An Australian Paradise - Our Two Weeks on the Gold Coast

When it comes to our family vacations, my wife and I are pretty strict. After all, you only get a few weeks of downtime per year, so why not make them count? And ever since we've had the twins, we've always wanted to take them along with us whenever possible, which makes things even harder since all the places we go to now need to be kid-friendly as well.


With that in mind, this year we decided to head to the land Down Under. We heard good things about Sydney and Melbourne, but figured our kids might tire of the hustle and bustle of a big metropolis pretty quickly, so we chose to spend two weeks on the Gold Coast instead. As Queensland's most popular destination, we figured it would be a good idea to reserve transportation and lodgings ahead of time, so we booked a nice place near Burleigh Heads.


From that point on we began taking part in as many activities as we could. Most of them were amazing, but there are some that we wouldn't really be in a rush to do again, thank you very much. Taking into account the preferences of my wife and kids as well as my own, here are the activities we took part in grouped according to how much fun we had doing them:


Feel free to skip:


Definitely a great activity if you're a fit young man or woman, but for us couch-potatoes it proved too difficult to learn in such a short period of time. Seeing the pros do their thing at Surfers' Paradise was quite something, though.


Dining at the Hard Rock Café

Not bad in itself, but fairly expensive and lacking the "wow" factor that all truly top-notch restaurants have. Not to mention that playing Gwen Stefani on the stereo hardly qualifies as "hard rock" in my opinion.


Fun to do, but inessential:


The Gold Coast is filled with all sorts of little shops and markets. Pretty much everywhere you look you'll see a place where you can buy a yummy treat or a nice souvenir. I don't mean to discount such places, since we've certainly splurged our fair share of dollars on various knick-knacks along the way, but there are better ways to spend your time here.


Ripley's Believe it or Not

This is a place that doesn't make much sense on paper, but is actually surprisingly fun to visit. Housing oddities that range from shrunken heads to the world's tallest man to a spinning vortex tunnel, this museum of curiosities was especially beloved by our two boys, who admittedly tend to enjoy weird stuff a tad more than we do.


WhiteWater World

I grew up fairly water-averse, only having learned to swim at the ripe old age of 32, but both my kids and my wife are big fans of splashing around in water. They must've tried over a dozen rides while we were there, while I took pictures on the sidelines.


Dracula's Haunted House

At this point we'd already been inside the Infinity Attraction (more on that in the next category), so this regular old haunted house didn't really have a chance. Still, if you like being scared, Dracula's Haunted House has all the chills and thrills you're looking for. As a bonus, there's even a place called the Carnival of Freaks Museum, where lots of entertaining horror memorabilia can be admired.


Must-do activities:

The TreeTop Challenge

This place is golden if you want to feel like you're a kid again, as they've got all sorts of stairs, bridges and ropes that you can use to fly through the trees like Tarzan. But the best part was probably when we got to ride their world-famous Canyon Flyer, a spectacular zipline that crosses the nearby Cedar Creek Canyon. My wife and I loved it, and the twins couldn't wait to try it again right after our first go-around.


Laguna Park

This place may not hold that many secrets to us grown-ups, but it felt like paradise to our kids, who took turns beating each other on the various slides and rides that dot the playground. Meanwhile, my wife and I got a few moments to catch our breaths after a long day on the road.


Beach crawling

As you'd expect from a place called the Gold Coast, this area of Australia has plenty of beaches worth visiting. We spent most of our days in the sun around Burleigh Heads, but we also found the time to visit the likes of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach as well.


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

One thing we could all agree upon was our shared love of nature. Australia is famous for harboring some of the most wondrous creatures on Earth, and most of them are present in this gorgeous sanctuary. The twins were stoked to pet a real koala bear, while my wife was especially fond of those delightful little kangaroos.


Sea World

Now this is a marine park everyone could love. There are various exhibits featuring beautiful animals such as dolphins, seals, penguins and even polar bears, in addition to a place where none other than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can be found. A guaranteed hit with the kids.


Infinity Attraction

At first, we didn't really know what to make of this. A bizarre, interactive funhouse with 20 different environments? And it only lasts for around 30 minutes? That being said, the whole place is a wonderful display of human ingenuity, one filled with spectacular visual effects, atmospheric sound fields and plenty of groovy music. Not to be missed.

All in all, I think it's fair to say that we've greatly enjoyed our time on the Gold Coast and would definitely consider returning here in the future. There's just something about the beauty of the Australian landscape and its incredible diversity that can't really be put into words. So take my advice and book a trip to the Gold Coast whenever you can, either with family and friends or by yourself, and you'll definitely see what I mean.

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