Australia Up Close
Gold Coast Offers Range of Unique Attractions
By CHELSEA McLEAN
Imagine lazing by a lagoon sipping fruity cocktails as dolphins frolic in sparkling blue water. Picture yourself riding a fast looping suspended roller coaster, taking to the seas on a jet ski and dancing to disco night life. All this is at your disposal on Queensland's beautiful Gold Coast.
Its unique location between coastal sandy beaches and lush mountain ranges makes the Gold Coast a popular Aussie holiday destination. Stretches of unspoiled sandy beaches and expanses of lush tropical rainforest await your adventure. The fun of Australia's best theme parks is also just around the corner with attractions like Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet`n'Wild Water Park.
I recently started working in the public relations department at the Gold Coast's Sea World Nara Resort. As part of my work there I have hosted a media conference for the Australasian premiere of "Batman and Robin," helped organize filming for the national "Midday" television show and produced a 36-page tourist information magazine.
Working at the resort has made me realize the importance of tourism to the Gold Coast's economy. The Gold Coast city council recently released a corporate plan to direct the region's economy into the next millennium. The plan states that tourism is the major element in broadening and strengthening the Gold Coast's economy: "Tourism not only provides limitless opportunities for many Australians but it encourages community prosperity and social harmony."
Hotels, theme parks and tourist attractions all seem to thrive in the Gold Coast's tourism industry. In addition, one could say there is never a shortage of things for visitors to do and see.
Take for example the company where I work. Sea World Nara Resort is linked by monorail to Sea World, taking customers straight from their hotel rooms to a marine tour. Sea World features an international water ski show, a shark aquarium and rollercoaster rides. Visitors can see sea lions performing clever tricks and children can slide down tall waterslides.
Sea World's newest attraction is Dolphin Cove, where dolphins perform tricks in a blue lagoon while the audience watches from a large covered stadium. Hundreds of tropical weed-eating fish live in the man-made lagoons as natural cleaning agents.
Warner Bros. Movie World is "Hollywood on the Gold Coast." It has a full day's attractions including the "Lethal Weapon" suspended rollercoaster ride, the "Maverick" magic illusion show and a bus tour of working sound studios. The park also hosts Australian premieres of Warner Bros. films like the new "Batman and Robin."
Wet`n'Wild is a large water park with twisting water slides and pools. It features the new Calypso Beach ― a tropical island fringed by white beaches and coconut palms and a slow-moving river where customers can laze back and soak up the Gold Coast sun.
After a full day at the theme parks, the Gold Coast offers an exciting night life.
Surfers Paradise could be called epicenter of the Gold Coast. "Cavill Mall" runs through the center of Surfers Paradise and is home to nightclubs and discos for those who enjoy the glittering night life. The mall also offers a range of restaurants serving everything from a simple Aussie meat pie to the finest international cuisine.
Thrill seekers can bungee jump from a tower over the Broadwater, fly across the water in an inflatable motor-powered boat, ride the aquabus as it moves from the water onto the land, take a helicopter joy flight or take a ride in a hot air balloon.
Visitors can enjoy the Gold Coast hinterland's beautiful parks and wildlife areas for lunchtime picnics and bush walking. Tropical rainforests and freshwater creeks are home to many unique Australian creatures.
Visiting the Gold Coast is an experience for the young at heart. With so much to do the only thing is sooner or later you have to go home!
Shukan ST: July 11, 1997
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