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Christmas On The Gold Coast, Australia

Who wants to hear about the Gold Coast?  Home to beautiful beaches in SE Queensland, Australia. Over to you Frankie…

Brisbane - on the beach

My grandparents live on the Gold Coast so we decided to spend a week there for Christmas so they could meet their great granddaughter. 

Getting There

We flew with Cathay in premium economy overnight in both directions from Hong Kong to Brisbane.  My daughter is 15 months old, and lets just say she likes her food, so she doesn’t fit easily into a bassinet any more.   She is also fully mobile so I was worried about putting her on the fold down shelf in case she woke up and tried to climb out while we were asleep.  Instead I wanted to put her in the bassinet on the floor, which seemed like an eminently sensible and safe idea to me.  After a lengthy debate with two flight attendants (“cannot la” being the basic tenet of their response) I gave up on this idea and she slept on our laps on the way down.  Just two short melt downs as a result of over-tiredness. 

The way back was easier as there was an empty seat on the other side of the aisle so my husband moved to sit in that and Lexie had a seat all to herself.  Good as gold this time.  Overnight flights are definitely the way to go at this age in my view – it’s pretty difficult to entertain her on a plane for more than a couple of hours.

Accommodation

We booked a house through airbnb.com  I had never used the website previously but was really pleased with the service and the house itself
It had 2 double bedrooms, and a kids room with 4 bunk beds, so ideal for a family break (although only bathroom).  There was also a cot and high chair and a big box full of toddler toys, which made our life much easier.
The house had a reasonable sized and well equipped kitchen with adjacent dining area.  And an open plan living area which opens out onto a terrace with dining table and BBQ.  It has lovely views over the water, and a pool which is fully fenced off so no worries about kids falling in.
Brisbane Airbnb
There’s a small kids playroom with a TV in and then a big TV in the living room.  There’s also a decent sized front garden and a slide.
It was spotlessly clean when we arrived and the owner Kathy was really helpful with arrangements etc.  She also put up a small xmas tree and decorations to make the place more festive which was a nice touch.
The only downsides were no air con – which didn’t trouble us most days as a lovely breeze blows in from the water, but on some days the front bedrooms did get pretty hot during the day at nap time.  Also no internet – we didn’t find this out until we arrived and were initially pretty horrified.  But actually we quite enjoyed being offline for a week.  Our families back home were a bit disappointed, but no Skype for a week worked well for us!
Brisbane - in the pool
Things To Do 
  • There are two parks within walking distance – a small one with some swings etc, and then a much larger park with a lake and running/exercise track around it.  Other than that you really need a car to get around. 
  • The beach is about 10 mins away – beautiful clean white sand which stretches for as far as the eye can see.  There are also lots of kids attractions within an easy drive.
  • We went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which is about 15 mins away (apparently we missed Brangelina by an hour!).
    Brisbane - with the kangaroos
  • There are also quite a few indoor play centres for kids which were brilliant to kill an hour or two when the sun was too strong to be outside – they generally had an area for older kids with climbing frames/tunnels/bouncy castle etc, and then a specially designated soft play area for toddlers.  As well as an area for the rentals to have a coffee.  I found them on the internet – here’s am example http://www.babiesandtoddlers.com/city/gold-coast-qld/4691/indoor-play/abracadazzle-kids-southport-playcentre/
  • And there are tons of things to do with older kids on the gold coast – boat trips, theme parks etc.
Things to take
  • You need to take beach towels and a hairdryer as these are not supplied in the house.  I would also recommend plenty of DVDs.  And of course sunscreen – the sun is noticeably stronger than in Hong Kong.
  • Jet lag wasn’t a problem as the time difference was only 2 hours.  Of course we were tied to the house in the evenings, but it really didn’t matter.  There is so much delicious food in the supermarkets and lovely wine to be drunk, we made the most of the lovely terrace and sat out most evenings having a BBQ and chatting away.
  • I would definitely recommend this for an easy family holiday.  It doesn’t work out cheap given the AUD exchange rates at the moment. But a fantastic contrast to HK – lots of big open spaces, fresh air, fresh and tasty fruit, veg and meat and a great selection of wine. 

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