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: Surfers Paradise Beach, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
What's it all about: Simple - build 3,000 sandcastles in an hour!
Tell me more: The Gold Coast is well known for its sandy beaches, so what better place to attempt to break the world record for constructing the most sand castles in one hour! It also fits in perfectly with their really cool Sand Safari which showcases amazing sand sculptures! The record attempt sounds simple enough, but the sandcastles have some strict specifications to be counted for the record - a conical castle 600mm high (that's a lot of sand to shovel!) with a formed castle turret on top - and it has to be perfectly formed! Thousands of people joined in to help - we were in a team of 5 that had to build at least 10 sandcastles and after a full hour of shovelling in the sand we were very relieved when the final hooter sounded! It was a really well coordinated and super fun day but after all of the hard work we came up short - there were definitely 3,000 attempts, but the strict specifications meant that not all were counted! It just means that we will have to try again next year!
Where is it: Surfers Paradise Beach, opposite Soul Boardwalk
How can I join in: You can meet Santa and his reindeer on the beach for a photo in the lead up to Christmas - check out the link for more details!
Tell me more: Having Christmas in summer means that we have to do things a little differently here in Queensland! We have a distinct lack of snow here which means that Santa can't really get around on a sleigh. But he's more than happy to skydive onto the beach, which is just as exciting as a reindeer powered sleigh! Such a fun sight for the kids, and the Surfers Paradise Beach is the perfect place to welcome Santa and a couple of his reindeer friends!
Brisbane Family Explorers