A gem on the Aussie coast

Famous as a surfer’s paradise, Gold Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. And that’s because the city offers more than just surfing! Located in the state of Queensland, the Gold Coast is the 6th biggest city in Australia! It is also the largest city in the island-country that’s not a state capital! The other major cities in Australia are all capitals of the 6 states of the country. The Gold Coast is about 80km away from Queensland’s state capital, Brisbane. 

So why visit this beautiful city? They say everything is Australia tries to kill you, but that’s not entirely true. The city has so many indigenous animals and plants worth seeing (not just kangaroos!). It also has a lively culture with film, music, movies, art, and everything else you could imagine! You’re likely to run into either movie stars or surfer celebrities here! There are also plenty of choices for extreme sports (sky diving, scuba diving, parasailing, rock climbing, etc) for those of us who like the thrill of it, and there are other safer, yet fun, activities for the rest of us as well! I’m talking about amusement parks, cruises, camping, surfing, exploring, trekking, biking, and everything in between! 

No trip to Australia is complete without visiting the Gold Coast! And if you’re wondering whether the city is named as such because it has an abundance of gold reserves or mines, well, you’re not exactly right. Originally the city was called South Coast but got the nickname of “Gold” coast because of the extremely high real estate prices! Although the locals found that name derogatory at the time, they realized it sold well with new-comers and tourists, so they stuck with that name! Today, looking at the city’s beautiful golden sandy beaches, one might think that the place deserves the name it was accidentally given! 

Quick facts:

Currency: Australian Dollar (1$=52 INR)
Location: in the state of Queensland
Languages: Most people speak English
Religion: Catholic and Anglican Temperature: 15-25°C 
Best time to go: Mar-May Dec – Feb 

Transport in Gold Coast:

• The whole city is connected by bus and the services run 24H! The most popular service is the Surfside Buslines. 
• Cabs, although available, can be quite expensive. Larger groups can book stretch limousines. Uber is available as well! You can rent cars (such as with international companies like Avis) and even bikes (such as with Crooze)! 
• The Gold Coast Railway and the metro (G: link) connect the major spots in the city. The metro goes every 8 minutes. They have a detailed website that shows the train and tram lines throughout the city. 

Activities to do in Gold Coast:

If you like adrenaline highs!

1. Wet n Wild Water Theme Park

This is Australia’s largest water theme park! Every water ride you could imagine, they have! Don’t miss out the Kamikaze ride while you’re there. They also have wheelchairs and strollers for hire so the whole family is taken care of. You’ll also find a good choice of refreshments there. Timings: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm (except national holidays like Christmas) Price: INR 4000 for the day Food: Try out the Twister DIY Soft Serve where you can get a bucketful of ice cream for yourself with your choice of toppings! Shopping: go to the Surf Shop to get great souvenirs! 

2. Warner Bros Movie World 

Also known as Australia’s number 1 theme park, Movie World has rides, parades, entertainment shows, stunt driving, exhibition and much more! Children (and adults) of all ages are welcome here, but a few rides require a minimum height of 155cm due to safety reasons. Some of the new exhibits include Wonder Woman and Aquaman. You can buy food at the park as outside food is not allowed.Timings: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm (except national holidays like Christmas) Price: INR 5000 for adults, free for kids under 3 Food: try the Gotham City café- they make some of the juiciest burgers there! Shopping: while there are many stores to buy souvenirs from, try out Original Graffix- where you can get caps with customized graffiti. Also visit Charlie & the Chocolate Factory to bring home some adorable sweets! 

3. Sea World Marine Park

This is basically a marine park where you can interact with dolphins, seals, penguin, and even sharks! They offer a variety of options including being a trainer for a day, snorkeling with corals, feeding penguins, etc. They even have entertainment shows, adventure rides, and games! It’s a mix between a zoo, conservation, adventure park, and safari! And there’s even a monorail going through the place! There are activities that are catered to every age group, and different levels of accessibility. Oh, and there’s great food too!  Timings: Every day 10am-5pm except Christmas Price: INR 4000 Food: try out the seafood basket at the Lakeside Café! Shopping: you can buy a souvenir from one of the many stores there OR win one for yourself from the carnival games! There are a few select games where everyone goes home with a prize! 

Tip:
If you want to try all three of these parks, you can get a 3-day pass where you can visit each of them once for just INR 6700! 

4. Gold Coast Skydive 

Wanna fall 12000 feet from the sky at 200km/h with the view of a beautiful beach under you? Then this is for you! Gold Coast Skydive is the only place you can do tandem skydiving with Kirra beach as your landing. There is no extensive training required if you choose to do tandem skydiving as you’ll be strapped to an expert. They also offer free pickup from your location to the airport from where your journey begins. 
Timings: 8:30am-5pm 
Price: they have different packages starting from INR 17000 
Shopping: You can get souvenirs starting at 7$ (360 INR)
Photography: not allowed due to safety. But you can buy photo/ video packages. 

5. Catch the waves! 

Going to the Gold Coast is not complete until you hop on a surfboard and try catching the perfect waves of this coastal city. If you’ve never picked up a surfboard before, fret not! There are many instructors who specialize in training beginners, try out Get Wet Surf School Learn to Surf 1st Wave Surf School Classes are around INR 2000 for beginners and it lasts around 2 hours. This will be enough for you to be able to catch a few light waves. 

