The Gold Coast
Australia’s playground and Queensland’s second largest city
Get a head start!
It’s home to no less than 5 incredible theme parks, that let you do everything from meeting your favourite movie characters and super-heroes to rocketing around giant and flying down epic water slides – the perfect way to cool off on a hot Queensland day. You can even swim with dolphins and sharks or see massive Bengal and Sumatran tigers leaping high for their favourite food. If that makes you feel a little hungry, there are also amazing shows like the Australian Outback Spectacular that brings life in the bush to life with incredible horse-riding skills and stunts just metres from your seat, as you enjoy a delicious three-course meal, with drinks.
Surfers Paradise & Broadbeach: In these lively neighbourhoods, skyscrapers overlook the sea creating a dramatic backdrop for white sandy beaches. This area is the heart of the GC and is well-known for its bars and restaurants. Join in with the locals on a walk or jog through waterside parks and along beachfront promenades dotted with street art and cafés. If you’re staying in this neighbourhood, don’t forget to pack your favourite outfit for a night on the town.
The Spit: This narrow strip of land at the northern end of the Gold Coast is the barrier between the Broadwater and the Pacific Ocean and is home to Sea World and large public parklands.
Southport & Main Beach: The glamorous Main Beach neighbourhood is adorned with exclusive designer hotels, a yacht-studded marina, and malls with designer boutiques aplenty. Southport sits on the western shores of the Broadwater, and is home to the extensive Broadwater Parklands where you can wander by the water and take in amazing views of the skyline further down the coast.
Miami, Burleigh Heads & Palm Beach: The neighbouring suburbs of Miami, Burleigh and Palm Beach exude a laid-back seaside lifestyle. Here you will find plenty of hip bars, boutiques and breweries, many of which have views of the skyline to the north. Burleigh’s headland has a deep spiritual significance to the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Yugambeh people, who run the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at its base.
Coolangatta & Currumbin: This is the Gold Coast’s (and Queensland’s) south-easternmost point, a place where crashing waves meet the sandy beaches. Most visitors come to these beachside suburbs to surf or laze on the sand, with the sparkling towers of Surfers Paradise proving a great photo backdrop at sunset. Here you’ll also be able to get up close with native wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Robina: This neighbourhood sits inland, between the beaches and the mountains. From here you can catch the train north to Brisbane or stay and explore the shopping and entertainment offerings at Robina Town Centre. You will also be able to catch the Gold Coast Titans in action at CBUS Super Stadium here.
The Hinterland: You only need to drive half an hour into the mountains to reach the string of neighbourhoods known as the Gold Coast hinterland, home to a staggering 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of UNESCO World Heritage-listed rainforest. Wild valleys, waterfalls and mountain peaks characterise the region, with distilleries and wineries set among walking trails and wellness resorts.
Coomera & Helensvale: These suburbs sit inland along the M1 motorway and are largely residential, except for the Theme Parks! The Gold Coast is known as Australia’s playground, largely because of all the theme parks that call it home. Helensvale is where you will find Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country, and the Top Golf driving range. A little further north at Coomera you will find the GC’s first theme park Dreamworld and neighbouring WhiteWater World.
Sport lovers will feel right at home on the Gold Coast with two top national teams that attract a passionate local following. Nothing beats being in the crowd at one of the big games at either Metricon Stadium or CBUS Super Stadium.
Rugby League (NRL): Gold Coast Titans
Aussie Rules Football (AFL): Gold Coast Suns
As well as football matches, the Gold Coast also hosts the Gold Coast Open surfing at Burleigh Heads each year.
The Supercars Gold Coast 500 is a large event that attracts motor racing enthusiasts from across the country.
Surf and beaches
The Gold Coast’s 70km of coastline has some of the most popular surf breaks in Australia including Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Miami, Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, and Coolangatta to name a few. There are many more to explore though!
The Gold Coast has Australia’s largest professional surf lifesaving service to protect people on the beaches and to promote surf safety throughout the community.
Besides the coast, there are beaches along many of the Gold Coast’s 860 km of navigable tidal waterways. Popular inland beaches include Southport, Budds Beach, Tallebudgera Estuary, Paradise Point, Harley Park Labrador, and Evandale Lake.
The Gold Coast has over 2,000 public parks dotted across the city with playgrounds, barbeques and sporting facilities catering to everyone. Some of the more popular parks are the Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Deodar Park, Frascott Park, Palm Beach Parklands, Schuster Park, and Country Paradise Parklands.
The Gold Coast is a sub-tropical paradise where the sun shines on average 245 days a year, which is why Gold Coasters spend so much time outdoors.
Summers are hot, humid and wet with average daily temperatures ranging from 20.8°C (68.9°F) to 28.1°C (82.5°F) from November through March when the weather starts to cool down. Winters are moderately dry and warm with average daily temperatures ranging from 13.6°C (56.4°F) to 22.5°C (72.5°F) from May through to September.
The city experiences substantial summer precipitation, mostly concentrated in thunderstorms and heavy showers with rain events occasionally lasting up to a few weeks at a time giving residents “the summer blues”. Winter on the other hand is pleasantly mild to warm with little rain. December through to March are the wettest months with an average monthly rainfall of 145.8mm (5.74in). The average annual rainfall on the Gold Coast is 1,252.9mm (49.33in).
Getting around the Gold Coast is easy with many transport options available. A Translink go card is the best way to access Public Transport and can be used on all Translink bus, train (including Airtrain), ferry and tram services in the greater Gold Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich, and Sunshine Coast regions.
The G:Link tram network is relatively new and will take you from Helensvale in the north to Broadbeach South, with a stop conveniently located at the Griffith University campus! Services operate from 5am until midnight 7 days a week with some stops also serviced from midnight until 5am on the weekends in order to get you home safely.
Queensland Rail Citytrain services also operate from the Gold Coast to Brisbane including Airtrain services to Brisbane Airport.
There is also an extensive bus network operating across the Gold Coast area connecting the Tram and Train networks so you an easily get where you need to. A detailed Trip Planner and Maps are available on the Translink website.
Electric Scooters are also available for hire, for more information visit the Lime website or download their App.
The Gold Coast has a vibrant arts and cultural scene with a calendar full of festivals and events to suit everyone. HOTA (Home of the Arts) is surrounded by parklands and a lake with Surfers Paradise as the backdrop. HOTA is your place for live performances, art exhibitions and more.
As well as galleries and theatres, the Gold Coast is home to a variety of cultural events and festivals all year-round with some of the most notable being:
- Beyond the Sand (Mar)
- Gold Coast Film Festival (Apr)
- Blues on Broadbeach (May)
- Cooly Rocks On (Jun)
- Gold Coast Marathon (Jul)
- Bleach* Festival (Aug)
- Swell Sculpture Festival (Sep)
- Groundwater Country Music Festival (Nov)
- Gold Coast 500 (Dec)
For more information on the Gold Coast and things to see and do, Destination Gold Coast has a comprehensive website for you to explore!