Gold Coast is truly a paradise for tourists. You will be able to surfing on the beautiful beaches, whale watching in Runawa Bay. Visitors can see first-hand the wildlife in the primary forests, or participate in adventure games in Dreamworld. In addition, you will have a great experience watching the sea from the hot air balloon. So, what to do and how to plan a budget perfect trip to the city of Gold Coast? – the vibrant coastal city of Australia for the first-time? Let’s check out our Gold Coast travel blog (Gold Coast blog, Gold Coast Australia travel blog, Gold Coast Australia blog) with the fullest Gold Coast travel guide (Gold Coast visitor guide, Gold Coast tourist guide, Gold Coast guide) from how to get, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!
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The Gold Coast city is also one of the most livable cities of Australia and in the world. This city is neither too hustle and bustle like Sydney or Melbourne, nor too pristine like Perth and crowded like Brisbane, but gentle and peaceful with a vast expanse of land, picturesque scenery with numberous white sand beaches, clear blue water.
Like Maiami of America, this is an ideal place for those who love life and want to have fun and entertainment on beautiful and poetic beaches. With countless of restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes and some of Australia’s biggest casinos, Gold Coast is like a magnet that always attracts visitors from central Australia and many countries in the region and around the world to come to entertain, relax for their vacation.
Gold Coast travel blog: Overview of Gold Coast
Gold Coast is a city in the state of Queensland on the East Coast of Australia about 94 km to the south of Brisbane. The Albert River separates the Gold Coast from Logan City, a suburb of Brisbane. The Gold Coast has approximately 700,000 inhabitants covering an area of 414.3 km² and is the fastest growing city in Australia by population. This is the state’s second largest city and the 6th largest city in Australia.
The Gold Coast City stretches from Beenleigh and Russell Island to the border with New South Wales (NSW) about 56 km (35 miles) to the south, and extends from the west coast to the foothills of the The Great Dividing Range in the Lamington National Park, a site listed on World Heritage Sites.
The Gold Coast was largely uninhabited until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed on Mermaid Beach. The supply from the Clarkia Amoena (Godetia Amoena) of the hinterland attracted people to live in this area in the mid-19th century. Then in 1875, the present-day Southport district was surveyed and established, famous since then and is a secluded vacation destination for affluent Brisbane’s residents.
After the establishment of the Surfers Paradise hotel in the late 1920s, the Gold Coast’s economy grew significantly. The area exploded in the 1980s as a leading tourist destination, and in 1994, the local government area of the Gold Coast City was expanded to cover much of the Gold Coast metropolitan area and becomes Australia’s second most populous local government area after the City of Brisbane.
Gold Coast is known to the world for its pure white sand beaches stretching to 57 kilometers long. Guests have many options such as visiting the rather discreet beaches of Coolangatta and Currumbin, surfing at Main Beach or Burleigh Heads.
Gold Coast blog: When to visit?
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful Gold Coast beaches, playing thrill rides and have fun at amusement theme parks. If you want to see whales, visitors can come from June to October. In general, the weather in Gold Coast all year round is beautiful and there is no clear division. The subtropical climate is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities, with an average of 245 days a year in sunny and beautiful weather. In summer (December – February), daytime temperatures are usually around 20 deegrees Celsius. You can enjoy cooler temperatures, around 16 deegrees Celsius, in the hinterland, especially in winter. The most rainy season is from January to March with hot days often accompanied by tropical storms.
Spring in Gold Coast with sunny days and mild tropical nights. This time is suitable for kite surfing, surfing, sailing or watching the brilliant spring flowers at Mountain Festival, visiting the night markets in Surfers Paradise. Summer is the best time to experience the brilliant beaches, cool rain forests, and swimming with dolphins at Sea World Marine Park. Autumn is ideal for fishing, sailing, and participating in the atmosphere of the Gold Coast Triathlon and the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships. In winter, you can start your whale watching journey, swimming and surfing on endless blue beaches.
Gold Coast travel blog: How to get?
Guests can take flights to Sydney or Melbourne via airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Korean Airlines, Air Asia… then take domestic flights or take a bus to Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Airport is located about 20 km from the city center. It takes about 20 to 45 minutes to getting to the center by taxi, train or bus.
Gold Coast travel guide: Getting around Gold Coast
The airport is 20km from Surfers Paradise. Travel time 30 minutes. Taxi around A$ 65.
Con-X-ion bus every 15-30 minutes with a trip. One-way fare A$ 22, round-trip A$ 40. Journey takes 45 minutes.
Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle: SkyBus offers a transfer service between Gold Coast Airport and more than 500 hotels located along the Gold Coast beaches with FREE WiFi.
