The Gold Coast in Queensland's south-east corner is the state's second most populous city. It has a subtropical climate, beautiful beaches, waterways and canal systems, a skyline of high-rise apartments and hotels, an active nightlife and tourist attractions to entertain pretty well everyone.
The coast has accommodation for every taste five-star hotels, resorts, apartments, backpackers, camping … the works. Readers of the magazine Holidays with Kids recently voted for their Top Five Family Resorts in Australia and probably not surprisingly, all five are in Queensland.
Hyatt Regency in Coolum came in at number five, Still on the Sunshine Coast, Novotel Twin Waters Resort came in at four. Club Med on Lindeman took third place and the Gold Coast's Sea World Resort came second. The winner was Paradise Resort on the Gold Coast. The magazine says it's heaven for kids and paradise for parents, so Getaway took a panel of experts along for a second opinion.
The two-hectare kids' oasis is in the heart of Surfers Paradise and is totally devoted to families. From the moment you step into the technicolour lobby you know you are somewhere special.
It has 405 rooms, four pools and a million dollar fantasy themed club, Z4K. It caters for five to 12 year olds and the Z4K Junior is for babies to five year olds. Both are fully supervised, fun-filled and have sessions every day of the year.
Z4K has fantasy themed play spaces such as Underwater World with submarine slides and grotto-like caves. Little Town's pedal-powered cars and fuel station are hits. There are mini Olympics, talent shows and movie nights. There is also an Egyptian Room, Magic Garden and Leonardo's painting room.
There are Junior Bunkhouse Rooms complete with Sony Play Stations, television and DVDs, chalkboards and brightly coloured bunk beds.
A Resort Entertainment Crew organises family-friendly daily activities at the pools, adult volleyball matches, snorkelling lessons in the saltwater lap pool, duck races and putt and chip golfing competitions. ZAK, a colourful costume character, makes regular appearances at Z4K and by the pool.
Sinbads Restaurant is an all-you-can-eat soup, salad, pasta and dessert bar. It opens at 5:30pm. Two Cans Bar is a meeting place where families enjoy a refreshing drink overlooking the lagoon pool.
Bernie's Big Poolside Barbecue is a hit every Saturday evening. If the weather is right, enjoy a reasonably priced barbecue and watch a spectacular Polynesian dance show, complete with a Samoan fire dance. Night time activities include a bar, casino nights, karaoke, battle of the sexes and cocktail mixing. $5 meals specially created for children are a great hit.
Samedawa Day Spa offers pure indulgence for parents. Relax with a choice of treatments and experienced therapists help select a treatment just right for you. Splashes mini market sells any extras you may need snacks, beer, wine, groceries, nappies, bread, milk, all at reasonable prices.
Our young judges agreed with the magazine's findings and gave Paradise Resort the thumbs up!