LAS - OOL
$768 - $2,881
A land of theme parks, fabulous beaches, endless sun and excellent nightlife, restaurants and shopping, it’s little wonder that ten million tourists take cheap flights to the Gold Coast each year.
The Gold Coast rocks in October during Indy Week and in November/December when the “Schoolies” (students celebrating the end of class) arrive to kick up their heels. While Surfers Paradise might be synonymous with the celebrations of the high-school graduates, the bars of Main Beach and Broadbeach can be fun too. Families will head for the Gold Coast’s many theme parks, which include Dreamworld, Australia’s largest theme park, Sea World, the GC’s oldest theme park, Warner Brothers Movie World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Australian Outback Spectacular and Paradise Country.
To experience the green behind the gold head off into the hinterland. The hinterland contrasts beautifully with the coast, swapping the sand and sparkling sea with vineyards, farms and rural plantations, not to mention National Parks and reserves that stretch for 100,000 hectares.
The climate is sub-tropical. Summer (December to February) temperatures average 88 degrees and winter (June to August) temperatures hover about the 77-degree mark. Winter gets some rainfall, while visitors taking cheap flights to the Gold Coast during the summer months will experience some storms that sweep in from the west.
High season is generally between October and March. Late November to early December is Schoolies time in Surfers Paradise. It’s a fortnight of parties and general merriment for school leavers. Christmas until the third week in January is busy due to school holidays, as are the weeks on either side of Easter. The first three weeks of July are also very busy and Indy race week (the third week of October) is another time when accommodation and flight prices will be at their highest.
February, March, May, June, late July to mid-September, and November are low season times on the Gold Coast.
If you’re planning to venture off the beaches of the Gold Coast, hiring a car is a great idea. There are several car-rental companies with desks at the airport. There are lots of taxis and limousines available. Bus services are good and inexpensive. Ferries and water taxis are a novel way of getting around; the Gold Coast is said to have nine times as many waterways as Venice. There are also bike-rental companies, one of which is called Get on your Bike. Renting a bike costs from $10.
The Wintersun Festival takes place in Coolangatta and Tweed Heads every June. It’s a two-week nostalgia fest that will spin you back into the 1950s and 60s. Hot Rods, custom and classic cars cruise the streets, there are more than 100 bands and performers, old movies are shown and there are fun competitions.
The Gold Coast Marathon, Australia’s largest marathon event, is held in July, attracting 24,000 runners from around Australia and 42 different countries.
After Melbourne’s Eureka Tower, Q1 is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. The QDeck is on Level 253,379 feet above the ground, which offers panoramic views of the sea and the hinterland.
For cheap lunches head to the back arcades of Surfers Paradise where you’ll find decent Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese eateries. A large lunch will set you back about $15.
Or, for something different, go to the Polish Place in Tamborine Mountain. Enjoy the Polish cuisine. The lunch menu boasts Sledz w Smietanie (herring) and Bigos z Kielbaska (Polish Bigos with sausage). The Fine/Folk Art Gallery features contemporary and traditional art and jewellery. You’ll find amber and amber silver on sale.