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Test Drive: Paradise Resort
Want to get the inside scoop on a favourite family destination? There’s no one better to ask than someone who’s lived it. Lauren Muddell shares all the joys of her recent holiday to Zagame’s.

On arrival our first impression was, “Wow”. We walked through the front doors to see smiling staff waiting to greet us… and an indoor jungle gym. Of course, our kids, Jayden (7) and Mikayla (8), were ready to play right there and then. We stayed in a Superior Resort Room, with modern furniture, warm pops of colour and very comfortable beds. Everything is well thought-out, and even the bathrooms have moveable steps so little hands can reach the taps.

There are four accommodation wings – Captain’s Quarters, Cleo’s Castle, Dusty’s Digs and Astro’s Alley – catering for families of all sizes. After three nights of the kids waking at 5am, we upgraded to an even more spacious Family Room with a second bedroom complete with TV and Xbox, and two balconies overlooking Dusty’s Playground. Xbox games and consoles, as well as DVDs, are available to borrow (or hire, depending on your room type) from the Resort Shop or Splashes Mini-Mart.

Kids' central
Our first stop was the brand-new Zone 4 Kids (Z4K) Water Park. It is full of hands-on fun, and the kids were sliding and spraying and laughing and tipping and splashing away in seconds.

After all that excitement you would think it would be bedtime but no, it was Z4K kids’ club time. The session from 4pm to 8pm was included in our booking. Z4K caters for kids zero to 12 with nine themed play areas with four sessions available daily and an extra late session available on certain days. Age groups are separated at times and there is a section dedicated to babies and toddlers.

Z4K is non-stop kids-only fun. There are go karts, outdoor games like hide-and-seek and basketball, and indoor entertainment in the Egyptian room. Our kids enjoyed the Circusthemed session (10am to 2pm) where activities ranged from clown-hat making and face painting to treasure hunts and tent assembly. One night, there was even a disco where Jayden was crowned best dancer of the night.

Location, location, location
The location of the resort is perfect with the beach only a three minutes’ walk and it’s easy to get to all the theme parks.

One of our favourites was Dreamworld. We met the animals of ‘Madagascar’ at DreamWorks Animation before feeding a kangaroo and seeing a large crocodile at the new Dreamworld Corroboree. The absolute highlight was having our photo taken while we held a one-year-old koala.

A trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is also a must, especially if you love getting up-close with wildlife. The keepers are fantastic and knowledgeable, and it was great to see the animal hospital in action. After feeding the kangaroos and seeing the croc show we went on to do the Adventure Parc high ropes course. Our kids had a blast climbing, balancing and even riding the flying fox over the wildlife enclosures, ending with a tunnel slide.

Another fun activity is Fire 4 Hire tours, riding around the Gold Coast on board a real fire truck. Firefighter Ritchie was happy to answer all of our questions, but using the hose and hearing the siren was the highlight.

Bliss for the whole family
While the kids are having a great time in Z4K you can treat yourself to an in-room facial or massage, with discounted consecutive treatments for couples. If sitting in a spa, lounging with a magazine or having a cocktail at the bar is more your thing, check out the Zone 4 Adults spa area and bar.

Dining is a breeze in the hotel, especially with the Kids Eat for $8 policy. The Poolside Café & Bar is open all day from breakfast to dinner. The on-site restaurant, Bistro Zagame’s, offers breakfast and dinner. The continental breakfast was included in our package, presenting an array of cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit and more daily.

Paradise Resort also has a permanent ice rink, Planet Chill, complete with music you can choose and penguins to help less experienced skaters manoeuvre around the rink.

Repeat visit
Resort entertainment is fun for the whole family and not to be missed. Whether it’s the Wii challenge, outdoor movie night, Captain and Friends stage show or Nickleby the Magician, everyone will be laughing and having a great time together.

Dusty’s Rock Climbing Wall is a big hit with all the kids. Adventurous climbers can take on the time challenge to beat their personal best, but there are easier routes for beginners as well.

We will be among the many families returning again and again in the future; the kids had such a fabulous time that they have already asked if we can go back. A big 11 out of 10 from us.

Getting there: Jetstar Airways fly to the Gold Coast from cities across Australia and New Zealand

Stay: Zagame’s Paradise Resort, Gold Coast -

Thumbs up: The magic show at Zagame’s Paradise Resort

Do: Dreamworld -
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary -
Fire 4 Hire Tour -

On the cheap: Early diners get a discount at many restaurants on nearby Orchid Avenue


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