If you’re planning a visit to Queensland during the summer break in the northern hemisphere you couldn’t choose to visit at a better time. From May through to September – the southern hemisphere winter – is the best time of the year to visit Queensland; in fact you’ll be looking out at beautiful, clear blue skies and saying to yourself ‘this is winter?’ Queensland has long been the preferred holiday destination for the rest of Australia to escape to during the long, dreary and dark winter months. A few years ago an advertising agency came up with a tourism campaign that had the tagline ‘Queensland, beautiful one day, perfect the next’. Agreed it’s a little cliched, but like all cliches, it has its origins in the truth – Queensland is really one of the world’s best summer holiday destinations.
Winter days in Queensland – which is also known as The Sunshine State – have an average temperature around 22°. Most of the rain in southeast Queensland falls in the summer months, so your ‘winter’ holiday will most likely be a succession of warm, clear, blue days. With the ocean temperature also around 22° this is the perfect time to book in at one of these beautiful villas and enjoy a beach holiday you wont forget in a hurry.
Located an easy two-hour drive north of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city, Noosa is the jewel in the crown of the region known as the Sunshine Coast. Noosa is one of the most exclusive holiday playgrounds attracting visitors from all over the country and internationally.
Villa 5302 is the entire ground floor apartment of an exclusive three-apartment block right on Hastings Street with secure parking in the basement. Noosa has a vibrant shopping, café and restaurant culture and some nightlife, but it is still a relaxing holiday destination suitable for all the family.
As soon as you step through the front door into the sparking entrance hall, the first thing you see is the beach right in front of you. Even though you have absolute beachfront the villas’ slightly elevated position means that you have full privacy.
The front terrace, complete with outdoor dining and sun loungers, has a lawn area leading onto the pool. One of the best things about Noosa beach, or Laguna Bay as it is formally known, is its north-facing aspect giving maximum sunshine all day. The apartment has views in both directions: turn to the left and look up the ‘north shore’ to Double Island point in the far distance, then turn to look to the right and you have headland at Noosa National Park – either way you will never tire of the view.
Inside, the open plan living area features high ceilings and architect-designed recessed indirect lighting. For your comfort there is ducted air conditioning throughout the living and sleeping areas.
The beautiful, spacious kitchen features quality fittings and stone bench tops, and has and uninterrupted views out to the beach through the sliding doors leading onto the terrace.
The master bedroom suite is light, bright and airy and has plantation shutters to regulate all that bright Queensland sunshine. All the bedrooms have ceiling fans for those times when you don’t want to turn on the air conditioning. The sparkling bathrooms have double-size showers and plenty of room for everyone with double sinks.
There is a separate media room with a large flat screen television and comfortable couches for relaxing with full pay TV access for catching up on all those films and TV series you haven’t seen.
Of course, the beautiful beach right at your doorstep is the main draw-card to choose to stay in Villa 5302. But also right at your doorstep is The Noosa National Park just a short walk up Hastings Street. Make sure to plan some time to allow a full day to explore along the five-kilometer walking track through the park, as you will come across some absolute gems.
There are beautiful rock pools to bathe in, open beaches and spectacular cliffs. Be sure to keep a look out high in the treetops as you may catch a glimpse of the most iconic of Australian native animals, the koala indulging in it’s favorite pastime – sleeping.
After spending some time on the beautiful terrace at Villa 5302 looing to the north you will probably become curious as to what’s up there. You could hire a 4WD vehicle, get yourself a map and head off up through nearby Tewantin to go explore the delights of the ‘north shore’, as it is known to the locals but is really named the Cooloola Recreation Area.
Here you will find a long, beautiful, unspoilt beach with towering cliffs of colored sands at the northern end near Rainbow Beach.
In addition to hiring the vehicle you will need purchase a permit and familiarize yourself with the tide times and the intricacies of driving on sand, so why not book in to join a tour so that you can just sit back and enjoy this amazing area without having to worry about anything.
