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.
Gold Coast Australia Attractions
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 Gold Coast Australia
Jet Ski Safaris
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.
Seaway Kayaking Tours
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
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.
Get Wet Surf School
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 Gold Coast Australia Restaurants
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$$$$ The Fish House
From the outside, The Fish House at Burleigh Heads looks like a simple brick diner. Step inside to discover what’s earned this modest-looking eatery an enviable two hats for 2017 (hats are the Australian equivalent of Michelin stars). A southern European twist elevates fresh Australian seafood: try lemony fish soup; steamed coral trout with ginger and shallots; or a whole rock lobster. For real decadence, add a caviar course to your order. Telephone: 7 5535 7725 Web: The Fish House
$$ – $$$ Social Eating House
Near Mamasan in Broadbeach’s Oracle precinct is Social Eating House. As the name suggests, Social is all about sharing small and large plates of goodness. The tapas menu might feature softshell crab with Asian slaw and chilli caramel; prawns with peach and prosciutto drizzled with hazelnut vinaigrette; slow-roasted saltbush lamb; and Asahi-battered King George whiting. The charcuterie cabinet is filled with jamon, prosciutto and salamis from Spain, Italy and Australia, as well as rustic terrines. Telephone: 7 5504 5210 Web: Social Eating House
$$ – $$$ Hellenika
From flawless food to irreproachable service, Hellenika is where to head when you want fine-dining quality without the fuss … and access to a treasure trove of more than 500 wines. “It’s simple, authentic, home-style food, designed to be placed in the middle of the table to share,” Simon says. The mezze menu at the rooftop Bar Hellenika suits more casual catch-ups. It’s developing a reputation for its sunset sessions. Telephone: 7 5572 8009 Web: Hellenika
$$$ The Fireplace
As the name suggests Sanctuary Cove’s signature dining destination is perfect to mark a winter occasion with its wood-fired cuisine and cozy ambiance. The winter menu still features the house favorites, lamb strip loin and the braised short ribs, but it’s worth checking out the added pasta dishes for pure comfort, along with the mains of pork belly in fig puree wrapped in prosciutto and the Queensland barramundi teamed with octopus and spinach vichyssoise. Telephone: 7 5636 6757 Web: The Fireplace
$$$ Vanitas Restaurant
Overlooking the lagoon with starched white tablecloths and signature Versace tableware, the scene is set for sophisticated Italian dining lovingly handmade onsite. The menu, as in Italy, changes with the seasons and August 7 marks the start of Vanitas’ annual Truffle Month, featuring a truffle degustazione menu. Telephone: 7 5509 8000 Web: Vanitas Restaurant
Best Gold Coast Australia Nightlife
Elsewhere Bar – Surfers Paradise
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 – Surfers Paradise
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 – Surfers Paradise
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 – Surfers Paradise
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.
SinCity Nightclub – Surfers Paradise
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 Gold Coast Australia Hotels
Located just 650 feet from the beach, Xanadu Resort offers modern apartments with stunning Gold Coast views. It features 2 swimming pools, a hot tub, a sauna and fitness center. Each apartment at Xanadu Resort has a spacious balcony overlooking the beach. All include a kitchen with dishwasher and washing machine, and living room with DVD player and cable TV. Internet access can be enjoyed in the apartments. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Xanadu Resort.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Gold Coast features a pool bar, a health spa and direct beach access. This luxurious property is located on the beachfront and is a 10-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and a 15-minute drive from Jupiters Casino. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.
Just 5 minutes’ walk from the beach, Meriton Suites Broadbeach offers luxurious accommodation. Leisure facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool, a sauna, hot tub and fitness centre. Some suites feature stunning ocean views. Guests enjoy unlimited free WiFi at the property. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Meriton Suites Southport.
Boasting 77 floors and overlooking Surfers Paradise Beach, each apartment at Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise offers in-room WiFi, a spa bath and a private balcony with uninterrupted ocean and hinterland views. The property features an outdoor pool, a spa pool and fitness center. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Peppers Soul.
Featuring a private saltwater lagoon, sandy beaches and an artificial reef with tropical fish, the 28-story Marriott Resort & Spa is set in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Guests enjoy panoramic hinterland and river views, 5 on-site dining options, the Ruby Spa and a fitness center. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.
Located just 350 feet from the golden sands of Surfers Paradise Beach, and trackside to the world-famous Gold Coast 600 Supercar race, Rhapsody Resort offers modern and luxurious self-contained accommodations with free WiFi and free parking. Guests can enjoy a leisurely swim in the outdoor pool, or admire the stunning ocean views from the rooftop terrace and BBQ area. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Rhapsody Resort.