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.
Places to stay from $14 a night
2.1 miles from downtown
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.
Places to stay from $76 a night
1.4 miles from downtown
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.
Places to stay from $129 a night
13.4 miles from downtown
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.
Places to stay from $24 a night
The Gold Coast is a city that certainly lives up to its name. Just an hour’s drive from Queensland's capital, Brisbane, the downtown skyscrapers break up 20 miles of golden coastline and lush green forest.
Main Beach and Surfers Paradise—the most central seaside resorts—offer both world-class surf breaks as well as some of Australia’s best shopping malls, nightclubs, and tourist attractions. The SkyPoint Observation Deck guarantees fantastic 360º views, stretching from Byron Bay to Brisbane by day, and across the shimmering Gold Coast skyline at night. On a clear day, you might even spot whales migrating along the eastern coast. The area is also popular for water sports like jet-skiing, parasailing, and flyboarding.
The Gold Coast is also the theme park capital of Australia, home to theme parks like Sea World, Dreamworld, and Wet‘n’Wild.
Things start to quiet down as you move farther down the coast. Broadbeach is a laid-back alternative for sunbathers, while surfer spots like Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta are less crowded out on the waves.
Farther inland are vast areas of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Whether it’s crabbing in the mangroves of the Tweed region, hiking along Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges, or discovering secluded waterfalls in Tamborine National Park, there's lots to do in these scenic surroundings.
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From $711 per night
|Most popular time to visit||October-December|
|Cheapest time to visit||January-March|
|Local currency||AUD 10 = $6.42|
|Average weekend price||$163 per night|
|Average weekday price||$168 per night|
|Average stay||3 nights|
Beautiful hotel. Tastefully furnished. Soft decor/colourings. Easy get to most places in the Gold Coast, but we had the beauty of having our own transport. Pacific Fair close by. Must see and do. Hotel staff amazing. Nothing too much trouble. Very professional.
The Gold Coast has much to offer. Beautiful beaches, restaurants, cafes and a vibrant nightlife. The markets and street performers are great. There is also local attractions such as, Ridley’s believe it or not or a ride in the Duck bus, just to name a couple! TGI Fridays was a fun night. Service was excellent and food was great. We also had a table at the window looking out to the beach!
Sunny holiday with kids under 5. Entertainment plus at the Theme Parks. Sea World was a highlight. Also did Paradise Country. Dream World, Movie World and Wet n Wild a lot of fun but are undergoing maintenance and staffing issues. Pancakes in Paradise for breakfast one morning. And coffee from Olives Coffee!
The tram is a frequent and cheap method of transport. There are also bus stops near the tram stops to take you to other areas. The beaches are great with soft sand - but can be windy. Our whale watching trip was cancelled due to the wind and bad swell - so we wished we had gone earlier in the week when the weather was good. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. We felt safe walking at night - it got dark at 6pm (September). We were up at 6am to make the most of our days. A lot of cafes open at approx 5am - and we found restaurants stopped serving approx 8pm. We took a trip to the hinterland / mountains / forests by a bus tour. We are glad we booked a tour as we would not likely have found a lot of the places/ waterfalls the bus stopped at if we had hired a car. Even though the tour brochures say they run 7 days a week, we did not find that was the case - so we did not manage to book all the tours we wanted. I would recommend deciding early in the holiday and checking when they are taking place.
We ate mostly at Twin Towns sports club because our friends were Gluten free. They provide a wide range of meals at affordable prices. Food is very good. We stayed at Coolangatta. Travel up to Surfers and beyond is longer than normal due to road works on the M1, so often congested but moving, Aucklanders probably won't notice. Road works are due to complete in 2024. NZers would say Yeah Right, but this is Aussie. If you are young and fit Robina shopping centre has it all. Love the surf and beaches around Coolangatta. Now 71 it was only looking this time, but still great. From our apartment you could see what I think we're Orcas frollicking.
Be sure to check prices for local attractions well before booking the accommodation as some attractions alone for a family can be as much as a night's accommodation. You need to buy a pass for public transport and don't overfill it as you will be left with a card with funds on it when you go home. You can't buy the tickets on the transport and need to get those at supermarkets etc. Parking anywhere in town (around Challis Ave) is a premium and very quickly gets past $20 mark (in a few hours).
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