Family Holiday

Having not seen my family for more than five years I decided that come rain, hail, or shine, I was going to see them this year. They live in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and I, of course, am in Melbourne, Australia.

I decided that I should write a post about the event, for posterity sake, and so prices can be compared should anyone want to undertake a similar adventure.

First, and foremost,the decision was for everyone to meet in Gold Coast, Australia. Partly because I had never been there before, partly because it’s got a reputation as a tourist destination of choice for Kiwis, and partly because there would be plenty to keep everyone entertained.


Once everyone had their passports sorted (there were 5 children, and 2 adults flying from Aotearoa) we booked their tickets for flights from Auckland (AKL) to Gold Coast (OOL). They were booked on Jetstar Airways, via - was used purely because they gave cheaper prices than Jetstar did for the tickets.

We only got one piece of luggage put into the hold of the plane, plus a car seat. Everyone was using their 7 Kg carry on for clothing.

Total Price for AKL <-> OOL :

  • 7 passengers (2 Adults, 4 under 12, 1 under 4) $4,746.21 AUD

My flight was booked directly through Jetstar.

Total Price for MEL <-> OOL:

  • $239.64 AUD

The flights into Gold Coast were due to land around 8:30 am AEST, however the Auckland flight in was slightly delayed (45 mins). This was not an issue at all, as we still had a wait at the airport for the rental car.

Rental Car

Again, was used to find a rental car. Our need was for a vehicle that could fit 8 passengers, including one child seat. We found East Coast Car Rentals offering an 8 seater “Kia Carnival, or similar” and grabbed it. The vehicle turned out to be a Hyundai Staria similar to the picture.

Hyundai Staria

It was perfect for us, 8 seats, air conditioning that could be controlled from the front dash, or the rear could be controlled independently. Plenty of room for all of our luggage.

The cost of the vehicle for 7 days was:

  • $737.68 AUD

plus insurance for the windscreen and tyres

  • $245.01 AUD

We incurred two tolls

  • $7.80 AUD
  • $8.06 AUD

And the total petrol cost for 802 Km travelled was (around)

  • $140.00 (Petrol was $1.629 per litre for 91 Octane)


Once again we used what we found on - We chose two serviced apartments that had two bedrooms each, one with a queen sized double bed for the adults, and one with twin singles for the kids. (With one 3yo sleeping with one set of adults), a kitchen, and two bathrooms. Peninsular Residences is back from the beach, which we felt was an advantage (less noise!), but gave us spectacular views of the beaches, river, township, and hotels. They came with a car park each (of course we only needed one!), fridges, with small freezers, toasters, kettles, and 4 element stoves, and an oven, as well as washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

The view from our apartments

Unfortunately they were let down by less than ideal hygiene (the washing machine and dishwasher in one apartment was quite smelly :(

They were very well priced, two apartments for 7 nights cost:

  • $2,806.42 AUD (with a $600 AUD bond charged, but refunded)

They were very quiet (I heard a baby crying in another apartment when I was in the corridor, but we were never disturbed by noise when we were in the apartments themselves).


This was what we were here for, right! :)

We had a heavy schedule, we landed in Gold Coast on Saturday morning, and were flying out the following Saturday.


Our first trip, Sunday, we drove from Gold Coast to Brisbane, stopped for ah hour at Starbucks, and then drove to Australia Zoo - I was determined that the kids got to see Crocodiles!

We got to the zoo about 12pm, ate our sandwiches, and went to the Crocoseum to watch the show. On the way we looked at the Crocodiles in the pens (the kids complained that they weren’t real!). Had a jump on the inflatable trampoline, before sitting down and watching the show.

One thing that we regretted was not taking togs, the zoo has a water play area for children to get absolutely soaked in, and, even though we visited mid-July, the weather was warm (23 °C) enough to warrant a swim.

After the show everyone got to pat a Koala, and then pet a Kangaroo (I could not believe how soft they were, I’d always imagined a rough coat on them), and had a look at the Dingoes, Tasmanian Devils (my personal favourites) and jumped on the bus to go look at the Rhinos, Giraffes, etc.

Feeding a kangaroo

The ride back was brilliant, our group was the only one on the golf cart “bus” and the driver was a real character!

The total cost for the Zoo (3 adults, 4 children, 1 3yo) was:

  • $319.85 AUD


We decided that we needed a rest after the zoo, so we went to a mall in the morning to find some shoes, then spent the afternoon at the beach.

Surfers Paradise beach

The beach was amazing. Golden sands for as far as the eye could see, and a nice surf break. Everyone loved it (so much so that the kids were asking later in the week if they could go again, but we had already crammed too much into our schedule, note for next time, the beach is a year round great place for a swim, rest, and play, leave a couple of days aside to enjoy it).


Dream World! - about a thirty minute drive from our apartments, we got there early to ensure we could spend all day at the park :-)

Just before the park opened the adjoining Lego shop opened, so we had a look through that before joining the line (and when we turned around that line had GROWN).

We bought our tickets online whilst we waited, as per the instructions on the boards, saving a grand total of $10 per ticket, which was significant considering we had seven in our group (the 3yo didn’t have to pay).

Once inside we headed straight for the Steel Taipan roller coaster. Everyone (except the 3yo) had a ride (It was my first ever!).

Then off to the ice slide for the kids, then the The Giant Drop (which scared the bejebus out of me) - note, we had some full sized people in our group, and they weren’t able to get on all of the rides, which took a bit of the fun out of the day for them.

There was some rides for the 3yo, and we all went on the dodgems. There’s also a little zoo with a croc in it (this one was opening and closing its eye, so there was no doubt it was real!)

