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Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise
Nat & Jules
Jules takes a ride

A day in the life of the Gold Coast

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Our rookie reporters are hitting the Gold Coast for a bit of a spin!

Queensland's famous Gold Coast takes up 57 kilometres of coastline. Apart from 70 kilometres of beach, it has a large broadwater and five major river systems. There are 500 eating places, a casino, theme parks, hinterland, rainforest, countless shops and boutiques, sporting and recreational facilities and an excellent range of accommodation from five-star to camping.

The Gold Coast's main tourist attractions are well known, but Getaway has scratched the surface and found some new and exciting things to do there.

Our day began with a gentle trip with Balloon Down Under. They go for a one-hour drift over the coast as it's coming to life and end with a traditional champagne breakfast.

Next we went to a former carpark which is now home to Vomatron, an exciting place for thrillseekers with a name that says it all! There are four rides here — the Banzai Bunge, Slight Shot and Fly Coaster are variations on the bungee, but the Vomatron takes the thrill one step further.

It's based on a machine NASA built for putting astronauts under extreme pressure. It is vertically mounted and powered by two enormous electric motors, which rotate the giant 45-metre arm at speeds of over 110km/h, throwing the capsules into extreme spins, putting 5gs of force upon passengers. Just when you think it's over, it spins in reverse, with the same degree of torture as before. There are two gondolas which hold two passengers each.

Even if after your NASA experience you don't feel like eating, it's worth keeping Mermaids Restaurant and Bar in mind. It's all about the beach, the surf and sunny days relaxing, eating and drinking. It's just right for families and has friendly service.

To work off the Mermaids food, try a quick game of beach volleyball. It's played each day on Central Surfers Paradise Beach. Stewart Simpson has been setting up courts there for 12 years and offers free games for experienced players and beginners. Serious volleyballers always head there for practice when they are visiting the Coast.

A thrilling way to tour the Gold Coast is on the back of a Harley Davidson. Eagle Harley Tours have daily cruises through the heart of Surfers Paradise, taking in Broadwater and waterways. Other tours go to the hinterland, for some beautiful views and scenery. You're supplied with a bike and rider, helmet, leather jacket and gloves. If you are over 25 and have held an open motorcycle licence for two years, you can hire your own Harley.

Opium is the new place to be seen. This restaurant and bar opened in Broadbeach last year. The funky, minimalist establishment attracts a fun crowd. Their signature drink is infused vodka, which they make by adding chocolate, watermelon, lychee, peach and a range of other flavours. These are served as shots or with a mixer.

If you fancy getting away from crowded beaches, Tallebudgera Beach has calm waters suitable for families and spectacular views of Burleigh Headland National Park. On the other side of the jetty is Palm Beach, with open sea. You can enjoy a peaceful walk and watch fishermen pulling in their catch, enjoy the picnic area with barbecues provided, and Tallebudgera Creek is nearby.


Queensland's Gold Coast


Balloon Down Under one-hour dawn flights cost $245 for adults and $190 for children under 14. They operate daily, weather permitting.
Vomatron opens daily from 10am to 10pm. Rides cost $15.
Mermaids Restaurant and Bar opens every day from noon to midnight. Breakfast is served from 7am from Friday to Sunday.
Eagle Harley Tours cost $45 per person for a half-hour spin.
Beach Volleyball courts are set up from 10am to 4pm every day, weather permitting. Games are free.
Opium Broadbeach is open every day from 7am to 2am.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Balloon Down Under
2/30 Fremantle Street, Burleigh West 4220
Ph: (07) 5593 8400 Fax: (07) 5593 6166

Palm Avenue and Gold Coast Highway
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5570 2700

Mermaids Restaurant and Bar
Burleigh Beach Pavilion
31 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh 4220
Ph: (07) 5520 1177

Beach Volleyball
Surfers Paradise Beach

Eagle Harley Tours
Shop 9, The Mark
3/15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5592 3722 1800 636 833
Fax: (07) 5592 3723

Opium Broadbeach
Shop 8, 110 Surf Parade, Broadbeach 4218
Ph: (07) 5570 4300

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