In Queensland’s southeast coast, the City of the Gold Coast extends beyond the borders of Surfers Paradise. You’ll find swanky hotels, the city’s premier arts hub Hota, and dining and nightlife scenes. The vibe here is relaxed. The Gold Coast is a city best explored through your taste buds. The Gold Coast’s star attraction is its beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. Beyond the beaches, discover laid-back neighborhoods, the culinary scene and the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks. And don’t miss a trip into the subtropical hinterland for rain forest walks and waterfalls. With Gold Coast Australia Travel you’ll want to beach hop along the coast, get your heart racing at world-class theme parks, and swim beneath waterfalls in the Gold Coast hinterland. For information on all of the great beaches in Gold Coast Australia, << Click Here >>.
Weather (When to Go)
While it may be tempting to visit the Gold Coast during the summer months of December to February, these periods can become uncomfortably warm and provide inconsistent tropical weather. Also, due to the destination’s popularity internationally, these periods become incredibly crowded with families travelling during the school holidays. Also, it’s important to avoid visiting during mid-November to early December as this marks the “schoolies” and festival periods. During this period, the Gold Coast becomes incredibly crowded with prices for accommodation and activities rising extensively. While Easter does fall in either March or April, travelling just after the school holiday period ends is the ideal time to visit. Visiting between April to May means experiencing the most comfortable temperatures and lower rainfall. This is also the cheapest time to visit the Gold Coast.
Getting Around the Gold Coast
No matter which part of the Gold Coast you start from, there is a form of transport waiting to get you to your destination. Centerd between two international airports, the Gold Coast is serviced by trains, buses, taxis and ferries, along with plenty of self-drive options. Tours and transfers are available to all major regional destinations.
Buses serve as the backbone of the public transport network on the Gold Coast, particularly on the south coast where they are the only form of public transport. All Gold Coast buses are numbered in the 700s except for the TX1, TX2 and TX3 lines, which are express routes between the theme parks and different hubs on the Gold Coast. You can purchase a paper ticket on the bus, though you’ll save some cash if you use a GoCard. To check which station is closest to you, what bus you need and timetables visit TransLink.
By Rental Car
If you’d like to see the hinterland (and you should), or just have easier access up and down the Gold Coast’s 70km of beaches, then renting your own car is more or less essential. Smaller local outfits usually offer lower prices, although going with the larger international agencies will get you the usual perks, such as frequent flyer miles.
Cycling, or riding as locals call it, is an excellent way to see the Gold Coast and get about. There are hundreds of kilometers of dedicated cycle paths, along the coast between Surfers Paradise and The Spit is particularly good for families, while longer cycling routes or using a bike for transport will likely mean taking to the road, but don’t fear, most roads have marked bike lanes and drivers are getting increasingly cycle friendly as more people are opting for two wheels instead of four. Bear in mind while on the road you have to obey all the road rules, if you sneak through a red light you risk a very hefty fine. If you are on a bike in Queensland, whether on the road or off, you are required by law to wear a helmet, while lights are a must at night – these things may seem trivial to European cyclists though local police enforce these laws strictly handing out fines regularly.
By Public Transport
For trips up and down the Gold Coast, including connections with Tweed Heads over the border in New South Wales, there are plenty of buses available. To traverse the Gold Coast in its entirety will likely take you upwards of an hour and half including transfers at one or more of the main local transport hubs. Since 2014 there is also a light rail, called the G:link, connecting Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, the southern most stop being just meters from Pacific Fair Shopping Center.
There is basically only one taxi company on the Gold Coast, namely Gold Coast Cabs, which first starting plying the streets of the area way back in 1937 and now boasts some 350 vehicles, making it the larger regional operator in Queensland. The company has modern cars, professional drivers and 24hr services, they also have larger vehicles for groups and disabled passengers. A ride from the Airport to Surfers Paradise will cost upwards of $55, while a cab to Brisbane will be $250 or more – luckily they accept credit cards. For a taxi call 131 008 (from an Australian number) or try your luck at hailing a taxi on the street. There are also numerous cab ranks at popular spots across the city.
