7 myths about the Gold Coast

The Goldie may conjure images of skyscrapers, meter maids and sun-kissed surfers in thongs but scratch the surface – you'll find that there’s plenty of substance under all the glitz.

The Gold Coast is seeing a new kind of energy.
  • Craig Tansley
  • January 2019
  • Updated October 2020

Sometimes, destinations can get stuck with legacy stereotypes. But places change. The Gold Coast has grown up in recent years and if you visit today you might be surprised by what you find. Sure, it’s still sunny and full of surfers, but, with new energy being infused into the city with a younger population of creatives and entrepreneurs, a slew of new food and culture options, and an overall great lifestyle – there is a lot more to the Goldie now.

Here are some common myths about this Queensland strip that a resident sets the record straight on, while revealing some local secrets along the way…

There’s no culture

“Bogan Wonderland” has become culture central in recent years with arts precincts emerging across the coast, transforming industrial areas in Miami, Currumbin Waters and beyond. Artists, ceramicists, potters and designers set up at weekend markets, while innovative local bands play (try the Miami Marketta in Miami, Night Quarter in Helensvale or the Green Marquee in Currumbin Valley).

Surfers Paradise Markets run every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night.
Surfers Paradise Markets run every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night.

The Gold Coast is Surfers Paradise

The high-rises, nightclubs and meter maids of Surfers Paradise used to typify a visit to the Gold Coast. But the majority of locals never even visit the “Glitter Strip”. These days, the most innovative new accommodation, dining options, entertainment and leisure activities are further south in Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Coolangatta and beyond.

It’s full of retirees

The Gold Coast was once where your grandparents retired for the AUD $5 roasts at sports clubs served daily at 5.30pm. Now some 12,000 people of all ages move here each year, making this one of Australia’s fastest growing regions – most are families from Sydney or Melbourne. The average age on the Gold Coast is now under 40.

The Gold Coast is paradise for kids.
The Gold Coast is paradise for kids.

The locals are all tradies

About 20 per cent of Gold Coasters own and operate their own business – one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in Australia. The Queensland city is the breeding ground of the new-age entrepreneur, with multi-millionaires in the world of beauty, property, food and social media calling it home.

It’s all about the beaches

Sure, there are 57 kilometres of coastline but what about the rainforest and the mountains of the Gold Coast Hinterland? Drive less than an hour west of the beach and you’ll find some of the largest tracts of warm temperate and sub-tropical rainforest on earth in UNESCO World Heritage-listed national parks, with waterfalls, hiking trails and private rainforest retreats.

Curtis Falls is less than an hour away from the Gold Coast.
Curtis Falls is less than an hour away from the Gold Coast.

Surf clubs are the only place to dine out

Sure, surf clubs sit on some of the priciest real estate on the coast but grabbing a meal goes far beyond a chicken parmi and chips for AUD $24.95. Some of the state’s most awarded restaurants are here – like Rick Shores in Burleigh Heads, which won Best Restaurant in Delicious magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants in Queensland. Plus, more than 25 new vegan and vegetarian restaurants have recently opened.

They only drink XXXX beer up here

Hardly. The GC is fast becoming Australia’s craft beer capital. Balter – founded by local surfing world champs Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson – was voted number one in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2017, while Stone & Wood, brewed south in Murwillumbah, was number two. Trendy craft breweries and bars are all over the coast – try Burleigh Brewing Co. and Black Hops Brewery.

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