“That was exhilarating!” exclaim Mohan and Shivani as they come off the Superman Escape ride at the Warner Bros Movie World in Gold Coast.
As we chat casually minutes later, they tell me they are IT professionals who migrated to Australia from Pune, India, five years ago. Today, they are part of the one-million-strong Indian diaspora, influencing every facet of the Australian way of life, including travel and tourism.
“We love coming to Gold Coast to chill out,” they say as sit down to see the Hollywood Stunt Driver show, which is one of the key attractions of this theme park.
Only an hour away from Brisbane by road, the Gold Coast is often referred to as the ‘nation’s party town’. That’s why, when Aussies need a boost in their mood, they travel to the Gold Coast to embrace its endless energy.
No one can correctly say why this region in subtropical Queensland is called the Gold Coast. My guess is that it’s because of the 70-kilometre stretch of golden sand edging the Pacific Ocean coastline from Rainbow Bay in the south to Jumpinpin at the northern end of South Stradbroke Island. This distinct natural feature has made the Gold Coast the birthplace of the Australian beach holiday. That Aussies love time at the beach is well known; it satisfies their urge for physical activity, whether surfing, swimming, and sunbathing or walking, jogging, biking, and even practicing yoga and meditation, all leading to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
With 300 days of sunshine a year, warm blue water, and an average temperature of 25 degrees, the sandy patches of the Gold Coast pull nearly 12 million visitors to their shores annually from different parts of the country and overseas, including India.
While visitors from India as well as from the diaspora love playing with the sun, sea, and sand, according to a local tour operator, the fun features of the destination and its party-like atmosphere appeal more to them. That’s why visitors like Mohan and Shivani prefer spending time at the entertainment venues or hanging out at Surfers Paradise, where the heart of the Gold Coast beats ceaselessly.
Gold Coast can be broadly categorised into three sections: north, south, and central; however, tourists generally mass in the central part, which is home to well-known oceanfront locations like
Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads, which are characterised by a Dubai-like towering skyline.
Surfers Paradise is one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. The 3 km of coastal headway stretching south of the Nerang River was called Elston until 1933, when smart hotelier Jim Cavill lobbied hard enough to rename it Surfers Paradise. He hoped the name would act like a magnet to draw surfing enthusiasts to its shores, and he wasn’t wrong. Soon the destination became a haven for anyone keen on a raw encounter with sun, sea, and sand. Entrepreneurial spirit began to flow in rapidly to establish the sleepy coastal town as a dynamic beach holiday destination that offers more than the waves.
Today, the quarter is studded with luxury hotels, trendy cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, endless shopping outlets, and entertainment venues, offering visitors a mood-boosting vacation. Not to be missed in Surfers Paradise is the unrivalled 360 degree, birds-eye view of the entire Gold Coast region – its sandy ribbon, urban tapestry, inland waterways, and distant hinterland – from the Sky Point Observation Deck located on levels 77 and 78 of the Q1 Building, a 322.5-metre skyscraper that was built in 2005.
Travel gurus say variety is the spice of a perfect holiday, and the Gold Coast fits this perfectly. There are a plethora of exciting things to do and see, perhaps more than any other down-under urban settlement. Here, beautiful sandy beaches, ancient rainforests, thrilling theme parks, and a vibrant dining and cultural scene come into action for visitors from different parts of the country and overseas as well.
Various theme parks are a special drawcard for the Gold Coast. While at Movie World there are lights, cameras, and action, at Sea World it’s more than just seals and dolphins dancing; there are rides and shows, including a helicopter ride to catch a bird’s-eye view of the paradise land.At Dream World, the Big Seven rides live up to their promises, while next door at the Australian Outback Spectacular, true Aussie outback is celebrated while enjoying a three-course Aussie dinner.
Getting There: Home to an international airport at Coolangatta, Gold Coast is well connected by air with all major Australian cities.
Accommodation: Forming part of The Star Gold Coast’s world-class entertainment hub, the newly opened 313-room Dorsett Gold Coast (www.dorsetthotels.com) combines stylish inner-city vibrancy with a restful beachside escape for a memorable stay.
Restaurants: Countless cafes, bars, restaurants, and breweries jostle for space across the city’s various suburbs. While Miss Moneypenny’s (missmoneypennysbroadbeach.com) at Broadbeach offers draws diners to top class Mediterranean cuisine, Temple of Spices (templeofspices.com.au) at Mermaid Beach is a popular choice for Indian cuisine for locals and visitors alike. Regulars love their garlic prawns, butter chicken, and goat curry.
More Info: Visit www.destinationgoldcoast.com
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