It felt rather surreal for hb and I to have returned to the same place where we first visited 16 years ago, when we were poor, ‘starry-eyed’ Uni students.
Then, we took a 30+ hours Greyhound coach ride from Melbourne and spent a week in Gold Coast, hopped onto public transportation to get the various theme parks. Being poor students, we could only afford one expensive steak dinner, from a steak restaurant which we discovered while strolling along the 5km stretch of long sandy beaches along Surfers’ Paradise.
The Gold Coast that we remembered 16 years ago, definitely had less buildings peppering the skyline.
This time round, we opted for a less busy place to stay in Gold Coast, specifically, Broadbeach, instead of Surfers’ Paradise, which was quieter and had plenty of amenities. Broadbeach has a nice stretch of the beach, with good restaurants.
So what do you do in Gold Coast with an 8 year old?
Gold Coast is theme park central in Australia, so visiting the theme parks is a mandatory major part of the visit there.
We spent 4 days in a theme park, mostly weekdays, from the time the parks were opened in the mornings to the late afternoon queuing up to take the various rides in Dreamworld, Wet & Wild, Movie World, and viewing marine life and watching performances at SeaWorld.
KungFu Panda themed section in Dreamworld
Dreamworld main attraction is its Big 9 thrill rides, rides with names like ‘The Giant Drop’, ‘Tail Spin’, ‘Tower of Terror’, ‘Wipeout’, ‘Cyclone’ etc, you can probably know what to expect.
I used to be very game to take thrilling rides in theme parks, but not anymore. All it took was one ‘deceiving’ rickshaw looking ride known as ‘Pandemonium’, in KungFu Panda theme section, which kept me off from taking any ride for the rest of the day. I definitely did not do well in the ride which soared 8 meters high, sent round and round in circles, side to side and upside down at up to 3.8 G-forces!
The little boy on the other hand, seem to do quite well even after taking the rides.
Dreamworld had a wildlife area with a small section of Australia wildlife, which provided a good respite from the crazy rides.
Birds in Dreamworld Coroboree
The customary photo with the Australian Kangaroo
This theme park was Kyle’s favourite amongst the others, I think it was the experience of viewing marine life, animals, sitting rides and watching animal shows, all found in one place.
The highlight of Kyle’s SeaWorld visit had to be the 30 minute Helicopter ride, taking in the aerial view of Gold Coast and the Hinterlands…
and getting his personalised trucker cap and temporary tattoo
We took a drive up to the Hinterlands, Mount Tamborine when the weekend came around. It was a refreshing change from the theme park experiences, but it fell short of what I expected the place to be like. If you have been to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, or Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, and expect something similar to these places, you would be sorely disappointed, like how I was
Apart from some quaint cafes along Gallery Walk, the row of shops sold mainly china-made goods and offered new age services like tarot reading. I was hoping to see some shops with locally sourced products or hand crafted goods, but there was none. The only shop that was worth visiting was the shop that sold Tamborine Tea.
The Gallery Walk experience was such a disappointment that we decided to skip the nature hikes and took a drive back to Broadbeach.
We had a Devonshire Tea set in a quaint cafe along Gallery Walk
We headed over to Burleigh Heads on Sunday morning to visit the monthly Art and Crafts Market at the beachfront, which was about a 10 minutes drive away from Broadbeach.
There were quite a number of interesting stalls with handmade items, and locally produced products. Although it was smaller than expected, it was worth the visit.
Along Burleigh Heads Beach
Spotted a Peaceful Protest along Burleigh Beach
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the things we felt we didn’t see enough of from the last 6 days of our Gold Coast trip were animals, so a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was a must-do on our last full day in Gold Coast.
Kyle spent his time feeding Kangaroos and spotting the lizards that freely roamed around the Sanctuary
A key milestone he achieved from his visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was attempting the Treetop Walk Challenge, as he overcame his fear of heights by braving through the course with hb behind him.
I think a week in the Gold Coast is adequate to experience the most of what Gold Coast can offer, while I would most likely need another week at home to recuperate from the trip 😛
The view from our room in Broadbeach