Hinterland Hiatus

If you thought the Gold Coast was all skyscrapers and shimmering seas, think again. The hinterland, less than an hour’s drive from the coast, is a world heritage-listed oasis of majestic mountains, high plateaus, sheer escarpments and tumbling waterfalls. The three main national parks – Tamborine, Springbrook and Lamington – boast hundreds of kilometres of walking trails, as well as scenic lookouts and nature experiences. Go hot-air ballooning over the Kerry Valley at sunrise, spot glow worms at night at Natural Bridge, peruse the cafes and boutiques in the mountain villages, take in the canopy views on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, and keep your eyes peeled for adorable pademelons (small wallabies) during a scenic drive through Lamington National Park.

Gold Coast Hinterland

Theme Park Thrills

While the hinterland is serene, the theme parks are anything but. Prepare yourself for a blood-curdling scream-fest as you plummet, hurtle, splash and catapult yourself around the Gold Coast’s most infamous rides. Rocket backwards through the air at 160 kilometres an hour on the Tower of Terror at Dreamworld, lose your stomach on the Batman-inspired Arkham Asylum rollercoaster at Movie World, and blast down the 40-metre funnel on the Tornado tube slide at Wet’n’Wild. When it’s time to calm your nerves, head to Sea World and hang with the polar bears, seals, dolphins and sharks.

Seaworld on the Gold Coast

A Whale of a Time

Landed on the Gold Coast in winter? No worries. It’s whale season and you’re fortunate to have scored a front-row seat to one of the greatest natural marine shows on Earth. Join a cruise with Whales in Paradise between July and October and be mesmerised as these mammoth mammals breach and tail slap the water. Not only will you be in the presence of humpback whales, you’ll also have the chance to see bottlenose dolphins, giant sea turtles and various seabirds.

A whale breaches in the waters off the Gold Coast

Beach Bum

With more than 20 stunning beaches to enjoy, the Gold Coast has the market covered when it comes to sand and sea. From a quiet patch of sand all to yourself at Bilinga, to the rock pools of Currumbin and the trendy bustle of Surfers Paradise, there’s something for every beach-goer. Plonk on the sand, surf, swim, stroll or sunbake – you’d be forgiven for never straying far the beach.

Gold Coast's beaches are famous for their white sand

Shop 'til you Drop

Nothing says holiday happiness like a spot of guilt-free retail therapy. And at Harbour Town you can get more bang for your buck with bargains galore to be had at Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre. Peruse the more than 220 stores, then head to Pacific Fair – the region’s fashion capital – for some choice garments to add to your wardrobe. For holiday souvenirs, local delicacies and artisan goodies, be sure to visit the local markets. On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights the Surfers Paradise foreshore comes alive with more than 100 market stalls and entertainers. Also try the Coolangatta Art and Craft Market (second Sunday of every month) and the Broadbeach Art and Craft Market (first and third Sundays of every month).

 

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