UK’s blatant PR benefits good websites only

In Featured Home Page News, National Headlines, Queensland

This UK tabloid puff piece will send thousands of website visitors to the mentioned tour operators’ sites for years to come. Unfortunately surfersparadise.com.au forgot to put gorgeous beach photos on their home page. (To be fair, Kirra Beach also only has a photo from 1946 on their Wikipedia – sigh. But the tourism operators did well!

From UK’s The Sun:

“We’ve spent two weeks watching Ashley Roberts and co – plus all those Aussie creepy crawlies.

But the real star of I’m A Celebrity (TTN note: junk TV show that never took off in Australia) has to be its stunning location on Australia’s Gold Coast.

The area gets its name from the 44 miles of pristine beaches along the Queensland shoreline, just south of Brisbane.

Those shimmering beaches are worth the long-haul flight alone, but the green hinterland just behind the coast also has loads to offer.

And don’t worry – unlike I’m A Celebrity you won’t find Bushtucker Trials or be sleeping rough in this tropical rainforest. Instead you’ll find boutique accommodation and world-class cuisine.

Here, Melissa Shedden discovers the gold on the coast and the green jungle fun.

Go green

Head to the green behind the golden sands of the coast and you may be surprised to learn the area is known not just for the bushtucker of I’m A Celebrity but also gourmet meals.

Mount Tamborine and its surrounds were once part of the Mount Warning volcano. The lush, verdant hills are richly blessed with dramatic waterfalls, national parks and stunning scenery.

It’s also the alcohol capital of southeast Queensland, boasting a host of wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Witches Falls Winery is a “must stop” for booze fans — an engaging place for wine tasting, which has beautiful grounds.

Beer fans should head for Mount Tamborine Brewery, where £6 will get you a taster of four beers.

The Witches Chase Cheese Company next door makes for a tasty afternoon treat. The Tamborine Mountain Distillery is another great stop-off, with the chance to taste award winning liqueurs.

Then work off those excesses and take to the walking trails. Most are fairly short and can be negotiated in a few hours.

The hinterland has its own micro climate that is perfect for taking in the sights and sounds of Australian flora and fauna.

If you want to up the pace, book yourself a quad bike safari with ATV Adventures in the magnificent Numinbah Valley.

Quad biking is the most fun I’ve had on four wheels and is suitable for all levels of experience. Even my mum had a go.

Unleash your inner rev-head and zip through the rugged volcanic area on a family-owned farm.

Then splash through creeks, career down steep hills and eat dust on a real Outback experience. It costs £80 per driver for a two-hour tour.

Once your pulse has slowed, check in at the Escarpment Retreat And Day Spa nestled in four acres of eucalyptus trees and the strangler figs of the Aussie bush.

Owner Gary is a true romantic — and it shows.

Built with couples in mind, the rustic villas each have a deep spa bath, fireplace and four-poster bed, so guests are encouraged to do what nature intended.

There is champagne on arrival, delicious breakfasts and massages, plus other treatments if you need even more of a helping hand with the romance.

No wonder this sanctuary in the rainforest has seen many proposals and scooped international awards.

It’s impossible not to relax here. The only things to disturb the silence are the sounds of raindrops and croaking frogs.

Go gold

Cliches have to start somewhere and if it’s sun, sand and surf you’re after — go to the Gold Coast.

With 21 patrolled beaches to lay your towel on, we chose stunning Kirra. The chilled town feels like a real-life episode of Home And Away but your closest neighbour on the beach will be 50 metres away.

We stayed at Nirvana By The Sea, a modern and cool take on seaside living, where flip flops (or thongs) are definitely part of this apartment’s dress code.

Aussies make their homes their castles so there is no need to leave Nirvana.

It has a 25m outdoor lap pool, spa, gym, cinema room and — of course — an outdoor BBQ.

It’s on a prime patch of real estate, right on the beach with great cafes next door, a 15-minute boardwalk stroll to Coolangatta, five-minute drive from the airport and just 30mins from Surfers Paradise, Australia’s much smaller answer to Vegas.

Sucking up that fresh Pacific Ocean air can be thirsty business.

Slurp on super-healthy smoothies at Cafe Dbar, an art gallery and cafe high on the hill at Point Danger with views of the Gold Coast.

Aussie cafe culture is world class, so an alfresco brunch is a must with breakfast foods including Mexican beans with poached egg, salsa, baby spinach and roast peppers served on corn and tequila fritters.

If it’s something less fancy you’re after, pig out on surfer faves including surf and turf or chicken snitty and chips at the local surf club or Kirra Beach Hotel.

Beach culture isn’t all smoothies and sunbaking though — it’s also about activities. A dose of vitamin D is enough to make even the most inactive traveller want to get moving and the latest fitness craze is stand-up paddle boarding.

Celeb fans who have headed up the creek with a paddle include Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Cindy Crawford.

I can see why. The combination of balancing and paddling is excellent for building core body strength and improving arm and leg muscles.

And it is incredible fun — one of those workouts that doesn’t feel like you’re working out. Even my dad, at 60-plus, could do it.

A one-on-one lesson with the JM Stand Up Paddle Company left me feeling exhilarated and accomplished — and I’ll take any excuse to get in a bikini with a tanned and toned instructor.

You’ll get plenty of sunny days to do just that. As the Tourism Queensland saying goes, it really is beautiful one day, perfect the next.

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