With signs pointing to places like Miami and Florida Gardens, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve set foot in the lower United States. This is the Sunshine State, but there’s no 20-hour flight or ’gators round these parts.
The Gold Coast is Australia’s favourite summer playground; a sprawling region that stretches 56 kilometres down the Queensland coast, crossing paths with New South Wales on the runways of the Coolangatta airport.
From the glittering high-rises of Surfers Paradise to the more relaxed surrounds of Broadbeach, Burleigh and the Southern Gold Coast beaches, Australia’s glamour strip’s eclectic range of restaurants, clubs, and bars will ensure you have just as good a time off the beach as you do on it.
People love Gold Coast for its...
- Golden beaches
- Lively nightlife
- Friendly locals
Temperature (max C)
J 27, F 29, M 28, A 26, M 23, J 21, J 21, A 22, S 24, O 25, N 27, D 28
Rainfall (max mm)
J 128, F 169, M 112, A 129, M 116, J 117, J 51, A 57, S 43, O 96, N 124, D 137
The city's spectacular coastal setting means heading to the beach is high on the list of things to do on the Gold Coast. The best known is Main Beach at Surfers Paradise, located just across the road from bustling Cavill Avenue. Broadbeach is a quieter option, some three kilometres further down the coast, while Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta’s beaches are some of the coast’s prettiest.
Like Miami and Las Vegas rolled into one, Gold Coast attractions aren't limited just to beaches, with the city renowned for theme parks too. Dreamworld, Wet 'n' Wild, Sea World and Warner Brothers Movie World all heave with hordes of happy tourists come summer.
Scope these Gold Coast surf attractions...
- Surf life saving clubs
- Surfers Paradise beach
- Surfing at Coolangatta
While it might not be regarded as one of Australia's culinary capitals, the Gold Coast is quickly growing as a foodie destination. Fresh food is favoured by health-conscious locals with numerous tasty seafood restaurants lining the streets adjacent to main beaches.
If you’ve spent all your money shopping in Cavill Avenue, you can easily make amends by dining at one of the many budget Japanese and Korean restaurants tucked away in the back alleys of Surfers Paradise.
After dark, the Gold Coast lights up as one of Australia's liveliest nightlife venues. Though pubs are in short supply, if it's nightclubs you're after, you'll find yourself particularly well catered for on Orchid Avenue. More laid back are the local surf lifesaving clubs. The Gold Coast equivalent of a pub, these classic institutions are perfect for a cheap beer with an expansive view.
Enjoy a brew with a view at...
- Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club
- Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club
- Southport Surf Life Saving Club
Don't let the high-rise skyline deceive you; Gold Coast accommodation is about more than just luxurious hotels. Just about every style of accommodation is available, from camp sites and caravans to hostels, self-contained apartments, sprawling holiday homes and an influx of trendy new boutique hotels such as the QT Hotel.
Most of the luxury hotels are located just a stone's throw from the beach in Surfers Paradise, including Soul Surfers Paradise, Mantra Sun City and Hilton Surfers Paradise. Of course, the most infamous of them all is the Q1, which was briefly the world's tallest residential building until 2011.
Jupiters Hotel and Casino is a popular Broadbeach option, while the Southern Gold Coast beaches are the place to catch some sleep if you are serious about catching some surf!
If you have to pick, choose...
- Surfers Paradise for nightlife
- Broadbeach for restaurants
- Coolangatta for surfing
The Gold Coast is home to one of the largest shopping centres in Australia – the sprawling Pacific Fair in Broadbeach. The centre receives some stiff competition for customers from nearby Robina Town Centre, which markets itself as one of the region's premier shopping outlets.
Gold Coast shopping is about more than just air-conditioned arcades and malls however, and the city also hosts several vibrant markets. The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets takes place every Friday night and is a great place to pick up a unique memento of your trip. To bag a bargain, head to the outlet shopping centre Harbour Town.
Gold Coast shopping secrets include...
- Boutiques in Burleigh Heads
- The Billabong factory outlet at Ashmore
- Seafood trawlers at The Spit
Gold Coast like a Local
You’ve probably heard the buzz about the theme parks, the surf beaches, the mega-clubs and the high-rise hotels, but what about the organic markets, the Hinterland eco retreats and the hatted restaurants? There’s more to the Gold Coast beneath its shiny surface – you just have to know where to look!
If you're keen to get away from the beaches and the heaving Gold Coast theme parks, head inland to the lush green interior of the scenic Gold Coast Hinterland. Tamborine Mountain is a popular hinterland getaway surrounded by national parks and provides a picturesque view of the coastline off in the distance.
Take a bushwalk to the bottom of lush rainforest valleys, relax in the splendour of cascading waterfalls and admire the spectacular natural scenery all around you in this beautiful part of the world. The Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park is a must-see, especially for keen photographers (or Instagrammers!). Visitors can also take nightly guided tours to view its resident glow worm colony.
Gold Coast locals know...
- Southern beaches are the quietest
- To stay away during ‘Schoolies’
- The waves are best hit early