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MERGA 46 Gold Coast Travel and Accommodation

About the Gold Coast and Attractions

The Gold Coast, Queensland, is a tourist destination known for its vibrant beaches and numerous attractions. It's famed for Surfers Paradise, a beach with impressive three-kilometre-long golden sands that attract sun-lovers and surfers. Accommodation is available in Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, and Broadbeach (see map and further details below). 

The region offers a variety of activities ranging from eco-tours and wildlife safaris to theme parks like Warner Bros Movie World and Sea World. Visitors can enjoy jet skiing, and various water sports along the coast. Just under an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast and you reach Gold Coast’s hinterland region, with its ancient rainforests and national parks, Mount Tamborine and the hinterland surrounding it is perfect for nature walks and bird watching. The area's versatility, combining beachfront relaxation with adventure and natural beauty, makes it an ideal spot for diverse interests.

  1. Popular Attractions: The Gold Coast offers a variety of attractions such as nature and wildlife tours, day cruises, parks, jet ski rentals, theme parks, eco-tours, beaches, and much more. Tripadvisor has comprehensive details of things to do.  
  2. Beaches: Surfers Paradise Beach is a notable spot, famous for its sun, sand, and sea. Other beaches like Main Beach and Coolangatta are also popular for an early morning stroll.  
  3. Activities and Sights: The area is known for its theme parks, shopping, surfing, ancient rainforests, and a world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. See the Guide to the Gold Coast. Additionally, there are music festivals, art shows, golf courses, and whale-watching opportunities (whale watching season in Brisbane and along the Gold Coast is from June to October). Further information from Destination Gold Coast.

Urban walks are noted on maps of the Gold Coast and you can hire bicycles in Surfers Paradise. Further afield the Queensland Government lists popular walking trails. If you like swimming then Swim the World Travel has summarised some of the swimming options. Many hotels offer swimming, spa and sauna facilities. Look for any signposting on the beaches about surf guards, swimmers and surfers. The Aquatic Centre is at Broadwater Parklands.  

 

Image courtesy of the Langham Hotel
Image credit: Langham Hotel

Temperature and Weather

The average Gold Coast July temperature is 20°C (range 18–26) with 9°C (range 7–17; source: BOM) overnight with approximately eight days of rain per month (47ml). While you can pack lightly for the Gold Coast it pays to bring something warm and a jacket, just in case. Weather and Climate recommends that you wear layers so that you can adjust to the temperature on the day. 

 

The Conference Venue

The conference will be held at Griffith University's Gold Coast campus, located at Parklands Dr, Southport QLD 4222. The campus blends modern architecture with the natural beauty of the surrounding area, offering a stimulating environment for learning.

 

Image courtesy of Sarah DallyImage courtesy of Griffith UniversityImage courtesy of Griffith University
Image credits: Sarah Dally and Griffith University (x2)

 

 

Conference Dinner at Q1 Resort

Image of the Q1 skyline restaurant Image credit: Q1 Resort

 

The MERGA conference dinner is scheduled to take place at the Q1 Resort on Tuesday 2nd July 2024.

Location: The Q1 Resort is located at 9 Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217. The Q1 resort is one of the most iconic buildings in the area.

 

Image of the Q1 skyline restaurant Image credit: Q1 Resort

 

Travel Options between Griffith University and Hotels on the Gold Coast

Tram/light Rail: The G:link Gold Coast Light Rail Network is a convenient and efficient way to travel between Hotels on the Gold Coast (such as those at Surfers Paradise and the Q1 Resort where the conference dinner will be held) and Griffith University. The Surfers Paradise G:link Station is located right at the doorstep of Q1 Resort. G:link timetables and fare information is available online.

Alternatively city taxi services can be reached on 131008 or perhaps a MaxiTaxi may be perfect for your group.

 

Travel to the Gold Coast

Image courtesy of G:link/James Jinn-Jy Lin/TripAdvisor
Image credit: G:link/James Jinn-Jy Lin/TripAdvisor

Travelling from the Gold Coast Airport

Travel to and from the Gold Coast is convenient, with multiple options from flying to train/tram, car hire, or shuttle/taxi (for larger groups).

The Gold Coast is serviced by the Gold Coast Airport (see map, airport code OOL), with frequent domestic (Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar) and some international flights (e.g. Air New Zealand/Singapore Air), making it accessible from various locations. 

The 777 bus runs seven days a week from the Gold Coast Airport to Broadbeach South (G:link) station. From here you can easily transfer to the G:link Gold Coast Light Rail Network (see below), which will take you to Griffith University via Surfers Paradise.

Con-x-ion shuttle busses and hotel transfer busses are available to major locations including hotels (see hotel websites for details of transfer busses). Alternatively a taxi costs up to $90 for the 45 minute drive (approximately 30km).  Uber also operates from the Gold Coast Airport. 

 

 

Travelling from Brisbane

Brisbane Airport (see map, airport code BNE) is to the northeast of Brisbane city, and convenient transfer into Brisbane city and to the Gold Coast is by Airtrain, Shuttle or Greyhound Bus (see below). Uber also operates in Brisbane where there are multiple hotels if you have time for an overnight en-route. 