I have to admit, my biggest fear was losing the kids, so we made them stay close, although it might have been better to split up and let them enjoy the rides more - maybe one adult to one or two kids?

For Lunch we had taken in our sandwiches.

I think that it was a good park to start with. We ended the day with everyone (except me and the 3yo) going for another ride on the Taipan. The park closed at 5pm.

Ticket costs:

  • $763.00 AUD


Sea World is located in Gold Coast, about a 10 minute driver from our apartments.

The tickets for this were roughly the same as Dream world, except we were given the chance to buy multi day tickets, that could be used at other parks. We went for the three day tickets which cost an extra $60 AUD each, but meant we didn’t have to pay for our Friday park (and we could have used the tickets for a third park, but we didn’t have the time.

Dolphins putting on a show

Sea world was amazing, it had shows of sea animals (one of the kids got selected to touch a sea lion!), dolphins, rays (that everyone can touch), a battle boat ride where we all got to shoot each other with hand powered water cannons, and rides - a Nickleodeon themed area for the little one (we got to see Paw Patrol, as well as Sponge Bob, and Patrick)

Again we took our own lunch into the park.

One thing, one of the kids split up from our group - I got a phone call (because my phone number had been taken when I bought the tickets) alerting us when she was found, I was very relieved.

We had similar size problems for some of the rides, and I didn’t ride any (I find the rides to make me anxious as anything, but I didn’t get any thrill from them, which meant all I was getting was sweaty hands :-)

Tickets (including the price for the Friday park):

  • $1,253.00 AUD


We decided to go to Brisbane for a look and a shop. Although we got up there about 10 am, finding a park proved to be quite a challenge.

We did manage to find one, which was in the CBD.

Because of that, and because, frankly, I didn’t know where all the shops were that our group wanted to go to, we ended up going to a big mall for lunch, got the kids a change of clothes, then went and looked for Culture Kings (which smelt really off for some reason!) and then a couple of similar shops nearby.

Parking at First Parking cost:

  • $37.00 AUD

(Some of the parking buildings were threatening us with prices like $70 or $80)


Crowd waiting to get into Movie World Movie World! - I think that we saved the best for last. The riders in our group were able to get on more of the rides, and there was some entertainment we could sit and watch (Looney Tunes characters, Batman, and a short movie was made with a couple of drifting commodore utes and a clown)

This park had good rides for the 3yo (a mini “fearfall”, train, etc).

We didn’t take our lunch to this one, mostly because our group were a bit tired of the sandwiches :(

It was a great park, and, looking back, the only major difference between this and Dream world was the feeling of being on a movie set. The riders in the group (and a friend’s daughter’s opinion from a week or two before) felt that Movie World’s Superman ride was better than Dream World’s Steel Taipan. But I think that you really need to ride them both, and the big drop at Dream World was much better).

Unlike the other parks Movie World closes at 5:30pm, an extra 30 minutes of fun, which our group used by repeatedly going on the Superman ride.

I was a little more willing to let the kids split up at Movie World, the park felt a little smaller than any of the others, but I still made sure that when we did split I could see the child splitting off, whilst the others stayed on one group waiting for the rides.

Which reminds me, the lines felt a little longer at Movie World, but keeping in mind that we went to Dream World on a Monday, and Movie World on a Friday, it was hard to tell.

After we got back into town everyone was famished, and one of our group shouted everyone to a buffet dinner at Waves Buffet Restaurant

Total cost for the meal was (I think)

  • $227.00 AUD


Bug out day. We had to be out of the accommodation by 10am, and the van was due back at 11:30 am (note: make sure to be there by 11:25, to give them time to inspect the vehicle - we were right on time, but the inspection took us late, however we don’t appear to have been penalised)

We went for a short tiki tour to look at the Australia Fair shopping mall, but missed the turn off (our GPS on the phones was playing up), and instead happened upon a Matariki fair (bloody kiwis!) where we got the girls some butterfly hair clips, and a face painting for the 3yo.

All up about $10.00 AUD.

We took the van back, then got dropped off at the airport ready for our flights (which were at 3 pm).

Check in took about an hour, because one of the groups’ passports wasn’t playing nice with the kiosks, and the name on one of the passports was backwards (which meant that Jetstar needed to change the name of the booking, which they were entitled to charge us for, but didn’t).

After scanning we sat in the food court eating lunch before saying our good byes and boarding our flights.


We could have done a lot better here. Breakfasts were done properly, we had cereal, eggs, yoghurts, toast, whatever.

Lunches, the first few days were fine, sandwiches and snacks (chips, muesli bars, roll ups, etc), but we ran out of steam by mid week.

Dinners, too, we ate a lot of fried chicken (Red Rooster was a genuine let down, won’t be doing that again :(

But we were tired of that too - one evening we tried pasta with hot chilli sauce, and that was good, but not to everyone’s tastes.

We found the Coles to have better selection than the Woolworths, and the parking was better (both free for 2 hours, but Woolies parking needed to be validated with a $10 purchase)

Bread rolls were horrendously expensive (IMO), so we stuck with slice bread. We found some Kangaroo to eat, but we didn’t go looking for the other exotic meats that were supposedly available (mostly because time was against us most days).

Our thinking is that we should have done a bigger shop on the first Saturday, maybe organised the evening meals better. We didn’t starve, but we were definitely feeling a bit over some things by the end of it.


I think that we had a fantastic holiday, with plenty done. We could have scheduled more time for the beach, and been more organised for parking in Brisbane, and food, but over all we had a ball!

For me, the highlight was everyone else getting excited and enjoying the rides.

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