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Inside: Excitement all round  p5 Family friendly dining  p6

Pat a dolphin at Sea World  p8

The Gold Coast family edition A must-do list for families  P8

getting here, there and everywhere Explore the Gold Coast

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2 I Travel Gold Coast family edition

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Getting here, there and everywhere Easy to get to, easy to explore

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ustralia's Gold Coast is a favourite Kiwi holiday destination. Here you’ll find more activities, experiences and events than a single holiday can handle. Plus it is easy to get to with direct flights to Gold Coast Airport from Auckland or Christchurch. Getting around is also easy with plenty of options to choose from self-drive with your own rental car, explore with one of the many tours on offer, or hop on and off the 24 hour local bus service to get around. The Gold Coast boasts 30 different beaches each with their own personality and providing a welcoming village feel. Wide expanses of sand are ideal for walking, while the more secluded enclaves feature an exclusively intimate, private feel. The northern areas of Surfers Paradise, Main Beach and Broadbeach are all about fun, entertainment, nightlife and shopping. You can easily fill your day with thrill rides, water slides, jet boats, shopping havens, surf breaks or just lounging around. It’s just as active by night with bright lights, dining and dance venues, bustling bars and casino spread throughout this city by the sea. The southern reaches of the region from Burleigh Heads down to Coolangatta are a mix of coastal and hinterland surrounds boasting renowned eco-friendly hotspots. Enjoy a leisurely paced getaway among the golden white sands of Currumbin, Kirra and Greenmount, which are extensively cradled by

valleys and creeks. This panoramic setting of unbelievable landscapes, tropical views and listed national parks is highly suitable for family fun, whether in the water or hiking along nature trails. Just 40 minutes’ drive from Gold Coast beaches is a hinterland of subtropical rainforest, interspersed with mountain villages, bushwalks, waterfalls and swimming holes, plus World Heritage-listed Springbrook and Lamington National Parks, and the extended township of Tamborine Mountain. Provided by VisitGoldCoast.co.nz 

 Fly Direct To

 Fly To Brisbane

The Gold Coast

Fly direct to Brisbane with: • Air New Zealand from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch www.airnewzealand.co.nz • Virgin Australia from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch www.virginaustralia.com/nz • Qantas from Auckland www.qantas.com.au • Jetstar from Christchurch www.jetstar.co.nz • Emirates from Auckland www.emirates.co.nz

Fly direct to the Gold Coast with: • Air New Zealand from Auckland or Christchurch. www.airnewzealand.co.nz Domestic New Zealand connections are available • Virgin Australia from Auckland www.virginaustralia.com/nz • Jetstar from Auckland or Christchurch www.jetstar.co.nz Once you arrive at the Gold Coast International Airport, it is only a 30 minute transfer time to Surfers Paradise. For more information on the Gold Coast Airport go to www.flygoldcoast.com.au Transferring from Gold Coast Airport to your accommodation is easy: • By coach: Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle provides a door to door service www.gcshuttle.com.au or to catch the free Airport Link shuttle which will take you straight out to the Gold Coast Highway where public transport is readily available

Once you arrive at Brisbane International Airport it is only a one hour drive south to the Gold Coast. For more information on the Brisbane Airport go to: www.brisbaneairport.com.au Transferring from Brisbane International Airport to the Gold Coast is easy: • By rail: Airtrain links Brisbane Airport, Brisbane CBD and the Gold Coast with an efficient train service: www.airtrain.com.au

• By road: From Brisbane via the eightlane Pacific motorway: www.mainroads.qld.gov.au • By coach: Door to door transfer with Con-X-ion www.con-x-ion.com

 Getting Around The Gold Coast Having your own rental car is the perfect way to get around: • Choose from one of the many rental car companies on offer. Best to book before you go, especially during busy seasons. Getting around by bus is another option: • The Surf side Buses operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week, reaching most main tourist areas and shopping centres. Bus stops are positioned every 300 meters. www.surfside.com.au or Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle Freedom Pass www.gcshuttle.com.au


