Gold Coast

Grey nomads in the Gold Coast

At first glance, Queensland’s Gold Coast doesn’t appear to be natural grey nomad country.

Its neon-filled shopfronts, high-rise hotels, reveller-packed streets – not to mention its reputation for alcohol-fuelled schoolie excesses – wouldn’t normally lure caravan-towing, Happy Hour-loving older travellers to town … but there’s more to this place than meets the eye.

Located an hour or so south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast stretches along 70 kilometres of uninterrupted coastline from Runaway Bay in the north to Coolangatta in the south, and even across the New South Wales border into Tweed Heads.

Blessed with naturally gor­geous beaches, the Gold Coast boomed in the 1980s and the high rises, theme parks, bars, clubs and restaurants sprang up with gay abandon.

Surfers Paradise, with its energy and excitement, is perhaps the ‘spiritual home’ of the ‘Goldie’. It is bright, brash, and well worth a look (if only a brief one). The shopping is great, and the Surfers Para­dise Beachfront markets on Wednesday and Friday nights are a craft lover’s delight.

Despite man’s best efforts though, the golden sands and surging surf will always be the star attraction here … and the same can be said of all the suburbs up and down this linear city.

While no suburb necessarily reaches the glitzy heights of Surfers (and that’s not neces­sarily a bad thing) there is no shortage of things to do in any of them either.

From Southport to Coolangatta the restaurants, the resorts and the razzmatazz keep on rolling.

However much grey nomads love their shopping … and per-haps their roller-coaster riding … there’s only so much glitz and glamour a self-respecting mature-aged traveller can handle.

It’s time to hit the Gold Coast’s under-appreciated, rainforest-fringed hinterland. Nestled in the so-called ‘beating green heart’ of the Gold Coast are a number of excellent national parks, conservation areas and beauty spots.

Mt Tamborine is perched along the edge of what was once the massive Mount Warn­ing volcano, and the region delivers wineries, restaurants, art galleries, a distillery and magnificent coastal views. Now this is more like it!

Strolling here – and in places such as Springbrook National Park further to the south and in the subtropical rainforest of the iconic Lamington National Park – it would be easy to think that the bright lights and bustling streets of the ‘Goldie’ were a million miles away … but they’re not.

Perhaps, the Gold Coast is the ultimate grey nomad destination after all.


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