marine park
you can swim with the dolphins as well as watch whales, sea lions
and water-skiing displays.
Those who want to catch up with some native Australian fauna,
including koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, platypuses, crocodiles and
many exotic birds, visit David Fleary’s Wildlife Park at Burleigh
Heads or the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary at Currumbin.
The hinterlands of the Gold Coast offer some memorable drives
and a complete change of scenery from the coast.
Tambourine National Park and Springbrook National Park are only
a short distance from Surfers Paradise while the fabulous Lamington
National Park with its mix of subtropical rainforest, temperate
rain forest and cool temperate rain forest is a wonderland to
explore and includes some excellent walking trails. O’Reilly’s
Rainforest Guesthouse or Binna Burra Mountain Lodge are the places