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elaxing? Not a minute of it. On an action-packed family holiday with my teenage son Blair, I was bounced down a hill in a water-filled plastic bubble, screamed my lungs out on rides at the big theme parks and went face-to-face with a tiger and a baby crocodile. The Gold Coast is renowned for its classic family attractions and we duly explored and enjoyed the rides of Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, but away from the theme parks, Blair and I found a heap of activity for families to dive into. Over on South Stradbroke Island, where the Tallship Island Adventures cruise travels to, we were whipped around on the water in an exciting jetboat ride. We patted the dolphins at Sea World, fed tigers and held a snake and a baby crocodile at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Our adventure took us away from the developed areas. When we arrived at McLaren's Landing - 17km from the centre of Surfers - Bruce Nicholls, the owner of the family-run business had a delicious barbie on the go. As well as having a good feed, tourists can parasail, jetski, sand toboggan, ride a Segway and go on eco tours while visiting

by night with bright lights, bustling bars and casino sp by the sea.

Here you’ll find more activities, experiences and events than a single holiday can handle. Plus it is easy The southern reaches of t to get to with direct flights to Gold Coast Airport from Heads down to Coolangatta Auckland or Christchurch. Getting around is also easy hinterland surrounds boast with plenty of options to choose from self-drive with hotspots. Enjoy a leisurely your own rental car, explore with one of the many the golden white sands tours on offer,"This or hop onofand off the 24 hour bus go inGreenmount, Stradbroke. form nature"I local wouldn't this one," said which are exte based tourism you can't guarantee, the assistant, who would later service to get around. and creeks. This panoramic but it's a chance to see the natural launch me from the top of the hill. The Gold CoastBruce boasts 30 different beaches each landscapes, views a environment," explained as "What? Why not?" I asked astropical I with their own personality and providing a welcoming suitable we travelled in a 4WD down one was diving throughhighly the hole in thefor family fu of the island's threeexpanses firetracksofto sand are middle. myselfalong into the village feel. Wide idealI strapped for hiking nature trails. Eastern Pacific Ocean beach. harness, belts being secured around walking, while the more secluded enclaves feature an It looked magnificent in all its wild my ankles, aroundJust my waist and 40 minutes’ drive fro exclusively intimate, private feel. glory, the surf crashing on the windy over my shoulders.a "Why do I need hinterland of subtropica beach, and Blair had a lot of fun sand to be so strapped in? I hope I'm not The northern areas of Surfers Paradise, Main Beach withI exclaimed mountain tobogganing down the dunes. going to lose a boob," as villages, andBruce's Broadbeach are all about fun, entertainment, and swimming family keeps the island he checked the straps. He assured holes, plu nightlife and shopping. can easily fillme yourI'dday in as natural a state as You possible. bewith fine, but Springbrook that I neededand to Lamington Thererides, is nowater electricity, be strapped ride would thrill slides,sewerage jet boats, shopping havens,in as this extended township of Tamb system or water - the island I'd be going backwards, surf breaks or just lounging around. It’s go justfast as and active has generators and the water forwards, side to side. is purified. The island has no His favourite was the hydro zorb predators and is home to monitor - you are not strapped in and slosh lizards and 10 rare wild wallabies around with water inside the ball, that the family has government so I wondered why I was having to permission to feed. try the harness one. But I was told "It's a real Aussie bush I would not be a true "zorbette" if experience," Bruce said as a I didn't brave the bumpy, twisty, Wallaby with a little Joey in her dizzy ride that the harness zorb pouch approached us for a curious offered. As I experienced a hairlook before we boarded a seaplane raising run down the hill, I shut to take us back to the mainland. my eyes tight. I was too shocked to Next up, we went zorbing. On the scream. When I reached the bottom Gold Coast, they've taken to it with and was helped out, my legs were relish and call it Oz Ball - after the like jelly. My only thought was, stoush over ownership of Phar Lap "Why the hell did I do this so soon and pavlova, bouncing down hills in after eating lunch". plastic balls could be grounds for the By then I felt I had earned a little latest transtasman scrap. relaxation. NZ Herald 

Carol Smith finds the fun on a family holiday on the Gold Coast

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Travel Gold Coast family edition I 7

Teppanyaki Teppanyaki is also popular on the Gold Coast. The chef at Arigatou Teppanyaki on the corner of Surf Parade and Albert Avenue, Broadbeach, does a good show of tossing his knives in the air when he is not busy, which appealed to my son.

