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Renowned as a sun-and-surf playground, Queensland's iconic Gold Coast has taken on a new asset – a property market boom. According to QBE's Australian Housing Outlook 2021-2024, lockdown-fatigued buyers wanting to escape the city have pushed up house prices on the Gold Coast. It's so rapid that it's forecast to overtake Brisbane prices within three years. The figures suggest the median house price on the Gold Coast will go up by almost 13 per cent, from $815,000 today to $978,000 by mid-2024, as more remote workers flee 'crowded inner-city areas'. And according to Domain.com last spring, 'Meteoric house price hikes across key Gold Coast suburbs have sent the city hurtling towards a golden property era.'
As this jaw-dropping price growth continues to rise and billions of dollars of infrastructure are being fast-tracked to be ready for the 2032 Olympic Games in Queensland, it's no surprise. Surfers Paradise has been a beachside hotspot since its legendary Meter Maids – dressed in gold lame bikinis and tiaras – roamed the Surfers Paradise strip in the 1960s. The local progress association were worried that the installation of parking meters would drive tourists away, so these dedicated women would feed the meters – and became famous around the world.
Surfers Paradise's sense of daring and high aspiration is unstoppable – literally – as it's now home to Australia's tallest building, Q1, standing at 322.5 metres. To appreciate its spectacular view, visit Q1's SkyPoint Observation Deck, or for the fearless, take on Q1's external building climb. Connected to an internal handrail for safety, climbers are led to the eagle's nest by an experienced climb leader. The view offers unparalleled views of the stunning ocean, high-rises and hinterland.
For a family holiday, Surfers Paradise offers an array of adventures such as Ripley's Believe it or Not, King Tutt's Putt-Putt, The Wax Museum and the mind-blowing attraction, Infinity, as well as a plethora of eateries and bars for the more mature.
You haven't done the Gold Coast until you've experienced the theme parks, located about a 30-minutes' drive north from Surfers. With Sea World, Movie World, Wet'n'Wild and Dreamworld on offer, it's a difficult decision which way to go. The best advice is to consider your kids' interests and tastes, not to mention parents' sense of excitement (and patience).
Another excellent – and potentially competitive – attraction is Topgolf Gold Coast, located in nearby Oxenford. You'll hit micro-chipped golf balls into giant targets on the outfield from your very own bay, scoring points when you hit them. It's great fun for the whole family.
While Surfers Paradise and its surrounds have been a tourism hotspot for more than half a century, there are other areas that are worth exploring. Just a 12-minute drive – or a 23-minute tram ride – from Surfers is Broadbeach, boasting chic cafes, quality shopping and a massive network of navigable waterways – perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding.
Set on the tiny Broadbeach Island, connected by a bridge to the Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach's jewel in the crown is The Star Gold Coast. It offers luxurious hotel accommodation, a 24-hour casino, sumptuous dining venues, hip bars and – wait for it! – a heated swimming pool surrounded by cabanas, two whirlpool tubs on the pool deck, and a pool bar with a tasty snack menu.
Nearby is the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, the main venue for the 2022 HIA National Conference and HIA–CSR Australian Housing Awards on 21-23 April. See more information below.
While Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach are proud of their glitz and glamour, continue south along the Gold Coast Highway to explore other southern beach suburbs. Once sleepy surf havens, Burleigh Heads, Miami, Palm Beach, Currumbin and Coolangatta have been transformed into hip destination hotspots.
Dotted with mid-century architecture that's slowly being demolished and converted into townhouses and duplexes, many properties are still proud of their white Besser brick walls, angular roofs, shapely fonts and endless palm trees. A little humour never goes astray here either – watch out for Miami Rice (tasty Asian eatery) which sits right beside Miami Ice (a factory now converted into apartments) on the Gold Coast Highway.
First established by beekeeper and floriculturist Alex Griffiths in 1947 as a small-scale tourist venture, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a 27-hectare rainforest that allows guests to wander through open animal enclosures, feeding kangaroos and cuddling koalas along the way. Get up close and personal with unique flora and wildlife, including lemurs, cotton-top tamarins, red pandas, capybaras, free-flying birds and exotic reptiles.
Nature lovers can saunter through Burleigh Heads National Park. Follow the Rainforest Circuit that winds its way along the headland, rocky foreshore and rainforest for 2.3 kilometres. Along the way is Tallebudgera Creek, where you can cool off with a dip.
An unforgettable day trip is a 90-minute journey to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, situated in the centre of the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park. At O'Reilly's, visit the treetop canopy walk, take on a flying fox adventure, join a guided walk, and meet its furred and feathered friends.
Since the revamped Gold Coast is now action-packed with an abundance of style, there's one little detail that hasn't been touched – its pristine beaches with spectacular surf breaks. Locals and tourists alike have their favourites, and surf schools are available for beginners of any age. For timid beginners, check out Get Wet Surf School at The Spit, which offers gently rolling waves – perfect for the whole family. Women-only classes are available at Walkin' On Water in Currumbin, while Currumbin Alley Surf School offers sunrise surf sessions and classes for kids.
If you prefer to keep dry and watch the surfers' ride the waves, settle in at a scenic spot, such as Kirra Hill Lookout, Elephant Rock in Currumbin, or Snapper Rocks in Coolangatta. It's also a great location to socialise with the locals and discover even more secret spots to explore on the Gold Coast.
While many HIA members were disappointed when the HIA conference and awards were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, this year is definitely ON! The 2022 HIA National Conference and HIA-CSR Australian Housing Awards are taking place at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. The Star Gold Coast is one of the evening networking events at the conference, while an optional activity is at the fun Topgolf Gold Coast for a HIACF fundraising event.
These dates fall just after Easter, and within school holidays, so as many states as possible can join us on the Gold Coast for a long-awaited, family-friendly get-together.
Book tickets for yourself, your family and your team, and come along for three days of fun, learning and celebration.
When 21-23 April 2022
Where Gold Coast, Queensland
Where to stay
The Star Gold Coast www.star.com.au/goldcoast
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre www.gccec.com.au
Where to dine
The Collective Palm Beach www.thecollectivepalmbeach.com.au
Currumbin Beach Vikings SLSC www.facebook.com/currumbinbeachvikings
Greenmount Beach Surf Club www.greenmountsurfclub.com.au
Miami Rice www.facebook.com/MiamiRiceMiami
Paddock Bakery www.paddockbakery.com
Palm Beach Surf Club www.palmbeachsurfclub.com.au
Tallebudgera Surf Club www.tallesurfclub.com
What to do
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary www.currumbinsanctuary.com.au
King Tutt's Putt-Putt www.kingtuttsputtputt.com.au
Miami Marketta www.miamimarketta.com
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat www.oreillys.com.au
Ripley's Believe it or Not www.ripleys.com/surfersparadise
Topgolf Gold Coast www.topgolf.com.au
The Wax Museum australiagoldcoast.com