You hear a lot about Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide but when it comes to selling Australia, there’s another world of opportunity located on the coast. The Gold Coast, that is.
Situated on 70 kilometres of beaches with abundant waterways and a sub-tropical rainforest, the Gold Coast is a diverse destination in the Southern Hemisphere that will appeal to a wide array of clientele, according to Michael Thurston, manager – global partnerships with the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation.
“The Gold Coast offers the best of Australian experiences in one stunning location,” he tells CT. “With short driving times, clients can enjoy the best beaches, eclectic beach villages, stunning hinterland, iconic Aussie experiences and a genuine classic surf culture.”
It’s the type of place Thurston says travellers will adore on its own, or, in the more likely case for Canadians, as part of a more in-depth itinerary throughout Australia. But what sets this little corner of Queensland apart from the rest of the country and what should travel advisors know to effectively sell the destination? Together with Thurston, CT has compiled this tip sheet:
- It’s clear that if there’s any defining feature of the Gold Coast, it’s the beach. Not only are water activities such as surfing and paddle boarding part and parcel to the Gold Coast experience, but this is where you’ll find a vast selection of world-class restaurants, or, for a DIY experience, use the free barbecue facilities at just about every beach where an outdoor kitchen is available.
- Locals claim that a “distinctive energy” sets the Gold Coast apart, “and that energy is the connection to our people…that promises to ignite, inspire, re-connect and to make you feel alive.”
- The great climate year-round combined with the variety of iconic attractions has made the Gold Coast a popular destination for Canadians. In addition to the weather and sights, the laidback nature of the locals has a strong appeal for our Canadian visitors. Additionally, with direct service from Vancouver to Brisbane (one hour drive from the Gold Coast) with Air Canada and good flight options via the U.S. with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Hawaiian Airlines, the Gold Coast is easily accessible for Canadian visitors.
- Clients with any of these three interests will enjoy a Gold Coast getaway:
The Gold Coast offers a range of surfing and stand-up paddle boarding schools, whale watching, jet boating and other high-octane tours, eco-adventures and more.
With more than 100,000 hectares of the World Heritage Listed Gondwana Rainforest at its doorstep, there is an abundance of walking trails and stunning scenery on offer. Plus, the Gold Coast hinterland provides visitors with plenty of stunning scenery, food and wine trails, quaint and quirky villages, and native wildlife.
FOODIES: The Gold Coast’s food scene continues to evolve, with a broad spectrum of dining options that extend from quirky cafés and food trucks to wine bars and craft beer taphouses. As a few recommendations: Book clients reservations for beachfront hotel dining in Surfers Paradise, rooftop seafood in Burleigh Heads or Asian fusion in Broadbeach. Alternatively, recommend they head to the hinterland to follow one of the food and wine trails or sample tasty delights direct from the boutique producers that abound in the region.
Here’s a straightforward guide to the Gold Coast’s prominent neighbourhoods and the experiences each offers:
For the young or young at heart, Surfers Paradise is an eclectic and energetic destination. Since the days of the original Surfers Paradise Hotel, this has always been an entertainment playground famous for its world-class nightlife venues, international events and vibrant atmosphere. The new foreshore is bustling throughout the day with walkers, cyclists and skateboarders taking advantage of this beachfront boulevard vista overlooking the surf and sand. Like the Surfers Paradise of yesteryear, beachside shopping, dining, bars and clubs continually offer the complete holiday experience all in one compact destination package. Surfers Paradise comfortably maintains its position as the good-times hub of the Gold Coast, so there’s no better time than now to rediscover this icon.
For those looking for a little more refinement, Broadbeach offers stunning dining, beach and shopping. “Broadie,” as the locals call it, boasts beautiful beaches surrounded by parks, where weekend markets and weekday yoga classes entertain the masses. Broadbeach Mall is a great place to wander, peppered with roving street artists and framed by alfresco dining, with everything from gourmet delis, to bistros and brasseries.
Defined by a somewhat “hipster” vibe, Burleigh Heads is ideal for young adults. A beautiful beach, eclectic dining and craft brewery scene marks the spot. Surfers and avid swimmers will love it because, on a day when it might be a little choppy everywhere else along the Coast, there’s likely a protected corner at Burleigh in which to dip. But those who prefer to keep their feet on land will love it just as much, as Burleigh Heads National Park which wraps around the headline, offering views of the ocean while visitors enjoy its walking trails and wildlife.
SOUTHERN GOLD COAST:
For those travellers looking for a more relaxed pace and to enjoy the ultimate beach lifestyle, the Southern Gold Coast will suit them just fine. Here, visitors soak in the views of Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance and simply slow down. Snapper Rocks is, without a doubt, the Gold Coast’s most popular surf beach, offering favourable conditions for board-riders; Snapper has good clean waves and probably the best barrels on the Gold Coast. (Surfer clients will get the lingo.)
NEED TO KNOW
- The Gold Coast is home to the best collection of beaches in Queensland. With 57 kilometres of stunning shoreline and crystal-clear waters that house 21 beautiful beaches it is no wonder the destination has this reputation.
- The Gold Coast Hinterland has more than 100,000 hectares of World Heritage Listed - Gondwana Rainforest. Pop a cork at boutique vineyards, sample local produce and be taken in with local arts and crafts in Mount Tamborine. Trade your sandals for shoes and hike one of the walks at Lamington or Springbrook National Parks.
- In addition to its famed beaches, the Gold Coast has an abundance of stunning waterways. In fact, there are more canals than Venice!
- The Gold Coast has more attractions than any other destination in the southern hemisphere.
- The Gold Coast averages 245 days of fine and sunny weather each year, and those rainy-day exceptions typically fall in the summer period.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
The Gold Coast Tourism Commission recently revamped its website, www.destinationgoldcoast.com, which they say “is the perfect starting point for discovering what our destination has to offer.” Travel advisors can sign-up for access to thousands of images plus a wide range of videos, brand assets and editorial copy. The trade section of the site houses a variety of industry-specific information about the destination (www.destinationgoldcoast.com/trade).
Or, contact Travel2 for more information and to book. Two Gold Coast packages are available with exclusive bonus offers for clients to help secure the booking, only available with Travel2.
6-DAY GOLD COAST WILDLIFE
Includes five nights, a VIP exclusive Koala experience at Currumbin Sanctuary, a two-hour surf lesson at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, and more. More info: travel2-ca.com/packages/931
6-DAY GOLD COAST ADVENTURE
Includes five nights, a 30-minute hot air balloon ride with breakfast, a Dolphin Discovery Cruise, and more. More info: travel2-ca.com/packages/932
Brisbane Airport is the main international gateway located one hour due north. Clients can catch the train from the International terminal straight to the Gold Coast. Additionally, the Gold Coast airport located at the southern end of the city is one of the best connected domestic airports in Australia, meaning the destination is perfect for the ever-popular multi-destination Australian holiday.