Six of the best: New Gold Coast attractions


Billed as "the world's first hologram entertainment centre", this unlikely warehouse-style building on a nondescript industrial estate is a virtual reality revelation. Even my technology-savvy teenage sons were impressed. After a five-minute training session explaining how to use special holographic eye-glasses and control panel, you're shown into an individual cubicle to experience your adventure of choice. Fancy going on an African safari, coming face to face with a huge lion? Touch Jupiter in "the world's first holographic planetarium"? Become a leading scientist battling strange creatures on an alien planet with just four different holographic weapons? Stand waist-deep in an ocean surrounded by turtles? Or fly over the Gold Coast like a skyline superhero? See:


"The best mountain bike course in Australia", says Robbie McEwen. And who can argue with one of Australia's greatest professional cyclists – even if he was a Tour de France triple Green jersey sprinter, not a mountain biker. McEwen will be an expert commentator at next month's Commonwealth Games (check out the cafe he runs with his Belgian-born wife, Angelique: Piccolo Espresso on Miami Beach). There are now 10 tracks on the mountain, ranging from green to black (similar to ski trails). If you don't bring your own bike, you'll need to hire one (there's no hire outlet at the park itself). See:


Surely the worst-named tourist attraction on the Gold Coast, this $20 million elite golf and tennis facility was where the German Davis Cup team trained last month before beating Australia 3-1. It's the brainchild of Russian mega-millionaire Denis Shtengelov, (Russia's largest chocolate mogul – seriously). Shtengelov bought the old nine-hole Carrara Gardens Golf Course with the aim of eventually turning it into a 72-room academy for future tennis and golf champions. Twelve of its 20 floodlit tennis courts are made of Italian clay (used in the French and Italian Opens, very rare in Australia). You don't need to be elite to play here. Why did Shtengelov build his academy on the Gold Coast, rather than Russia? His chocolate empire is based in Siberia – under snow for six months every year. See:


Invented by two former SAS soldiers, indoor skydiving – using vertical wind tunnels – was originally designed to allow experienced sky divers to hone their free-falling skills in a safe environment. Now it caters for anyone over the age of three (the oldest participant so far was 103). If you're from Sydney or Perth, similar iFLY centres exist in Penrith and Riverdale, but it's more fun to do it on holiday. There's no parachute involved, no leap of faith, no ripcord, no dangerous landing as the earth rushes up on you. Just the exhilarating thrill of being caught in a 230km/h up-draught. Special courses are available if you get hooked. See:


One of Australia's legendary shopping malls was completely revamped in 2016 at the cost of $670 million. Now women (no men so far!) can pre-book one of three professional stylists to guide them through the mall, giving "honest advice" on how to dress and look their best. Each stylist has been chosen to suit a particular clientele – "funky" nose-ring or "fairy godmother" for the more mature woman – with no affiliations to particular stores or brands. Incidentally, the mall is so vast a free new shuttle service has been launched to deliver shoppers from one end to the other. See:


Bad news if you're visiting before June 3. After its $42 million revamp, the home of the Southport Swimming Club – which has bred many Olympic and Commonwealth Games champions – is "in lock-down mode" due to a certain event that will see it used for swimming and diving for 11 days in April. The new diving boards have been specifically constructed to show off the famous Gold Coast beaches to the vast Commonwealth TV audience (a la the 1992 Barcelona Olympics), while the new Olympic-sized pool (one of six pools) should deliver record times. From June 4 onwards, it's yours for $5.90 a swim. See:

Steve Meacham travelled courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.