Gold Coast, Australia

In 2014 MJ turned five and before he started school, I decided to take him on his first overseas trip and we picked the Gold Coast in Australia. It was a big draw for us, with its theme parks, golden beaches and it's close to New Zealand, so we chose that and headed off for five nights.

We were looking for an affordable adventure and we found it here. You can do the GC on a baller budget, or on a shoestring, which makes it a popular spot for families. We stayed at a really affordable serviced apartment with a pool in Broadbeach, just down from Surfers Paradise. Doing this meant we could pick up groceries for the week and have most of our meals there, rather than eating out three times a day.

Next up were the theme parks. There are so many to choose from but we got a three day pass that gave us entry to Wet`n`Wild, Sea World and Warner Brothers Movie World. We also booked online rather than through a travel agent and got savings there.

These three days were the best! Spend the whole day at each one, there’s so much to do and you want to get your money’s worth. We had flown into Brisbane airport and hired a car for our time on the Gold Coast so getting to each of the theme parks was easy. Everything is well sign posted. You can take your own food in or you can purchase at the theme park.

A couple of things to note:

- The theme parks cater for different ages so if you’re going with little ones, be mindful that they can’t go on every ride, they won’t be tall enough.

- That means if you’re a single parent and you want to do those rides, you’ll have no one to watch your kids!

- They do cater well for the young ones though. At Movie World there is a ‘Fun Zone’ for younger children.

- Use the lockers to store your stuff, you won’t want to be lugging everything around all day.

We wrapped up our trip with a day at beautiful Burleigh Heads, the beach there is spectacular. Side note, if you’re there with the kids and you get fish and chips to have on the beach, don’t let them go and play before they’ve finished their dinner - the seagulls will swoop in, finish everything off and there will nothing left but a flurry of feathers. Take it from some who knows!

We still laugh about that.

- Kiki

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