BYO kids - eating on the Gold Coast Diana Clement and children, Maia and Milo Brown, checked out the best child-friendly eateries on the Gold Coast.

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orget haute cuisine, the Gold Coast is a mighty fine place for family friendly dining. Almost every second restaurant sports Kids' Eat Free nights and some restaurants go the extra mile with kids clubs, play rooms, and extra special menus for the BYO kids brigade. Jungle Cats Indoor play area. Huge robotic jungle animals. Ride on cars. Working train. Your children will remember Jungle Cats Family Fun Restaurant in Broadbeach for the rest of their lives. This brand new restaurant, which opened in March 2012 is designed for kids and the menu as you would expect includes pizzas, burgers, steaks, and other main meals for the adults. My recommendation is to go there in the evening after 5pm

when admission to play area is free for children (although there is still a charge for the ride-on animals). See Junglecats.com.au Sushi Train - 10 locations The Sushi Train is always a compulsory stop for our family. What makes the Sushi Train special is the conveyor belt delivery of the food. Wherever you sit the conveyer belt passes your table with small plates of sushi. "What's that?" is always followed by a scramble to check the menu as the plates pass. If it looked interesting we helped ourselves from the conveyor belt. What I like as a parent about the Sushi Train is that I don't have to humour hungry children while I wait for the food to come. The kids can start eating as soon as we sit down. See www.sushitrain.com.au

Sports clubs Sports club restaurants are a popular eating choice on the Gold Coast. Some are more child-friendly than others. Our favourite is the BMD Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Supporters Club in Surfers Paradise, which serves up great food and atmosphere. Another that is really child-friendly is the Mermaid Beach Surf Life Saving Club. As well as surf clubs there are others such as rugby league, Aussie rules, bowling, and Returned and Services League (RSL) clubs. Some of these clubs such as the Currumbin RSL in Currumbin Creek Road have free kids' clubs. It's worth checking out the clubs' websites in advance and plan your itinerary around their specials. I noticed, for example, that the Broadbeach Bowls Club, on Surf Parade which was right near our accommodation at Surfers Beach One offered T-bone steaks, chips and salad for $12 on Tuesday nights. Sundays, however are a great time to visit because the club is open to all for barefoot bowls from 10am to 8pm at a charge of $7 per head. Under 9s are not permitted to bowl. Southport Sharks Halfway through our lunch at the Southport Sharks clubrooms I gazed out to the pitch and thought to myself: "I wonder what sport they play here?" The answer turned out to be Aussie Rules football. You don't need to be an Aussie Rules aficionado to visit what is in my opinion the best child-friendly eatery on the Gold Coast. The Sharks complex is huge. It has six bars and restaurants. What's

more, it has a supervised indoor play area, the Wobbygongs Kids Fun Zone, with a rock climbing wall, mini basketball court, PlayStations, and two "theatrettes" showing movies and television shows. That means that parents can finish their meal in peace while the kids are looked after. One-hour sessions in Wobbygongs cost $5 per child for non-members and should be booked in advance. The great thing about eating at the Sharks is that you can mix and match different styles of food. My children adore all-you-can-eatstyle buffets with the same level of passion that their mother hates them. So each to their own and the kids piled their plates high, while I ordered a Thai beef salad from the a-la-carte menu, and dessert from the cafe. The Southport Sharks is located the most northern part of the suburb, so if you don't have a hire car, then it's best to take the free courtesy bus, which picks up from the Southport the shopping centre and other locations. Call 0412 752 319 to arrange a pickup. Don't miss the large fish-tank with real live sharks in it. The kids were fascinated. www.southportsharks.com.au Outback Jacks Looking for a great steak and a fun place to eat? Try Outback Jacks in Southport or Mermaid Beach. This is a fun family eatery. The Southport branch of Outback Jacks has a huge kids' play area, a lifesize replica crocodile on the ceiling, and is situated right on the water - albeit a little close to the noisy Gold Coast Highway. Kids eat free on Tuesday and Wednesday from 5-7pm. www.outbackjacks.com.au Theme shows The Gold Coast's theme shows put on good meals for the kids. The Australian Outback Spectacular dinner show, as you'd expect celebrates the outback,

