By Nikki Beecroft
Looking for fun, sun, and an opportunity to fill your suitcase to the brim before your return home?
Queensland’s Gold Coast is a favourite holiday destination for travellers from all over the globe thanks to its countless attractions, relaxed atmosphere, and close proximity to gorgeous beaches. And if you’re planning a fun-filled girls’ weekend away, there are few holiday hotspots so close to New Zealand that compare…
Of course this slice of Aussie paradise is just as popular with the blokes as it is with the Sheilas, but when you can find sandy, muscle-bound, body strewn beaches, larger-than-life malls, divine wineries, and wickedly fun cabaret shows all within a handbag’s swing of each other, every girl knows she’s reached holiday heaven.
Whether you’re planning a relaxed and pamper-packed mini break or a raucous and fun-filled weekend away with the ladies in your life, there’s so much to experience and indulge in on the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast may be best known to tourists for its exciting attractions, but let’s not forgot that Australia is also home to vast and incredible wilderness and wildlife. Whether you’re enamoured with the ocean or prefer to explore with your feet firmly on the ground, this part of Queensland offers some truly breathtaking natural sights.
Take a unique whale watching tour with Whales in Paradise and get up close and personal with some of the sea’s most amazing creatures. See dolphins play right alongside the boat as you scan the horizon for Humpback Whales, then watch in awe as these enormous mammals breach and propel themselves into the air to get a good look back at you.
If invigorating treks and wildlife safaris are more your style, take a guided excursion through the gorgeous Gold Coast Hinterland, Lamington National Park, Mount Tamborine and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat with Southern Cross 4WD Tours. Enjoy some time away from the city, take nature walks and do some animal spotting in the real Australian countryside.
Want to tickle your theatrical funnybone? Book yourselves in for dinner and a show at Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant where you’ll experience a darkly funny live performance like no other, while being waited on by ghouls, Goths, vixens and vamps.
If you’re looking for a show that captures the true untamed spirit of the outback, spend an evening channelling your inner cowgirl at the Australian Outback Spectacular, where you’ll dine on a true-blue three course Aussie barbeque dinner while taking in a stirring and electric rodeo show which brings the story of the legendary Australian Light Horse heroes to life.
Whether you want to spoil yourself with a lavish, European inspired feast or tempt your taste buds with more down-to-earth local flavours, there’s a huge range of deliciously divine places to dine on the Gold Coast. For a once in a lifetime experience, gather your girlfriends and head to Vanitas Restaurant at Palazzo Versace – a world class resort boasting spectacular architecture and unyielding glamour in accordance with the House of Versace. At Vanitas you’ll enjoy sparkling lagoon views while savouring richly flavoursome, modern cuisine, such as ballottine of rabbit, baby veal cutlet, or marinated Black Angus beef tenderloin.
Shopaholics and Bargain Hunters
Let’s be honest: What girls’ weekend away would be complete without a spot of retail therapy? The Gold Coast is home to some superb shopping destinations, ranging from the cheerfully cheap to the uber chic. You’ll find Savill Ave in the centre of town, offering an eclectic array of retail shops, attractions, food stalls and cafes. A stroll down Cavill is great for an afternoon of browsing, however more serious shoppers will think they’ve died and gone to fashion heaven when visiting Pacific Fair. This enormous indoor/outdoor shopping centre is home to every kind of retailer imaginable, from arts to travel and hundreds of everything in between.
If maze-like malls aren’t really your thing and you love nothing more than nabbing a great bargain, schedule some time on a Saturday or Sunday morning to sift through the 500-odd stalls at the Carrara Markets. From fresh fruit and produce to knock-off Prada and Jimmy Choo handbags, there’s something for every girl with a little spending money burning a hole in her pocket.
Sampling the finest local vino is always a top priority when you travel, and you can find a number of delightful wineries within a short drive of the Gold Coast. Get the girls together and take a day trip to Sirromet to enjoy a winery tour and tasting. Their Winery Wednesday Tour includes transfers to and from the Gold Coast and wine tasting at the cellar door, while their Premium Experience gives you a peek behind the scenes with a private guided tour, followed by tastings and a gourmet lunch.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – you can’t visit the Gold Coast without having a day of play and silliness at one of the many fabulous theme parks in the area. Embrace your giggly inner child and spend a wacky day getting your adrenaline pumping at Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World, WhiteWater World or Wet’n’Wild Water World.
Fancy a night on the town shaking your booty to the hottest beats? The Gold Coast is host to some of Queensland’s best nightclubs and bars, including The Ruby Tramp, Platinum Nightclub, and The Bedroom Nightclub, where you can reserve a uniquely designed bed to spend the evening lounging on with the girls while sipping cocktails and checking out the local eye candy.
If the local sports bar is more your style, however, you should definitely check out Titanium Bar, the home bar of the Gold Coast Titans. Centrally located in Surfers Paradise, this spectacular waterfront venue offers a lounge bar and waterfront restaurant, and hosts regular events, bands and DJs. Who knows … you might even spot a Titans team member or two at the bar.