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Siting on the bank of Weyba Creek just south of the township of Noosa Heads, this stunning villa has something extra that many waterfront villas in Noosa don’t have – no neighbors across the water looking back at you, as all that is on the opposite bank from this villa is a nature reserve.
This four bedroom three bathroom villa has recently been refurbished. The bedrooms – all equipped with either queen size or king size beds – all have ceiling fans and all are decorated in individual style and have views out over the water. The renovations made extensive use of marble in the large, luxury bathrooms and the beautifully appointed kitchen that boasts induction cooking, a wine fridge and coffee machine.
There is a second living area upstairs with its own private balcony and large flat screen television that makes this the perfect area for the teenagers to escape to while the adults are enjoying watching the light change and the bird-life put itself to bed as evening falls over the water and the nature reserve on the opposite bank.
Outdoors there is a sparkling pool and sun lounging area that invites you out into the perfect Queensland winter weather. On the other side of the villa there is a separate all weather terrace looking out over the water, this is where you are sure to spend most of your time while staying at this beautiful villa.
A stay in this villa is the perfect choice for what Australians call ‘boaties’ – translated means ‘those who like to mess around in boats’; Australians are very fond of putting an ‘e’ or ‘o’ ending on words. There is a deep water mooring right at the front of this villa, which means you can take advantage of the opportunity to hire a boat to explore the Noosa River and the wonderful lake systems to the north of town – Lake Cootharaba, and Lake Cooriobah. When out on the waterways make sure that you keep to the marked channels as both the river and lakes are quite shallow and it is easy to run aground.
If deep sea fishing is calling you unless you are an experienced ‘boatie’ it’s best to leave ‘crossing the bar’, i.e. going out to sea through the mouth of the Noosa River, to the professionals as it can be a little ‘exciting’ at times. There are a number of local operators who have many years of experience in crossing the bar and are only too happy to take you out for a full day or half day charter deep sea fishing and will get you home safe and sound.
For a change of pace and a day on land, you could hire a bicycle and head off by yourself on any one of a number of rides to explore the river and lakes, ride along the Surf Beach Trail, or join an organised tour.
Other land-based activities to enjoy at Noosa includes heading off for beer and pizza and a game of Ten Pin Bowling at the bowling alley in Noosaville and in nearby Noosa Junction you can catch the latest release films on the big screen.
Never forget the other great Noosa pastime that is the shopping to be had right outside your door on Hastings Street. This is not the place to where you can expect to find large department store-style shopping and chain stores, rather it is boutique heaven showcasing quirky local and international style in clothing, accessories and home wares, and of course you won’t be disappointed by the great range of swimwear.
Another unique shopping experience is at the Sunday Farmer’s Market. Make sure you get there early to get the best of the luscious locally grown produce – meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and dairy goods and when you’ve stocked up the pantry for the rest of the week, stay on for breakfast.
All this amazing local produce is one of the reasons that Noosa has gained a reputation for some of the finest dining in Australia. There are a number of internationally renowned chefs such as Peter Kuruvita who have made the move north from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. You could eat out for every meal during your stay and still not run out of new dining experiences ranging from the cheap and cheerful right through to fine dining experiences.
Noosa has some nightlife but is still more known for its laid-back villagey atmosphere. One memorable, albeit not very ‘nightclub’ thing to do before your dinner reservation is to head up to the Noosa Hill Lookout behind town to watch the moon rise over the water. There is plenty to do in Hastings Street.
at night. Just strolling up and down and in and out of the many bars and cafes is a great way to spend the evening after dining. For a bit more ‘action’ you could take in the live bands and nightlife fun to be had at the Noosa Surf Club, the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club and also at the Noosa Reef Hotel.
