Our first Australian vacation has come and gone – and we thought we’d share a bit of the excitement. If it were possible, we would have bottled up some of the rain and shared that as well. You can find pictures of our first Australian holiday here.
Australia’s Gold Coast is about 1,000 kilometers north of Sydney on the east coast and is similar in look and feel to Florida. There are lots of tourist attractions and as we discovered plenty of tourists to fill them up during Australia’s spring break. Our trip there was luckily a quick one hour flight from Sydney to Brisbane and then an easy hour drive down to Surfers Paradise past MovieWorld, Wet-n-Wild World and Sea World. So getting there was no problem, and you can imagine how excited we all were with all those “worlds” to explore.
Surfers Paradise is exactly as you would imagine it. The beaches are incredible with a constant pounding surf, and the surf/vacation lifestyle has carried over to nearly everything (we were amazed by how many people weren’t wearing shoes in the shops downtown). Surfer’s Paradise also has a bit of the Wisconsin Dells going on. There is a Ripley’s Believe it or Not, a wax museum and a Hard Rock Café, the latter of which we enjoyed very much. Beyond the tourist traps, is a beach like none you’ve ever seen before. Stretching a total of some 60 kilometers from South to North , the beaches of the Gold Coast include some of the most famous surf breaks in the world. We didn’t venture into the water, because the weather wasn’t with us, and the surf looked as though it could reduce us to little pieces of person, so we didn’t risk it.
We spent the first day of our vacation at Sea World, which is a well run and clean (albeit much smaller) version of Sea World in California (or Florida… or Ohio). Everyone enjoyed a couple ocean inspired roller coasters, and the fish and chips proved to be a hit (although I can never help but feeling guilty when eating fish at Sea World). We capped day-one with a visit to downtown Surfers Paradise, which sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms and it is… and it isn’t. Surfers Paradise is a beach town, but it is also a pretty serious metropolis that includes the world’s tallest residential tower (at 323 meters / 80 stories) and many other skyscrapers just meters from the beach too.
On day two we visited Wet-n-Wild world, which was a family favorite. It’s about what you’d expect of a water-park.
Day three was MovieWorld, also a favorite and the one day on our vacation that lived up to the Gold Coast reputation for sunshine. In advertising for the Gold Coast, they claim to have more than 300 days of sunshine a year – we either bring rain with us, or we just plain didn’t witness that percentage of sun. Our percentage was less like 82% sunshine and more like 25%. Luckily it was sunny the day we visited MovieWorld, which is probably the equivalent of a small six-flags with movie themed rides and shows.
Another highlight from our week away was more international research for our Mrs. Pancake franchise. We tried the all-you-can eat pancakes at Pancakes in Paradise, ultimately the pancakes won. It was good enough, however, that the boys demanded we return the next day for more international research.
We spent the last day of our vacation driving around seeing various sites through rain-drop covered car windows. If you ever need to know where to find a mall near Brisbane airport, we can help you out.
In the end it was nice to get away, but the overall grade on the vacation was probably only a six. Better than a week at the office or in school, but far from the best holiday we’ve had, or the best we’ll have in Australia. When you’re planning your trip to Australia, you can visit the Gold Coast if you like, but we're sure there are other destinations in our future that we’ll recommend more highly.
If you want to see pictures from our holiday, click on the Australia photos page. Check back again later.