Experience the wild lorikeet feeding, free flight bird shows and Aboriginal performances. Test your physical ability on the TreeTops Challenge High Ropes Course, an exhilarating 90 challenge canopy ropes course and see the wonderful vets in action within the Wildlife Hospital precinct. With a huge outdoor themed playground, Wild Island, there is plenty of entertainment for kids to enjoy as they tour the sanctuary on a miniature train.
Lost Valley a new exotic precinct features five hectares of stunning rainforest, Lost Valley takes you on a journey through the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. Explore a forgotten world and get up close and personal with some of the world’s most unique and distinctive flora and wildlife including friendly Lemurs, Cotton-top tamarins, Red pandas, Capybaras along with free-flying birds and exotic reptiles. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a not-for-profit organisation and reinvests all proceeds back into wildlife and conservation programs.
Springbrook’s cool forests and mountain streams offer views of impressive landscapes, and walks among subtropical and temperate rain forest, open eucalyptus forest and montane heath. Spectacular waterfalls, cascades and tumbling creeks are dominant features in this Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Visit Natural Bridge by day to see a unique waterfall or after dark to discover the park’s amazing glow-worms. Take a lunch and picnic on the shaded banks of the Nerang River at Forest Park picnic area.
Always a popular surfing destination due to its widely renowned surf break, Burleigh Heads and the point which is a hot spot for weekend barbecues and picnics due to its large, scenic park which overlooks the ocean. Providing a good alternative to the more tourist-populated suburbs of the Gold Coast, Burleigh’s beaches can also draw significant numbers, especially when the surf is up and spectators as well as participants may appear. Burleigh provides a pleasant beach atmosphere that is protected by the point to the south and offers one of the best all-round swimming, body boarding and surfing beaches on the Gold Coast.
The beaches of Coolangatta have some of the Gold Coast’s best surfing conditions and most picturesque scenery. The beaches at Coolangatta include Rainbow Bay, Greenmount and Kirra. The first two are the Gold Coast’s only north-facing beaches, making them more sheltered with calmer water ideal for swimming. Walk or jog along the paths of the oceanfront park or visit the mall along the coast on a sunny winter’s day. Pods of dolphins and migrating whales can sometimes be seen; head to Snapper Rocks at the New South Wales border for the best views.
Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger at the southern end of Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. Snapper is a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for a distance of around two kilometers. The Superbank is now renowned as one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland and plays host to the annual World Surf Leagues’ Quiksilver and Roxy Pros. Multiple barrel sections can now occur at any point along this length. The quality of the surf has markedly improved since the 1990s, and is now of legendary quality, creating one of the longest, hollowest and best waves in the world.
Things to Do
Let them introduce you to the most unique, specialized and exciting experience on the Gold Coast. Ride your own jet ski and feel the freedom and exhilaration that Jet Ski Safaris has to offer as you explore the wild blue yonder and the hidden islands of paradise. Meet the local dolphins, turtles, wallabies and wild pigs that inhabit this wonderful Jet Ski paradise. All Jet Ski Safaris are led by a team of professional guides with vast knowledge of the local waterways you are assured of an adventure you will never forget. For more information call 7 5526 3111, or visit them on the web at Jet Ski Safaris.
Embark in a mesmerizing kayaking adventure by exploring Gold Coast’s hidden treasures. They offer different tours visiting South Stradbroke Island, Wave Break Island, and Hinze Dam. You will enjoy exciting and unique activities such as Clear Bottom Kayaking, Kayak and Shore Fishing, Wildlife Encountering, Snorkeling, Bush and Beach Walking, Beach Activities, or just relaxing on our Chill-Out Zone. Food is included in all tours. For more information call 449 529 251, or visit them on the web at Seaway Kayaking Tours.
Jet boat Extreme is Gold Coast’s number one Jet boating experience, it will give you that adrenaline rush you’ll never forget. It’s the most fun and exciting adventure thrill jetboat ride on the Gold Coast. Experience the thrill, as they deliver speeds of over 80 kph with the 650 hp twin jet-power turbo engines. The tour includes 55 minutes of thrill, fun and adventure jet boating with the infamous 360 degree spins and water slides, power-break stops, sweeping fish tails and wild wave riding. Their boats are guaranteed to deliver all the fun you can handle! For more information call 7 5538 8890, or visit them on the web at Jetboat Extreme.
