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. A popular holidaymaking region, the Gold Coast lets visitors toggle between fast-paced and laid-back as they bask in the year-round sunshine. 

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Things to do

  • Life’s a beach

    Peppers Broadbeach is in the heart of, you guessed it, Broadbeach. You won’t go hungry here with over 100 alfresco restaurants offering diverse cuisines. Family-friendly Zagames Paradise Resort 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 is south of the Gold Coast at Kirra Beach and specialises in opulent accommodation for couples. Units are themed “life spaces,” capturing panoramic views of Queensland’s most famous beach. 

  • Natural high

    The Gold Coast really does have it all, including many beautiful national parks each with walkways to explore and stretch those legs. Choose from Springbook National Park’s Natural Bridge Rainforest Circuit (pictured), O’Reilly’s, Moonlight Craig Lookout and Tamborine Mountain. The Natural Bridge Rainforest Circuit is an amazing natural rock formation that arches over Cave Creek. Thousands of glowworms make it most spectacular at night.

    O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is located in the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Get lost in the magic of the subtropical rainforest with 160km of walking trails to explore, including over 500 waterfalls and 250 species of Australian wildlife. Moonlight Craig Lookout is a highlight.

    Tamborine Mountain, also known as “the green behind the gold”, offers pristine surrounds whether you’re enjoying the many boutique restaurants and wineries or the engineering feat of the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk – southeast Queensland’s longest canopy walkway. The 300m-long bridge allows explorers to venture across the rainforest canopy while the 40m-long Skywalk Cantilever soars 30m over the creek for an unrivalled rainforest experience.

  • Shore thing

    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, sign-up for lessons with JM Stand Up Paddle Company and Surfers Paradise Stand Up Paddle. If you want to ride the waves like the best, you’ll want to learn in one of the most idyllic locations. Contact Get Wet Surf School (pictured) and Brad Holmes Surf Coaching. 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. Cruise out to Stradbroke Island and explore the pristine beaches while learning a new skill with Getaway Sailing.

  • Park life

    Goldie is Australia’s theme park capital, home to Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World (pictured), Wet ‘n’ Wild and Whitewater World. Save yourself time and cash and buy your passes online: the “unlimited passes” are definitely worth the higher price. Avoid traffic and parking woes and catch the local bus to any of the parks. The three-park pass entitles you to extra savings and access to Movie World, Wet ’n’ Wild and Sea World. Dreamworld and WhiteWater World offer the discounted “world pass tickets”.

  • 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.

    Whale Watching Gold Coast, Mariners Cove Marina, 60 Seaworld Drive Main Beach, tel: +61 (7) 5532 2444

    Whales in Paradise, Cnr of Cavil Ave, Gold Coast Hwy, tel: +61 (7) 5538 5219

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Airport information

Gold Coast Airport opens in new window (OOL)

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. 

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When to go

Gold Coast experiences great weather all year round and the four seasons are less apparent. The sub-tropical climate is ideal for outdoor enjoyment – there is an average of 245 days a year of fine and sunny weather. In summer (December to 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 whale watching is what you’re after, the best time to go is between June and October when tour boats head out for such excursions. 

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Getting around

Bus operators TransLink and Surfside offer services that run along the coast as and beyond. There’s also an after-midnight service called NightLink. G:link, the new light rail service, is scheduled to be completed by mid 2014. There will be 16 stations running from Gold Coast University Hospital to Broadbeach South. Expeditions to the Hinterland still require a hire car or taxi. 

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