If the Sunshine Coast to the north of Brisbane is the laid back beach holiday destination of Queensland, then the Gold Coast is party and shopping central. Situated just an easy hour drive south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is synonymous with fun with a capital F! It is a city in it’s own right, and covers a fifty kilometer stretch of beaches, calm protected islands and boating in the Broadwater, and beautiful forested hinterland to the west and the north. For more than sixty years the Gold Coast has been one of Australia’s most popular holiday destination and still has something to offer for everyone who visits.
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The most well known area in the City of the Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise, which is locally known as ‘Surfers’. This area can be best likened to the Honolulu or perhaps Miami with its spectacular high rise holiday apartments near the beautiful beach and network of canals tucked in behind.
And it is on one of the beautiful Surfers Paradise canals that you will find Villa 5310. One word of caution: this villa has absolute water frontage, so it might not be the best choice if you are traveling with very young children, but if this is not a consideration, you could not choose a better place to enjoy your Gold Coast holiday.
This villa sprawls over three levels and will sleep 14 in the seven luxury bedrooms and five luxurious bathrooms featuring massive walk-in showers and a spa in the main bathroom.
The decor, from the red splash-back in kitchen with a massive granite bench and fridge with ice maker, through to the striking masculine tones in the living areas and on into the distinguished master bedroom, does justice to its dramatic waterfront location.
Outside you find the wrap around pool and large, covered entertainment area overlooking the canal and the high-rises of Surfers Paradise beyond.
Out on the terrace there is a gas barbeque and a dining table that seats 10 in comfort. The roll-down screens around this area provide comfort if the weather should turn a little chilly at night as you will want to sit out here every evening watching the light of the day fade behind you and the lights of Surfers Paradise come up in front.
Back inside there is a separate media room with a massive 60-inch flat screen television. This room has seriously comfortable couches and dark chocolate walls cocooning you the most luxurious private cinema ever.
There is so much to do on the Gold Coast that you’re going to need a good couple of weeks to fit everything in. Hire a car and head just up the highway to Oxenford where you will find the three biggest theme parks in Australia – Dreamworld, Warner Brothers Movie World and Wet’nWild.
You can buy a number of different ‘combo’ passes, ‘Australian’ for combination. Any one of these passes will get you unlimited entry into your choice of these theme parks to enjoy all the fun.
For all the glitz and glamour, the Gold Coast still has a number of natural attractions right in the center of town. One of the most well-loved is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where for more than fifty years you have been able to get ‘up close and personal’ with one of Australia’s most beautiful native birds the Rainbow Lorikeet.
Also nearby by in Currumbin, but tucked away behind the headland you will find David Fleay Wildlife Park where you can stroll in the park-like gardens with wallabies and learn the history of the first successful breeding of one of Australia’s shyest and most unusual native animals, the Platypus.
For even more nature experiences, jump in your car and head west up into the beautiful hinterland. A short drive up into the mountains will reward you with several glorious nature retreats – Springbrook, Mt Tambourine, and Lamington National Park home of O’Riellys. Here you will be able to walk through spectacular, untouched rain-forests, past sparking waterfalls to a number of brilliant vistas overlooking the Gold Coast beaches, all while not being too far away from any of your creature comforts.
The Gold Coast has some of the best surfing beaches in the world including the world-famous series of surf breaks at Kirra, Snapper Rocks, Greenmount, Rainbow Bay and Duranbah, fondly known by locals and international surf stars alike as D’Bah. This area is the home to several international surfing events such as the Quicksilver Pro for the men, and the Roxy Pro for the women. These competitions have brought the world’s best surfers such as Australia’s Mick Fanning and Layne Beachley and Kelly Slater from the USA together competing for points towards the world title.
Whether you’re at the high-end or bargain basement, the Gold Coast has some of the best shopping in the world. Tucked away on the northern end of the city at Biggera Waters is Harbour Town with it’s hundreds of retail outlets. Here you can spend a whole day browsing for bargains in men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, home decor outlets, major department stores, and fresh food. Break up the day by catching a film at the cinema and having lunch at any one of the 20 cafes.
