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See the Gold Coast in all its glory. This lofty observation deck has astounding views that stretch across the city and into the horizon. Limber up the stairs for the Skypoint Stair Climb, or better yet, zoom up in the lift. Wrapped around the top of the building, this gulp-inducing ascent is not for the fainthearted. The payoff is an uninterrupted panorama.Accommodations near SkyPoint Observation Deck
Here’s a typical daytime scene in “paradise”. Surfers rise with the waves to cut a striking silhouette against the morning sun. As the day lingers on, bronzed figures jog along the shoreline, people come out to sunbathe, and their children build trenches and sandcastles in the sand. Partake in the activities, or visit in the early evening as the night markets kick off.Accommodations near Surfers Paradise Beach
At first sight, this may seem like any other convention centre. Yet what makes this place special its support for local sports and arts. Basketball games are a regular occurrence, as are concerts by Brisbanian bands like Powderfinger, The Veronicas and Savage Garden. International acts like Stevie Nicks and 50 Cent have also swung by. Check online to see who’s coming next.Accommodations near Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Some people love to gamble – just ask the punters who flock to Jupiter’s Casino. Everyone who visits is ready to part with his or her cash in the hope of securing a win. As the day goes on, the stakes get higher – the trick is to know when to fold. When you’re done, try Osteria Vivo’s authentic Italian cuisine. From here, there’s a view of the poker tables and slot machines.Accommodations near Jupiters Casino
Chain stores galore. This mall has endless stores, a multiplex and oodles of chic salons. For proof, pamper yourself in “Lush”, try on comfy “Crocs”, buy some bling at “Swarovski”, or order a luscious wheatgrass smoothie from the plethora of juice bars. This shopping centre is entrenched in the local community, and offer regular group events and sustainable initiatives.Accommodations near Pacific Fair Shoping Centre
Don your “Billabong” thongs and hotfoot it over to this water park. This lazy river is the perfect place to seek solace from the scorching sun. Wannabe surfers can get in some practice on the “FlowRider”, where you can practice your surf without wiping out. Risk-takers should tackle the Black Hole, or experience zero gravity on the Kamikaze for one seriously rad ride.Accommodations near Wet n Wild Water World
Do you see your name in lights? The secrets of the silver screen are revealed at Movie World. Regular shows reveal how stunt drivers create action-packed car chases, which give a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how movie magic is made. One of the major highlights is the “Batwing Spaceshot”, where riders are rocketed 60-metres into the air, then returned safely to Earth.Accommodations near Movie World Gold Coast
For an iconic Aussie experience, this place is a real “didgeri-do”. It offers a peek into the country’s unique birds, mammals and amphibians. Lorikeets flit through the trees, kangaroos hop about and koalas lazily cling to gum trees. Meanwhile, crocodiles keep a beady eye on the action as they bask in the sunshine. Keep your camera handy and see who takes the first snap!Accommodations near Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Dream World is Australia’s largest theme park and offers plenty of white-knuckle thrills. For proof, take the “Giant Drop” – the highest free-fall ride in the world. If that’s not terrifying enough, the “big nine” rollercoasters offer serious screams. The “Tower of Terror” rockets backwards into complete darkness and breaks the 100 mph barrier in seven-seconds flat.Accommodations near DreamWorld
“Above the jungle, the mighty jungle”. This canopy climb through untamed rainforest showcases the Gold Coast’s natural splendour. Cross a 30-metre high walkway above unspoiled creeks and pristine rock pools. The buzz and squawk of the rainforest’s resident critters gives the sense of being immersed in wild nature. At night, it’s also a stellar place to stargaze.Accommodations near Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
Golden sands, palm trees and that glorious Queensland sunshine – Broadbeach has everything you’d expect from the Gold Coast and a whole lot more. When you’re not taking a dip or catching some rays, the markets, parks and shops that line the shore are a great place to grab a bite, score a bargain, or just chill out and enjoy the vibe.Accommodations near Broadbeach
Attracting adrenaline-seeking surfers and leisure-loving families alike, Burleigh Heads might be small but it packs a whole lot of charm into one great package. Though we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to spend all your time on the sun-kissed beach, the headlands of the nearby National Park offer some stunning views across the Gold Coast. Don’t forget to take a picnic!Accommodations near Burleigh Heads