One-way: A$ 21 (adult), A$ 13 (children 3-13 years old); round trip A$ 41 (adult), A$ 21 (children). Journey takes 45 minutes.
Phone: 07 5574 5111
Bus 702, runs every 30 minutes. One-way fares from A$ 7.
TransLink and Surfside bus companies provide service to take passengers along the coast and further. There is also a transfer service after midnight called NightLink.
The new light rail service G:link with 19 stops spreads from Gold Coast University Hospital to Broadbeach South. If you want to explore the land off the coast, you need to rent a car or take a taxi.
Gold Coast travel blog: What to do and where to go?
Gold Coast is a tourist city, all, from the main street Surfers Paradise (which is considered the shopping paradise), or entertainment venues such as Seaworld, Movie World, Dream World, Snow Center … with thrilling games, cultural shows, people and aboriginal of Australia … all are focused on tourists.
Truly worthy of the name Gold Coast, this coast is more than 57km long includes many beautiful beaches, covered with golden sand, is a famous tourist city in the world. Because of this poetic beauty, there is a saying “if you have come to Australia without visiting the Gold Coast, it is considered that you have not come to Australia”.
If you’re newbie to surfing, you can sign up for private or group classes with Get Wet Surf School at The Spit, Surfers Paradise. Off the Main Beach is Wave Break Island – an unique place for scuba diving experience with over 50 fish species. The Queensland Scuba Diving tour will help you to explore this colorful ocean world in easier way. Some Gold Coast’s wonderful beaches.
Located near the Perfect Gold Coast Park, BBQ spots, cafes and a large shopping mall, The Broadwater is a great safe place for families to swim.
A fenced swimming area, located towards the northern end of Broadwater Park and a great white sand beach with playground and shady seats are also ready for a day of relaxation.
Broadbeach is located in the north of Mermaid Beach of Gold Coast. Broadbeach has flagged the area and many Lifeguard towers, due to the potentially dangerous nature of the sea at this beach, but with its popularity, the beach still attracts many tourists to have fun. There are also a number of picnic areas and self-service BBQ spots, and the cafes offering various dining options.
Swimming and surfing are two of the most popular things to do at the beautiful Burleigh Heads beach. Surrounded by pine trees and pandanus palms, this charming soft white sand strip is located between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta beaches.
This is also an ideal beach for families; The beachside park serves barbecue and picnic areas, and you’ll find plenty of cafes and shops a short walk from the beach.
Coolangatta is located in the southern end of the Gold Coast, and to the north of Greenmount beach. It was a great place to spend the day at the beach with the kids. Coolangatta Beach has a flagged area and Lifeguard tower. A coastal reserve and sanctuary that runs through the length of Coolangatta Beach. A fenced-free playground for children, along with benches and a great walking path. Coolangatta is a fairly safe beach.
Currumbin & Currumbin Alley
Currumbin beach and Currumbin Alley can be found at the southern end of the Gold Coast, where Currumbin Creek meets the sea. These are beautiful beaches for a outing with kids, with wonderful lake Currumbin adjacent to each other.
Greenmount is located at the southern end of Coolangatta Beach, and to the north of Rainbow Bay. One of the safest beaches in the Gold Coast, Greenmount is a wonderful place. There is a wonderful beach sanctuary behind Greenmount beach that houses a fenced-free play area under the colored sails and includes swings, slides, and rock climbing. Spacious seating and a great walking trail are other attractions.
Tugun Beach is located in the southern end of the Gold Coast, to the north of Kirra Beach. It’s a beautiful beach. An apartment, a non-fenced play area overlooking Tugun beach, creates a closed, private space for families to have fun here.
Surfers Paradise Beach
The paradise beach for surfers – One of the most wonderful expriences you definitely have to try in Gold Coast city with its 3km long coastline. Here there are skyscrapers and picturesque seaside roads. This is a paradise for surfers or jumping on gentle buoys if you want to rest in the sun, you can find a place to relax in one of the many shops, cafes and restaurants nearby.
Lifeguards patrol 365 days a year, but swimmers should stay between the red and yellow flags and not leave the protected area. At night, the beach is illuminated for visitors to walk in the evening.
Gold Coast Australia has dozens of kilometers of coastline and the Tallebudgera creek separating Burleigh Heads from Palm Beach is one of the most beautiful sights. The water here is clear, flowing water gently is a place for you to immerse yourself all day long or simply walk around and watch the wonderful scenery around.
