It has set the scene for blockbuster movies and world-class surf events, so it’s no surprise Queensland’s most charismatic city has been drawing visitors for more than 50 years. The Gold Coast is a glitzy strip of high-rise hotels and expansive resorts set along more than a dozen golden sand beaches.
There’s something here for everyone, from dedicated surfers to easy-going families and sophisticated foodies. Just 30 minutes from the beach you’ll find a subtropical hinterland dotted with tumbling waterfalls, bushwalking trails and quaint villages.
You could happily spend a week (or more) flopped by the pool, but there’s so much more to do on the Gold Coast.
Whether you’re an absolute beginner or just looking to brush up on your skills, the Gold Coast is a great place to learn to surf. Choose a surf school, practise your moves on the sand, and then hit the waves.
The Gold Coast culinary scene is one that’s served with a side of alfresco, so you can try fine-dining restaurants, casual seafood shacks, buzzing cafes, breweries, street-eats and more.
Queensland’s beaches are the best in the world and the Gold Coast is home to some stunners. Try Broadbeach for safe swimming with the kids, feel the bohemian vibe at Burleigh or discover the locals’ favourite, Nobby Beach.
The young (and young at heart) won’t want to miss the Gold Coast’s legendary theme parks. Meet your favourite characters at Movie World, scream on the rollercoasters at Dreamworld, swim with dolphins at Sea World and tackle the speed slide at Wet’n’Wild.
The Gold Coast is an incredibly diverse and compact region where you’ll find beautiful beaches, ancient rainforests, quiet villages and buzzing beachside suburbs.
The epicentre of the Gold Coast’s resort strip, this entertainment playground offers waterfront shopping and dining, a vibrant nightlife, and the region’s most famous beaches. Take me to Surfers Paradise
Hop in the car and, with the coastline in the rear-vision mirror, explore an area known as the green lungs of the Gold Coast. Here, you’ll discover vineyards, waterfalls and wonders such as Springbrook National Park’s Natural Bridge. Take me to the Gold Coast Hinterland
Part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, Lamington National Park is threaded with 160km of bushwalking trails leading to hidden waterfalls and towering lookouts. Venture to the Green Mountains section and you’ll be rewarded with dramatic views.
Kick back and enjoy some classic Aussie beach culture at “Broadie” (as it’s known to locals), where a long arc of golden sand backs on to some of the Gold Coast’s best gourmet delis, bistros and brasseries. Take me to Broadbeach
There’s no shortage of amazing hotel and resorts on the Gold Coast, with hundreds of properties strung along its beaches. From budget to ultra-luxury, there are options to suit couples, families and groups. Head into the hinterland to discover unique eco-friendly properties surrounded by rainforest or cosy bed and breakfasts. Show me Gold Coast accommodation options
Gold Coast Airport sits at the south end of the coast, near Coolangatta. It’s a 40-minute drive from Surfers Paradise and about 90 minutes from Brisbane. There is one terminal for domestic and international flights, with nine airlines offering almost 400 flights a week to destinations in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
You can get around the whole Gold Coast region, including to and from the airport, accommodation and theme parks, using taxis or a ride-share service (such as Uber).
Hire a car at the airport or at one of the region’s major centres to drive along the coast and explore into the hinterland.
The Gold Coast is a great place to discover on foot or on two wheels. There are more than 1000km of dedicated bike paths, including the 48km Darren Smith Memorial Route that runs from Coolangatta in the south to Paradise Point in the north. Show me how to get around the Gold Coast
The G:link light rail, which opened in 2014, stretches from Southport to Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach, with trams running every seven to 15 minutes. An extension to Helensvale in the north-west is under construction and will be completed in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There are more than 60 bus routes through the Gold Coast that connect almost every suburb, and trains run through major centres such as Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes.