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Parents' guide to schoolies week

11:00 AEST Thu Jul 8 2010
It's almost that time again: the annual November and December pilgrimage of school leavers. They let their hair down and celebrate the end of years of blood, sweat and tears and the HSC. Most, but not everyone, head to the Gold Coast. The Sunshine Coast, Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island, Byron Bay in New South Wales and Lorne in Victoria are also popular sunny destinations.

It's a worrying time for parents and we asked Jason Dundas to visit the Gold Coast to gather information about what goes on there. He's been there and done that himself so has personal hints as well.

The first suggestion is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. is a great place to start for a safe experience. It's the brainchild of Luke Jamieson and with 20 years of experience focusing on schoolies, the emphasis is on safety.

The company will spend more than $1 million on security at events this year. They provide photo ID tags to registered guests. People not staying there cannot enter the building. The tags allow access to rooms only by those registered for that room. Guards have a photo sheet to check IDs, so if someone happens to find one and tries to gain entry, it just won't happen.

The Mantra Circle on Cavill Avenue is listed with Right in the heart of the action of Surfers Paradise, so car rental isn't necessary. One less thing to worry about!

Mantra has two residential towers with 179 spacious one-, -two and three- bedroom apartments with ocean or hinterland views. They are airy and open plan and all have kitchens. Perfect for schoolies on a budget!

Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, are air-conditioned, have laundry facilities, broadband Internet access, LCD, TV, cable TV and DVD players.

There's a 25m outdoor pool and spa, indoor sauna and steam room and barbecue area. The hotel sits above Circle on Cavill Shopping Centre and many restaurants will deliver food straight to your room.

Even if junk food is only allowed on special occasions at home, you can bet it will be the main diet during schoolies. has free voucher books which give discounts on a stack of food shops around Surfers.

Police, emergency services, security guards and officials maintain a highly visible presence during schoolies. They provide the community and visitors with support and assistance.

One important key to having a great time is knowing that parents are assured everyone is well prepared and aware of some of the unfortunate pitfalls.

Binge drinking is way too common and injuries and assaults often stem from that. Drink spiking and drug taking are also of great concern. Toolies are uninvited hangers on who often cause a lot of trouble when they try to join in. They're generally older than most of the partygoers and many just go there to take advantage of the inexperience of schoolies. They should certainly be avoided.

Many schoolies are under the legal age to consume alcohol or even enter nightclubs. This is strictly policed. Various underage events are held on the Surfers beachfront. Dance parties, concerts and movie screenings are happening all the time.

During the first week, the central section of Surfers Paradise Esplanade and beach are fenced every night for exclusive access by schoolies. Known as Schoolies Hub, it hosts free entertainment between 7.30pm and 1.30am.

An official wristband is required and it can be obtained on proof of year 12 student photo ID. A learner driver's licence or Australian passport may be considered. Schoolies who have booked through can collect their wristband from a Red Frogs volunteer. A team of 350 support volunteers patrol the beach and streets giving advice, information, walking teens home and generally helping out wherever needed.

World champion surfer Cheyne Horan's surf school at Surfers Paradise is the perfect thing for schoolies. He takes most of the classes but also has several teachers who teach his own techniques. It's safe and doesn't require ultra fitness or strength. He has students standing and surfing in the first lesson. They provide equipment to suit individual needs.


Queensland's Gold Coast.


Cheyne Horan School of Surf costs $45 for one lesson, $115 for three lessons plus a T-shirt and $169 for five lessons plus a T-shirt and Learn to Surf DVD. Private lessons are $100 an hour.

Virgin Blue has flights to the Gold Coast one-way from:

  • Sydney $79
  • Canberra and Melbourne $99
  • Adelaide $145
  • Hobart $169
  • Perth $269

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at July 8, 2010, and are subject to change.

Prices correct at July 8, 2010.

For further information

Virgin Blue
Ph: 136 789


Mantra Circle on Cavill
Ferny Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4214
Ph: (07) 5582 2000
Fax: (07) 5582 2020

Cheyne Horan School of Surf

User comments
The schoolies scheme should be banned... this comes from one who has seen first hand the carnage and the behaviour of the schoolies themselves. No matter which way you look at it, majority of them want to be treated like adults but behave like delinquents and we are supposed to turn a blind eye. The only people who profit from this scheme are the fast food outlets, the accommodation places, clubs, pubs. The rest of the town suffers. A perfect example last year council planted $90.000 worth of shrubs and by the second week they had all been removed, not to mention the state of the streets which looked like a rubbish tip! The red frogs are a joke.. they don't want to listen to the people doing the real job. Most of these kids haven't been away with their friends by themselves for a whole week and therefore cannot handle things. Speak to people who have been on the receiving end, the police, the residents the answer will be the same.. no respect and they aren't wanted. Enough is enough.
How is it that SA & WA do not feature in the schoolies special? The places featured were very expensive which is not what "schoolies" is about . Once agin you have failed to accommodate all states of this country.
Hi people can anyone please tell me the song that was played in the background during the article. Great show by the way.

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