The Gold Coast. Does that phrase conjure up an image for you? Do you imagine a golden sunset over the ocean, or a gold-tinged sunrise glinting off the water and making the sand sparkle? I have been lucky enough to witness both scenes, on many different occasions.
Located in southeast Queensland, the Gold Coast is just 80 km (50 miles) southeast of the capital, Brisbane, on a newly upgraded/expanded highway, making the drive a breeze. Alternately, you can also fly in to the Coolangatta airport which is more conveniently located, but has less flight options than Brisbane.
Surfer's Paradise is probably the most well known of the beaches in the area, but by no means is it the only one! With approximately 57 km (35 miles) of coastline, there is plenty of great surfing and swimming to be had. From a safety perspective, the Gold Coast has Australia's largest professional surf lifesaving service to watch out for you. Remember, swim between the red and yellow flags (and don't forget the sunscreen). If a day at the beach doesn't appeal to you, there's always plenty of great shopping, especially jewelry and art. Pacific Fair Shopping Centre in Broadbeach is a good place to wander and browse the shops, have a bite to eat, or to see a movie.
For those of you who like to commune with nature, I recommend a visit to World Heritage listed Lamington National Park, located in the Gold Coast hinterland. The beautiful rainforest is a great place to beat the heat, where you can enjoy the waterfalls (over 500 of them) and bird life, or be more adventurous and do a walking trail (more than 150km/93mi - all clearly marked). This area is one of the most important wildlife refuges in the region and is home to some rare and threatened animals. You'll also find some plants here that can't be found anywhere else.
So, let's do a quick rundown.
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- Sunshine ü
- Amusement Parks ü
- Shopping ü
- Wildlife ü
- Rainforest ü