GOLD COAST ADVENTURES | Things I Did and Places To Go #1 Explore The City

by - 11 May



During my last semester in university, I decided to change the plan and instead of a short student exchange program, I took a graduation trip to Gold Coast Australia with two of my friends, Lily and Debbie. They suggested to go skydiving during the trip since I had to go for a back surgery after graduation. (And we did it!) So I'm going to share what we did during our 8D7N trip here.

Gold Coast is located in Queensland, Australia. Many people tend to choose Melbourne, Perth or Sydney when planning a trip to Australia, but there are many various attractions in Gold Coast too: the beaches and water activities, theme parks, national parks, wildlife sanctuary & etc.


| Things to know before you go

1. Gold coast time is 2 hours ahead of Malaysia time. (Time zone: GMT+10). Average flight time from KL Malaysia to GC is 8 hours.

2. The timing of seasons in Australia is opposite to Europe countries:
Spring: Sep-Nov | Summer: Dec-Feb | Autumn: Mar-May | Winter: Jun-Aug

Gold Coast is known by its sub-tropical climate with around 300 days of sunshine per year, hence not to worry if you plan to visit GC during winter as the temperature can go up to 20°C during the day, and around 12°C at night.

3. Travelers of all nationalities (except New Zealander) NEED to obtain a visa to travel to Australia, we have our ETA visa done by Team KANGaroos at S$7/RM20 each, you may contact him at kangaroos_kang@yahoo.com.sg. Best to apply 14 days prior to your travel date.

4.Surfers Paradise is the capital and the main tourist area in Gold Coast, it is busy through the day and night. There are a lot of backpackers' hostels and Airbnb apartments in Surfers area, you will need to book your accommodation earlier for more alternatives.

However, if you prefer to stay at a quieter and less touristy area, you can opt for Main Beach or Broadbeach area which are just next to Surfers. Recommended just for those who have a car though. We had our stay in Main Beach, one con is that it was very inconvenient to get our meals as we only use public transportation.

5. In GC, there are 3 main theme parks (Sea World, Movie World, Dreamworld) and 2 water parks (Wet n Wild, WhiteWater World). The best value deals are usually found in combination, and basically the combo are (Movie+ Sea+ Wet wild) and (Dream+ White).
If you have only one day for theme park, I highly recommend Dreamworld.

Tips: Food is extremely expensive and outside food is not allowed, but they don't check the bags upon entry, so I'd recommend sneaking in some snacks and water to save your wallet. If they stop you, say it's for a specific dietary requirement. :p

6. Distance from Coolangatta airport to Surfers is 90 minutes. You can either pick up your rent car at the airport or take the public transport, just get yourself a Go Card (Translink in Queensland) after you have arrived at the airport, it's $5 for the card and top up for the credit, minimum amount is $5. And of course, a data sim pack for internet too.

7. Just like the other places in Australia, most of the shops in GC close at 5pm except every Thursday which is the payday. It is actually quite boring 'cause we never had enough time to shop since it was already 5pm after we came out from theme parks. Remember to spare yourself one day if you want to do a lot of shopping.

8. Purchase the tickets online and print out the e-voucher, it's definitely cheaper than buying at the entrance as we all know, save your time on queuing too! This is the website I used (the best deal I found): Best Western.



| #1 SURFERS PARADISE


Surfers is a must visit place in GC, You can't say you have been to GC if you haven't been to Surfers Paradise. We went there almost everyday, just for food and grocery shopping. The best place to search for souvenir!
There are lots of restaurants for every types of cuisine and shopping outlets. Easy for muslims to find halal foods too.


Surfers beach is just across the street, opposite to the skyscrapers. The tallest building in the photo above is the landmark of Queensland, Q1 Skypoint, I'll write more about it later.


Yeah, you know how warm the winter in GC from this photo, those people were going to surf in bikini!
However... we wore jackets and long pants the entire day.. HAHA. So envy of their tolerance for cold!



| #2 SKYPOINT OBSERVATION DECK (Viewpoint for city skyline)

Most major cities have their iconic towers, and the Gold Coast's answer to this is the Q1 Building and its viewing platform on the 77th floor, the SkyPoint Observation Deck. You can see every corner of GC from Q1.

Look at the 360 degree panorama views of Gold Coast coastline, so lovely! It's best to come here in the evening to watch the sunset and stay until the GC turns into a city of lights.


Also there is a sky lounge up there, you can have a hot cuppa tea and enjoy the view and chill for as long as you like. The food is overpriced though, hmm.
The super fast and smooth elevator is also the keypoint, it reaches level 77 in just 43 seconds and you can barely feel it moves. :O

If you're looking for more adventures, you can actually climb the building! We did not go for it because... no cameras are allowed during the climb. Mehh.

Opening Hour: 730am to 9pm (last entry 7pm)
Address: 9 Hamilton Avenue

Tips #1: Buy day&night admission / unlimited entry ticket instead of one time entry ticket.
Tips #2: Go on a clear day, you can even see the hinterland at miles away.
Note #1: Check the website before you go, sometimes it will be closed earlier due to private function.



| #3 CITY EXPLORING (Beaches)

As I previously mentioned, the place of airport, Coolangatta is a city almost 2 hours away from the GC. Our Airbnb host, Greg was so nice to pick us up at the airport, and gave us a tour around the Coolangatta city before heading to his Airbnb place.


It happened that there was this Cooly Rocks On Festival with LOTS of classic cars on display, just by the border of two states, Queensland and New South Wales.

And awesome viewpoints located in parks. The ones we went are Queen Elizabeth park and Pat Fagan park.

If you have a car, please go for a ride around Coolangatta. Ocean views like this definitely worth your time! Breathtaking!


Also you would get very tired going to theme parks for three days continuously, so we had a day off in between to explore the city. We woke up quite late in the morning since it was a day to relax, then we took the tram to Broadbeach area.

The beach just beside the main road, we got down and enjoyed the view for a while. The beach area is very wide and less crowded than Surfers, perfect spot to take photos. But the wind was strong and chilling, I couldn't have my light tripod to stand still for a group photo.


Then we walked to this cafe named ELK which is rated #1 in Gold Coast in Foursquare. And the food was SO GOOD indeed.


ELK Espresso
Opening Hour: 630am to 4pm
Address: 16 Chelsea Ave, Broadbeach

Then we had a stroll around the town while on the way to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, it's one of the biggest malls in GC. Want to get Pandora at a cheaper price? Just come to Pacific Fair when you are in GC. Some of other brands that are cheaper in Australia are H&M, Roxy, Quiksilver, etc.

Pacific Fair
Opening Hour: 9am to 7pm
Address: Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach



Click HERE to read next post (Part 2)

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