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Local Hosts: Countdown to ICA24 on the Gold Coast – Practical Travel Advice

  • 1.  Local Hosts: Countdown to ICA24 on the Gold Coast – Practical Travel Advice

    Posted 25 days ago
    Edited by Tom Mankowski 25 days ago
    Posted on behalf of Oscar Davis, Sasha Goodwin, Chaundra Manorome, Samantha Vilkins

    Be prepared early

    With ICA acceptances out and registration open, now's the time to get prepared early for the Gold Coast. 

    The Gold Coast is a well-loved holiday destination - for good reason! - and flights, accommodation, and other bookings are much better to organise early rather than later, even for winter in June. 

    (The conference dates also overlap with Queensland state school holidays, so family-friendly activities might fill up quickly!)

    Our previous welcome articles have covered some of the fantastic day trips, activities and opportunities to book ahead of your trip, as well as things to be aware of around visas, and flying into either the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta, or an hour's train away at Brisbane Airport. 

    Here are some more tips about packing, preparing, and things to keep in mind while visiting. 


    Packing for the Gold Coast in June

    The ICA conference dates in June are in the middle of winter in Australia, but don't go overboard with the layers and winter coats! Winters for the Gold Coast are dry, mild and sunny, with temperatures from 10-20C (50-70F). 

    Photo: Destination Gold Coast

    Though the beaches won't be as busy as the hotter high season, you'll still see people out in the water, as well as wandering around in shorts. There's also plenty of other things to do in the winter - winter is whale-watching season!). 

    While packing a warm coat might not be necessary, something to act as a windbreak, especially if you plan to walk along the beach or head out on the water, is a great idea. 

    You should also be prepared to apply sunscreen frequently if you're outdoors, and be familiar with other sun safety advice. Even in winter, the Australian sun can be harsher than some are used to back home! 

    Getting connected

    Australian mobile data now operates on a 5G network. While some areas offer free wi-fi, including eduroam at university-affiliated locations, it is not available everywhere.

    The easiest solution to getting connected quickly will be either purchasing an e-sim to activate automatically in Australia, or purchasing a local sim card on arrival.

    In case of emergency

    The number to call in case of emergency in Australia is 000, or triple zero. This will get you on to the police, fire and emergency health services.

    When faced with the need for urgent medical attention on the Gold Coast, you will find two public hospitals and a number of  private hospitals catering to the Gold Coast region.

    Gold Coast University Hospital - Situated opposite the Griffith University Gold Coast campus, newly updated and ranking among Queensland's largest clinical teaching and research facilities.

    Robina Hospital - Within the Robina Health Precinct, this 364-bed public hospital represents a relatively recent addition to the healthcare landscape for Gold Coast residents, and offers a 24-hour emergency department.

    Gold Coast Private Hospital in Southport, Pindara Private Hospital in Benowa, andJohn Flynn Private Hospital in Tugan

    Getting around the Gold Coast

    The ICA conference is at Broadbeach, situated slightly south of the main centre of the Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise. There are plenty of accommodation and dining options available around Broadbeach itself. 

    If you'd like to stay at or visit Surfers, or any of the other smaller beaches up and down the coast, they're only a short drive, or even a nice walk along the beach. 

    The Gold Coast light rail/tram service G:link also runs frequently up and down the coast.

    Photo: G:link stations guide

    The Gold Coast has a network of public transit, including buses, trains, and trams, providing easy access to various destinations across the region. The G:link tram system, starting from the Gold Coast University Hospital, connects 16 stations including popular destinations like Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, and Broadbeach. 

    Train services run from Varsity Lakes to Brisbane, which takes about an hour depending on which stop you are getting off at. While buses cover most suburbs and tourist hubs, they are less frequent in outer areas like the Hinterland.

    For those wanting more flexibility in their travels, you can rent a car, with prices starting from $20 per day. This option allows visitors to explore areas beyond the reach of public transport, especially in the scenic Gold Coast Hinterland. 

    There is also an extensive network of bikeways and pathways for a sustainable method of travel. Lime's pedal-assisted electric bikes provide an eco-friendly means of transportation, with hundreds of bikes available in key locations. Unlike traditional bike-sharing systems, Lime bikes can be picked up and dropped off anywhere. 

    There is also the option of Scooter rentals as an alternative way to explore the area.

    Pre- and post-conferences

    Around the main ICA conference, there are many excellent pre- and post-conferences organised in the vicinity

    Many of these are hosted by members belonging to universities on the Gold Coast, or in nearby Brisbane, including: 

    Bond University, Australia's pioneering private university, renowned for its exceptional business, law, and psychology programs. 

    Griffith University's Gold Coast campus, housing the Griffith University School of Medicine and Dentistry, with significant investment in cutting-edge facilities, including those within the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. 

    Southern Cross University's Gold Coast campus, nestled in Coolangatta near North Kirra Beach and the Gold Coast Airport, with state-of-the-art learning spaces, including clinical laboratories and computer labs, complemented by stellar student support services.

    Queensland University of Technology with two major campuses in Brisbane city, a global leader in digital humanities, and social science research, with a focus on communication, media, and the law.

    Getting excited

    We hope you're getting excited to visit the Gold Coast in a few months - we're excited to meet you! As we lead up to the conference, you can scroll and follow along at the various tourism websites for the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia for inspiration. 

    Local tips for dining and culture are also easily found in places like Broadsheet, Urban List, and InQLD - or checking out our previous welcome articles in this newsletter. 

    See you soon! 

    Tom Mankowski
    Washington DC
    United States