The Gold Coast explored by Louise
Back in September, my partner and I took a trip to the Gold Coast. Whilst we were looking forward to our two and a half week trip (as any normal person would be!), we were especially excited as my best friend Anna was going to be getting married whilst we were there.
We flew over with the always-excellent Singapore Airlines, which included a few days stop-over in Singapore itself. Whilst in Singapore we stayed in the Hotel Miramar which was booked as part of the Singapore Airlines stopover package.
Close to the Singapore River and Chinatown, we were perfectly situated for a relaxing stopover within the vibrant island. As well as accommodation, the package also included return airport transfers, unlimited rides on the Singapore Airlines hop on hop off bus and complimentary admission to major attractions, although we didn’t take advantage of the latter on this particular trip. We did find use of the Singapore Airlines hop on hop off bus to navigate around Singapore to be very useful though. On one of the nights in Singapore we went on a ‘Night Safari’, (not included in the Singapore Stopover package) a guided tour of 40 hectares secondary jungle where you can see a myriad of nocturnal animals, from fierce predators to timid forest dwellers, in their natural habitat under subtle moonglow lighting. You can choose to roam the jungle via the safari tram or hop on & hop off a travel down the walking trails where you will be able to view some animals at closer quarters.
Once our time in Singapore had come to an end, we arrived in Brisbane to begin the main part of our holiday. On arrival into Brisbane we spent a couple of days chilling out and visiting friends and family before flying to Sydney for the day. We flew from the Gold Coast to Sydney with Virgin Australia, a low cost airline, and then purchased a A$18.60pp GatePass ticket, which gave us return ticket from the airport to the city. We enjoyed the usual tourist attractions including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and visited the Rocks area for breakfast.
To make our way around the city, we bought a ticket called a Multi Day Pass, which gives you unlimited train, bus and ferry travel throughout Greater Sydney for the low cost of A$20.00pp. These passes are not something you can pre-order from the UK, but are readily available within the train station.
The pass is definitely something that I would recommend for visitors who don’t want to overspend on transport or worry about having to buy separate tickets for each journey. Lastly, we took a ferry ride over to Manly and on the return back to Sydney we got to see the sun setting over Sydney Harbour Bridge, a wonderful ending to our day trip.
Before long it was time for Anna’s wedding in the coastal town of Kingscliff in New South Wales. The beach was the perfect setting for the beautiful ceremony and she really enjoyed her day. After the wedding, my partner and I enjoyed long walks along the beach to discover what had been washed ashore, including delicate shells and even some puffer fish! Whilst in Kingscliff, we stayed at Mantra on Salt, a great 4 star resort that offered superb ocean views from our private balcony.
After our two nights in Kingscliff for the wedding, we headed up to O’Reilly Rainforest Retreat on the Gold Coast for a night. We took part in the resort’s ‘Tree Top Walk’ which a truly remarkable experience.
Suspended 15 meters above the ground (not for the faint of heart!), the walkway allows you to make your way through the canopy of the rainforest for a unique view of the plants, animals and birds which inhabit the treetops. After our walk, we enjoyed the sunset whilst sipping cocktails and watching wallabies skip past. As there is so much to see & do when at O’Reillys, I would definitely recommend a 2 night minimum stay to enjoy everything the area offers.
The next day, we had an early departure for Tangalooma Island Resort, which is a 75-minute ferry ride from Holt Street Wharf in Brisbane. Our resort package included our accommodation, breakfast and even a chance to hand feed wild dolphins! The dolphin feeding session took place in waist-deep water, so nothing too adventurous for those who are not confident swimmers.
The friendly Dolphin Care Team are also there to provide assistance as they guide you through each step of the feeding process. This is definitely an experience I would recommend.
One of the last things we did whilst in Australia was go on a whale watching excursion, something we decided to do just 10 minutes before the tour departed! The tour embarked from the Tangalooma Resort and cost A$65.00pp (if you depart from Brisbane, the tour is more expensive).
One of the last things we did whilst in Australia was go on a whale watching excursion, something we decided to do just 10 minutes before the tour departed! The tour embarked from the Tangalooma Resort and cost A$65.00pp (if you depart from Brisbane, the tour is more expensive). As September on the East coast is a prime time to witness the whales migrating to Antarctica for mating season (the excursion is available between June – October), the male whales we witnessed were particularly boisterous, breaking the waves and splashing very close to the boat.
Apparently the tour that went the day before, the whales got so close that their splashes left some passengers a little soggy! Both my partner and I agreed that this was definitely the highlight of the whole trip (after the wedding of course!), which just goes to prove that a bit of spontaneity is often the secret to a great holiday.
For the last few days of my trip, we enjoyed the home comforts of staying with my Mum before our direct flight with Singapore Airlines back to England. Throughout the trip the weather was generally mild, averaging at 18°C most days. Definitely ‘shorts and t-shirt’ weather but perhaps not optimum tanning conditions!
For more information on any of these activities, or accommodation, please contact our team on 01872 266 899.