Inside: Spining out p4 Diving right in p7 A taste for adventure p8
The Gold Coast adventure edition Discover the thrilling side of the Gold Coast P8
getting here, there and everywhere Explore the Gold Coast
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Getting here, there and everywhere Easy to get to, easy to explore
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
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Fly Direct To The Gold Coast 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
Fly To Brisbane 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 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
Get great Gold Coast deals at visitgoldcoast.co.nz
• 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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A hair-raising and shirt-soaking ride Nicholas Jones' excitement is turbocharged on a jet boat ride
jet boat provides a unique perspective on the Gold Coast's classic scenery. Jet boating the Gold Coast is a strange mixture of speedinduced adrenaline, and an eyeopening guided tour of the area's backwater opulence. One minute we are tearing along the Broadwater waterways, the next slowly cruising past the backyards of the multimilliondollar mansions that line Sovereign Island. Our skipper and guide Jamie points out one particularly
large mansion as belonging to mining magnate Clive Palmer. A huge super-yacht moored alongside the home is worth $6.2 million, we are told, and was given to the mining magnate's daughter on her 15th birthday. There are more disbelieving groans from the group when we pass another property's living room windows. Its indoor waterfall, we are told, runs 24/7, despite the property being unoccupied most of the year. Then it's back to the business of jet boating. Paradise Jet Boating get
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SPINNING OUT: A jet boat provides a unique perspective on the Gold Coast's classic scenery.
their boats from New Zealand, with the newest a turbocharged beast which can reach speeds of 89kmh fully loaded with 22 passengers and the skipper. It's thrilling enough travelling in a straight line at those speeds, but the real screaming starts when we sharply turn into 360 degree spins, drenching those on the outside seats. After each spin almost everyone is laughing maniacally, and we are still coming to terms with what we've just experienced when the motors roar again. Though there are no Queenstown canyon walls to play chicken with a la the Shotover Jet, there are sandbanks, with Jamie - who races drift cars in his spare time - sliding the boat at full speed over just centimetres of water. The tour resumes as we cruise slowly through the Moreton Bay Marine Park. The boats spotted dolphins yesterday, and there are often wallabies along the beaches of South Stradbroke Island. We
settle for a lone pelican and a break from the white-knuckle speeds and stunts. But it was never going to end on a creepy bird. We are back at top speed heading toward the finishing point of the 35km circuit when Jaime spots a large motor yacht coming in the opposite direction and its considerable wake. As those on the yacht look on with startled faces we begin our final 360-degree spin right before hitting their wake, and are launched clear of the water midspin. One of two young Japanese women - who turned up in high heels and immaculate makeup and hair, but is now drenched - is thrown from the row behind us and into our backs before falling back to her seat, laughing the whole way. The tour offers a new perspective of the GC and thrills to beat the theme parks - just make sure to pack a change of clothes. Nicholas Jones was a guest of Gold Coast Tourism Corporation.
More info: Paradise Jet Boating is the new “must do” adventure activity on the Gold Coast. Great FUN and SAFE for the whole family, a holiday on the Gold Coast isn’t complete without experiencing this exciting activity. Our exciting Jetboat cruises have been described as similar to many theme park roller coaster rides or rally car rides… on the water!! Wet appetite – A 55-minute Broadwater Adventure premium ride costs A$79. www.paradisejetboating.com.au
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hold on: Nicholas Jones (front seat) gets an elevated view of the Gold Coast with Geoff Stillman, of Tiger Moth Joy Rides.
