Our final stop for our Australia trip was Gold Coast, a short flight from Sydney. We decided to rent a car when we arrived to the airport, and lucky for us, after going through ALL the car rental companies at the airport, there was ONE company with ONE last car left. (This is why PLANNING AHEAD is so important to me, lol!) Thank you Lord!
We stayed at the Meriton Suites yet again, and this was definitely our favorite Meriton of all because we got a surprise upgrade that scored us THIS view:
Gold Coast is known for 2 things–beautiful beaches and theme parks. Being that we already visited multiple AMAZING beaches on our trip already, we prioritized theme parks for this last stop. Fortunately, we didn’t skip the beaches altogether because Broadbeach proved to be even MORE amazing than Bondi and Bronte in Sydney! The water wasn’t as calm, but since we weren’t planning to swim in the ocean anyways, that wasn’t a problem for us. We just LOVED sitting on the super soft sand and listening to the waves crash!
For theme parks, I had Bridgette do her research ahead of time to pick 2 that she wanted to visit. She picked AQUASPLASH and DREAMWORLD.
Aquasplash is a seafront aquatic center with inflatable water slides and obstacles courses, similar to the one we visited in Chiang Mai. It’s a lot of fun, but we’ve all gotten hurt on it (mostly from scratches when falling off the inflatables) so probably not too suitable for smaller kids.
DREAMWORLD was a blast for Bridgette, because she is a lover of ALL theme parks. Alan didn’t think the rides were thrilling enough and I basically remained the bag and coat handler the whole time due to my vertigo. The lines weren’t too bad though, and there was a fun water park side where we spent the latter half of our day in. My favorite part of the park was the Kung Fu Panda themed area, as I’m a fan of Po. 🙂
We also lucked out in that even though our time in Gold Coast was short, we still came across TWO night markets. One was the Night Quarter, which is open every Friday and Saturday from 4pm-10pm. The other was the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Market that is open every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday night from 4pm to 9pm. The Night Quarter had mainly food stalls, with some games/rides for younger kids. The Beachfront Market had a lot of local artisans showcasing their unique products, plus a few food stalls. We are generally big fans of any and all night markets, so we definitely enjoyed both. The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Market is especially cool because you are literally right by the beach, so any time you feel like it, you can dip your toes in the sand and water!
Also at Surfers Paradise are two VERY cool rides if you’re one to seek adrenaline rushes. They are the VOMATRON and the SLING SHOT. Back in 2002 when Alan and I were still dating, we took a trip to Orlando together and it was there that we discovered the Sling Shot ride. I wasn’t brave enough to go on it, but Alan was, and he had always said it was the most thrilling amusement park ride he had ever been on. So, when we saw it in Gold Coast, he immediately asked Bridgette to go on it with him. Bridge was reluctant at first, but eventually decided to give it a try (probably because she loves being her daddy’s thrill-seeking companion). Here’s the funny video of them on the Sling Shot and how terrified-excited she was:
Last, but not least, I must recommend this amazing cafe we found while in Gold Coast, name Blackboard Cafe. Their brunch food is on point, but their MILKSHAKES will leave you utterly speechless.
After Gold Coast, we drove back to Brisbane (roughly 1 hour drive) and flew back to SFO!