Getting there:

You're about an hour's drive from Brisbane Airport.

Check-in experience: Fast and friendly.

The room: We were in 3032, a premium queen. It worked well with two queen-sized beds for the grown-ups and a rollout single for the 4-year-old.

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The layout of the room was "excellent for the three of us", says my mum who was there along with my son.

"Three generations sleeping in the same area for two nights. It worked well."

What's more, Mum reports that access to the room from the reception area was easy "for an old lady like me who has no sense of direction — it was good".

The price: Upfront, you'll pay about $300 a night for a room like this. But with a package deal, it's not hard to get it for about $200-$250.

Fellow guests: Australian white ibis birds with tall, white bodies and long, downward-curved beaks stand around on the outdoor causeways linking different areas of the hotel.

Real characters. Otherwise, this is classic Queensland family holiday territory, so expect to bump into a Kiwi family you half recall from somewhere else and plenty of Aussies.

There were a few Chinese visitors during our stay, too, some with kids, some without.

What's in the neighbourhood: This resort is part of the famed Sea World theme park next door, with a gate taking guests from the front of the accommodation straight into the back of the the park grounds. It's handy for avoiding crowds and guests can get into the park at 9.30am to see the start of the dolphin-training session. The park's main doors don't open until 10am, so it's a quiet, pleasant start to your Sea World experience.

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It's also handy for slipping back to base to have a shower and a little midday chill-out time.

Sea World is about a 20-minute drive to Movie World and Dreamworld, so with a rental car this would make a pretty handy base for a long-weekend theme park haul.

Activities: Can't be bothered leaving the resort? There's an excellent waterpark area. The pool temperature is always at a holiday-tastic 24C-26C.

Food and drink: There's an agreeable buffet and a smart Japanese restaurant.

A room with a view? We looked straight down on to the pool and waterplay area.

Wi-Fi? Free and fast.

Noise: It's a family joint. So loud by day, quiet by night.

Exercise facilities: Few things in life will burn more calories than dragging a hot 4-year-old around Sea World.

Perfect for: Kiwi families escaping the bleak midwinter for a blast of Queensland sunshine.

CHECKLIST
Sea World Resort is on Sea World Dr, Main Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Phone: 0800 123 FUN.