Gold Coast with a toddler – part two
When I left you last I'd just finished relating our trip to Dreamworld as part of our Gold Coast holiday, and how I felt it was still well worth the price with a young child. The other theme park we visited was SeaWorld, which was equally good value. This time the munchkin was too small to go on the log ride - by no more than about half a centimetre! Still, rules are rules, though I think I was more disappointed than she was. The best thing about SeaWorld for us was probably the variety of sea animals, with mostly child-friendly viewing angles and some hands-on opportunities. My daughter was able to see dolphins (and they do offer an opportunity to get in the water with them, but I think she needs to be a bit older for that), a polar bear, sharks, penguins, and even the chance to touch a stingray.
With my daughter being such an animal lover, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was a no-brainer. It's amazing how my cynicism about tourist stuff melted away when the chance arose to get a photo of my daughter cuddling a koala. There were also opportunities to get up close with some pretty tame kangaroos, and lots more animals to look at from a distance: dingos, crocs, Tasmanian devils and more koalas than you can shake a gum tree branch at.
We found entertainment in some unlikely places too. A trip to Carrara Markets yielded an unexpected bonus. A bloke at the gates was handing out coupon books, one of which was for a pony ride. Now my wee girl is timid about some things, but pony rides is not one of them. I walked alongside as the nice lady led my daughter around the market on a pony called Shaggy, and was quite taken aback when afterwards my daughter said to me "Dad, I don't need you to come with me"!
One of the other real bonuses about Surfers is that it's set up pretty well for families. One example is the proliferation of holiday apartments. The apartments at the place we stayed at had a lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms (one with ensuite), main bathroom and even a laundry. This meant that we had the space to not get under each other's feet too badly, and could cook for ourselves if we wanted to. There was also a pool in the apartment complex, which I imagine is par for the course for most places given the climate. This is a great excuse to get out of the apartment without having to go somewhere and spend money, which is pretty important when you've got a child like ours who just doesn't deal well with being cooped up indoors.
We also found benefit from some of the eateries that were available to us. We were tempted to give this place a go, but couldn't find a park. We did find a pancake restaurant that was right up our alley though! Given the heat and all the excitement, it could be difficult to get the munchkin to eat and drink enough, so having somewhere that provided all-day breakfast with dessert right there on the plate too was a great help. Similarly helpful was the great variety in the supermarkets there. Squeezy pouches of yoghurt and jelly, lots of drink options, and don't get me started on Rolo dairy foods!
Well that's a lot to say on the one holiday. I highly recommend the Gold Coast as a destination for anyone who's able to do it. Have you taken your family to Surfers? What was your experience like?