52 weekends away
Gold Coast, QLD
Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise
Phone: 1300 792 008
The Location The Gold Coast, as they say, is famous for its focus on fun. Its reputation as a holiday playground dates from World War II, when Australian and American servicemen flocked to its beaches for R&R. Development started heading skyward in 1959, when the 10-storey Kinkabool - the glitter strip's first high-rise - was built in Surfers.
The Place Of all the skyscrapers that have sprouted in Surfers Paradise, none cast a longer shadow than Q1. With a cheeky spire pushing its height to 323 metres, it's officially Australia's tallest building (those in the know will argue that Melbourne's Eureka Tower, at 297 metres, is still tallest to its roof). Q1, one block back from the beach, has 526 apartments with one, two or three bedrooms. Inside, it's all dazzling white with colourful accents; there's a generous outdoor pool, indoor lap pool and games room.
The Experience Brought the kids on holiday? Then the region's theme parks will be on the radar. Sea World (seaworld.com.au) is closest to Q1, but DreamWorld (dreamworld.com.au), WhiteWater World (whitewaterworld.com.au), Wet'n'Wild (wetnwild.com.au) and Warner Bros Movie World (movieworld.com.au) are all within 30 minutes' drive. Less wallet-busting is the 3km-long Broadwater Parklands, which features a flying fox, jumping pillow, monorail pedal bikes and water playgrounds. Or just wander out the front door to enjoy the sun, surf and sand that made the Gold Coast famous in the first place.
Don't Miss Q1 has a built-in attraction: SkyPoint observation deck on level 77 and an external building climb (observation deck entry, $21 adult; climb from $89 an adult. Ask the tour desk about discounts). The desk can help with theme park tickets. katrina lobley
Need to know
Cost: one-bedroom spa apartments from $199 a night.
Where : Q1 is in the heart of Surfers Paradise, 20km (30 minutes' drive) north of Gold Coast Airport. Overnight parking is included with accommodation.
Wheelchair access: no.