For a more bohemian experience make sure you set aside some time to drop into the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets that are on every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. But, if your tastes run to the high-end of the shopping spectrum, the Gold Coast won’t leave you disappointed. Right in the heart of Surfers Paradise there is there The High Street, Surfers Paradise where you will find quality retailers such as Via La Moda for the ladies and Urbana for the gentlemen.
Taking it to a whole another level is the Marina Mirage on the Spit, which is the ultimate shopping destination being on the waterfront at Southport. This the one-stop-shop destination for all the high-end shopping you can manage or imagine such as Christensen Copenhagen, Carla Zampatti, Gant, Hermes and Rodd & Gun.
Neither is there any shortage of dining experiences on the Gold Coast. From the Australian tradition of fish and chips on the beach, through an array of cheap and cheerful cafes where you can get some seriously good coffee on seemingly every street corner, to a world-class array of fine dining options you could eat out every meal and not have the same experience twice. Why not start your fine dining experiences at the exclusive Ten Japanese Restaurant at Broadbeach. Here you will experience the timeless simplicity of the best of Japanese cuisine.
As this is an intimate venue seating only 20 guests at any one time, bookings are absolutely essential. Seeing that you are on a beach holiday sampling some of the fine, fresh local seafood is a must. This calls for a visit to The Fish House at Burleigh Heads. You will be seated behind the picture windows taking in the stunning view back up the coast to the twinkling lights of Surfers Paradise and while being treated to a stunning fusion menu that brings together the best of Australian and southern European cuisine and wines.
A little further south of Burleigh Heads you come to Currumbin Beach, one of the best kept secrets on the coast retaining some of the neighborhood feel long gone in other pats of the coast. Here at Currumbin you find Allure on Currumbin. This establishment has been voted the second best restaurant in the whole of Australia – not just the second best restaurant on the Gold Coast, but the WHOLE of Australia. Allure’s menu combines the best elements of classic French technique with the freshness that Modern Australian cooking is world famous for – it is a dining experience guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
After dining at any one of these fabulous restaurants the night will still be young, and the Gold Coast has a serious reputation as nightlife central. For the young, and young at heart, you could sign up for the Big Night Out. This is a nightclub tour taking you to four of the hottest gold coast venues. Being taken around the found venues, you’ll be partying with like-minded people in complete comfort and have no worries about hailing taxis or entrance to the clubs. For a little more laid back, Australian-style night out you couldn’t do better than to head to the Famous Surfers Paradise Hotel Beer Garden. Beer gardens are a particularly Queensland phenomenon where hotels set aside outdoor areas where you enjoy a meal – known as a counter meal, these days often gourmet hamburgers and fries – and a drink outside in the great weather.
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The Surfers Paradise Hotel has been providing entertainment on the Gold Coast for 90 years and its Beer Garden is home to one of the best live music venues on the coast; especially the hugely enjoyable regular Friday night live band. Another iconic venue on the Gold Coast is The Soundlounge at the Currumbin RSL – an RSL, or Returned Soldiers League, is a club catering to membership for returned and retired defence force personnel, but these days open to the public.
The Soundlounge has presented some great acts recently including international artists such as Loudon Wainright, and home grown Australian talent such as Sarah Blasko and indie rock band British India.
A mid-year trip to the two beautiful southeast Queensland beach holiday destinations – either the laid-back Sunshine Coast to the north, or the glitzy Gold Coast to the south won’t disappoint. If you‘re after a relaxing family experience choose either one of the luxury Noosa villas north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast to while away a couple of weeks enjoying the beautiful beach and tranquil river and lakes. Or if you’re into theme park fun and endless shopping opportunities, head south to the Gold Coast. Either way, spending time mid-year in Queensland you’ll come to know the meaning of that famous saying “beautiful one day, perfect the next”.