Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Gold Coast – Prologue

There are very limited destinations to travel in Jun as I wanted to avoid the hot weather. In the end, I shortlisted Gold Coast and Hanoi. This is considered a last minute trip as I started to book the airtix and planned everything in May.

Australia is a place which I wanted to return after the Perth trip but as I have not drove for many years and WB does not have a driving license, Australia has dropped out from my travel destination list for the time being. Gold Coast was chosen as WB likes to visit theme parks and public transport is available in getting around.

Gold Coast is located in Queensland state in Australia and is served direct by Scoot from Singapore. Singapore Airlines and Emirates fly direct to Brisbane which is an hour away from Gold Coast. Scoot flies 5 times weekly to Gold Coast and flight duration takes 7hr 30min. The red eye flight departs from Singapore at 10.15pm and reach Gold Coast at 7.40am the next morning. The return flight departs Gold Coast at 9am and reach Singapore at 3.20pm. The cheapest airfare I can find is $300 for a return trip but it's almost $200 more expensive on our travel dates. We still decided to go ahead and book the ticket as we preferred Gold Coast over Hanoi.
Map of Australia (Source: http://www.gold-coast.net)

As we will be taking public transport, I decided to stay at Broadbeach South which is a bus and light rail interchange. There are direct bus 777 from here to airport and bus 705 to Sea world. The light rail from Broadbeach South terminates at Helensvale and there is bus TX7 from Helensvale to Movie World, Wet n Wild, Dream World and White Water WorldThe apartments near Broadbeach South are quite expensive and I found a good deal on Airbnb. It is a unit at Neptune Resort apartment but is managed directly by the Airbnb owner instead of Neptune Resort. The 6 nights stay at the 1 bedroom apartment cost S$470. I did a check on Neptune Resort website that rate is more than double for similar nights. The location is excellent as it is within walking distance from Broadbeach South terminal and Pacific Fair shopping centre.

To get around Gold Coast, I will be buying the Go card which is similar to Ezlink card. It can be purchase at Gold Coast Airport The Hub Convenience Store but card refund is not available here. Go card cost A$10 including a minimum balance of A$5 and card issuance fee of A$5 which is currently waived. Benefits of Go card includes: 
- 30% cheaper than a single one way paper ticket
- make 8 paid go card journeys in a week (Monday to Sunday) and receive 50% off any extra journeys you make that week, regardless of the zones travelled
- further 20% off-peak discount applies between 8.30am - 3.30pm, and after 7pm until 6am on weekdays (includes all day weekends and on state-wide gazetted Queensland public holidays).
There is also a travel day pass go explore at $10 per day for adults which allows unlimited daily travel on TransLink's bus and tram services.

I plan to buy a SIM card for data usage in Gold Coast as renting a WIFI device is much more expensive. The cheapest SIM card I can find on Qoo10 website is Telstra 7 days (2GB + Unlimited local call) for S$10 and Optus 5 days (1GB + 4GB bonus data + $10 call) for S$13.90. I found on Klook website that AIS has 15 days unlimited data for S$14.75. However the only constraint is the SIM card can only be collected at Bangkok Siam Center or Suvarnabuhumi airport. I got my luck as my ex-colleague is travelling to Bangkok in May so she is able to collect the SIM card for me.

As we intend to visit all the theme parks, it is much cheaper to purchase the combo tickets instead of single day pass. However there is no combo tickets for access to all the theme parks as Dreamworld and Movie World are managed by different owners. Sea World, Wet n Wild and Warner Bros Movie World are own by Warner Bros while Dreamworld, White water world and SkyPoint Observation Deck are own by Ardent Leisure. Sea World, Wet n Wild and Warner Bros Movie World 3 day pass cost A$129 whereas Dreamworld, White water world and SkyPoint Observation Deck 3 day pass cost A$89. Klook has a cheaper package for the Sea World, Wet n Wild and Warner Bros Movie World at S$111.55. I have purchased the ticket for S$99.80 before the price increase and enjoyed a further $10 off by using the promo code "IAMNEW" which is only applicable for a new account.

In addition to visiting theme parks, I have included a glow worm tour after reading it on a blog. I decided to book the tour with Experience OZ which cost A$99 per pax. The package includes return transfer, glow worm tour at Springbook national park and star gazing. I have read positive reviews about Experience OZ before booking the tour. In addition, there is A$10 off for booking tour above A$100 after I registered an account. Klook has a similar package but is much more expensive. KKday offer the package at similar price but I read bad reviews about their service on tripadvisor.

Itinerary for this trip: 
Day 1: Reach Gold Coast @ 7.40am GMT+10, Sea World
Day 2: Warner Bros Movie 
Day 3: Dreamworld
Day 4: White water world and Glow worm tour
Day 5: Bundall Farmers' Market and SkyPoint Observation Deck
Day 6: Wet n Wild
Day 7: Depart Gold Coast @ 9am GMT +10

Budget for this trip S$1,050: 
- S$250 for accommodation
- S$20 for Australia ETA
- S$15 for SIM card
- S$50 for transport 
- S$270 for theme parks admission and tour
- S$365 for food
- S$30 for luggage storage/ lockers at theme parks
- S$50 for miscellaneous

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