nybody worried about US visa bans can hop on over to Australia’s Gold Coast. A lot nearer than the States, it has the most amazing weather, actively friendly people who will make you feel welcome, and a lot to see and do.
We had a great week in Australia and were able to squeeze in a lot of activities, but we hardly scratched the surface of all the adventures to be had in the Gold Coast. From our arrival when we went for a drive around the points of interest in the coast including the Gold Coast Seaway, Broadwater Parklands & Surfer’s Paradise, which is an iconic beachfront; we knew we were in for a treat.
Soon after landing in Australia’s Gold Coast we were dropped off at the Aurora Spa Retreat, one of the Gold Coast’s top day spas located at the Palazzo Versace and had ourselves a wonderful post-flight massage followed by a Couture High Tea. It was a relaxing intro into what would turn out to be an interesting salvo of events.
A Grand Old Time
Rather than stay in a hotel, we rented a beautiful house located across from the beach, through Elite Holiday Homes. This proved to be a smart choice as the property had loads of space and even its own home cinema and separate games room with a snooker table. We enjoyed a lot more privacy than we would have in a hotel. On some of the days we hired an amazing caterer who prepared for us the most delicious Cordon Bleu meals.
On our first evening we went to the Night Quarter, which is like a Bohemian night market, full of music, food, and fun things to see, do, and buy. It’s a very family orientated place and not unlike Block 338 in Adliya during the annual Nest community festival, albeit on a much bigger scale.
From high-street to high-glamour. The following day was devoted to seeing the horses and we went to the Magic Millions Race Day, one of the world’s richest races; staying in the VIP Marquee. We dressed up as fabulously as we could. The place was just bursting with excitement and you can tell that it is a high-stakes day. It was exciting to watch the horses jockeying it up for a pole position and even if you know nothing at all about horse racing, watching them up close and being with the crowd of race goers is an electrifying treat and you’ll find yourself clapping and cheering before you know it.
Good Food, Great Adventure
During our stay, we experienced many of the restaurants that the Gold Coast has to offer. This place has the most delicious meats and the finest beef. Gastronomic adventures and culinary delights abound.
The weather throughout our trip was beautiful. It was in the 30’s with a nice breeze. The evenings were stunning with different cloud formations. We would cross the road from our house and take long walks along the beach, witnessing colours that looked like they belonged in an oil painting, almost too beautiful to be real. Many others did the exact same thing, when you live within such natural beauty it makes no sense to be indoors. Families, couples, and lone walkers would be stretching their legs while completely respecting each other’s privacy. Everything was picturesque and Instagram worthy, even the houses were lined up along the waterfront like a scene from an old painting.
We had plans to go on a hot air balloon one dawn to watch the sunrise. We were up at 3am so we can be in the air by 4am. However, a tropical storm hit and the balloon company had to cancel our ride. Their level of service is astonishing as they tried to call us but couldn’t reach us, and instead drove all the way to our accommodation to inform us that our trip is cancelled.
So we instead went back to bed and on waking up hired a 10.5 metre, fully-skippered catamaran—The Spirit of Gwonda and went sailing around the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches. The catamaran is awesome, everything you can think of is provided for, drinks, snacks, plus stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, in case you have an urge to try it. It’s a great way to spend 2-3 hours!
The next day saw us on a chauffeured 1965 VW Kombi—it’s like being in a time machine! This was our ride as we went to Dreamworld—Australia’s largest theme park. Dreamworld has a lot of attractions and fun rides, some super exciting—and some borderline scary (Tower of Terror II anyone?). Those who are not into rides can instead cuddle a koala and or go on the Tiger Walk VIP experience—which we did.
It was definitely a good idea to have lunch after, and not before, going to the theme park. We went to the Ruffles Lodge & Spa, which is a beautiful hinterland (translated as “the land behind”) property overlooking the Gold Coast’s iconic surf breaks. The rolling hills and views were particularly worth the drive.
Another day, another adventure. This time in a Hummer four wheel drive. We went to Mt. Tamborine (the third oldest national park in the world), where we took a short trek to the rainforest, which ended in delicious wine tasting at the Gallery Walk. This was followed by a Mt. Tamborine cooking school crash course where the owner, Chef Terri, walked us through a “Best of Tamborine” themed menu, using fresh local produce. Needless to say, the food was delicious.
Another delicious meal awaited us at dinner which we had at Cuccina Vivo, located in Jupiter’s Hotel & Casino, our next stop. We met with Susie McWatt Forbes, a “fairy-god stylist” at the Pacific Fair, one of Australia’s major shopping centers. People can stay and relax at this shop, and they can book the experience for their families. Suzy will help you to dress up and look your best for whatever occasion and whatever the weather. She made us look more dapper than ever.
It was a great trip and we highly recommend it for travelers coming from the Middle East. Superb weather, great dining, and outdoor adventures are just some of the attractions. The locals are super friendly, the level of service and privacy is first-rate, and the amount of care you are given is incredible. Look into the Gold Coast for your next family adventure.
For more information:
Palazzo Versace Gold Coast
Tel. +61 7 5509 8000
Elite Holiday Homes
Tel. +61 7 5592 3881
Tel. +61 1800 264 448
Magic Millions Sales PTY Ltd.
Tel. +61 7 5504 1200
Tel. +61 7 5578 2244
Sailing in Paradise
Tel. +61 438 915 222
Tel. +61 7 5588 1111
Ruffles Lodge and Spa
Tel. +61 7 5546 7411
Hummer Safari 4WD Adventure
Tel. +61 7 5531 5536
Mount Tamborine Cooking School
Tel. +61 7 5545 4564
Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino
Tel. +61 7 5592 8100
Susie McWatt Forbes