There’s been a recent shift in our holiday requirements because, unlike their weary mother, the very last thing my kids are looking for in a holiday is chill time.
My kids have spent many summers riding, sliding, and splashing through the right-of-passage thrill rides and slides in the Theme Park Capital of Australia. But it turns out there’s more mayhem to be found on the Gold Coast, and my kids are magnets for finding it. So, while I’m seeking a cocktail and a poolside deckchair to sip it from, or a long stretch of sand for us to stroll on, they’re seeking action. Thankfully the Gold Coast has us both covered.
JUST ADD WATER
Keen to catch some waves, both my wannabe grommets are keen to kick start their thrill seeking on the water with Get Wet Surf School. With classes for kids from six to 12-years-old on The Spit Beach – ideal for beginners as its more protected than the more open beaches on the coast – the classes are run for maximum fun and absolute safety. While neither of them quite makes it upright, they have fun trying and are keen to sign up for lesson two.
My energetic eldest has more luck with Go Vertical SUP, who offer lessons for people aged from 8 to 80. Already experienced in the art of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, he still learns a few tricks from the experts as he takes off on a guided paddle adventure through the calm waterways of Surfers Paradise.
We leave the beach but not the water at Currumbin Rock Pools, another local haunt that’s an easy 20-minute drive from the coast in the Currumbin Valley. Here my daredevils leap off the rocks and shower under waterfalls while I flop and drop happily in a smaller rock pool. Surrounded by lush rainforest and cool mountain rock pools, the effect of my forest bathing is rejuvenating, and while my action heroes are suitably pumped up, I’m positively zen after our visit.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
Like a theme park ride on the water, Paradise Jetboating has our hearts in our throats during 55-minutes of maniac manoeuvres as our jetboat driver tackles 360-degree spins, high speed drifting, power slides, and beach buzzing in as little as 10cms of water. Allegedly there are some pretty spectacular views along the way, and the kids scream something about a pod of dolphins, but my eyes were squeezed so tightly shut, I’ll just have to take their word for it.
While the little one sits it out on the beach with friends, my son and I blast our way along the sub-tropical shores of South Stradbroke Island through narrow tidal passages and around beautiful Islands, beaches, sandbars and mangroves at high speed, hanging on for life to members of the awesome team from Jet Ski Safaris. Kids over eight can ride pillion while kids aged 12 to 15 can take the control if they’re accompanied by an adult.
There are more water-borne thrills in store with Jetpack Adventures. While I kick back in the sand and build sandcastles with my little one, my son makes like a superhero and launches himself sky high as hundreds of litres of water blast through specially designed thrust nozzles at great speed. The satisfied grin on his face as he leaves the water says it all.
HIGH AND MIGHTY
After the watery blast off, my junior stuntman decides he’s destined for greater heights so takes to the air with Gold Coast Heli Tours to enjoy a true birds eye view of the Surfers Paradise coastline. Loud, fast, high and exhilarating, a helicopter is all of my son’s favourite things rolled into one and upon landing declares he’d like one for Christmas. Right!
If you’d rather your kids had something to hold on to as they climb to mighty heights, SkyPoint Observation Deck might be more your scene. Take the elevator to level 77 of the Q1 building to soak up the 360-degree views of the Gold Coast’s beaches and hinterland. If that’s not quite enough for your adrenalin junkies, kids over 12 can harness up for a 90-minute open-air adventure with the SkyPoint Climb which, at a staggering 270-metres tall, is Australia’s highest external building climb.
My fly babies are so enamoured with all this aerial action they ask about Skydiving. While they’re a little young for leaping out of an actual plane, iFLY Indoor skydiving in Surfers Paradise proves just the ticket. The ultra-safe simulated free fall skydive takes place in a vertical wind tunnel, meaning there’s no parachute, no jumping and flyers can be as young as three-years old.
As they float and fly effortlessly up into the tunnel with their instructors, I decide it is high time for me to do some floating of my own, though in our hotel pool with a mojito! As soon as they come back down to earth.
WHERE TO STAY
The Ruby Collection is a dream find for families looking for luxury and convenience. The stylish new five-star resort apartments are just a short walk from the beach in Surfers Paradise and come in a variety of configurations to cater to all size families.
Dining is made easy with kid friendly selections at both Stones Bar & Grill and the Terrace Café (whose burgers and pizzas are a huge hit with kids). There’s also an excellent kids’ menu packed with food as fun as it is tasty. If you prefer to cook your own, all apartments have full kitchens and there’s a convenient in-house store, The Pantry, full of fresh, locally-sourced groceries you can pre-order or collect as you need.
Each apartment boasts a full kitchen, two bathrooms, spacious lounge, dining area and a balcony with breathtaking views. The Ruby has thought of everything and there are also handy USB charging points, Bluetooth speakers as well as complimentary Wi-Fi for guests.
There’s a bar conveniently located right alongside the resort’s swimming pool allowing parents to relax a moment while the activities co-ordinators keep the kids busy with everything from noodle racing to jelly eating competitions and indoor activities like slime making. There’s access to Paradise Resort’s awesome three-storey Z4K water playground, next door and a new in-house kids club with a space themed play area, theatre, science lab and sports court is opening soon and my kids have already insisted we book a repeat visit to The Ruby Collection to check it out.