A Family Holiday in Surfers
Gold Coast, QLD
The Gold Coast is the perfect family destination for some classic R&R, with sun, sand and summer waiting for you in Queensland.
A summer challenge for your next family holiday: to not fall asleep in the
oversized daybeds floating in the giant lagoon pool at InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort
on the Gold Coast.
My wife and I failed, slumbering off within minutes, and our teenage
daughters, surprisingly able to stay away from their mobiles for more than an hour, also
succumbed, drifting blissfully across the sun-warmed lagoon without a Snapchat update in sight.
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort and Pool
Relaxing on the resort's half-hectare, palm-lined beach pool - yes, real white sand leads you
into the eye-dazzling blue water - you might think you were in Fiji. However, this lush oasis
of indulgence and family holiday beacon is situated halfway between Brisbane and
Gold Coast Airport or just 45 minutes from each.
Parents will admire the grandeur and grace of the resort's airy manor-house hub and its
gushing fountains, luxuriant gardens and sweeping lawns favoured by grazing kangaroos.
More importantly, what kids get is that all-important 'wow' factor when they arrive; that
'Are we really staying here?' exclamation that tells you you've picked a winner.
We ended up spending a lot of time in the deckchair-fringed lagoon pool, which is backed by
yet another pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi, all eventual fodder for our teenagers' social media
feeds to impress their friends back home. Younger children will love the beach volleyball,
the putting green and Sanctuary Cove's Planet Trekkers Kids' Club during afternoons and early
evenings where they feed ducks, play on the lawn, paint and dance - all with refreshments
One evening we dragged ourselves out of the pool to dine at InterContinental's signature
restaurant, The Fireplace. We were mesmerised by the theatre of some of the most composed
chefs I have ever seen prepare our meals right in front of us in custom-made, wood-fired
ovens, the greens sourced from the resort's own herb garden. The roasted orange roughy
was mouth-watering, paired with local Granite Belt region Sauvignon Blanc.
An experience to savour indeed. Alternatively, the more casual Cove Cafe serves hearty
breakfast feasts and lunches.
Warner Bros. Movie World
The Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove is a destination in itself. But restless kids will be glad
to know the Gold Coast’s notorious theme parks are just 15 minutes away.
The teens and I (unable to drag my ‘in-heaven’ wife away from her pool chair) head to
nearby Warner Bros. Movie World to shake off the resort zen and replace it with sheer terror.
How else do you describe the sight of soaring, plummeting, twisting rollercoaster tracks as
you enter the ever-popular theme park?
We bravely decide to tackle the fastest coaster, the Superman Escape, which reaches 100
kilometres per hour in just two seconds, or the same amount of time it takes for my wife to
drive to the shops. High on adrenaline, we knock off its brother and sister coasters in quick
succession: the stomach-churning Arkham Asylum which reaches speeds of up to 85 kilometres
per hour, the Green Lantern which boasts the steepest inverted drop in the Southern
Hemisphere, the fun Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster which surprises hapless riders with backward
drops in the dark, and the Wild West Falls, ideal on a hot day because you will get totally
soaked in the 20-metre, 70 kilometres per hour splash-down.
It was all so much carefree fun! We repeat our favourite rides until we start feeling the side effects of all that motion and
decide the resort pool is the place to soothe our frazzled bodies.
Top 3 Immersive Activites
iFLY, Gold Coast
The next day, we head into Surfers Paradise, only 25 minutes away, to experience the
Gold Coast’s newest attraction, iFLY Gold Coast indoor skydiving, which opened in the heart
of the city in February this year.
Kids as young as three can enter the giant, glass wind
tunnel where a guide will help you experience the thrill of floating on air. The teens and
I love it so much we do it four times. If your kids ever look at birds and wonder what it
must feel like to fly, bring them here and they can finally find out.
Infinity, Gold Coast
A short walk brings us to Infinity, a mind-warping, sensory-challenging maze that immerses
you in 20 ‘worlds’ filled with spectacular illusions, light effects and thumping music.
The kids will love the chaotic craziness of it all while parents get to let their inner
child go wild!
The Canyon Flyer, Mount Tamborine
On our final day, after reluctantly checking out of the InterContinental (‘Can’t we stay
another two weeks Dad?’), we head 40 minutes up the nearby ranges to Mount Tamborine to check
out another new attraction in Australia’s premier family fun region: the Canyon Flyer.
earlier this year at the TreeTop Challenge park, the Canyon Flyer (minimum age is eight years)
is an adrenalin-pumping series of ziplines up to 220 metres long across the rainforest-filled
canyon of Cedar Creek. The guided, three-hour experience, which begins with a short 4WD trip
to the start of the seven zip lines, sees you glide at 70 kilometres per hour, 60 metres
above the bush, offering a truly thrilling experience that is certain to bond the family
Now back at home after our frolicking family getaway, we all daydream about being back at the lagoon pool where life was calm, simple and seemed to stand still. But precious memories of priceless time together will have to do until we plot our return.