The views up the coast at Greenmount Beach are some of the best in Queensland, not to mention it's got the kinds of sandy shores beach-lovers dream of, and a picturesque town with a laid-back vibe. Plus, the nearby Point Danger (which is nowhere near as scary as its name suggests!) is a great place for whale watching.Accommodations near Greenmount Beach
Jutting out into the Tasman Sea on the southern tip of Queensland, you can stand on the beach at Snapper Rocks and enjoy clear blue waters as far as the eye can see. And the ocean isn’t just beautiful to look at – Snapper Rocks is famous for surfing thanks to its man-made surf break, and the waves crashing in (as well as the surfers riding them!) put on a fantastic show.Accommodations near Snapper Rocks
With the lush peaks of Springbrook National Park in the background, Tallebudgera Creek might not be on the coast, but beach-lovers won’t be disappointed by this wonderful little inlet. Camping is super popular, and the creek’s sandy shores invite visitors to enjoy tons of water sports, plus some serious sunbathing!Accommodations near Tallebudgera Creek
Sea World Gold Coast has all the adrenaline-packed fun of a theme park, but with added sea creatures. Alongside the Jet Rescue rollercoaster and the Viking Revenge Flume, there’s a whole host of deep-sea beasts, seals, dolphins, sharks and penguins just waiting to meet you. The hard part is knowing where to start.Accommodations near Sea World Gold Coast
Don your “Billabong” thongs and hotfoot it over to this water park. This lazy river is the perfect place to seek solace from the scorching sun. Wannabe surfers can get in some practice on the “FlowRider”, where you can practice your surf without wiping out. Risk-takers should tackle the Black Hole, or experience zero gravity on the Kamikaze for one seriously rad ride.Accommodations near Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast
Rising 230 metres above the sunny Surfers Paradise shoreline, Q1 is the southern hemisphere’s tallest tower. High-speed lifts take just 43 seconds to reach the 77th-floor SkyPoint Observation Deck, where you can enjoy 360-degree views over the Gold Coast and the Pacific Ocean.Accommodations near SkyPoint Observation Deck
All beached out? Just a short drive inland from the Gold Coast’s sea and sand, Springbrook National Park is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. This rainforest idyll is filled with tumbling waterfalls, rushing creeks and leafy trails – stay on after sunset to spot glow worms lighting up the trees.Accommodations near Springbrook National Park
There’s relaxation, and then there’s O’Reilly’s relaxation. Nestled among the lush hills of the Lamington National Park, this spa refreshes mind, body and spirit in the perfect natural setting. The Pouch Lounge gives you the chance to curl up by the fireplace and gaze out at the forest before settling into a massage from the expert therapists on site.Accommodations near O'Reilly's Lost World Spa
When it comes to purifying the spirit, a trip into nature always seems to do the trick. And what better place to get in touch with the natural world than Lamington National Park? This huge, protected forest area teems with chirping wildlife. It’s best seen from the tree top walkway, a series of rope bridges suspended among the jungle canopy.Accommodations near Lamington National Park
Wandering through the jungle can calm the most troubled of spirits. Tamborine Mountain is criss-crossed by a host of walking routes of different lengths and difficulties. Hike past palm groves, eucalyptus, red cedars and feel your mind rejuvenating as you go.Accommodations near Walking tracks in Tamborine Mountain National Park.
This crescent-shaped slice of sand and sea is treasured by locals, and not only because the Swell Sculpture art festival takes place here each September. Sheltered by rocky headland, the calm swell of Currumbin Beach is perfect for a salty splash. Just make sure to swim between the red-and-yellow flags posted at either end to stay out of trouble.Accommodations near Currumbin Beach
When the sun beats down hard on the open beaches of the Gold Coast, you’ll need a ‘Plan B’ to cool off. The rock pools of Currumbin Valley are just the ticket. Located in a wildlife sanctuary for koalas, these chilly waters act like a natural plunge pool on hot and sticky days.Accommodations near Currumbin Valley Rock Pools
The Gold Coast’s not only about surfing. This waterway meanders through a number of nature reserves, with Burleigh National Park’s picturesque sand spit marking the most stunning spot for a swim. Surrounded by sub-tropical forest, this stretch of azure water offers a genuine slice of paradise.Accommodations near Tallebudgeera Creek
