Australia's party central for surfers and all-round fun seekers
'Goldie' is home to the beach-lined tourist hub of Surfers Paradise and popular precincts such as Broadbeach, with its restaurants, shopping and casino, and Main Beach with its resorts. And let’s not forget the surf breaks at Greenmount, Currumbin and Burleigh Heads, to name just a few. The Gold Coast also ranks as Australia’s family-fun capital, boasting theme parks ranging from Sea World and WhiteWater World to Warner Bros Movie World, Dreamworld and the Australian Outback Spectacular.
Beyond the city limits is a lush hinterland – 'the green behind the gold' – known for its national parks, rock formations, waterfalls and inviting nature spots like Tamborine Mountain, Springbrook and Currumbin Valley. One of Australia's favourite holiday playgrounds, the Gold Coast lets visitors toggle between fast-paced and laid-back – all under year-round sunshine.
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The best of the Gold Coast on a budget: top 5 things to do
There’s no need to flash the cash to experience some of the hottest spots on the GC. Here are our top 5 things to do on the Gold Coast.
Things to do
Life’s a beach
Peppers Broadbeach opens in new window is in the heart of Broadbeach, the Gold Coast's fine dining hotspot with over 100 alfresco restaurants offering diverse cuisines. Family-friendly Zagames Paradise Resort opens in new window is in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Parents can revel in some 'me time' as the littlies stay entertained at the kids' club. Nirvana by the Sea opens in new window, south of the Gold Coast at Kirra Beach, specialises in opulent accommodation for couples. The units are themed 'life spaces', capturing panoramic views of Queensland’s most famous beach.
The Gold Coast’s national parks are just as stunning as its beaches, with some incredible walkways. The Natural Bridge Rainforest Circuit at Springbook National Park opens in new window is a natural rock formation whose thousands of glow worms make it most spectacular at night. At Tamborine Mountain (apart from the many boutique restaurants and wineries) is the Rainforest Skywalk opens in new window – a 300m-long bridge across the rainforest canopy, allowing you to experience it at treetop level, 30m high.
Goldie is Australia’s theme park capital, home to Dreamworld opens in new window, Movie World opens in new window, Sea World opens in new window (pictured), Wet ‘n’ Wild opens in new window and Whitewater World. Save yourself time and cash and buy your passes online: 'unlimited' passes are worth the higher price. The three-park pass opens in new window entitles you to extra savings and access to Movie World, Wet ’n’ Wild and Sea World, while Dreamworld and WhiteWater World also offer combined tickets opens in new window. Avoid traffic and parking woes and catch the local bus to any of the parks.
The Gold Coast is home to over 57km of coastline with countless surf breaks. The sand is clean and golden and most beaches are patrolled by surf lifesavers. Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) is becoming increasing popular as a sport because it’s almost too fun to be categorised as exercise; if you’re a newbie, you can sign up for lessons. If you want to ride the waves like a top surfer, this is the most idyllic locations to get schooled; try Get Wet Surf School opens in new window (pictured). Take to the waters in an entirely different manner by learning the art of sailing – an ideal sport to learn as a group or family, on a cruise out to Stradbroke Island.
Whale of a time
Marvel at nature’s majesty as our most substantial mammals partake in their annual migration along Humpback Highway. The busy shoreline provides up to 25,000 viewing opportunities between June and November. Companies like Whale Watching Gold Coast opens in new window and Whales in Paradise opens in new window run catamaran tours along the coast to get you up close and personal with the migrating humpbacks.
Distance to Surfers Paradise 20km
Taxi A taxi will take around 30 minutes to Surfers Paradise and cost around AUD $65.
Shuttle SkyBus opens in new window provides Gold Coast airport transfers between Gold Coast Airport and over 500 hotels along the Gold Coast – from just AUD $18 one way with FREE WiFi
Bus Translink opens in new window bus route 777 runs around every 15 minutes from the airport to Broadbeach South station, where you can pick up a G:link tram to Surfers Paradise. The journey takes around an hour, and the adult fare is about AUD $6.Back to top
When to go
The Gold Coast experiences great weather all year round. The sub-tropical climate is ideal for outdoor enjoyment – there's an average of 245 days a year of fine and sunny weather. In summer (December–February), daytime temperatures are generally in the mid 20°C range. Enjoy cooler temperatures – about 16°C – in the hinterland, especially in winter. The highest rainfall occurs between January and March where hot days are often followed by tropical storms. Summer is the best time to enjoy the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches and thrilling rides and entertainment at the theme parks. If you want to experience the humpback whale migration, go between June and October.
Ready to find some cheap flights to Gold Coast?Back to top
Bus operators TransLink opens in new window and Surfside opens in new window offer services that run along the coast as and beyond. There’s also an after-midnight service called NightLink. The G:link opens in new window light rail runs from Southport to Broadbeach. Expeditions to the hinterland require a hire car, tour or taxi.Back to top