Gold Coast holiday – where we stayed and played
The Blokefolk and I recently had a super fun week in Queensland, having a Gold Coast holiday. Boyo was very keen to hit the theme parks, and the Welshman and I were looking forward to just kicking back!
Gold Coast holiday | where we stayed
We stayed at Sanctuary Cove in a well appointed apartment. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, separate laundry, comfortable lounge room, fully kitted out kitchen (with the exception of a corkscrew!), barbecue on the balcony overlooking the golf course and kangaroos, Foxtel flat screen, and Boyo’s favourite, a fridge dispensing chilled water and ice.
Enough space for the three of us to hang out together, and have our own space. A Gold Coast holiday bargain at $250 per night – especially when compared to hotel room rates.
Oh, and did I mention the golf cart? I think that beats the fridge! A 10 minute trip to restock at the local Coles feels more like an adventure than a chore when you’re tootling along in a golf cart.
Sanctuary Cove to the theme parks (and Harbour Town outlet mall) is less than 30 minutes by car, and a world away in peace and quiet!
The Marine Village at Sanctuary Cove Marina is fully stocked with family friendly dining options. We liked Cove Tavern, George’s Paragon Seafood Restaurant (they have a takeaway pizza bar and fish & chip shop too) and Sushi Island. Sanctuary Cove Chocolates stocked a huge range of international lollies and delicious ice creams. My Kiwi sweet tooth was very satisfied.
The Welshman visited Corkers Cellar – who lent him the missing piece from our holiday house kitchen, a wine corkscrew!
The Marine Village also has a playground, a well stocked pharmacy and a great IGA.
In case you decide you’re up for a lifestyle change, you can visit the real estate agency, golf cart dealership, Mercedes-Benz garage and dealership, and yacht dealership. There’s even wealth management services and insurance companies – which you might need after all that.
Gold Coast holiday | where we played
They say a change is as good as a holiday (see what I did there), so we bought 7 day passes to Dreamworld and White Water World, plus a one day pass to Wet ‘n’ Wild for the Blokefolk. Um, no thanks!
6 year old Boyo wasn’t able to go on all the scary rides, but 12 year old Boyo took full advantage!
Dreamworld Big 9 Thrill Rides
Here’s the Big 9 Thrill Rides at Dreamworld, and how we rated them. Click on the ride names to find out more!
An open carriage rollercoaster which starts with a suspenseful 46m vertical ascent, before riders are dangled upside down a mere 15 storeys in the air. A 360 degree roll is followed by a vertical drop at 105 kilometres an hour. The ride ends in a spectacular fashion as momentum propels you up and down the giant loop, stopping vertically for a suspenseful few moments mid-air, before returning to the launch station.
A scary rollercoaster that really could have done with a bit more speed at times – the hanging upside down and slow vertical ascent was a bit much for me!
Riders are slowly raised to the height of 39 storeys, before plunging to the earth at up to 135 kilometres an hour. Legs are left dangling, and hearts are pumping!
An absolutely amazing experience, but not one I’m in a hurry to repeat!
A gravity rollercoaster that hauls riders 40 metres upwards before plunging downwards at speeds of more than 90 kilometres per hour through loops and a reverse sidewinder.
Dear gods! This ride was a lot of fun, but could really do with some calibration. It was jerky, not at all smooth, and left Boyo and me with sore heads from smacking into the seat.
The ride commences in a dark tunnel, before riders are blasted backwards at the speed of 161 kilometres – a speed reached in a mere 7 seconds. Riders are then dangled 100 metres high for a terrifying few seconds, before plunging face first back into the tunnel.
I was terrified by this ride and adamant I wasn’t going to have a go. I’m so glad I did! Watching the ride from the outside was much scarier than participating as it feels like it happens in double time. My absolute favourite ride!
Nine storeys high, 75 kilometres per hour and swinging 360 degrees? Welcome to The Claw!
The Welshman’s shoulders were too broad for this ride, but Boyo loved it. I gracefully declined!
A ride with a split personality, as Dreamworld says, with two speeds available. Riders are seated in rickshaws, which swing like pendulums up to 8 metres high, round and round, side to side and upside down with 3.8 G force.
The whole family enjoyed this one so much we went twice. We chose the scary one, of course!
A unique rollercoaster with replica 500cc motorbikes, this ride has 18 banks, bends and turns. The restraint system locks in the lower body, which creates a sense of freedom and exhilaration.
We thought this ride was a lot of fun, but felt it could have been faster. It felt a little tame.
This ride consists of 12 mini aeroplanes with individually controlled “wings” that can have the rider spinning and flipping, 72 feet in the air.
I enjoyed this ride, but for the life of me, couldn’t make my aeroplane spin! The ride attendant wasn’t extremely helpful with advice, unfortunately.
A 40 seat gondola which twists, turns and tumbles 360 degrees.
None of us decided to try this ride after not enjoying a similar one, but it looked terrifying!
Dreamworld Family Rides
- Gingy’s Glider – very gentle soaring ride experienced lying down; perfect for tired parents!
- Escape from Madagascar – a moderately thrilling rollercoaster ride. Unfortunately more headbanging than intended as it was a bit wobbly. I felt like getting out my WD40.
- Rocky Hollow Log Ride – a fun water ride that ends in a 50 km/h plunge. Sit at the back if you don’t want to get wet. Unless, like me, you’re accompanied by tricksters who duck!
- Thunder River Rapids – a gentle take on whitewater rafting. I sat this one out but the Blokefolk said they were ruined by the Disneyland version.
- Vintage Cars – a sweet family ride with powered vintage cars on tracks, controlled by foot pedals. Very special to me because it evoked memories of holidaying with my family and grandparents more than 30 years ago.
- Puss in Boots Sword Swing – a swing ride for little ones. Plus Boyo and me!
- Shrek’s Ogre-Go-Round – it’s just not a family day out at the theme park without a carousel! This one is so slow and gentle that it could send fractious babies off to sleep, but it was a sweetly silly way to end our theme park adventures.
Gold Coast holiday | Water Parks
I was quite adamant that I wasn’t going on any of the water park rides. Dear gods, it was winter for starters. Plus I’m not very fond of water that, you know, moves.
I packed my togs in the mistaken hope that one of the resort pools we had access to at our accommodation would be heated.
I came to regret this decision when the Blokefolk very sweetly guilt tripped me into going on a couple of rides. It is a Gold Coast holiday, after all.
The Green Room very nearly became the emergency room when I nearly choked on my own vomit. Dear gods, what a horrendous experience. Some of the Dreamworld rides were terrifying but I never felt unsafe like I did in this ride.
I had an out but decided to soldier on and experience the Super Tubes Hydro Coaster with Boyo. Honestly, his little face just lit up with excitement that he got to share this with me. How could I say no? I actually enjoyed this one, but the inelegant dismount was less than fun.
In order to see that beam again, I sucked it up and embarked on the Broken Headz Temple of Huey pipeline ride. Mama had then had enough and headed off to the sanctuary of a rather chilly shower and real clothes. Sadly, I left my bra in the car, just to really top off a swinging experience. See what I did there?
Gold Coast holiday | Mt Tamborine
We had a day trip to Mt Tamborine, where we visited the Glow Worm Caves. A really enjoyable and surprisingly interesting experience. Suitable for the whole family – but really little kids might be scared in the dark.
A wander up and down the main street, catching Pokemon and hitting all the Pokestops, was followed by a lovely lunch at Fortitude Brewing Company.
As the dining options weren’t terribly Kimba friendly, I had a liquid lunch of a rather moreish pale ale.
Harbour Town Gold Coast
I was quite keen to return to Harbour Town outlet mall after having a fabulous shopping experience on our last GC visit. Since then, it’s undergone a $20 million expansion and is now the largest outlet centre in Australia. It is fair dinkum huge!
The Blokefolk, strangely enough, weren’t terribly keen on a shopping trip, but the prospect of a larger selection of lunch options than the paltry offerings at Dreamworld had them swayed. Plus, they totes owed me after my water park bravery, right?
I popped into Coach with Boyo to pick out a key ring for my upcoming birthday. A further 20% off thank you very much.
After a recent accidental weight loss, new bras were required, so I popped into City Chic and picked myself up some very pretty sets for very little cashola.
I can’t see us heading back to Queensland for a Gold Coast holiday any time soon. I think we are theme parked out!
If you’re after a holiday with a wild side and a mild side, then we highly recommend staying at Sanctuary Cove to kick back, and visiting the theme parks and local attractions to kick off!