If you like sight-seeing, do it in style

1. Hot air balloon (with champagne of course) 

Ever wondered what the sunrise looks like over the Gold Coast? Balloon Aloft lets you find out by taking you a couple of km up in the air in a hot air balloon! One basket can hold up to 24 people, so you can bring the family along! The trip starts at 5 am so you don’t miss the sunrise and it ends with a luxurious breakfast at around 6 am. There is an expert commentary included as well, in English! 

Timing: 1-hour journey starting at 5 am 
Price: INR 12000 per adult 
Food: breakfast with champagne at the Mercure Resort 
Photography: allowed

2. Through water and air 

This amazing combo by Paradise Jet Boating starts with a 55 min long jet boat ride around the waterways of the city and ends with a 5-minute helicopter ride with a panoramic view of the city! The jet boat even takes you into a restricted Marine Park. Timings: a 2H trip with timings from 9 am to 4 pm Price: INR 7000 per adult Shopping: they sell souvenirs starting 5$ (INR250)! Buy the beer cooler for INR 500 Photography: allowed 3. Go on a cruise! Wyndham Cruises provides 2-hour cruises that the whole family can go on! Enjoy the view of the beautiful city whilst basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun. There is a commentator who guides you in English- giving you an informational tour. Try to spot as may celebrity homes while you’re at it! 

Timings: 12 pm to 2 pm every day 
Price: INR 2500 per adult (kids under 2 go for free) 
Food: Lunch buffet on the cruise included Photography: allowed

If you want to experience nature:

1. See glow worms on a night tour! 

It looks just as good as it sounds- the tour takes you into caves at night where you can see nocturnal animals and glow worms on the walls illuminating the caves! You’re allowed into restricted areas during this tour and get a close-up view that no one else can! You’re accompanied by a well-informed guide who makes the experience all the more worth it! 

Timings: 6:30pm to 9:30pm 
Price: INR 5000 Food: not included, eat before the tour! 
Photography: allowed 

2. Visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary! 

Ever wanted to meet the internet-famous Capybara? Or perhaps hug a koala? Feed kangaroos? These are the things we think Australia is all about, and well, the Currumbin Sanctuary has it all! There are 15 different animal encounters. They also have aboriginal dances from which you can learn about the country’s pre-European history. The sanctuary is a not-for-profit organisation that invests in the protection of the environment. Timings: 8am-5pm except Christmas 

Price: 2600 per adult Food: Try Wild Burger and be entertained by Blinky Bill while having your lunch! 
Photography: you can buy a daily photo pass for an additional INR 2000. This ensures professional photos are taken throughout the day. And you can either send them to your family or get them printed at the end of the day. 
Shopping: there are plenty of souvenirs to buy, including koala stuffed toys! They also sell Australian made products, including aboriginal trinkets-try mastering how to throw a boomerang!

Food to try out in Gold Coast!

1. Have a slice of Lamington cake! 

Made by covering regular sponge cake in chocolate and rolling it in coconut, Lamington is a cult favorite here! The inside also has a jam filling. Don’t skip this treat while you’re in Australia! Try it at Karma Cupcakes 

Timings: 9 am to 5:30 pm except for Sundays Price: INR 200

2. Try Vegemite 

Australians love it. The rest of the world think this is a prank Australians like to pull on strangers. You either love it or hate it! You won’t know until you try. Vegemite is usually spread on toast or added to sandwiches. You can buy it from any supermarket for about INR 100. And yes, it’s vegetarian! 

3. Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co 

They’re famous for their burgers but don’t be tempted to only stick to that as the rest of their menu is great as well! They have great vegetarian options as well. Same with gluten-free food! You can choose the “bare” option if you want just a lot of meat and no buns! 

Timings: 11am-9pm 
Price: INR 500-1500 

4. Try Kangaroo steak! 

As cute as the Australian mascot may look, they taste pretty good too! Similar to veal, kangaroo tastes a bit gamey and well, has less fat content than beef or pork. That’s why it’s usually mixed in with fat to make sausages or burgers. But while in Australia, it wouldn’t be right if you didn’t try a kangaroo steak! Try it at Seascape Restaurant & Bar. 

Timings: 12 pm to 11 pm 
Price: INR 2000 for the steak, wine, and sides 

1. Visit the local markets! 

There are plenty of flea markets and such in the city. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss: Night Quarter, Burleigh Markets, Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, Broad Beach Art and Craft Markets. 

2. Sky Observation Deck 

It gives you a bird’s eye view of the beautiful city. Price: INR 1300. 

3. See Cabaret shows! 

The Gold Coast has a lively cultural scene. Make sure to catch a couple cabaret shows while you’re there! Watch the Dracula’s Cabaret Show (INR 2600) and you’re sure to be entertained! It features a 3-hour show as well as a 3-course dinner (with alcohol!)  

Helpful info:

• Emergency number (police, fire, ambulance): 000 
• You can add Gold Coast to your itinerary and travel to other cities on the Australian coast like Brisbane, Newcastle, Byron, etc. by car. 
• Respect the aboriginal culture
• The weather is usually warm so pack light. During winters a light jacket can be worn. Don’t forget your sunscreen! 

As you can see, the Gold Coast offers so much more than just great waves! The city has something for everyone- sports, adventure, music, theatre, food, wildlife, and more! Apart from all that, Australians are some of the nicest and kindest people you will ever meet! Nature enthusiasts will see and experience things here that you cannot find anywhere else! 

And if you are anyways planning a trip to Australia, you’re going to regret not adding this gem of a city to your itinerary! Don’t be surprised if spending just a few days is not enough to see the city in all its glory- the Gold Coast deserves a trip all for itself! And like I said, not everything in Australia tries to kill you 😊 

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