The amusement parks in the Gold Coast are also famous as no less than the golden beaches here. Those who love imerging in the water should choose Wet ‘n’ Wild with amazing water slides like Kamikaze and The Tornado. For families, Warner Bros. Movie World is the perfect choice with countless of games that will attract the attention of children as well as the chance to meet lovely cartoon characters. If you are a fan of adventure, choose Dreamworld because it has the Big 9 Thrill Rides, including The Giant Drop, Tower of Terror and Buzz Saw. Or, just buy a Mega Pass to discover it all, from Wet ‘n’ Wild, Movie World, Sea World (an aquatic animal park), Australian farm, wildlife experience to Paradie Country.
Tamborine is where you can enjoy pristine nature at any time, whether you are enjoying a meal at restaurants, pubs or walking on the high lane of Tamborine Forest, the longest canopy walk in the southeast of Queensland. The 300m long bridge allows visitors to walk beside the trees of the rainforest, while the 40m long bridge with an additional section of 30m soaring in the middle of the valley will allow visitors to experience the rainforest scenery unlike any other.
Fly into the air
Experience the feeling of being mesmerized by the scenery of the Gold Coast as you falls free from a height of 12,000 feet with Gold Coast Sky Dive. Once the plane takes off from Gold Coast International Airport, you already have unique experiences. The higher you get, the more you have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking views of the Gold Coast below – the beauty of golden sandy beaches and charming wasteland.
Fun on the waves
Gold Coast has over 57km of coastline and countless surf spots. The sand here is very clean and golden, and most of the beaches have surf lifeguards. Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is an increasingly popular sport because it is more exciting and requires more technical than other sports. If you do not know how, you should register for the course of JM Jewellers or Surfers Paradise travel agents. You can surf on the waves like the best ones, even while studying at popular places like Get Wet Surf School or Brad Holmes. Another way of riding a wave that your whole family can joining is rowing. Don’t forget to visit Stradbroke Island, explore pristine beaches and learn new skills with the Getaway Sailing Center.
Discover Gold Coast jungle
Leaving the hot beaches, we explore deeper lands with unspoiled national parks and charming upland villages. Adventurous lovers can try the toughness of their feet with the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk – which last for 3 days, across a volcano and one of the world’s cultural heritages – the Gondwana rainforest; or cycle past the lush vineyards, wineries and breweries of Mount Tamborine.
Rent a bike and explore coastal life
Come and dive into the characteristics of the residential areas here, each brings its own atmosphere. Rent a bike in Surfers Paradise and take a leisurely cycling to Broadbeach – about 20 minutes. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping malls there, including the Cardamom Pod for those who love vegetarian food, and the Pacific Fair mall. Mermaid Beach is home to Bam Bam Bakehouse, where you can have a coffee break with delicious pastries. Cycling for another 30 minutes to the south is the famous surf spot – Burleigh Heads.
If you want to watch whales, from April to September, you can walk through Burleigh Head National Park. Or continue cycling along the road to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, you may encounter, even feed a Kangaroo, approach a crocodile or cuddle a kangaroo – worth experiences. Then cycling back to Surfers Paradise and join the beachfront markets that are held every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Don’t forget that Get On Your Bike can arrange bike delivery and pickup anywhere within Gold Coast.
On weekends, many locals exit the city for tropical forests, waterfalls, and wineries. Part of the Gondwana rainforest is Australia’s UNESCO heritage, Springbrook National Park is said to be the most beautiful part of this forest. Double waterfall is a popular tourist destination or you can admire the glowing fireflies in a cave behind the stunning waterfall.
Gold Coast panoramic view at SkyPoint
SkyPoint located in the modern Q1 Resort & Spa building is Australia’s tallest residential tower and offers unobstructed views of the entire Gold Coast city. You can choose from two attractions here: SkyPoint Observation Deck on the 77th floor with 360-degree panoramic views of the Gold Coast.
Those looking for more adventure can opt for the SkyPoint Climb, where thrill seekers hanging at an altitude of 270 meters. The SkyPoint Climb includes the entrance to the observation deck, where you can relax at a cafe and visit through information exhibitions.
Whale watching is no longer a luxury when you come to the Gold Coast. Get ready to take your eyesight or prepare your camera ready, you will witness the breathtaking of nature as the largest herds of mammals on the planet migrate along The Gold Coast’s Humpback Highway. From June to November every year, the coast offers 25,000 whale watching opportunities for everyone. Humpback whale watching tour companies: Mariners Cove Marina; Whales in Paradise.
Play golf at the top golf courses
The beautiful and challenging golf courses of the Gold Coast await. You can choose one of the golf courses like Palmer Gold Coast, RACV Royal Pines Resort or Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove; Or choose public golf courses such as Parkwood International and Links Hope Island.
