We like to think that we are pretty good at building a sand castle. Especially when compared to our kids' efforts. In all reality, that's exactly where we should leave our sand castle comparisons - slightly better than a 2, a 4 and a 6 year old. We have seen some sand sculptures in the past, usually partial views as we walk past of some very talented individuals putting together a sculpture on an event day with limited time, but we have rarely seen the finished product. We understand that they could be impressive, yes, but are they worthy of a specific, month-long event? We didn't know, so to find out we decided to head south down the M1 to Surfers Paradise to see what some sand sculptors can do - surely they can't be that impressive?
The Sand Safari is an annual event held at the Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise. It seems that they have a specific theme each year, a couple of years ago they had Disney characters. We wanted to go but we were having quite a bit of rain at the time and we thought that the sand would get washed away (apparently, no, the sand doesn't get washed away)! Last year the theme was DreamWorks Experience. Parents of kids under 20 will know the characters of the movies of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to train your Dragon, and this year it's 'Mermaids and Mythical Creatures'!
Getting to the Gold Coast from Brisbane on any weekend through summer can require a bit of patience. That said, if you leave reasonably early you shouldn't have a problem. In any case, the traffic moves a whole lot better than it does on a workday during start and finish times. We parked close to Cavill Mall in a privately run, paid carpark which, compared to Brisbane rates, provides for a pleasant surprise when paying. On our way into the carpark, we got to drive past some amazing, giant, inflatable octopus tentacles coming out of one the motels - they kids were crazy excited when they saw this, although they did get a bit concerned when we drove close to them!
Well, what can we say. These sculptures were amazing! It's unbelievable that these artists can scrape, mould and manipulate the sand in the manner in which they do. All of the sculptures on display were equally impressive. There was also a number of little activities and sessions on to involve the little ones so they could learn how to do some sculptures themselves! They were help in covered gazebos so you could escape from the sun which was great. The kids really enjoyed it, but we could see from their sculptures that they were not too interested in following the instructions of the artist, but regardless they had a great time building a few sand castles!
We've really enjoyed our visits to the Sand Safari! The location is really well suited for this event and like we have already stated, the sculptures were amazing. There were enough activities and displays to keep the kids engaged and if that wasn't enough, you could easily wander across the sand for a dip! Us Brisbanites are really lucky to have such a variety of different spots to visit so close. We have no doubt that we will be back again in the coming years!
Amenities: In the centre of The Gold Coast so finding amenities shouldn't be a challenge! 👍👍👍👍
Cost: A little bit for parking, travel and some paid activities, but free to check out the sculptures!👍👍👍
Parking: Enough parking but be prepared to pay (but so much cheaper rates than Brisbane!)!👍👍👍
Access: Really easy to get around, the sculptures are all reasonably close together! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: The Gold Coast will always entertain! The sand sculptures, amazing as they were, were great to look at but not really that entertaining… 👍👍
Best for: Toddlers will love the characters of the sculptures while the older kids will marvel at the talent required to do them! 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: Seagulls. That's about it! 👍
Summary: Well worth a visit as the sculptures really are that good! If travelling to get here it might not keep you engaged for too long so best if you can plan some other activities to make the most of your visit to Surfers Paradise! 👍👍👍
Hints: The sculptures can take a few days to complete, so plan your trip so that you can see the finished product!
2017 - Mermaids and Mythical Creatures
2016 - DreamWorks Experience
Where is it: Sunnybank Plaza, Sunnybank
What's it all about: Very authentic and extremely tasty Chinese New Year celebrations in Brisbane!
Tell me more: Being home to a huge number of Asian ex-pats, Sunnybank has a deserved reputation of being the centre of Asian culture here in Brisbane! And because of this, deciding on a place to join in on Chinese New Years (CNY) celebration was an easy choice! Not only do they have a great week long program of fun celebrations in the lead up to Chinese New Year, they also have a fantastic Roof Top Party as well with one of the biggest CNY fireworks displays in Australia! Add to that lion dances, a pop-up Asian laneway of yummy foods, tea houses, crafts and beauty salons! And if that's not enough to tempt you, there are fantastic live music acts planned! So definitely, Sunnybank is the place to celebrate CNY!
In the lead-up to CNY we went along to see some of the week-long celebrations put on at Sunnybank plaza! There's always awesome food at Sunnybank and it was probably even better for their Chinese New Year celebrations! So along with the yummy food, we got to see the always amazing lion dances and music, tai chi displays, some lovely vegetable carvings and we also got to do a little bit of art and craft! Such a lovely day out and a great way for the little guys to experience a little bit of Chinese New Year celebrations!
Rooftop Party 2018
Where is it: 31 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
Why we love it: A very refined, but very welcoming and relaxed hotel!
