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Gold Coast, Australia’s golf tourism hotspot

Gold Coast, Australia’s golf tourism hotspot

Paul Myers

July 16th, 2013

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By Jon Underwood

There are so many tourism attractions on the aptly named Gold Coast of eastern Australia it would be easy to by-pass one of the best reasons to go there: some of the most enjoyable golf Down Under. Indeed, Australia’s holiday hotspot easily could be called the Golf Coast.

As well as more than 40 championship courses that make the region Australia’s answer to Orlando in Florida, the Costa del Sol in Spain and Algarve in Portugal are stunning white-sand beaches, numerous theme and wildlife parks, huge open spaces for boating and exploring, plus shopping, dining and other attractions to keep visitors occupied for weeks.

But if you come to this part of sub-tropical south-east Queensland for golf, you will hit the jackpot. Some of the world’s best course designers have left their mark on the region, ensuring a great selection for all standards.

The Gold Coast is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, attracting more than 10 million visitors a year. It has everything great about Australia in one convenient location.

The greater Gold Coast area – comprising Surfers Paradise, Southport, Broadbeach, Coolangatta and other once-separated towns and villages – is now the sixth largest metropolitan area in Australia. Tourism is by far its major industry, worth more than $A4 billion a year.

Golf is a major attraction for Australian, New Zealand and international visitors, especially in autumn, winter (June to August) and spring when temperatures rarely fall below 22 degrees Celsius during the day and are usually in the mid 20s. Summer weather is like Singapore – above 30 degrees C, hot and often humid.

There have been a number of recent changes in the Gold Coast’s golf scene, headed by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s purchase of two of the best courses, The Colonial and Robina Woods. The newly-named Palmer Colonial, a 10-minute drive from Broadbeach, is a superbly conditioned layout that curves through towering gums and picturesque lakes and features meandering waterways with ornate bridges.

The Palmer Gold Coast, formerly Robina Woods, provides a unique Australian golfing experience. Carved from 65 hectares of woodlands, the holes are flanked by gum trees and the course features lakes, ponds, creeks and native flora. It is home to more than 100 species of native birds.

Links Hope Island, designed by five-times British Open winner Peter Thomson and his business partner Michael Wolveridge, is a traditional links-style course with first-class clubhouse and dining facilities.  Although it is a private club, visitors and groups can play outside member-allocated tee times.

Nearby are the twin courses of Sanctuary Cove. The Pines has a special place in Australian golfing history, being the only signature Arnold Palmer-designed course in the country. A major renovation by Australian Ross Watson has made the course even more appealing.

While Palmer left his imprint on The Pines, it was the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, who designed Lakelands, his first signature course in Australia. Just 10 minutes’ drive from Broadbeach, it offers multiple tee positions, making it user-friendly yet challenging and is well worth a visit, especially for an after-game meal at Signatures restaurant in the clubhouse, which offers scenic views of the Gold Coast skyline.

The Gold Coast also boasts the acclaimed RACV Royal Pines course, which has been a major force in Australian golf for more than a decade, hosting the Ladies Masters and many other prestigious tournaments. Three distinct course layouts offer three unique experiences, challenging and inspiring golfers in equal measure.

Finally, you can’t say you have played golf in Australia until you have tackled a course designed by the Shark, Greg Norman. Fortunately, The Glades is one of his best, typical of his aggressive layouts that reward attacking shotmaking, and featuring 98 bunkers. There are also nine hectares of natural wetland within the course that provides a wildlife sanctuary.

When you need a break from golf, there’s a multitude of things to do. For adventure lovers, the Gold Coast is Australia’s undisputed home of entertainment. This is the theme park capital of the southern hemisphere, with Dreamworld, Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild and the Australian Outback Spectacular offering some of the best entertainment you’ll find anywhere.

Want to cuddle a koala, pat a kangaroo or see some amazing reptiles and colourful bird species?  That’s easy. You can get up close and personal with Australia’s unique native animals at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

With 70 kilometres of sandy beaches, an average of 245 days of fine weather a year and daytime temperatures above 22 degrees for 279 days a year, the sun is almost always shining.

For sightseeing, you can take a trip into 100,000 hectares of the nearby Gondwana World Heritage Rainforest Area, visit a winery or health retreat, or the Q1 building, which was the world’s highest residential tower when it opened in 2005. At 230 metres, the observation deck at level 77 of Q1 is the highest of its kind in Queensland, offering views in all directions up and down the spectacular coastline.

With all these attractions, it’s little wonder the Gold Coast is the fifth most visited destination in Australia by international tourists and has been chosen to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

GOLF PACKAGES

Go Golfing’s Gold Coast Golf Week seven-night package puts you on the Gold Coast’s best golf courses. It includes 18 holes at The Glades, Lakelands, Links Hope Island, RACV Royal Pines and The Palms at Sanctuary Cove, all with motorised cart, plus return transfers from your accommodation at Breakers Broadbeach in a one-bedroom apartment. The package is priced from $A1485 (approx. HKD12,000) per person, twin share.

Go Golfing also has a short escape package, which features five nights at the five-star Hyatt Sanctuary Cove, 18 holes on the resort’s Palms and Pines courses, plus a round at Links Hope Island, all with cart. The package starts at $925 (approx. HKD7475) per person, twin share.

For details, visit www.gogolfing.net.au or call +61 7 5562 5307.

 FLIGHTS

Thai Airways and Qantas fly from Bangkok to Brisbane, which is less than an hour’s drive from the centre of the Gold Coast. Trains service the Gold Coast from Brisbane Airport.

AirAsia flies from Bangkok to the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta with an aircraft change at Kuala Lumpur.

For more information on the Gold Coast, visit www.visitgoldcoast.com

 

 

 

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