Sylvia Jeffreys shares family trip to her childhood happy place

Sylvia Jeffreys shares family trip to her childhood happy place
Sylvia Jeffreys shares family trip to her childhood happy place

To steal a line from the great Forrest Gump, “I just kept running”.

The sun was rising and chucking heavenly rays over the vast stretches of ocean, my feet striking the flat esplanade that hugs the sand.  I ran and ran, as if pulled by a magnetic force to the heart of my childhood.

As I reached Kurrawa Beach, the Margaret street entrance, I walked the sandy path which, for years, marked the beginning of long, salty beach days with my brother and sister, cousins, aunts and uncles who taught me how to dive under waves, spot a rip and build giant drip castles. 

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Sylvia Jeffreys spent her childhood enjoying family visits to the Gold Coast. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)

Back on the esplanade I could see the empty block of land where our holiday units once stood; two 1960s apartments that housed my entire extended family during Easter and Christmas holidays, and other special times in between.  

The 5 kilometre jog back to Surfers Paradise was powered by my excitement that my children were about to begin building their own core holidays memories in the place where I forged mine.

Our week on the Gold Coast began, appropriately, with extended family at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a Queensland institution that’s home to all the things that light up a little boy of 3 or 4 years old; spectacular birds, kangaroos, a train… DINOSAURS! 

The temptation to climb a T Rex was thankfully defeated, but the kids couldn’t control their laughter at a peacocking pelican who strutted through the bird show like a model on a catwalk.

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sylvia jeffreys family holiday to the gold coast queensland
Now the mum is excited to share her favourite spots with her children. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)

Successful family holidays depend on a little quid pro quo… a carrot for the kids, followed by a carrot for the parents.  We all know the balance tends to tip heavily in favour of those most likely to tantrum, but us mums and dads have got to take the wins where we can get them. 

For me it was a quick ocean plunge at Burleigh Beach, where the southern headland provides protection on a breezy Autumn day and fish and chips at the surf club with wet togs and sandy feet.  

sylvia jeffreys family holiday to the gold coast queensland
A family holiday is about doing things for the kids and the adults. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)

We were invited by Destination Gold Coast to share this experience with our children and called the JW Marriott our home during the stay, a hotel famous for its sprawling lagoon pool where you’ll find sandy beaches, reef fish and a water slide.  And a bar, FYI.

This pool is what my childhood dreams were made of, and it’s now what my four-year-old’s highlights reel is built on after notching up 13 solo slides in half an hour one afternoon… “very brave”. 

This is where my boys also discovered the joy of a buffet breakfast where they indulged in minimum three courses each morning; scrambled eggs, pancakes and gummy bears.  (Please don’t @ me if you are a paediatric dietitian).

sylvia jeffreys family holiday to the gold coast queensland
They called the JW Marriott home during the stay. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)

When it came to nostalgia hits, Dreamworld served it up on a giant platter. 

The pastel coloured eateries and bright lights of the theme park triggered a flood of memories. 

And with no queues to contend with on a weekday in May, our kids had a dream run on their first visit.  

sylvia jeffreys family holiday to the gold coast queensland
Dreamworld served up all the nostalgia. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)
sylvia jeffreys family holiday to the gold coast queensland
The Home of the Arts was a hit for young and old. (Supplied/Sylvia Jeffreys)

But as much as I love the elements of the Gold Coast that have stayed the same, I can appreciate the parts that have changed and grown. 

The Home of the Arts, a sophisticated cultural hub that attracts international exhibitions, while strategically catering for little ones with a rock climbing wall and interactive activities that trick them into thinking this outing was tailored for them, when in fact it was for Mummy who’s also got us booked in for lunch upstairs at the exhibitionist restaurant. 

Ha-ha, suckers!  #quidproquo

On our last morning on the Gold Coast I set off for one last, flat run. 

I considered turning left this time, but decided against it because sometimes a big dose of the “familiar” is just what the doctor ordered.  

Writer travelled as a guest of Destination Gold Coast.

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