horsemanship and dog handling. The three-course Aussie BBQ is popular with kids And at Draculas, the Death by Chocolate dessert is a must. It's a chocolate coffin filled with mousse. Families with children should aim to go to the Drax 4 Kids matinees. www.outbackspectacular.com.au and www.draculas.com.au. NZ Herald 

 More family

dining options:

• Pickled Cactus Mexican Restaurant, Metro Market Shopping Centre, 33 Hollywell Rd, Biggera Waters www.pickledcactus.com.au • Lonestar Tavern Cnr Markeri & Sunshine Blvd, Mermaid Waters www.lonestartavern.com.au • Bistro Zagame's (Paradise Resort) 122 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise www.paradiseresort.com.au/ eat/bistro_zagames/ • Woodfire Pizzeria & Bar (Turtle Beach Resort) 2346 Gold Coast Highway Mermaid Beach www.turtlebeach.com.au/ facilities


8 I Travel Gold Coast family edition

A must-do list for families

Travel Gold Coast family edition I 9

With so much to do on the Gold Coast, Carol Smith, checks out the options

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ide on a seaplane www.cloud9seaplanes.com "Are you comfortable?" asked Peter Murray, owner of Cloud9 Seaplanes. I barely got the word "yes" out before the plane was turned on its side and we were looking at luxury homes near Surfers from an unusual angle. Then Peter - who flies many unsuspecting women to secluded island spots where their boyfriends are waiting to provide a romantic dinner and pop the question - said he wanted to surprise a fella he knew who was driving a jetboat below us. If the driver gave us the finger, he said, he had done a good job. We dive-bombed close to the jetboat before effortlessly rising back up to the sky. I was too surprised to notice what the driver did, but enjoyed every moment of Peter's antics. His final trick was to take a photo of us on his Ipad - which he threatened to put on Facebook - while performing another manoeuvre. The seaplane is a fun, fast way to travel and see scenery up close from a different view. Peter offers a 100% refund if you don't smile or say it wasn't worth the money. He reckons the more nervous you are, the more fun you'll have. Pat a dolphins at Sea World www.seaworld.com.au I've always wanted to cuddle a dolphin so the chance to pat one at the Dolphin Discovery Presentation at Sea World seemed as close as I was likely to get. I'm sure these intelligent creatures, who learn to perform amazing tricks,

wonder why they can't train us. But they humour us by striking a pose so we can get our souvenir shot. Bottlenose dolphins try to establish a pecking order like humans - they maintain dominance by biting, chasing, jaw-clapping, and smacking their tails on the water. When they get aggressive they scratch one another with their teeth (I use my nails, but the principle is the same). They also show aggression by emitting bubble clouds from their blowholes, so stay clear of these when patting them. The trainer told us they enjoyed being stroked on their backs so I obliged. A dolphin's skin is amazing to touch - it's rubbery, but incredibly smooth. Oz Ball www.ozball.com.au The harness zorb is not for the faint-hearted, but all the family can enjoy the hydro zorb, which doesn't leave you feeling as dizzy. You're not strapped down and joining you (and a couple of others if you like) is 40 litres of water. After the harness zorb, I was a bit apprehensive about swishing around inside the ball as I rolled down the hill. The challenge was for me to stand up, start running as fast as I could when I was pushed off the platform and stay upright while the ball was speeding down the hill. Yeah, right. I think I managed a few steps before my legs turned to jelly and I fell face forward onto the plastic. But it was fun. You can plan a party here and choose to replace the water in the zorb with champagne, chocolate syrup, bubble bath...One group

