Pack your surfboards, swimsuits and sunscreen for Gold Coast, Australia’s sun-and-fun holiday destination of choice! Miles of golden sandy beaches, abundant marine life, vast green hinterlands, and the full suite of thrilling urban escapes assure a spectacular stay in this paradise not only for surfers, but for families and couples as well.
Best of Gold Coast
1. Surfers Paradise
Big waves and shores stretching as far as the eye – these have drawn countless surfers and sun worshippers to this corner Down Under. But more than just waves, Surfers Paradise has entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and countless ways to have fun, such as the Infinity funhouse, jet flight and race car simulators, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, jet boat adventures, Superduck amphibious tours and more!
2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Meet the unique creatures of Oz at this 27-hectare animal home, the world’s largest collection of Australian native wildlife. Pet the resident koalas and kangaroos, feed the lorikeets,watch the didgeridoo show and free-flight bird show, go on a Segway safari or get active at the sanctuary’s Green Challenge Adventure Parc.
3. Theme Parks
Gold Coast is heaven for theme park lovers, thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Whether you want to meet Bugs Bunny or sea lions, dangle on a rollercoaster loop or plunge into the ultimate water playground, you’ll find your kicks at Sea World Gold Coast, Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, and WhiteWater World.
4. National Parks
Blessed with rich, diverse flora and fauna, Gold Coast is surrounded by Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park, both World Heritage-listed under the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Explore the subtropical rainforest on foot or on a 4WD vehicle, and you’ll encounter glow worms, hundreds of waterfalls, and incredible species – excellent for walks, treks and nature photography.
5. Moreton Island
Expect exhilarating activities at the third largest sand island in the world. Dolphin and pelican feeding, ATV riding, bush walking and sand tobogganing are only some of the cool things you can do at Moreton Island.
6. Whale Watching
Gold Coast is one of the best places for whale watching, as thousands of humpback whales pass by between the months of June and October. These gentle giants swim, breaching and slapping their tails only metres away from observation vessels. It’s a memorable experience, with sightings guaranteed by some tour companies.
7. SkyPoint Climb
Feel the rush of a 90-minute climb up the iconic Q1 Resort Tower, one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. How about a twilight climb to see darkness fall over the horizon and the lights of Gold Coast brighten up the skyline?
8. Sunshine Coast
Living up to its name, Sunshine Coast is best for outdoor pursuits. You won’t run out of amusement parks, exhilarating sports and all-around family fun here. Enjoy some of Australia’s freshest seafood and produce at oceanfront restaurants and don’t miss the 4WD journey along Rainbow Beach.
9. Lady Elliot Island
Come explore the unspoilt coral reef and spectacular marine life of Lady Elliot Island, renowned for world-class snorkeling and diving spots with visibility of over 30 metres. One of the only three island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef, it is famous for a resident population of 40 Manta Rays.
10. Hot Air Ballooning
Catch spectacular views of Gold Coast and the hinterland at sunrise as you rise into the air on hot air balloon. Float over the forest and the city, see your balloon’s reflection in the canals, and end your flight with champagne breakfast. Mornings don’t get any better than this!
11. Byron Bay
Once a whaling station, Byron Bay is the spiritual home of Australia’s hippy movement. Backpackers flock here for that quick getaway on a shoestring. Artists seek inspiration from the various communities found in the vicinity. Nature lovers come for the unique flora and fauna, including the seasonal whale sightings. But most come to Byron Bay to enjoy the relaxing Bohemian atmosphere, just an hour away from Gold Coast.
12. Tangalooma Wrecks
Fifteen vessels deliberately sunk between 1963 and 1984 create a breakwall and make up the Tangalooma Wrecks, a prime diving and snorkelling spot which attracts a variety of marine life. The wrecks are only between two to ten metres deep in crystal-clear waters.
Every week, arts and crafts markets, and farmers’ markets pop up all over Gold Coast, perfect for customised souvenirs and bric-a-brac, fresh produce and handmade goods. One convenient place to shop is the beachfront market at Surfers Paradise every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, where over 100 stalls sell a wide variety of locally produced items.