Go Ride A Wave Surfers Paradise has a shop at the beach end of Cavill Avenue and provide 2 hour surfing lessons every day from $55. Stand up paddle lessons are also run daily. They also provide surf boards, body boards, and other beach equipment for hire and sale. All our instructors are fully qualified surf life savers to make sure they provide a safe environment to learn in. For more information call 7 5526 7077, or visit them on the web at Go Ride A Wave.
Experience the thrill only a surfer knows! Get Wet Surf School offers a 100% “stand up” guarantee on your first lesson. Their instructors will do everything they can to get you standing on a board and riding the waves while at the same time making sure you are having loads of fun. For more information call 1 800 438 938, or visit them on the web at Get Wet Surf School.
Best Rated Area Restaurants
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$$$$ Seaduction Restaurant & Bar – Surfers Paradise
Seaduction Restaurant & Bar is one of Queensland’s most illustrious, two-hatted restaurants. Under the stewardship of executive chef Steve Szabo, Seaduction has grown to include an intimate wine-tasting room, bar and private dining room. The restaurant operates with separate lunch and dinner menus. It also has a special degustation menu for diners looking for the widest possible sampling of Seaduction’s gastronomic magic. Notable house specialties include the entree of shaved Spanish, Iberico ham “Pata Negra” served with crusty bread. Other good picks are the handmade tortellini of goats’ cheese with baby beetroot gel, crushed walnuts, mandarin and burnt butter. For more information call 7 5635 5700, or visit them on the web at Seaduction Restaurant & Bar.
$$$$ Citrique – Surfers Paradise
Seafood and buffet dining enjoy a blissful marriage at Citrique. Their buffet contains a vast trove of oceanic treasures, including locally caught prawns, sweet fleshed bugs, Tasmanian salmon, plump oysters and spanner crab. There is also sushi, antipasto, yum cha, curries and Indonesian satays – all of which are cooked right in front of you. Many are prepared in Citrique’s wood-fired oven, like their local reef fish wrapped in banana leaf and served with coconut rice. Other standouts on this menu include their signature pulled pork shoulder on sourdough, veal escalopes flambéed with brandy, cream and mushrooms, or barramundi pelle croccante with lemon butter sauce. For more information call 7 5592 9772, or visit them on the web at Citrique.
$$$$ Salt Grill – Surfers Paradise
Salt Grill is the signature restaurant at Hilton Surfers Paradise, where celebrity chef Luke Mangan uses his renowned culinary flair to craft the definitive Modern Australian dining experience. There is a wine cellar housing a comprehensive selection of vintages hand-selected by renowned sommelier Hiro Okubo. There are some powerhouse plates, like the Jamón Serrano crumbed bone marrow (with truffle oil, parmesan, and parsley), and the twice cooked blue eye trevalla wrapped in pancetta (with crushed peas and preserved lemon). There are also five- and seven-course degustation menus, for a memorable night of fine dining on the Gold Coast. For more information call 7 5680 8000, or visit them on the web at Salt Grill.
$$$$ Omeros Bros Seafood Restaurant – Main Beach
Omeros Bros Seafood Restaurant sits on Marina Mirage’s boardwalk, where diners can enjoy the premier waterfront dining experience of the Main Beach area. Sydney Rock Oysters are prepared five different ways (natural, Mornay, Kilpatrick, beer-battered and mixed) and delivered fresh to the restaurant daily with a selection of locally caught fish, including New Zealand Whole Sole, Northern Territory Barramundi, Australian Snapper and Whiting. The seafood platter is a special indulgence here, comprised of lobster mornay, mud crabs grilled and finished with homemade sweet chili plum sauce, and Moreton Bay bugs tails barbequed with Worcestershire and lemon butter sauce. For more information call 7 5591 7222, or visit them on the web at Omeros Bros Seafood Restaurant.
