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Paradise Resort Blog

Then & Now

Paradise Resort has changed a LOT in the 40 years since it was first established - for one thing, did you know that it was originally called Ocean Blue?


Our food and drink offerings have had many different iterations over the years, but one thing has always been central to our philosophy: nothing beats a great family meal. At least, that’s true of Paradise Resort. Before our family-focused approach, under our original name Ocean Blue, there was actually a nightclub on-site! Not only that, there was a bakery and a hairdresser, too. Pretty different to Penguins Restaurant, Deb’s Pizza Shack and Jerry’s Burgers, don’t you think?! One thing that hasn’t changed much over the years is Splashes Mini-Mart, which gives guests the option to pick up those essentials they may have forgotten to bring along with them, as well as some must-have Paradise Resort merch!

Image taken in 1970 when the site was home to Zuiderzee Restaurant. Image source:



Today, Paradise Resort is perhaps best known for its incredible facilities. From the two water parks to the ice-skating rink, the many playgrounds and the Z4K kids area, it truly is paradise for kids. But it hasn’t always been this way. To understand where the focus on family fun originated, we need to cast our minds back to 2010. À Melbourne family, the Zagames, had just bought the resort, and they invested a whopping $6 million over five years in order to refurbish the waterpark, the outdoor pool area and other facilities, along with the guest rooms. This included installing Australia’s first hotel-based ice skating rink, now known as Planet Chill. Keep your eyes peeled over the coming months as the Paradise Resort facilities improves once again, this time with the addition of our new Adults’ Club!

Image taken in June 2001: Bernies Poolside BBQ

Before it became an ice-skating rink the Sandpiper Room hosted many functions and weddings

The lagoon pool and gecko slide made the resort famous before making way for the waterpark



Given Ocean Blue’s early reputation as a first-class holiday destination for sports teams and couples, the guest suites weren’t designed with families in mind – as ours are today. It wasn’t until the Zagames took over ownership in 2010 that the rooms were refurbished to accommodate for kids, fitted out with bunk beds and play spaces unlike many seen around Australia at the time. While we have renovated rooms in some of our wings since then, we still retain a family-focused spirit. Though many of our fittings and fixtures are a lot more modern, parents can sleep easy knowing that their children have been considered in the rooms’ design, from the provided gaming consoles to those beloved bunk beds.

A Resort Room in 2004

Dustys Deluxe Resort Room

To a newly renovated Deluxe Room in 2021

Dustys Deluxe Family Room

A NEW Deluxe Family Room located in Dustys Digs



One of the most recognisable aspects of the Paradise Resort brand is our team of gecko mascots: Captain Dane, Astro, Dusty, and Cleo. But they haven’t always been part of the Paradise Resort story! In fact, the four mascots you know and love are a nod to Paradise Resort’s time as part of the Accor hotel chain in the late 1990s. Under Accor’s management, Paradise Resort (known then as the Mercure Resort) was beginning to take more of a family-focused approach – part of this was the establishment of the Gecko Kids Club. While we like to think it didn’t have anything on the awesome Z4K at the resort today, we do have this original kids’ club to thank for our modern gecko mascots.

In 2002 Gizmo launched the Gecko Kids Club

In 2007 Gizmo left and moved to the Sunshine Coast and Zak became the new Z4K mascot

In 2012 we welcomed resident mascots; Captain, Astro, Cleo and Dusty



When Paradise Resort (then Ocean Blue) was first established, there were very few high rises on the Glitter Strip to speak of. The Gold Coast was primarily filled with beachfront shanty homes and bushland, a relatively well-kept secret (from developers, at least) by locals and holidaying families from around Australia. In 1981, when Paradise Resort was constructed, so too was Grundy’s – the now-demolished entertainment centre, complete with a four-slide water flume, on the Surfers Paradise Beachfront – and Dreamworld. Yep, the Gold Coast’s reputation as Australia’s family entertainment capital was born. To this day, Paradise Resort is proud to be at the heart of it.

Image taken in 1980. Source:

Image taken in 1970. Source:

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