filled the zorb with tomatoes, which provided a challenge for staff to clean up afterwards. Pandamonium www.dreamworld.com.au Before it starts, it looks like a nice ride you could take granny on, but this is one kick-arse Kung Fu panda experience. Pandamonium is the latest Dreamworld Big 8 thrill ride and it's far from gentle. You have the chance to choose which queue to be in - there's a "not so crazy" line where you will enjoy a rickshaw chase adventure, spinning round and round and side to side. And there's a "seriously crazy" line. We chose the latter and this swinging rickshaw delivered, going at up to 3.8 G-force with 360 degree spinning. If you like being tipped and turned and totally disorientated you've come to the right ride. If you don't, you've been warned.

Yanguwah www.yanguwah.com.au "We need a Bala," announced the man welcoming us to the Yanguwah experience at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Everyone in the room ducked down in an effort not to be noticed, but a reluctant warrior was selected and made to lead us through the sanctuary to a Kup Murri demonstration, where we were shown the traditional earthcooking methods of the Torres Strait Islanders (we would later sample this delicious food at a buffet). We were then treated to an Aboriginal dance show around a campfire. Bala was told he would be required to learn an Aboriginal dance as might others in the group, at which point my son Blair sniggered. Twenty minutes later Blair looked like he was auditioning for a part in the Karate Kid as he held a bird-like pose with arms


10 I Travel Gold Coast family edition

stretched wide. Luckily, he was not selected again to perform in the Torres Strait Islander song and dance routines. Australian Outback Spectacular www.outbackspectacular.com.au Saddle up for an entertaining show which celebrates the outback and the legend of Phar Lap in "Spirit of the Horse". Before the show started, we whet our whistles at the outback bar, were given a stockman's hat each and had the opportunity to get a photo with the horses. Then we settled into our seats to watch the talented stunt riders and animals put on a show built around the competitive spirit of Australians, with the story based on two rival cattle stations. Stockman Bluey split the audience into two groups to barrack for each station and we were encouraged to cheer loudly as each team tried to be top dog. In between scenes featuring wild horses, stampeding cattle, bush vehicles, high-speed quad bikes and a mustering helicopter which arrived in the arena, we were fed some good, mostly Aussie bush tucker and, yes, pavlova. Tiger feeding at Dreamworld www.dreamworld.com.au "There is no way I'm doing that," declared my son Blair when I told him we were going to feed the tigers. We had just watched one of Tiger Island's magnificent, young Sumatran tigers casually wrap his paws around a handler holding up a milk carton for him to drink from. Blair calmed down a little when I said we wouldn't be roaming around the island enclosure - we would be feeding tigers from behind a wire fence, poking their meat through it on the end of a pair of tongs. Still, it was a bit scary when the handler asked the tiger to run at the fence and the photographer asked me to smile and look at him while the tiger was grabbing the piece of meat off my tongs. I really wanted to look at the tiger at this point to check it was only the meat that was being eaten. NZ Herald 

Travel Gold Coast family edition I 11

 Making a deal Carol Smith keeps an eye out for family-focused bargains on the Gold Coast Top deals

Sea World Refill:

Buy a refill drink for $10 and refresh as many times as you like with soft drink or frozen soft drink. You get incredibly thirsty in the heat and from screaming on the rides so this deal is a no-brainer.

Currumbin Green Challenge:

When you enter the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, pay $5 to add the Green Challenge to your entry ticket. This gives you up to two hours of fun on a treetops ropes course which includes 65 challenges over four separate courses. You're provided with overalls and safety equipment before you begin your ‘me Tarzan, you Jane’ adventure through the eucalypt and rainforest canopy. If you think you're a supreme athlete, you can try the Extreme Green Challenge advanced course once you've done the slightly less challenging ones. It's hot and sweaty work but is a great way to work off lunch. www.cws.org.au

Paradise Resort:

This is the perfect place for families to stay. It's reasonably priced and has enough facilities to keep the little ones amused.