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Diving right in Nicholas Jones goes into a spin over an aerial view
fter driving north away from the Gold Coast and into rural Pimpama, I'm not sure if I've got the right address. I come to a locked gate with only magpies for company. But Geoff Stillman, my pilot and owner of Tiger Moth Joy Rides on the Gold Coast, soon rocks up to unlock the gate and lead us down a long gravel road, opening and closing more farm gates on the way, until the road opens out on to a lone airplane hangar, surrounded by bright green farmland. Inside are two vintage open cockpit RAAF Tiger Moth airplanes. These biplanes were built from 1931 to 1945 as military training planes; Geoff now uses them to take customers on scenic or aerobatic flights. It's quite a ride. Geoff pushes one of the planes out on the grass runway outside. After a brief rundown on what to expect once we are up in the air, I hop in the front cockpit with my leather hat and goggles, and Geoff hand-cranks the propeller. We slowly putt out to our starting position, surrounded by gumtrees. A lone cow looks up from eating to lazily consider us. Takeoff comes as a surprise in how gentle it is, considering my only experience of flying has come with the million screams of commercial airlines. I'm completely exposed to the elements in my open cockpit, with the warm air in my face and the blur of the propeller in front of my eyes. As we slowly make our way towards the high rises of
the coastline, the plane rattles, but nerves quickly give way to astonishment at the view: to my right the Gold Coast hinterland stretches out; the waterways and untouched beaches of Broadwater below and left. Geoff points out the McMansions of Sovereign Island, each with a pool and luxury yacht parked out the front. After a few laps around the area, with high rises to one side and tiny specks of people on the beach below, Geoff radios through to say it's time and to "put your head back". It's sound advice as for the next 10 minutes I'm not sure which way is back, forward, up or down. I find myself yelling out with happiness and a bit of fear each time our nose turns up to the sky and we roll over in a loop. It's difficult to keep track of the moves, but the biggest thrill comes when Geoff idles the engine, which seems to me like it has completely cut out, leaving eerie silence and the whistling of wind as we start to tip forward and plunge to the dark blue water below. After what seems like an eternity the engine splutters back to life and we use the speed built up to whip back up into another rolling loop. Occasionally we hit pockets of turbulence that rattle and bounce the plane mid-manoeuvre. We take a few more laps around the buildings, spotting pools on the very top of the high rises. With nerves now completely gone it's easy to marvel at what is a stunning place - high above street
level the area's natural beauty is on glorious display. If the hair-raising acrobatics aren't your thing, scenic flights are available. For us, there's another round of barrel rolls, loops, stalls, spins, climbs and dives on the way home, before Geoff circles around to land. As someone who grips the armrests when touching down on even the most basic commercial flight, the touchdown is one of the scariest moments for me - but after the early thrills, Geoff puts the plane down gently. We are both smiling as we roll back through the fields to the hangar, past the same cow and under the same gum trees.
More info: A 35-minute Surfers Paradise flight costs A$525. www.tigermothjoyrides.com.au Nicholas Jones (front seat) gets an elevated view of the Gold Coast with Geoff Stillman, of Tiger Moth Joy Rides.
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A taste for adventure Nicholas Jones dons a wetsuit and sheds his misconceptions for feeding time in the shark pool
'm already feeling sick to my stomach when I arrive at the gates of Sea World. Of all the "adrenalin-themed" activities I had scheduled for my trip - skydiving, jetboating, abseiling down cliffs - the chance to swim with sharks was the most alarming, by some distance. Not that anybody seems to care. "Unfortunately I have to advise that the Sponge Bob Square Pants show at 2.30pm has been cancelled because of the rain," the attendant at the gate says, as she hands over my ticket. Circled on my map is the theme park's Mordor. On the way I almost forget my troubles as I pass a logflume, delighted toddlers clutching balloons and waiting for their photo with Dora the Explorer. Then I arrive at the Shark Lagoon. My advice is not to be early - with 10 minutes to spare, I have time to walk around the perimeter and be struck by a "what the f*** am I doing?" moment. The waters below seem to boil with the dark outlines of huge rays, exotic fish, and a large number of, frankly, massive sharks (I had hoped there would just be the smaller reef sharks). A slightly homesick Nick Anson, who is originally from Orewa and has worked as a diver at Sea World for almost eight years, gives me the run-down. The Shark Encounter runs only on the three days of the
week the sharks are fed. Members of the public join a staff member as they feed the sharks from within a clear acrylic cage. The enclosure is home to seven sharks, including the "boss" Elle, a bull whaler shark, and Dorothy, a 3.5 metre dusky whaler shark. After the appropriate waiver forms are signed, I'm put in a wetsuit and snorkel and taken out on a boat to the corner of the enclosure where the feeding tank lies. Just big enough to fit two people side by side, and about 3 metres tall, it tips forward as I gingerly step on to its ladder. As soon as I have my head under I look up and almost straight into the emotionless eyeball of a three metre shark (I'm later told he's a young male bronze whaler called Bullet), who has cruised silently up to the tank to check out the new arrival. But apart from that unnerving introduction, my dread is soon replaced by a sense of wonder. As a small window is opened and a squid put out on the feeding stick, dozens of fish swarm to it, and through the glass floor of the tank a carpet of tennis racket rays and giant shovelnose rays (often mistaken for sharks) covers the enclosures bottom. Nearby, a school of fish swim around and around in a flashing silver circle, protecting their weaker members.
