What’s the point of taking your teenager on a holiday if they spend the entire time glued to their phone or video games? We take our families places so they can experience the world, or at least more than the inside of a hotel room.

Marriott Australia has come up with the very clever idea of asking advice. From teenagers. This City My Way is the hotel chain’s very own teen concierge program. Eight very articulate teenagers from around Australia are providing gold advice – where to hang out, what to do. Basically, how to have fun.

We’ve asked 16 year old Queenslander Emma Campbell to share five tips for a trip to the Gold Coast.

We all return home from a holiday with a hell of a story to tell – a quirky old lady who sold you a handcrafted bag at the markets and told you her life story sneaks into the dinner conversation for almost a week, the most hilarious holiday snap becomes your profile picture immediately.

The lineup I’ve prepared for you ensures that you’ll never have a boring story, photo or memory to share after your holiday here with us on the Gold Coast this summer. There’s something for the thrill-seeker, foodie, keen shopper, and any combination of all three who’s looking for a story to tell.

1. Learn to Surf

How often has someone told you “I wish I could surf”? With my own experience behind me, I’d say it’s undoubtedly one of the most-said phrases by us all. There’s no better place to turn “I wish” into “I can!” The Gold Coast Surf Academy is located at Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. Under the eye of expert instructors you’ll learn to take your moves from the sand to the sea as part of the academy’s skills development. But whether you ride the whitewash on your belly, knees or two feet, thrills aren’t few and far between in one of these hour and a half lessons.

2. Spend a day at Burleigh

They say that to fit in like a local, you’ve got to travel like a local, and there’s no better way to do so than by spending the day in the down-to-earth, beachy suburb of Burleigh. If pristine shores perfect for a dip weren’t enough, Burleigh’s beautiful headland offers 360 degree, picturesque panoramas of the coast as well as great bushwalking opportunities. After a long day in the sun, who doesn’t love a good bite to eat, fresh juice and an amble through chic boutiques? Head over the road to James Street and you’ve all this and more at your fingertips. Did I mention how good travelling like a local was?!

3. Check out the Surf Outlets

Lets be honest, a factory cluttered with boxes half-opened, clothes of every colour strewn off hangers and across the floor isn’t your average shopping experience. But it’s all part of the fun. There’s something to be said about the satisfaction of finding the last pair of shorts in your size, half price. Rummaging until you score a unique find without spending all your pocket money is a fun way of spending a day at the shops. The suburb of Ashmore has a collection of Surf Outlets where bargains and big brands are abundant. Make this a pit stop on the way to the beach.

4. Test your agility at Aqua Splash

New to the Gold Coast’s Broadwater and an instant hit with keen water warriors of all ages, this floating obstacle course really has made a splash. What was a vast open swimming plane has been transformed into a slippery labyrinth featuring water trampolines, floating rock walls and super slides, establishing itself as an inflatable icon for this summer on the Coast. Located in one of the city’s many gems, you’ll have no trouble filling in the day either, with opportunities for a picnic on the parklands, a walk along the pier and a bike ride along the smooth paths. So, are you game enough to put your strength, endurance, agility and ability to laugh at yourself to the test on the Aqua Splash?
Take a Jet ski Safari:

5. Sightseeing for the adrenalin junkies

What better way is there to see the Coast than by skimming across the waterways at speeds of up to 60km/h? A Jet Ski Safari guarantees you a taste of all the city has to offer. You’ll see the magical skyline on the horizon, its hinterland as your backdrop, and beautiful waters right under your seat. With a tour guide on hand, you’ll be able to carve snaking contours through the Broadwater, mangrove everglades and island shores all at your own tapered or zippy pace. Adventure, local knowledge and a lot of fun, just with the start of the engine.

Where to stay:

At the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, you won’t have any trouble keeping the kids off their electronics. The Gold Coast’s only saltwater lagoon pool with its own fish is popular with all ages, for the snorkelling and the daily fish feeding. There’s also a whirlpool, grotto spa and a water slide in the other pools on site.

Are you travelling from Adelaide to Brisbane? Check out our cheap flights.