All that glitters is gold in this city of sunshine, sand, sea life and rainforests of yore.
The Aussie zest for life is infectious—and when you think ‘vacation,’ there are few places on the planet that offer travelers as many treasures. From jet-boating and windsurfing to 100-million-year-old rainforests and glitzy concrete jungles, the spirit is always high. The choice is yours, really: boogie by the beach or tango in the technicolor ecstasy of the sea.
RIDING THE WAVE
The birthplace of the bikini, Australia’s golden sands are never quiet. For beach bums, water sport enthusiasts and surfers of all skills, Surfers’ Paradise is exactly what it promises. Catch the high waves by the beach or scuba dive into the exciting world of coral gardens and shipwrecks and dodge around turtles, sharks and manta rays. And if you think you are astride a rainbow, maybe you are! Purple sea urchins, green clams, crimson starfish, pink sponges, curious fish in bright blue and shocking yellow … every conceivable color of the spectrum darts right around you. And once you’ve stumbled on the theme parks, get yourself a koala cuddle with hopping kangaroos for company, at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
With so much going on, you will be hungry--often. And studded with world-class restaurants and classy bars, the Gold Coast is just the place to chow down.
Sign up for a cooking course and relish the flavors of fresh produce from the farmers’ market. And for a gastronomic delight, we strongly recommend Room 81’s goat cheese with beetroot chips. You will be blown away.
“Timeless” comes close to describing this miracle of creation that is the Gondwana forests of the Gold Coast Hinterland. As inspiring as their aboriginal heritage of stone art is, they are a pre-historic legend full of native surprises that have retained their primitive charms. Ancient, magnificent and blessed with Earth’s abundance, the rainforest’s towering canopy overhead and the busyness of the reef barrier below abound in fantastic stories longing to be told. Take a dreamy walk in Heritage National Park within and enjoy the spectacular sights of deep gorges, crystalline waterfalls and glittering waterholes.
Cut to an entirely different scene en route to Mount Tambourine with its quaint highland trails and end the day in the comfort of a wine boutique, with a soothing Australian classic.
SUNNY SIDE UP
The good life knows no bounds on these shores that transform into the Sunshine Coast further north. Glamorous in its blend of swank city culture and subtropical natural bliss are the laid-back and relaxing luxuries of Noosa, where sophisticated spas, boutiques and fine dining strike a happy contrast with tropical rainforests, indigenous flora and fauna and a surprising reef system just beyond Noosa Heads.
Or you can whale watch at Moreton Bay and feed the dolphins on your way through the ship wrecks of Tangalooma.
Make the most of it with a stop-over in Brisbane, distinct in its ‘Queenslanders’--cottages on stumps--that add a peculiar charm to an otherwise high-gloss setting. Bubbling with nightlife and cultural fervor side-by-side, Queensland’s capital city nestles between Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. Leisurely, stroll through Brizzy’s markets, theaters and art galleries or hop onto a river cruise and meander through its many twists. And climb! The skyline view from Story Bridge is a dream and so is the rush of abseiling (rappelling) off Kangaroo Point cliffs. If you’d rather ogle from above, hitch a helicopter ride or tandem skydive into the fabulous cityscape.