We like a bit of fun and adventure on our holiday, along with some beautiful sights and a lot of swimming so Gold Coast ticked all the boxes for a family holiday for James and I and our 3 girls.
It was our first time taking our blended family overseas and I have to admit I was a bit nervous. Getting on a plane with 3 kids is hard at the best of times – and we tend to find that stress can bring out the worst in us in our blended family.
I was nervous that they wouldn’t get on. I was nervous that they would fight. And you know what – they did all of that! In fact James and I even had to break up a fist fight between the two oldest. But when we added it all up on the way back home we realised that was maybe about 1% of the whole holiday that they fought. The rest of the time everyone got on pretty well.
We made some memories that will last a lifetime. The girls helped each other overcome their fears. We pushed ourselves to our limits, sometimes with hilarious results. James asked a very important question and I said I do. We laughed and ultimately on those sunny shores of the Gold Coast we grew as a family.
So, philosophical part over – here’s what we learned about taking 3 kids to the Gold Coast…
Think about when you go
I like it hot but not too hot so for us the perfect time of year was October. For me the temperature was like an Auckland summer but without the humidity. Great for swimming, but not too hot to stop you getting out and doing things. In other words perfect!
We did travel in school holidays. We figured the increased airfares were about the same as paying for a week of holiday programme so decided to take it on the chin and go anyway.
One thing we did check was when Australian school holidays were so we didn’t overlap with those. Biggest reason is the queues at the theme parks so if you can try to avoid going when both are on holiday.
Stay out of the city
We stayed in an apartment in Biggera Waters. It was about 15 minutes out of Surfers Paradise and it didn’t matter a bit. The theme parks are all around half an hour out of the city in any case so a rental car is a must so save a few dollars and bag yourself a little spot of paradise outside of the water.
Our apartment was magic. Made more magic admittedly by James proposing to me on my birthday there but how can you go past sunrises like this?
A beach right across the road from us (where I got this picture), spacious apartment with cooking facilities and a big, deep pool lit up at night. Perfect!
While you are out of the city do some exploring too! We headed over to Brisbane for the day and found tunnels that went on for miles and miles – worth the drive just for those for the kids (and James!)
Which theme park to choose?
There is so much to think about when choosing a theme park that we wrote a whole post about this very subject – you can read it here.
This is not a sprint people! Plan to go for at least a week and space everything out so you can really enjoy it. If you find you love something you can always go back, but racing around like a mad thing doesn’t get you anything but exhausted.
The best camera is the one you have on you
We’ve all heard the saying and it really is true in a place like the Gold Coast.
We were in Gold Coast to have fun and spend time together. I didn’t want to have to worry about looking after my camera or carrying it around everywhere with me so we simply didn’t take it.
For a photographer that’s a pretty hard thing to do but it meant I could focus on being in the moment. I still took photos of course (and still managed to get some great photos) but all the photos you will see one here were taken on my phone.
Find a surf club
There are heaps of them and they are all awesome! Super kid friendly with great prices, cheap drinks and a huge array of Chicken Parma (it’s an Aussie specialty). Make sure you get some of the beer cozzies to bring back a little bit of the Gold Coast with you.
We bought a Gold Coast Entertainment Book before we went which gave us discounts at most of the surf clubs.
It’s also a great way to explore different beaches and parts of the Gold Coast.
So there you have it – our guide to the Gold Coast.
Will the kids fight? You bet they will.
Will you feel a bit shattered by day 3? Yep, sure will but you’ll come right by day 4.
Will you have fun? Without a doubt – by day 2 you will wonder why you ever stopped playing.
Will you have an awesome holiday the kids will always remember? Absolutely.