ANGELA SAURINE and her toddler enjoy a fun-filled stay at the closest holiday park to Dreamworld and Warner Bros. Movie World theme parks on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Here are the things that floated their boat
1. Concierge check in
After a long drive with kids in the back, getting out of the car to check into a holiday park can be a bit annoying. During the COVID-19 pandemic, BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park introduced driveway check in for safety reasons — and it’s stayed! The receptionist comes to you with an iPad and checks you in from the comfort of your car.
2. The epic waterpark
Without doubt, the biggest drawcard of this holiday park is its waterpark. At ten metres high, it’s the tallest waterpark at any holiday park in Australia, with a huge tipping bucket and several slides catering to kids of different ages. And it’s heated! The waterpark is open from 10am to 4pm on weekends and 12pm to 4pm weekdays, with longer operating hours during school holidays.
3. Proximity to theme parks
Located at Helensvale, it’s the closest holiday park to the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks, just across the road from Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, Outback Spectacular and Topgolf, and only a few minutes’ drive to Dreamworld and Whitewater World. Sea World is around 20 minutes’ drive away.
4. The tropical vibe
The word ‘bungalow’ evokes the ideal holiday accommodation in my mind – even better if it’s surrounded by palm trees and other tropical plants! I love sitting on the verandah listening to the wind rustling the leaves and birds tweeting, and watching families return from the pool with their towels wrapped around their shoulders. There are also caravan and camping sites, interconnecting motel rooms, cabins, villas, terraces and cottages.
5. The awesome camp kitchen
The camp kitchen at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is the coolest I’ve seen. The stylishly renovated facility even has a built-in tropical fish tank, as well as a flat screen TV mounted to the rock wall. There are three internal kitchen stations, each fitted with a hotplate, oven, microwave, fridge/freezer and toaster; timber dining tables and seating, and supersized ceiling fans.
6. The poolside café
Sitting at an eatery beside the pool on a balmy evening just creates that feeling of being on holiday. That’s one of the things I loved about BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday’s Park’s onsite restaurant, Nibbles Café, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is updated several times a year, with chefs developing menus around fresh, seasonal produce. Its kids’ menu for children aged 12 and under includes chicken nuggets and chips, fish and chips, and calamari and chips for $10 each. There are QR Codes on tables and cabanas, so you can peruse the menu and order without getting up. There’s also a fireplace for the colder months, and an adjoining alfresco dining area called Nibbles Terrace.
7. The activities
Another great thing about being on holiday is being able to spend quality time with your children, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I love sitting with my four-year-old son Oliver in the activity centre during the rock art session, helping him decide what to paint and supergluing little eyes onto rocks. There is also a jumping pillow, pedal karts, a bike track, a half-size basketball court, and a range of games, such as table tennis, movie nights and a remote-control car track. You can even go fishing in Salt Water Creek, and kids can sign up to cooking lessons such as pizza making and cookie decorating, and go on scavenger hunts.
8. The Wiggles Big Red Car
The activity centre is also home to a coin-operated Wiggles Big Red Car ride, which is good as it gets for little boys!
9. Green credentials
From cardboard straws and bamboo cutlery in its café to rainwater tanks and an eco-coffee pod trial, BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park has some great measures in place to help the environment. The gum trees on the property are also home to koalas, many of which were rescued from nearby areas by Wildcare Australia, due to injuries or sickness, and rehabilitated before being released to their new home.
10. The treasure map
The bright and colourful map of the holiday park that you receive on arrival is another winner. It’s the closest Oliver has come to a real-life treasure map, and he takes his role of navigating very seriously.
11. It’s dog-friendly
Leaving your furry friends at home can be hard. One of the great things about BIG4 Gold Coast is you can bring them along! It has a dog park with separate areas for small and large dogs. Four-legged friends are also welcome at Nibbles Terrace, with water bowls for them to drink from. All the caravan and camping sites are dog-friendly, and guests can also book dog-friendly cabins and cottages, with up to two dogs allowed per site or cabin. There is even a DIY Dog Wash, known as the Pooch Pamper Palace.
12. Accessible accommodation options
BIG4 Gold Coast has several accessible accommodation options to choose from – and some are also dog-friendly. They include motel rooms, bungalows and two-bedroom family cabins. For those who prefer to camp, the refurbished communal bathroom and camp kitchen are also accessible.
13. The shop
Forgot something? It’s inevitable, isn’t it? Essential items such as toothbrushes, phone chargers, batteries, and kids swimwear are available to buy from reception.