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Gold Coast

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The Gold Coast is not only one of my favourite places to holiday but it is Australia's favourite holiday destination. There is over 70km of coastline which mostly possesses golden beaches, 35 of which are patrolled. The Southport Broadwater and South Moreton Bay has 190km of foreshore and is Australia's largest area of calm water. Add to this the 446km of canals and tidal rivers (nine times longer than the canals of Venice) and you truly have an aquatic playground.

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The climate on the Gold Coast adds to its attraction with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year. The average temperatures are: Summer 20C-28C; Autumn 15C-25C; Winter 11C-21C; and Spring 15C-25C. Clothing is casual and lightweight on the Gold Coast although certain places such as nightlclubs and restaurants may require more smart attire and a jacket. "Slip Slop Slap" (slip on a shirt, slap on sunscreen, slap on a hat) is definitely necessary on the Gold Coast especially between 10am and 2pm when the sun is most dangerous.pacific fair1.jpg (7009 bytes)

Its beaches and wonderful climate is not the only attractions of the Gold Coast. Shopaholics can't go far wrong with 12% more retail outlets on the Gold Coast than the national average. It also has Queensland's largest shopping centres, like Pacific Fair, and Australia's greatest concentration of Duty Free shops. Shops are also open 7 days a week.

For families, the Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia. There are more theme parks on the Gold Coast than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a total of 22 themed attractions which include wildlife parks, thrill rides, tropical plantations, and an illusion museum. There are four major award-winning theme parks, namely Sea World, Dreamworld, Warner Bros Movie World, and Wet 'N' Wild Water World. Wet 'N' Wild is also open some nights in Summer with film nights while you relax in the pool.

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Special events during the year add to the attractions of the Gold Coast. Events such as the Gold Coast Indy race is a major drawcard. Sports addicts can play more games and sports than they could ever have dreamed possible or for those that like a more relaxed holiday, there is hot air ballooning, tiger moth joy flights, picnics at scenic lookouts, cruising on the waters, etc. Cavill Mall in Surfers Paradise is the place to see buskers, calypso bands, and magicians. At Fishermans Wharf you can go cruising, game fishing, any number of watersports, or for an adrenaline rush, try Bungee Downunder. Cable Ski World is another water park that also offers bungee junping as well as water skiing, go-karting, and scuba diving. The Gold Coast waterways are lined with million dollar mansions and at one of these areas there is Sanctuary Cove with its boutiques, cafes, galleries, famous golf course, and lively street entertainment. Funtasia and Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum in the heart of Surfers Paradise are fun for anyone. Or hand feed wild parrots at the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. On the southern end of the Gold Coast there are little towns and villages that provide much culture, arts, and crafts.

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jupiters.jpg (6111 bytes)And when the sun goes down over the Gold Coast, the fun doesn't stop there. Every night the party goes on till dawn. There is live entertainment, many great restaurants, caberet shows, nightclubs, and the fabulous Conrad Jupiters Casino. I love to stay at the Casino when I go to the Gold Coast and not only for it's six wonderful restaurants, Meditteranean style pools, gambling, and 24 hour room service. I think it is the perfect location, directly opposite Pacific Fair, a short monorail ride to the beach, just 5-10 minutes drive to the heart of Surfers Paradise.

Just behind the Gold Coast is what they call the "green behind the gold". The Gold Coast hinterland contains national parks, mountain peaks, beautiful waterfalls, quaint villages, spectacular views, and sub-tropical rainforests. The hinterland provides lovely tea houses, craft cottages, art galleries, guest houses, colourful country markets, fruit plantations, scenic lookouts, graded walking tracks, historic buildings, and much more. The villages around Mt Tambourine are known for their produce, such as avocados, and the beautiful scenery. Lamington National Park is Australia's largest preserved natural sub-tropical rainforest and is a World Heritage listed wilderness. Here you can enjoy bushwalking, wilderness treks, hang-gliding, abseiling, and 4WD tours through the rainforest. O'Reilly's Guesthouse at Lamington has guided walks including the treetop walk which gives you a different view of the rainforest. Mt Warning National Park was formed millions of years ago by volcanic action. It is now the largest caldera in the Southern Hemisphere. The hinterland contains over 10,000 hectares of World Heritage nature reserves, mountains that rise to 1000m above sea level, more than 260km of graded walking tracks, the highest bio-diversity of any region in Australia, Antarctic beech trees as old as 4000 years and Queensland's first National Park. All only a 30 minute drive from the golden beaches.

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Millions of tourists flood the Gold Coast every year and, on weekends, tens of thousands of cars pour into the Gold Coast from Brisbane. Brisbanites just love to make the easy one hour drive south to the sun, surf, shopping, and fun of the Gold Coast.

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