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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Gold Coast issues to do: Queensland vacation favorite has remodeled, however not an excessive amount of

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My daughter shrieks with delight as we enter an enormous enclosure stuffed with kangaroos lazing within the afternoon heat.

Suddenly recollections of my very own childhood come flooding again, when my mother and father would carry me to this similar spot, greater than 35 years in the past, as we escaped the chilly Victorian winter and headed north.

I’m on the Gold Coast, on a long-awaited journey delayed a number of occasions on account of COVID-19’s lockdowns and border closures.

We’re making a ultimate cease earlier than heading to the airport to return residence at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a mainstay of the Gold Coast’s tourism trade for greater than 70 years.

It’s greater than it was after I was a child, with a bigger vary of animals and larger enclosures. But there are issues right here I nonetheless keep in mind, just like the toy steam practice that chugs guests across the website.

The Gold Coast has remodeled over the previous 20 years and regarded to shed its repute as being a playground for bogans, backpackers and schoolies. But, fortunately, most of the sights that made it so well-liked within the first place stay: the household enjoyable of the theme parks, the nightlife for youthful guests and, after all, the seashores.

The area nonetheless sits among the many prime home locations for Australians, normally behind solely Melbourne and Sydney. COVID-19 hit the area exhausting, however like a lot of Australia’s favorite home vacation locations, tourism has bounced again.

That’s been helped by about $1 billion in funding in new sights and lodging throughout the area. That contains the creation of Home of the Arts (HOTA) – a putting constructing and humanities precinct constructed, partly, to showcase the in depth artwork assortment of the Gold Coast City Council. But extra on that later.

This is my first go to in 9 years, although that temporary go to in 2013 was for a convention that left me little time to discover the realm. I’m staying on the JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, which additionally loved funding throughout COVID together with a significant $35 million redevelopment to carry it to a brand new degree of luxurious.

It sits between Main Beach and the Nerang River, which will be explored by means of boats for rent from Duffy Down Under Boat Hire, or on board a guided cruise. The boats run on electrical energy, so there is not any gasoline, fumes or noise to fret about. They’re really easy to steer, in truth, that even my two-and-a-half yr previous daughter has a go (underneath strict supervision after all).

It’s an expertise harking back to the waterways of Miami, as a result of the canals are bordered by an abundance of luxurious mansions, many owned by a few of Australia’s richest folks and, seemingly, left empty as vacation houses more often than not.

It makes me consider one of many long-term criticisms of the Gold Coast, particularly of Surfers Paradise: the abundance of high-rises that run alongside the shoreline. But cruising the canals crammed with multimillion greenback mansions, it makes me surprise precisely what the objection is. Sky-high resorts and serviced flats have successfully made beachfront lodging accessible to the plenty. If they weren’t there, what can be of their place? More empty mansions owned by millionaires that not often use them, maybe.

Of course, the Gold Coast, now formally thought-about a metropolis, is extra than simply Surfers Paradise. While these high-rises could dominate the advertising and marketing pictures, for higher or worse, it would not take a lot to get away from the dominant vacationer strips and uncover components of the Gold Coast that also provide the texture of a sleepy coastal city – however with the advantages of higher infrastructure.

Melburnians are little doubt amused that, like Sydney, the Gold Coast has rediscovered the enjoyment of trams and presents a light-weight rail line (the one one in Queensland) that first opened in 2014 and was prolonged in 2017. It now runs 20 kilometres from Helensvale within the north to Broadbeach south of Surfers Paradise.

Further south, areas like Burleigh Heads have develop into the brand new purveyors of coastal cool, with boutique outlets, breweries and classy cafes and eating places.

The day earlier than my go to to Currumbin Sanctuary, first established in 1947, I’m at HOTA, first established in 2018. The primary gallery, a five-storey vibrant constructing that appears one thing like a Rubik’s dice with misshapen items, presents everlasting and momentary exhibitions together with a rooftop bar and cafe that appears over parklands and the Nerang River to the Pacific ocean past.

The grounds additionally function a efficiency area that is hosted a variety of main native and worldwide acts together with an arthouse cinema and a theatre.

Though it is actually a welcome addition to the area, HOTA might not be sufficient to determine the Gold Coast as a cultural vacation spot – it should all the time be recognized in the beginning for these seashores, the bars, the theme parks. But, as I mirror on my keep whereas chugging round Currumbin Sanctuary on a toy steam practice with my delighted youngsters, I realise there’s nothing flawed with that. Nothing in any respect.



You can fly to the Gold Coast from Sydney or Melbourne with Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia or Rex. Direct flights are additionally out there from Adelaide however Perth travellers might want to make a cease.


Rooms on the JW Marriott Gold Coast begin from $280.


Boat rent from Duffy Down Under begins from $165 for one hour on a ship that seats as much as 10 passengers. See duffydownunder.com.au 


Entry to Currumbin Sanctuary is $54.95 for adults, $41.95 for youngsters 3-13. Children underneath 3 are free. See currumbinsanctuary.com.au 




The author travelled as a visitor of Destination Gold Coast.

Source: traveller.com.au

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