It’s no secret the economy is in a volatile place – less of us are willing to slap the family holiday on credit like we might have in the past. Here are some tips for keeping the cash flow positive if you’re heading to the Gold Coast these Summer holidays.
- Check in Early!
Flights in the school holidays sky rocket, get in quick. If you miss the boat on the flight front, you can always catch the train from Sydney – $124.50 each way for adults, $1 for kids and one child under 4 for free! Brace yourself for 16 hours though, and if your three year old just happens to succumb to motion sickness like mine did and vomits like a volcano during the first hour… well no one’s going to forget that adventure are they?
- Think Theme Park
A little research will tell you that getting to the parks early and heading to the furthest ride first will get you a couple of rides in before the throng catches up. Check online before you leave for the best deals on packaged theme park tickets – not only will you save money, but you’ll get to sweet sweet queue jump at the start of the day when spirits are still salient. Be aware that many of the theme parks have a rule against people bringing their own food in – there are ways around this slugging for the financially astute – being a coeliac is one of the best.
- Sleep Well
Unless you fancy bunkering down in the bathroom with the mini bar contents once the kids fall asleep, a separate room is invaluable – take a two-roomed apartment over a hotel room if you can. There’s no harm asking for a better deal directly from the source – we got $60 off the nightly rate at a fabulous place in the Gold Coast hinterland just by quoting our budget and… er… begging. Aqualine Apartments in Southport are great for families or if you’re after a 5 star hotel, the RACV Royal Pines has rates from $100 per night for multiple nights.
- Dine Savvily
Look out for early dining deals – Sage in Surfers Paradise has gluten free options galore as well as offering 40% off food before 7pm – particularly consoling if your little tackers love to order but refuse to eat. Spurn average hotel restaurants – BBQ’s are a welcome antidote to the sensory exhaustion of the themeparks. Pick up some gf snags from the general store and savour the peace at the ‘locals beach’ in Miami. Or wander through the sculpture walk by the Gold Coast City Gallery and BBQ by the canal in Bundall. The hinterland also has some spectacular BBQ sites.
- Window Shop
If you’re not checking in at the Palazzo Versace, you can still have a drink in one of their bars and soak up the opulence in the foyer. The Marina Mirage, nextdoor, is a great place for an evening stroll, check out the bezillion dollar yachts for sale and watch shoals of silver brim under the pier.
In the land of plastic fantastic, go further with your cheap skates on!
Travelled: October 2011