Visit the Gold Coast for Rugby this Summer
Base yourself in this top tourist destination for the Lions tour and more
Throughout June and July this year the British and Irish Lions will tour Australia for the first time in 12 years. The Lions will have showdowns with all five of Australia's Super Rugby teams over a series of three test matches and seven non-test matches. We caught up with Gold Coast Tourism Director Gordon Price to find out why the Gold Coast is the perfect place for rugby fans to base themselves. He makes a very good case!
First up, do you think Australia can win against the British and Irish Lions? Seriously?
There's an undoubted strength associated with the British and Irish Lions, however, let's not forget this is a predominately Welsh outfit, a side which Australia beat 3-0 last year. In fact, Wales haven't won a match in Australia since 1969!
Obviously the combined Lions outfit is a totally different proposition, so looking at what Australia will put forward is interesting. The Reds and Brumbies currently lead the Super 15 tournament, while the Waratahs, Rebels and Force have also remained competitive.
Most noteworthy has been the way the Australian teams have been able to out-muscle some of their more fancied Kiwi opponents this season, particularly in the scrum and at the breakdown. The Lions rely heavily on their forward strength across the park so if Australia can gain the upper-hand in this department, our backline is sure to take full advantage and win.
What's been the reaction to the Lions at ground level on the Gold Coast? What's the buzz like?
A Lions tour is always very special for Australia and the entire rugby community is well aware of the historical significance. The fact it only takes place every 12 years means there is a real sense of anticipation and excitement right across the country. It's no different on the Gold Coast and with the City just an hours' drive from Brisbane there'll be a real party atmosphere come game time.
How many millions of people do you think are going to go to the Gold Coast on the back of the Lions Tour?
While the Gold Coast isn't on the playing itinerary for the Lions tour, fans are encouraged to centralise their Australian visit, using the Gold Coast as a base to maximise their time Down Under. History shows that supporters of major sporting contests staged in Brisbane between Australia and Great Britain will always make a bee-line to the Gold Coast as there's so much to see and do here.
World class beaches, the most theme parks and attractions in the southern hemisphere, lush rainforest and countless night-time entertainment, will ensure you can spend your time as active or as relaxed as you like. We expect tens of thousands of Lions supporters throughout the duration of the tour, so for those who yet to finalise plans, be sure to place the Gold Coast at the top of your to-do list.
People are saying that all hostels, B&Bs and hotels are fully booked already - if you really want to go to the Gold Coast then what's the best way to do it?
Accommodation is never a problem on the Gold Coast, where we have 65,000 bed spaces spread throughout a region that boasts 57 kilometres of uninterrupted coastline and 100,000 hectares of Heritage-listed rainforest. The more savvy visitors will set up base on the Gold Coast during their Australian stay and enjoy all the fun and excitement that's available.
Backpacker and hostel accommodation is in abundance throughout Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Southport, Main Beach and Coolangatta. Stay for a while in one of Australia's best apartment resorts, forget about the world in a hinterland retreat or grab a beach shack and some friends for the ultimate short break.
The region's weather ensures an unforgettable stay, whether basking secluded surrounds, camping on top of a mountain or taking a houseboat to a myriad of island getaways. To ensure ease in getting to all games during the Lions tour, the Gold Coast is the undisputed capital of low cost airline carriers with numerous daily flights to and from Sydney and Melbourne out of the City, plus it's just a short one hour train ride or drive to Brisbane for the opening Test at Suncorp Stadium.
Obviously the Lions are playing their first test at Brisbane on a Saturday before making their way down to Melbourne for the following Saturday - what can you do on the Gold Coast in-between?
A vast range of complementing waterways makes the city a haven of fun-filled pursuits with good times assured among the numerous aquatic attractions. The Broadwater caters to every on-water activity imaginable, where thrill seekers can choose from jet-boating, parasailing, kite surfing, diving, jet-ski safaris, snorkelling, tall-ship cruising and yachting.
A learn-to-surf class guided by world champions is a must-do, as are paddling and kayaking explorations. Board a catamaran and enjoy deep-sea fishing or whale-watching tours, or go on a guided cruise of the waterways. And did I mention the night-life? Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach offer guaranteed party times aplenty.
What happens if you're not that into sports? Pack your bags and give up or is there something else on offer?
There is no comparison to the Gold Coast's choice of attractions and experiences that continue to evolve every day. Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet ‘n' Wild and WhiteWater World are sure to please while Warner Bros. Movie World provides its own unique Hollywood-style feel. Also, our wildlife sanctuaries and theme parks have created habitats that offer extraordinary real-life experiences with native Australian icons.
Cuddle a koala, pet kangaroos, swim with dolphins, hand-feed lorikeets, nurse a baby crocodile or caress a full-sized snake. Gold Coast animal encounters offer truly memorable experiences for kids and adults alike. Choose Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the total Australian experience or learn about the tale of Aussie horse racing legend Phar Lap at the Australian Outback Spectacular.
What's the stand out thing to do while the Lions are in town? Have any new and exciting attractions sprung up for the tour?
The seaside culture and groovy night time buzz make the Gold Coast a distinctly active area and a true party destination. A sampling of the all-night entertainment will ensure an experience to remember. Surfers Paradise, defined by its nightlife, continues to redefine the parameters of choice. Broadbeach also has an expanding mall area which provides a 24-hour epicentre of activity. This is supported by an assortment of entertainment offerings which include the iconic Jupiters Hotel & Casino and its range of cabaret shows, gambling facilities and newly established bars and restaurants.
If Gordon has inspired you to visit the Gold Coast and Australia in general, be sure to check out our Australia country selection for more advice and information.
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