$$$ Shuck – Main Beach
Diners at Shuck can lounge al fresco and enjoy a vivacious atmosphere for people-watching, soaking up sunshine, and feasting on acclaimed seafood dishes. Their specialty, Pacific oysters, are freshly shucked and pair perfectly with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc; other standouts include the delicate carpaccio of tuna, the kingfish and ocean trout, and the signature crab lasagna in tomato and abalone cream. If fish isn’t for you, go for the salt and pepper kobe or the salad of juicy hoisin-glazed duck, layered between mandarin pancakes and Chinese cabbage. Desserts include a chocolate marquise: dense chocolate cubes paired with refreshing raspberry sorbet and a raspberry-and-mint salad. For more information call 7 5528 4286, or visit them on the web at Shuck.
$$ – $$$ Lemongrass Thai – Main Beach
Lemongrass Thai edges out its numerous Thai cuisine competitors on the Gold Coast with their pull-no-punches approach to spice levels and big, bold flavors. Their pad thai, curries and spicy larb are juicy and wonderfully fragrant; out of the curry menu, the local favorites by far are the adventurous multi-layered jungle curry, and the more subdued red duck curry with lychees and a sweet, creamy sauce. Home delivery is available if you’re already in your PJs, but the restaurant’s majestic red-and gold décor is well worth the trip for a regal sit-down dining experience, complete with a humongous Buddha statue to welcome you. For more information call 5528 0289, or visit them on the web at Lemongrass Thai.
Celebrating its 15th year in Surfers Paradise this year, Elsewhere Bar has made its mark on the nightclub circuit for being a little different. Electronic Boogie Show is on Friday nights, and features the newest tracks in techno, house, and dance music. The Elsewhere Saturday Night Show includes a rotating lineup of the best local DJs. Finally, Sundays are reserved for Royale nights. See why Elsewhere is a favorite nightclub among Gold Coast locals. For more information call 7 5592 6880, or visit them on the web at Elsewhere Bar.
Melbas on the Park is a Surfers Paradise institution, and one of the region’s top entertainment destinations. Melbas has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1981. It’s home to a restaurant and bar, a gaming lounge, and a nightclub on level two. Melbas says its nightclub is where “quality and exclusivity reigns”. There are booths available to book, a VIP Cocktail Bar, and a rotating lineup of the coast’s best commercial, dance, and R&B DJs. Melbas also has a dress code, so dress to impress! For more information call 7 , or visit them on the web at Melbas On The Park.
Cocktails Nightclub (formerly known as Cocktails & Dreams) has been owned by the same management since its opening in 1989. Following its complete refurbishment, Cocktails is now one of the largest dance clubs in Surfers Paradise. It boasts three separate rooms — including a popular R&B room — which each focus on a different musical genre, so it caters to all tastes. There’s also a secluded pool table area, for people who need a break from the dance floor. For more information call 7 , or visit them on the web at Cocktails Nightclub.
The Avenue is the self-proclaimed heart of Surfers Paradise nightlife. It’s a restaurant, nightclub, and entertainment venue. Its Backroom is where the magic happens. With the latest technology, sound, and light fittings, this multi-million dollar venue is in a league of its own. The Avenue hosts many up-and-coming DJs as well, so definitely visit the official website to see who is hitting the decks next, or during your visit. For more information call 7 5592 1678, or visit them on the web at The Avenue.
Stepping into SinCity Nightclub is like stepping into Las Vegas itself. There’s scantily clad bar and waitstaff; chandeliers and velvet furnishings; and a VIP section fit for the rich and famous. Every VIP booth booking gets you a personal server all night, as well as bottle service. The booths at SinCity Nightclub are named after visiting celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Russell Brand, Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson, and Conor McGregor. For more information call 7 , or visit them on the web at SinCity Nightclub.
Best Area Hotels
Nestled on the sandy shores of the Gold Coast’s glamorous Main Beach, Xanadu Resort truly is a coastal oasis. Delivering luxury, self-contained, beachfront holiday apartments, Xanadu Resort is ideally situated for guests seeking to enjoy all of the color, action, beauty and adventure that the Gold Coast has to offer. Whether you are enjoying a family holiday, romantic escape or corporate travel, Xanadu Main Beach’s ocean views, modern facilities, first class customer service and unbeatable location will ensure your Gold Coast experience is a pleasure. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Xanadu Resort.
