No visit to the Gold Coast would be complete without getting on, into or at least near the water. But there can be more to a beach holiday than simply lazing about playing with a bucket-and-spade or body surfing.
On the Gold Coast, you can get up-close-and-personal with marine life, hang ten with the local surfers, or dip your toes in the water as you soar skyward to get a bird's eye view over the beach!
I've done the leg-work for you and pulled together nine of the best water-based activities on the Gold Coast so you can make a splash this summer!
C'mon in, the water's just fine.
It's called Surfers Paradise for a reason and with more than a dozen surf schools and operators based on the Gold Coast, it's the perfect place to learn to catch a wave. Under the watchful eye of experts who have spent more time in the water than out of it, you'll be given step-by-step guidance and encouragement to enjoy riding your first waves. Click here for Surfing Australia's list of recommended surf schools on the Gold Coast.
Go stand up paddle boarding
Stand up paddle boarding has taken the world by storm with everyone from little kids to celebrities and even soccer mums getting in on the action. And if it's good enough for Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson then it's good enough for us! It's also a fantastic way to get a balance and strength workout in a fun safe environment and is an enjoyable day out for families, kids and couples. Go Vertical SUP Hire have boards for hire, offer private lessons and run two hour tours suitable for beginners through to the seriously addicted SUP'er.
Snorkel with wild turtles
If you enjoy snorkelling, you absolutely have to graduate from fish to sea turtles and Watersport Guru run regular tours to Turtle Island in the Cook Island Marine Reserve, which is a small protected island just off the Tweed coast. Observing sea turtles in their natural habitat is a magical experience and green turtles are abundant all year round, with the occasional loggerhead and hawksbill turtles also hanging around in this turtle sanctuary.
Take to the skies with a jet pack or flyboard
For an amazing or unusual experience that will be remembered long after you head home, release your inner super hero and fly like Superman with a Flyboard or Jetpack ride. You'll feel like you've landed in a James Bond movie as your jet pack blasts hundreds of litres of water through specially designed thrust nozzles to make you effortlessly fly above the water! Once you've mastered the jet pack, strap on the flyboard and reach heights of up to 10 metres as you perform figure eights, surface cruises and carve left and right in mid-air. Jet Pack Adventures and Hydro Fly both have Jet Pack packages available.
Make a splash at an inflatable water park
Grab your friends and family together and get ready to slide, splash and bounce your way down slides and over trampolines, balance beams and climbing walls at AquaSplash, Australia's first inflatable waterpark on the open water at Southport.
Go scuba diving or snorkelling
Whether you're a seasoned scuba diver or a beginning snorkeler, the Gold Coast offers a whole other world to explore under the sea. Find out where to dive and snorkel on the Gold Coast here.
Take a hair-raising jet boat ride
If you want a boat ride with more hair-raising thrills than your average cruise, then book in for a Jet Boat adventure! Reaching speeds of over 85 kph, get your heart racing and experience exhilarating 360 degree spins, slides and fish tails all in an idyllic Gold Coast setting on the Broadwater. Jet boating is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and can be enjoyed the whole year round. Sit back, buckle in and feel the need for speed! For the ride of your life, check out Paradise Jet Boating or Jet Boat Extreme.
Get high with a parasailing adventure
Discover the true beauty of the Gold Coast and beyond as you soar majestically 100 metres above the beautiful Gold Coast Broadwater while parasailing with Gold Coast Watersports. Parasailing is the perfect activity for those that want to soar through the sky without having to jump off or out of anything. This is an activity the whole family can enjoy and an experience you won't soon forget.
Go on a Jet Ski Safari
Looking for a unique way to enjoy the Gold Coast from the water? Why not head off on a guided high speed Jet Ski Safari? Feel the wind in your hair and the sun beating down on your shoulders as you weave your way past beautiful islands, beaches and sandbars, and through mangroves before stopping at a beautiful tropical bar on South Stradbroke Island for refreshments.