Relaxing in the peace and quiet of Budds Beach, you'd think it was miles away from Surfer's Paradise. In fact, this local treasure is just a 5-minute walk from the centre. Here you'll find white sand, calm waters, and laughing kids. With a shaded playground and clean facilities, this river beach is perfect for families looking to enjoy a long day in the sun.Accommodations near Budds Beach
Tugun Beach is so pristine that many first-time visitors wonder if it's private. Thankfully it's not, because this long stretch of sand is perfect for a day of peaceful strolling, lazy picnicking, and sandcastle building with the little ones. You can grab lunch at one of the many local takeaways – try some freshly caught seafood or a massive Queensland-style burger!Accommodations near Tugun Beach
Lining the seafront in the vibrant Gold Coast neighbourhood of Broadbeach, Kurrawa’s stretch of soft sand is a firm favourite with sun-seekers, swimmers and surfers alike. In warm weather, make like a local and head to the Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club. Not just concerned with patrolling the waters, it also has a beachfront bistro and a buzzing bar with nightly entertainment.Accommodations near Kurrawa Beach
Jutting out from the end of Rainbow Bay, this craggy headland marks the border between Queensland and New South Wales. Much more than just a local beauty spot, Snapper Rocks Beach attracts sunbathers and swimmers whenever the weather’s warm. Off shore, expert boarders take to the waves to tackle some of the Gold Coast’s finest surf breaks.Accommodations near Snapper Rocks Beach
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Looking for surfer chic? Head inland to Cavill Avenue to find all the surfing paraphernalia that you could ever need! Once you’ve stocked up on board wax and ankle ropes, boomerang back to the beach to put your new gear to the test. When your body can’t take any more waves, join Gold Coast’s fun-seekers in nightclubs like Vanity or SinCity.Accommodations in Surfers' Paradise
Broadbeach is a beach ‘n café-lovers haven. Rise with the sun, then fuel your morning with coffee from the chilled-out “No Name Lane Café”. Afterwards, stroll for hours along Broadbeach’s picture-perfect shores, and go for a dip in its sparkling waters. Later, retreat to “Grocer & Grind” Café for a leisurely lunch of locally sourced delights.Accommodations in Broadbeach
In a city that teems with beaches, Burleigh Heads offers a few inland treasures. The Burleigh Head National Park’s paths wind through mangrove forests and coastal heaths, perfect for an outdoor outing. Further inland, the Commune Café serves up vintage flair and vegan feasts, while the Paleo Café does a roaring trade in kale frittatas. Delicious!Accommodations in Burleigh Heads
Apart from its namesake, this old-school ‘hood has a heap of hot restaurants. “Pavilion 34” is a renovated bathing tower that serves fish-and-chips with a ‘60’s twist. Around Teddy Avenue, a vibrant café culture has sprung up and attracts everyone from surfers to socialites. The Marina Yacht Club is where big spenders come out to play.Accommodations in Main Beach
Surf’s up in Coolangatta. Kirra Beach is famous for having some of the best breaks in the world, and you’ll see everyone from amateurs to pros practicing here. Just after sundown, swarms of locals flock to the Secret Deck Café. This slightly off-the-grid café is where you’ll hear surfers regale a captive audience with stories about their latest wave-riding exploits.Accommodations in Coolangatta
Japanese Koichi spent his university years in Queensland and loves a classic Aussie BBQ with mates.
If you like to bag a bargain, then you’ll love Harbour Town Shopping Centre! Australia’s largest brand outlet is home to over 220 stores including Hugo Boss, Nike and Ralph Lauren. If shopping’s not your thing, you can catch the latest releases at the adjacent Reading Cinemas.Accommodations nearby
Sarah learned to surf at Burleigh Heads Beach and has visited the Gold Coast over 50 times.
Burleigh Headland is the prime spot to watch surfers take on the waves of this famous point break. If you’re feeling active hit the walking trails for a rainforest hike that connects you to hidden beaches, snorkelling spots and lookouts with panoramic ocean views.Accommodations nearby
After a recent move to Australia from New Zealand, Cayla enjoys family holidays on the ‘Goldie’.
Escape the jostle of the shopping malls, and head out to Carrara Markets for some weekend fun. There are over 400 stalls to browse as well as heaps of fun for the family including a reptile show, mini golf course, pony rides and bungy trampolines.Accommodations nearby
Juliet enjoys exercising, playing beach volleyball, reading books and traveling.
Nestled within the lush rainforest of the Springbook National Park, the Natural Bridge is a beautiful sight. A waterfall runs through the rock arch, forming part of a larger cave. It’s just a short hike to reach the spot, and you can even see glow worms once the sun goes down.Accommodations nearby
When Ellena’s not relaxing on the beach, she loves watching movies or reading a good book.