ďŁžďŁž More info: The Shark Encounter programme is available for guests 14 years of age and over for A$188 per person. Limited Shark Encounter programmes are available on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and have two participants per programme. www.seaworld.com.au
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TABLE MANNERS: The sharks delicately accept the proferred food, there's no snatching or chomping.
The sharks, on the other hand, don't swarm. There is no butting of the tank, no open jaws at the glass. When they come they circle in slowly, gliding and graceful. Dorothy, the largest dusky whaler and mum to many of the other sharks, is the most interested. When she takes the squid from the stick it is careful and deliberate, not ravenous or wild. We in the tank are utterly ignored - just spectators with the most remarkable of vantage points. When I blow water from my
snorkel after ducking down for a better look I am conscious of it. I try to be as still as possible - not out of fear, but so that the sharks are more likely to come in close. At one stage, Dorothy swims quickly away from the bait after being spooked by an equally-hungry stars-and-stripes puffer fish. Nick explains the Sea World divers swim freely in the enclosure (in chain mail for insurance purposes) every day without incident. The sharks get used to them, but when a new diver starts work Elle will circle in
as if to say, "I'm the boss here". When my time is up it's hard to leave - I feel like I could have stayed in for hours. As we hop off the boat a baffled grandmother bails Nick up, demanding an explanation. "How can you be in there with the sharks?" she questions. "Are they a different type? Why don't they attack you?" "People come with their preconceptions," he later tells me. "They expect them [the sharks] to be biting the cage. But they're taken by how graceful they are." î€ş
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An action packed plan for a Gold Coast visit Just a few of the many activities that await visitors to the Gold Coast. Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant It's probably best to mask the Kiwi accent when entering this Gold Coast institution. Dracula's current Transfusion show is a Vampire variety that combines adult-only comedy - often at the expense of audience members, particularly Kiwis - with burlesque and human circus. A slick show from start to finish, diners are welcomed by wise-cracking staff in ghoulish costumes, and taken to their seats by the venue's own ghost train. The theme continues with coffinshaped chocolate dessert and huge fish bowl cocktails. A great if slightly unsettling night out. 'B' Reserve tickets from A$109. www.draculas.com.au Rent a dream car A once-in-a-lifetime experience for all those who had a poster of a supercar on their walls as a kid - feel your head snap back as you drive a Lamborghini Gallardo or Ferrari 360 Modena around the Gold Coast. Follow behind a leader car and experience the incredible handling and power as you wind your way through the hinterland on real open roads, with gum trees forming a canopy overhead. A$488 per person for drivers, A$363 for passengers (with a paying driver) for a one-hour, 40km route. Driver must be at least 30. www.rentadreamcar.com.au Quad Bike Safaris The ideal (and lazy) way to get a taste of the Hinterland. Owners
Todd and Wendy escort an ATV quad-bike safari through a range of terrain on a 170ha farm, dotted with areas of lush bush. Stop-and-stare views are offered by the surrounding Springbrook National Park and adjacent Numinbah Valley. The flash and bustle of the coast feels a distant memory during the two-hour tour, which covers 22km. Keep an eye out for eagles, wallabies and goannas. A$150 per driver (must be at least 16 years old). www.atvadventures.com.au Wildfire Harley Davidson Tours Choose your own route and cruise on the back of a Harley Davidson. With the driving taken care of, it's the best way to experience the area's excellent people-watching. We cruise past a Pamela Anderson lookalike exiting a Porsche, shirtless muscle-heads working out in parks, and Chinese tour groups. Tours also go to the famous Burleigh Heads and down to Byron Bay. One-hour tours from A$150. www.wildfiretours.com
Gold Coast Sky Dive One of the most scenic skydives in the world - once the parachute's ripcord has been pulled take in the views across the Gold Coast (pictured left), its waterways and the hinterland, then land on the white sand beach at Coolangatta. It's a huge adrenalin rush and it's hard to remember just how terrifying the ocean looked from up in the plane when you are happily relaxing on the beach after the jump is complete. Tandem skydive is A$432 per person. www.goldcoastskydive.com.au