Gold Coast

This golden slice of paradise lives up to its gleaming moniker

Sun, surf and sand reign supreme on the Gold Coast. On its myriad beaches, honey-coloured sands melt into clear waters, board fanatics catch killer waves, and beach bums bask in sun-drenched splendour. Slow down, kick back and go with the flow in this Aussie utopia.

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Things to Do in Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Beach

Popular Areas

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.

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SkyPoint Observation Deck

Popular Areas

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.

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Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

Convention Centers

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.

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Jupiters Casino

Popular Areas

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
Pacific Fair Shoping Centre

Shopping Areas

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
  • Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach Queensland 4218
  • Open Monday-Wednesday 09:00-17:30, Thursday 09:00-21:00, Friday-Saturday 09:00-17:30, Sunday 10:00-16:00
Wet n Wild Water World


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
  • Pacific Highway Oxenford, Gold Coast Queensland 4210
  • Open Friday-Sunday 10:00-20:00. Check website for details.
Movie World Gold Coast


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
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary


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
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk


“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

Accommodations and Hotels in Gold Coast

Mantra on View Hotel (formerly Outrigger Surfers Paradise)

8.4 Very good

Score from 2525 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 22 View Avenue, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
QT Gold Coast

8.7 Excellent

Score from 632 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Watermark Hotel & Spa

8.3 Very good

Score from 1273 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 3032 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise

8.5 Very good

Score from 954 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 2807 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Hotel Grand Chancellor Surfers Paradise

8.3 Very good

Score from 2103 ratings.


Average price per night
  • Cnr Hanlan St and Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Palazzo Versace

8.7 Excellent

Score from 401 ratings.


Average price per night
  • Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Gold Coast
Vibe Hotel Gold Coast

7.9 Good

Score from 1522 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 42 Ferny Avenue, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Hilton Surfers Paradise

7.8 Good

Score from 368 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers' Paradise, Gold Coast
Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach

8.4 Very good

Score from 372 ratings.


Average price per night
  • 81 Surf Parade, Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Discover Gold Coast

Popular Neighborhoods in Gold Coast

Surfers' Paradise

139 properties

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.


47 properties

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.

Burleigh Heads

26 properties

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!


24 properties

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.

Main Beach

22 properties

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.

Local Tips for Gold Coast

Harbour Town Gold Coast
by Koichi

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.

  • 147 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters Queensland 4216
  • Open Monday-Saturday 09:00-17:30, Sunday 10:00-17:00
Burleigh Headland Walk
by Sarah

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.

Carrara Markets
by Cayla

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.

  • Gooding Drive & Manchester Road, Carrara Queensland 4211
  • Open Saturday-Sunday 07:00-16:00
Natural Bridge
by Juliet

Juliet has been with for almost 2 years. She 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.

  • Springbrook Rd, Springbrook Queensland 4213
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
by Ellena

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.

  • Lamington National Park Road, Gold Coast Hinterland Queensland 4275
  • Open Monday-Sunday 05:00-19:00
by Cristina

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.

  • Ground Level, Shop 31 Chevron Renaissance Centre, Cnr Surfers Paradise Blvd & Elkhorn Ave, Surfers Paradise Queensland 4217
  • Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-22:00
Aqua Splash
by Elif

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.

  • Marine Parade, Southport Queensland 4215
  • Open Monday-Sunday 07:00-18:00
Club LIV
by Martine

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.

  • Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise

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...

buy the express passes for the lines, they were worth the money.

Twin Towns club Orient restaurant for beautiful meal

Harbourtown asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Gold Coast for food?

Lots of variety and competition make the cafes and restaurants try harder to build a good reputation to draw and keep customers.

River cruise

Harbour Town is cheap outlet shopping

Safe with patrolling life guards especially with kids and beautiful white sand and great for the surfers

More variety and plenty of shopping centres


Gold Coast Transportation

Air – Gold Coast Airport

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 $65 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, tickets can be purchased online, from a station or you can use a ‘go card’.

Food in Gold Coast

Top Restaurants in Gold Coast

Mid-Range Fare
Mid-Range Fare
The Surfers Paradise Beach cafe
Upscale Dining
Cheap Eats
Black Coffee Lyrics
Cheap Eats
Surfers Paradise Surf Club
Mid-Range Fare
Upscale Dining
Salt Grill by Luke Mangan
Cheap Eats
Hard Rock cafe
Cheap Eats
Waxy’s Irish Pub
Mid-Range Fare
Cheap Eats
Pancakes In Paradise
Upscale Dining
Mid-Range Fare
Longboards Laidback Eatery & Bar
Upscale Dining
Absynthe Restaurant
Upscale Dining
Mid-Range Fare
Beaches Off Tedder
Cheap Eats
Slyders on Tedder
Cheap Eats
Thyme cafe
Cheap Eats
Jolly Chinaman
Mid-Range Fare
Domani’s cafe Restaurant & Bar
Mid-Range Fare
Alegria Tapas & Seafood Bar
Cheap Eats
Bar Chico
Upscale Dining
Chill on Tedder
Upscale Dining
Champagne cafe Restaurant Bar
  • 2 Queensland Avenue
  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 12:00-14:00 and 18:00-20:00
  • 0061 7 5538 3877
Cheap Eats
The Cardamom Pod
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