If you’re bird watching passion extends beyond the cheesy lorikeets at Currumbin, then O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is chirping your name! Located in the Lamington National Park, the retreat is home to over 160 bird species. There’s also a treetop walk, bird feeding and a flying fox.Accommodations nearby
New mum Cristina’s favourite travel moment was a cruise down the Nile River.
Prepare to be mind-blown as you enter a realm of fantasy at Infinity. Fun for all ages, this futuristic maze-like attraction is filled with mirrored rooms, haunted-house walks, bouncy castles and laser lights. It’s something unique and truly out of this world.Accommodations nearby
Elif bakes up a storm in the kitchen, and her cute puppy always tries to steal her treats!
For the most fun you can have on water head to Aquasplash. This inflatable park will entertain the kids, or having you laughing like one in no time! Bounce on the water trampoline, clamber up the climbing walls, race down slides or send your friends flying on the giant launch pillow.Accommodations nearby
Sun lounging by day and club-hopping by night, the ‘Goldie’ is a favourite destination for Martine.
Renowned for its party atmosphere, Surfers Paradise comes alive at night. Club LIV is a go-to spot, featuring pumping music and an interior covered in thousands of flashing lights. For a classier nightlife experience head to Broadbeach, where Platinum Nightclub attracts well-known DJs.Accommodations nearby
Booking.com asked travelers...Tell us how you made the most of your time at the theme parks in Gold Coast.
Hire a car - the buses get filled up fast and will not stop for you if they are full. If you miss one bus due to it being full, expect to miss the next 3-4 for the same reason THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION - you will be waiting for transport for at least 1-2 hours if this happens. Arrive early at the park and go on the popular rides first thing in the morning when the crowds are minimal. The real crowds start flocking in at approximately 11am. Also recommend bringing sunblock, snacks (muesli bars, lollies & fruit) to keep you going throughout the day, $10 for all-day locker hire (worth it!) and a plan to see all the scheduled shows (if there are any) and the rides you've been eagerly waiting to try.See all 96 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...The beach means different things to different people. What did the beach in Gold Coast mean to you?
In awe of the ocean, the waves, tides, sandy beaches lovely to walk or laze on, shells and the sounds of water, birds and happy people. Soaking up the sun with my 50+ sunscreen on, and the warmth. Swimming in 25 degree water, even I can just dive into that every day...See all 148 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Tell us about your most relaxing moments in Gold Coast.
Just sitting at Burleigh Hill watching sunrises/sunsetsSee all 44 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did your kids enjoy the most at the beaches in Gold Coast?
More variety and plenty of shopping centresSee all 28 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Gold Coast.
Harbour Town is cheap outlet shoppingSee all 33 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What was the most entertaining thing you saw in Gold Coast?
River cruiseSee all 34 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Gold Coast than just brand-name stores?
HarbourtownSee all 40 answers
The fastest way to travel from the Gold Coast Airport is by taxi. It is a 20-minute drive to Broadbeach for a flat fare of $49 and a 30-minute drive to Surfers Paradise for $59. A cheaper option is the Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle, which offers door-to-door transfers for $21 one-way. Tickets can be pre-booked or purchased at the airport. There are 6 rental car desks located at the airport. A public bus service is available however is slow and tricky to navigate.
Surfside Buslines are a cheap and convenient way to explore the city, with over 60 routes running from Tweed Heads up to the Gold Coast Marina. There are connections to major attractions including theme parks, shopping centres and Jupiters Casino. Services run between 01:00 and 00:00, every 15 minutes. Buses are yellow in colour and stops are easily sign posted on the street. Tickets are best to be pre-purchased from convenience stores, with fares starting at $3.
Hiring a car is an effective way to explore the coast’s many attractions, as well as outlying areas like the National Parks. Car hire can be arranged at many hotels or rental desks in major shopping centres and tourist areas. Prices start at $24 a day, with additional costs for insurance and petrol. Parking is abundant on the coast, including some free parking, hourly street parking or car parks for about $3 per hour.
Taxis are a quite expensive way to travel around the Gold Coast, however are an efficient way of connecting to the airport. White in colour, taxis can either be hailed from the street or found at ranks across the city. Fares usually start at $2.20 per kilometre, and can increase in price on weekends, in the evening or with large groups.
There is no train system servicing the Gold Coast, however the Brisbane Airtrain does depart from the outer suburb of Varsity Lakes. Trains run from 05:00 to 22:00, every 15-30 minutes. The trip time from Varsity Lakes to Brisbane Airport is just over 1 hour and 45 minutes. A one-way fare is $17.50, tickets can be purchased online, from a station or you can use a ‘go card’.
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