There's a good swimming pool, waterpark and play area, spa pool and games room and they've just added a permanent iceskating rink. The entertainment programme gives parents a nice break and the resort is handily located near the centre of Surfers Paradise. It has its own mini-mart, which is wonderful when you need panadol and a refreshing ice-block after a long day out in the sun. www.paradiseresort.com.au

Firefly Churrascaria Chargrill & Bar:

If you have an appetite for good food and are a card-carrying carnivorne, you have to eat here. For $A35 per person you can eat your way through succulent meat cuts and sizzling seafood - my favourite was the beef with oregano, black pepper, cumin and garlic - which keeps on being offered until you say stop. These delicious morsels are served with yummy sauces. Save some room for a dessert. You won't be disappointed if you choose the vanilla creme brulee. The silky custard was topped with a crunchy, teeth-sticking caramel that was a little taste of heaven. If you're not a team player, this restaurant also has a great a la carte menu. www.fireflygrill.com.au

On the buses Diana Clement puts together a Kiwi tourist's guide to public transport on the Gold Coast

"Y

ou caught what?" The answer was: public transport on the Gold Coast My children spend ages belted into the back seat of our car. So when on holiday, we catch public transport whenever possible. It forces us to slow down to holiday time and chill out at the bus-stop. It's so easy to catch public transport on the Gold Coast that I sometimes wonder why people bother with hire cars at all. On a bus, someone else deals with the stresses of navigating and driving. The first thing to note is that there is one main road, the Gold Coast Highway, which runs from the Gold Coast Airport in the south to Labrador in the north. Most tourism accommodation is near this highway and buses are frequent. Public buses leave from right outside the Gold Coast Airport terminal. From Brisbane Airport take the Airtrain from the terminal all the way through the city and south to Helensvale station, where

you can change for Southport and Labrador, or the town suburb of Nerang for Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Trick number two is to get a Go Card at the airport. These pre-paid cards allow you to "touch" on and "touch" off the buses and trains, deducting fares as you go. Discounts kick in after the Airtrain from Brisbane airport to the City Centre. Go Cards have a refundable $5 deposit per person and can be bought at selected outlets, including the Gold Coast and Brisbane airports. You can add credit to your Go Card by paying the driver on Gold Coast buses or at an outlet in Brisbane City. Travel using Go Cards is 30 per cent cheaper at peak times and there's a further 20 per cent discount in off peak times. Children's fares are half of the adult fare, but sadly Kiwi over 65s aren't entitled to discounts.. If you're staying for a week from Monday to Sunday you're in luck,

because Go Card users only pay for the first 10 rides. Any further trips in the week are free of charge. For us, a couple of our long trips to and from the theme parks didn't cost us a cent. Getting to the theme parks is easy from most areas on public buses. The TX1 to TX5 buses drop off at Wet 'N' Wild, Movie World, Dreamworld and Whitewater World. Buses come from both the north and the south to Sea World. The 750 from the Pacific Fair shopping mall leaves every 10 minutes and passes through Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. There is also a 715 bus that passes through Labrador and Southport on its way to Sea World every 30 minutes. Anyone staying south of Broadbeach will need to change buses to get to Sea World. For these and other journeys, operator Translink's online travel planner (www.translink.com.au) is really helpful. Or just flag a bus and ask the driver. Hand on heart, the Gold Coast bus drivers are the most courteous, patient and helpful I've ever encountered. Never once did I see a driver get grumpy at answering the same question over and over again for tourists such as ourselves. Another option for people looking to travel by bus on the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle service (www.GCshuttle. com.au). It offers three-to-10 day passes, which cover door-todoor transfers to and from the airport and theme parks as well as unlimited local bus travel on public buses. Prices start at $70 for an adult or $175 for a family for three days. NZ Herald 


Gold Coast