Tell me more: Here in Brisbane we’re very lucky. Not only do we have all the fantastic natural sights, facilities and events that Brisbane offers, but just one hour’s drive south, we have one of Australia’s premiere holiday destinations – The Gold Coast! And although it’s so close that a day trip is a relatively easy outing, sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye after a day at the beach or shopping, which is a perfect excuse for a little ‘staycation’!
voco (part of the InterContinental Hotels Group – IHG®) has recently opened its very first hotel right here in the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise, just a short distance from the action of Cavil Avenue, the beach and nightlife! The almost 400 guestrooms have just been refurbished and refitted to a brand-new standard and have a warm and welcoming feel. Even though we only stayed for a short time, this hotel definitely takes you away and there’s no doubting that you are on holiday! King and twin interconnecting rooms suited us just fine and the kids were very impressed with their room and beds – just as we were when they slept perfectly through the night!
Two swimming pools (and a spa) provided our little guys with plenty of entertainment over our stay – there’s one each to the east and to the west of the hotel build so you could either seek out or avoid the sun as you wished. Both pools offered food and drink service (as did the rooms) and despite the wonderful Surfers Paradise beach being only 5 minutes’ walk away, the pools were very popular with the guests. There’s also an onsite gym, as well as a day-spa for rejuvenating and relaxing treatments. And all rooms and common areas have free Wi-Fi so even as you disconnect and relax, you can always keep in touch as you desire!
Two restaurants service this fabulous hotel, including a fantastic family-friendly option in Waves Buffet Restaurant! Our little guys always love coming to a buffet – they love choosing their own foods and especially the yummy desserts! There’s over 10 different hot meals to choose from as well as a fantastic selection of yummy and healthy salads and of course the desert bar. It’s also the place to be for breakfast as well, with a fantastic full breakfast buffet! Also housed within voco is the wonderful Clifford’s Grill & Lounge restaurant and Social House bar offering tapas and cocktails!
We had a fantastic time on our voco ‘staycation’! It’s great to find a hotel like this that’s stylish and refined but still super relaxing – even with little kids! The staff here are super friendly and helpful and always more than happy to assist you when you need. And after a weekend stay at voco you’re sure to heading home nice and relaxed – just as we did! We can’t wait to visit again!
Where is it: Stanley Place, Cultural Precinct, South Bank, Brisbane
What's it all about: The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) both have great art but focus on slightly different styles. They are known collectively as QAGOMA.
How can I join in: Visit the galleries anytime, or as there are regularly changing exhibitions, keep an eye out for one that appeals to you!
Tell me more: There always seems to be really fun exhibitions on at GOMA. Heaps of interactive exhibits and opportunities for the kids to contribute to the displays be doing a bit of their own artwork. We're not sure if they are feeling any inspiration to become artists, but we do know that they have lots of fun! Their 'Toddler Tuesday' program, suitable from 18 mths through to 4 years, is always lots of fun and the kids just love it, but be sure to book early in advance as it's very popular and spaces are limited! The program looks to engage with the kids and lets them identify the artwork, before have a go themselves at creating their own artwork! The building houses a number of different exhibition and performance halls, theatres, interactive rooms, lounges, restaurant and cafe and also a gift shop. The exhibitions change regularly and there is always something which to experience that will entertain, inspire or even confuse, but however the art makes you feel, we're sure that you will have a great day out when you visit GOMA!
Me, myself and I
Yayoi Kusama: The Obliteration Room.
Kate Beynon: Friendly Beasts
GOMA turns 10
Goma turns 10
Mirror Mirror, Hrafnhildur Arnardottir
Gathering by the Sea, The Gabori Sisters
We have some of our best times on the school holidays – so much time with the kids to explore and there’s always something to do! But with three inquisitive and active kids it can be a very busy time of the year too! It can be hard work to try to balance our playing and exploring with work, school and sometimes even a little bit of relaxation. We love exploring and discovering new places and activities but we know that sometimes we can tire ourselves and each other out a little. Which is why we pay a bit of special attention to our health - we do our best to eat well and eat healthy – a good balance including lots of fruits and veggies and nuts, but we do also like to give our body a little bit of help along the way too!
Taking Sambucol Kids Immunity Gummies is one of the ways in which we support our little guys’ bodies in getting what they need in order to give them a strong chance for maintaining their health! Not only do they taste great, they are a fantastic complement to their diet to support their immune system. Sambucol Kids Immunity Gummies contain Vitamin C and Zinc, as well as antioxidants (and other goodies) from its key natural ingredient, black elderberry. And getting the kids to have their Sambucol Kids Immunity Gummies is so easy as they taste great!
As much as we try to balance their nutritional needs, it's good to know that the kids enjoy 'topping up' any of these important vitamins and minerals that might be missed, especially when we're out and about so much! We think that it's so important to keep our little guys healthy and we rest a little easier knowing that their immune systems are supported, important not just as they head back to school after a busy holiday season, but for the whole busy year ahead of them! Just remember:
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL; FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE; IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, TALK TO YOUR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL; THIS MEDICINE MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU. READ THE LABEL BEFORE PURCHASE.
Brisbane Family Explorers