If you fancy paragliding in Queensland, there is plenty of action not far from the famous Gold Coast. The local paragliding organizations have been conducting commercial operations there for a long time, and are proud of their safety record. With so many tourists and travellers from other Australian states around, introducing people to paragliding has become a well-oiled business in Queensland.
Toowoomba and Canungra are two locations near the Gold Coast where you will find a lot of paragliding activity. Towoomba is about 2 hours drive from the Gold Coast beaches, while Canungra is only 40 minutes.
Where exactly is the Gold Coast? It's situated in the south-east corner of Queensland. The Gold Coast area extends from the suburb of Beenleigh in the far north, down to Coolangatta which is on the New South Wales border. From the beaches facing the Pacific Ocean in the east, it extends west to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
If you intend to go paragliding in Queensland and are just looking for a ride, the place to be is Canungra. This local paragliding hot-spot is a small country town out in 'the bush'. Nothing much making noise out there except the birds in the native trees on the ridges. The valleys are wide and flat. Poking up a bit higher than the rest, and just a few kilometers away is Mount Tambourine. In fact, if you paraglide here, you have great views of the entire Gold Coast!
If you are going paragliding in Queensland, and in particular the Gold Coast, you can expect great sub-tropical weather. The winters, if you can call them that, are warm and mild. The summers can be hot by some people's standards, in the 'Sunshine State'.
As a very famous, and now over-quoted T.V. ad used to say, the weather can be 'beautiful one day, perfect the next'. There's more than 280 days of sunshine in a typical year! So bring plenty of sun block and good eye-wear if you want to go paragliding in Queensland.
Here's a few stats on the local climate. Relative humidity is generally in the 60s. Mmm not too uncomfortable. Average daily temperature during summer is between 19°C (66°F) and 29°C (84°F) In winter, temperatures range from 9°C (48°F) to 21°C (70°F).
As I hinted earlier, a lot of the flying here is geared towards first-timers, out to see what the paragliding buzz is all about. Two-day courses are offered as well as longer ones designed to get you fully licensed to fly. Instructional flights in a tandem setup are also popular. Perfect if you just 'want to see what it's like'. You can even take your still or video camera with you. Just don't drop it.
These flights in the Canungra region have featured quite a lot in the media, both local and national. All the launch sites are within 20 minutes drive from the township. The town has most of the basic facilities you might need while away from home. For example, a post-office, supermarket, chemist and a solitary ATM (automatic teller machine). Anything more might require a trip to some of the bigger towns in the region.
So if you're up for it, maybe you're a local who hasn't tried it yet, give paragliding in Queensland a try! You can play the videos to your grand-kids ;-)
Here's how to get there. First, if necessary, take a big silver bird to Queensland's capital city, Brisbane. Drive south on the M1, and take Exit 57, then follow the signs to Canungra.
If approaching from the south on the Pacific Highway, turn inland when you enter Nerang. From there, follow the signs to Beaudesert and Canungra. You will reach Canungra first.
If approaching from Ipswich, Toowoomba, or Warwick, just drive towards Peak Crossing, then follow the signs to Beaudesert then Canungra. Enjoy paragliding in Queensland!