Enjoy a life of luxury
Gold Coast is also known worldwide for its luxurious resorts. Treat yourself to a wonderful stay at five-star hotels like Palazzo Versace – Main Beach, Hilton in the center of Surfers Paradise; or The Sofitel in Broadbeach, … All of them bring you the best experiences.
You can go to the suburbs of the city like Paradise Waters, Cronin Island, Chevron Island and Capri Island. Coming to those places, you will find a quiet and extremely peaceful place.
Gold Coast Australia travel blog: What and where to eat?
Gold Coast food is a culinary adventure with plenty of dining venues and options across the city. From high-end Japanese restaurants to Cuban food vans, where people can buy cheap street food. You can find any dishes here such as fresh seafood or simply want to enjoy coffee, the seaside is where you can enjoy these interesting things.
Breakfast is considered an important meal to start a new day in this city, you can choose Barefoot Barista in Palm Beach for coffee with super friendly service and delicious food. The Milkman’s Daughter Vegetarian Cafe with healthy food or Pasture & Co in the Currumbin valley offers a variety of natural sweet dishes.
The Gold Coast boasting its rich cuisine, from cafes to beer shops and countless fine restaurants that can compete with any restaurant in Sydney or Melbourne. For breakfast coffee, you can choose Elk Espresso or No Name Lane in Broadbeach, or enjoy a classic Australian breakfast at Barefood Barista – Palm Beach. At Burleigh Heads, The Fish House was chosen as the “delicious” place for lunch and dinner. After that, drop by Burleigh Brewing Company and enjoy some fine beers here.
Here are other great restaurant you can refer to: Rick Shores, Labart, The Tropic in Burleigh Heads. Hyde Paradiso at Surfers Paradise …
Some delicious food must try
The Gold Coast’s seafood is quite famous and fresh. Because, this place owns a coastline of 57 km long. When traveling to Gold Coast you should enjoy attractive seafood dishes such as big tuna and barramundi …
Prawn Cocktail is a delicacy of Australian and Gold Coast cuisine that you should not miss. This unique dish attracts visitors from the presentation to the delicious taste.
One of the signature dishes that make up the Gold Coast culinary brand is the BBQ dishes. Outstanding BBQ dishes include grilled kangaroo, grilled Australian crocodile or grilled Australian beef.
Gold Coast travel blog: Shopping in Gold Coast
There are many things that make a trip interesting including shopping. If you are a shopping lover, the Gold Coast is really great for you. Coming to this city, you can enjoy shopping at some ideal places such as: Harbor Town, Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets and other major shopping malls.
Pacific Fair Shopping Centre has nearly 300 large and small stores selling fashion products, accessories, cafes and movie theaters; World-class Robina Town Centre with famous Australian brands such as SABA, CUE, Country Road, Carla Zampatti, David Lawrence and Sportscraft.
Stockland The Pines Shopping Centre with 90 stores selling fresh food and many souvenir stalls; Australia Fair with comfortable shopping and exciting children’s play area; Q-Super Center with beauty services, home appliances, fashion … are all great places to shop, buy gifts to give to friends and relatives after the trip.
And if you want buy gifts for friends and relatives, you must go to the evening markets selling handicrafts on Cavill Avenue or to the designer shops along Orchid Avenue and Elkhorn Avenue.
Or located along the Gold Coast, there will be souvenir shops, from jewelry, handicrafts to typical Australian cakes and fruits as gifts.
Gold Coast blog: Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Q1 Resort and Spa, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $189/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $397/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $568/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $459/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Gold Coast you can refer to
- Shared Gold Coast Airport Transfers (OOL) for Gold Coast
- Gold Coast City Sights
- Gold Coast Full Day Tour with Private Transportation
- Gold Coast City Card
- Grand Brisbane Tour from Gold Coast
- Byron Bay Tour from Gold Coast
- Natural Arch and Springbrook Tour from Gold Coast
- Moreton Island Day Tour from Brisbane or Gold Coast
- iVenture Gold Coast Flexi Attractions Pass
- Gold Coast Theme Parks Combo Ticket
- Dreamworld Entry Ticket in Gold Coast (304412 East)
- Warner Bros Movie World Entry Ticket
- Gold Coast Sea World Entry Ticket with Optional Helicopter Scenic Tour
- Wet n Wild Water Park Entry Ticket
- Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and Skypoint Observation Deck 3-Day Pass
- Gold Coast Sea World Entry Ticket with Optional Helicopter Scenic Tour
- Gold Coast Hop On Hop Off Ferry Day Pass
Welcoming 13 million visitors annually, Gold Coast is an ideal Australian destination for a beach vacation. Are you looking for more top things to do in Gold Coast: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here.