For those seeking more flexibility, driving (hire cars are available at the airport or city centre, Brisbane) or taking a taxi (taxi would be about $250) may be viable options especially for larger groups, with the area well-connected by roads. Aggregating services such as Rental Cars will get you on the way to finding the right hire car. 

The Airtrain and Tram (Airtrain to G:link Tram) combination (see train/tram route map and timetable) offers a convenient and scenic route from Brisbane Airport to multiple G:link stops on the Gold Coast, departing every 15 minutes (peak) or 30 minutes (off peak) and taking approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes travel time. Buy a ticket for the entire route online in advance for a discount, or at Brisbane Airport. Transfer from the Airtrain at Helensvale Airtrain and Tram Station to the G:link Gold Coast Light Rail Network (train/tram route map), which will take you directly to Griffith University and tram stops near popular hotels on the coast. Private car and shared minibus transfers may be available from major hotels such as the Q1 Resort.

Payment on the G:link is either by debit/credit card (touch in/out) or buy a paper ticket/Go Card and top up with credit. A Go Card is the cheapest option. 

The Greyhound Bus leaves from Brisbane city centre (see map) to Surfers Paradise (three stops) three times per day, taking around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The Brisbane Airport Con-x-ion Shuttle  operates to the Gold Coast for around $55 pp (one way, ride share). We recommend booking in advance in order to know what times they may be departing Brisbane Airport

Further details about travelling to and from the Gold Coast are available from RomeToRio or PointHacks, or possibly from your preferred hotel's website. 

 

Image courtesy of SeaWorld
Image credit: SeaWorld

 

Travelling from Sydney

It takes about nine hours to drive from Sydney to the Gold Coast (see map) which may be an option especially if you are planning some holiday around the conference. 

 

Accommodation and Dining

Image courtesy of QT
Image credit: QT Hotel

 

Accommodation

The Gold Coast offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets, for example, (in no particular order):

  • Pinnacle on the Park: Just 0.8 km from Griffith University, this sustainable apartment complex offers a serene garden view and modern amenities.
  • Mantra at Sharks Hotel: Situated in Southport, 0.9km from the campus, it's surrounded by dining and entertainment options and boasts a multipurpose events centre.
  • Seaworld Resort: Located on Broadwater, with direct access to Sea World and only 15 minutes' walk from the popular Surfers Paradise and Marina Mirage Shopping area. It is located 4.6 km from Griffith University.
  • The Sheraton: Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Gold Coast features a pool bar and direct beach access. It is 4.7 km from Griffith University.
  • Meriton Suites Broadbeach: Known for its luxury and proximity to the beach. It is located 4 km from Griffith University.
  • The Ruby Gold Coast Apartments by CLLIX has provided a discount code MERGAAC2024 (https://www.cllix.com/) to give a 10% discount on their website prices from 30 June–4 July.

For participants preferring to stay in the city centre, Surfers Paradise offers several alternative accommodation options. See sites like Booking.com, Wotif, Expedia and TripAdviser for more details. If accommodation is showing as sold out on those sites you may still be able to book direct (which may also be cheaper).

AirBNB may be an option for solo travellers and groups willing to share. Motels may also provide cost-effective accommodation. 

 

Image courtesy of Q1 Resort
Image credit: Q1 Resort

Image courtesy of Meriton Suites
Image credit: Meriton Suites

 

Dining

The Gold Coast is a gourmet delight with many restaurants and cafés to explore. It is impossible to signpost even a fraction of the many amazing restaurants and culinary variation available (but if you like Japanese you may be in heaven). Most hotels have excellent restaurants (we recommend you consult review sites like Google and TripAdvisor).

TripAdvisor lists its 'top ten restaurants' and provides rankings in different categories, and the Australian Good Food Guide has an enormous list of restaurants on the Gold Coast. 

Bars

The Gold Coast has a lively night-life scene with many clubs and bars (see the Urban List and Queensland recommendations, or TripAdvisor top ten) including breweries and craft beer (see map). Some wineries in the hinterland are listed on the Australian Good Food Guide website and those within a short drive of the Gold Coast are listed on the Inside Gold Coast website.  

 

Image courtesy of the Four Winds Revolving Restaurant (now Crown Plaza Horizon Sky Dining)
Image credit: Four Winds Revolving Restaurant (now Crown Plaza Horizon Sky Dining)

 

Visas

New Zealand Visitors

New Zealand passport holders can apply for a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) on arrival into Australia (there is no need to apply in advance).

International Visitors

If you are travelling to MERGA 46 from further abroad (neither an Australian nor New Zealand passport) then you will need to apply for either an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601), an eVisitor (subclass 651) or a Business Visitor Visa (subclass 600); see the IMMI Rules for Entering Australia Including Visa Types and the associated explore the visa options button (select 'Attending a Conference or Expo' as an unpaid delegate, unless you are staying longer for other reasons). The ETA can be applied for using the App, is free, and takes a few days to process; the eVisitor is free and takes 24 hours to process; and the Business Visitor Visa costs $150 AUD and may take a month to process. Those outside the countries eligible for the ETA and eVisitor may need to apply for the Business Visitor Visa.

You may require a 'Letter of Invitation' to assist with your visa application, in which case please contact [email protected].

An Accompanying Person who is registered with the conference may also apply for their visa as 'Attending a Conference or Expo'.