This five star beachfront resort is conveniently located in the Gold Coast, within minutes of Surfers Paradise. A sky bridge connects guests to the many boutiques, restaurants, and cafés of the Marina Mirage Shopping precinct. Exquisite venues and breathtaking outdoor lawns make them one of the most sought-after meeting destinations on the Gold Coast. After a long day, relax and take a dip in our Oasis Pool with its swim-up bar, or enjoy various dining options. Their 295 spacious guest rooms-including 11 suites-feature a contemporary design, many with ocean views and private terraces. Take advantage of complimentary High Speed Internet Access and sleep soundly with the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.
Officially accredited as a 5-star accommodation by Star Ratings Australia, all 208 suites are positioned above level 25 and with magnificent views. Guests can enjoy open living spaces, European appliances fitted into a well-appointed gourmet kitchen, full sized bathrooms and an internal laundry. Each suite is also fitted with flat-screen TVs in the living area and all bedrooms. Savor in the fresh ocean breeze from the comfort of your private balcony or bask in the warmth of the sun in our outdoor podium pools and sundeck. Enjoy the resort style recreational facilities including a sauna, an indoor and outdoor spa, keep up with your fitness routine in our well-equipped gymnasium or cool off in our indoor lap pool. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Meriton Suites Southport.
Peppers Soul redefines luxury accommodation on the Gold Coast. Rising 77 levels above the white sandy beaches and crystal waters of the Surfers Paradise foreshore, this truly stunning building has been designed to delight and surprise. With a diverse collection of one, two and three bedroom luxury apartments, guests are spoiled for choice. Enjoy a romantic weekend with uninterrupted ocean views, a family holiday with every comfort, or a luxury escape in one of our Signature Collection Sub-Penthouses. Dine out every night or create culinary delights in your apartment equipped with full kitchen facilities – the choice is yours. Peppers Soul offers superb property facilities including luxurious spa, gym and spectacular swimming podium with striking beach views. Located onsite is one of the Gold Coast’s premier, hatted, multi-award winning restaurants with an elegance all of its own – Seaduction Restaurant + Bar. The acclaimed menu is superbly complemented by an intimate wine-tasting room and bar that invites you to relax and enjoy the delicious flavor, outstanding décor, impeccable service and enviable views over the golden beaches of Surfers Paradise. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Peppers Soul.
The Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa welcomes you with upscale accommodation and award-winning customer service. Unwind in your elegant, spacious hotel room or suite, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with wonderful views from the balconies, as well as plush bedding, a marble bathroom, mini-refrigerator, workstations and free Wi-Fi. A tranquil on-site day spa offers ample opportunities to pamper yourself. Take advantage of our peaceful lagoons, pristine beaches and stunning outdoor pool, as well as the fitness center, Kid’s Club and Sport Court®. Our tantalizing restaurants offer everything from Japanese teppanyaki to fresh seafood. Our nine versatile, sophisticated event venues set the stage for unforgettable gatherings. Hotel guests can easily attend events at the Gold Coast Convention Center via light rail, visit nearby theme parks like Sea World and Dreamworld or explore Surfers Paradise. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.
Whether your stay is for business or leisure, Rhapsody Resort provides the ultimate Gold Coast resort experience. Located on level 27, guests will discover an exclusive residents lounge and outdoor sun terrace, alongside a fully equipped gymnasium with spectacular ocean views. Our rooftop garden and dining terrace on level 41 allows guests to relax in the sun, whilst enjoying the breathtaking gold coast coastline Just a moment’s walk from the pristine white sands of Surfers Paradise Beach, Rhapsody Resort is ideal for those wishing to explore everything the Gold Coast has to offer. Relaxing by the pool, exploring the beauty of the Gold Coast Hinterland, or a day out at the theme parks are all within reach from your Rhapsody Resort apartment. Why not pamper yourself at our award winning day spa? Located poolside at the Q1 Resort, Rhapsody guests can enjoy tranquil massage and well being treatments. Rhapsody Resort’s collection of gifts and amenities ensure that you arrive in style. From wine and chocolates, to flowers and balloons, our dedicated reservations team is happy to accommodate your requests. All luxury apartments are self-contained and house full kitchen and laundry facilities, ensuring you enjoy a stress free getaway, or feel at home when travelling for business. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Rhapsody Resort.