Gold Coast Travel Guide

The Gold Coast is Australia’s most developed resort area and Gold Coast Tourism is big business. It is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland. The Gold Coast has excellent sandy beaches, fantastic restaurants, a huge choice of accommodation, expansive nightlife, lots of attractions and things to do. Add to that a wonderful all year round climate and you have for many a “must do” whilst in Australia.

Gold Coast information

In case you didn’t know, Queensland Gold Coast is a famous series of glorious surf beaches lined with some of the world’s best shopping, hotels, theme parks and dining topped with liberal amounts of blue skies and sunshine. Millions are drawn to this tourist playground every year and in all months of the year. It’s always holiday time on the Gold Coast so check it all out on the Gold Coast travel guide.

For those wanting a quiet sleepy resort, the Gold Coast is not the place. High rise Gold Coast apartments dominate the skyline, Gold Coast theme parks provide a backdrop and busy roads make for bustle and excitement. The Gold Coast hinterland does provide real relaxation and Tamborine Mountain and the villages of the Gold Coast hinterland are a world away from the surf and sun of the Gold Coast beaches.

The Gold Coast extends 30km from the New South Wales border to a long sandy spit that protects the mouth of the Nerang River. The Gold Coast is a strip broken into specific areas and beaches. From south to north we start with Coolangatta, Currumbin, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, and South Port. Surfers Paradise is the center of the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Location

The Gold Coast is situated in the southeast corner of Queensland, Australia just south of Brisbane. The Gold Coast extends from the New South Wales border to a long sandy spit that protects the mouth of the Nerang River.

The Gold Coast is a strip broken into specific areas and beaches. From south to north we start with Coolangatta, Currumbin, Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, and Southport. Surfers Paradise is the center of the Gold Coast. There is a huge choice of Gold Coast accommodations and many apartments close to the beach. The Gold Coast is a collection of places that run along the coast and extend inland.

  • Coolangatta
    A popular beach to the South of the Gold Coast with great surfing.
  • Kirra Point
    A famous breakpoint Kirra Point offers waves for all abilities.
  • Currumbin-Palm Beach
    Popular with young families with its gentle surf and rock pools. Currumbin Creek is good for fishing.
  • Burleigh Heads
    View the whole Gold Coast from Burleigh Headland. Burleigh Head National Park follows the coastline and offers some pleasant walks.
  • Miami
    Miami has a beautiful beach with good views from the cliff tops.
  • Surfers Paradise
    This, too many, is the Gold Coast being the center of all the action. There is lots of activity, lots of accommodation and a great beach.
  • Main Beach
    Narrowneck and Main Beach are pristine open beaches with ideal swimming and surfing conditions. North of the main beach lies the spit, a beautiful open ocean beach with a large jetty.
  • Southport Broadwater
    A well-established resort with beach and parkland.
  • Gold Coast Islands
    South Stradbroke Island is accessible by a ferry from Runaway Bay. This island is 22 km of ocean beach to the east and protected waterways to the west. Further North is Moreton Island which features a resort with a chance to feed wild dolphins.

Gold Coast Islands

North Stradbroke Island
Separated from South Stradbroke Island by the Jumpinpin Channel, North Stradbroke Island is the place where summer never ends. Known Australia wide as Straddie, it takes pride in being one of the world’s largest sand islands. Assessable only by vehicle or passenger ferry leaving from Cleveland, Brisbane, North Stradbroke is the place to get away from it all.

North Stradbroke Island tour

Rugged coastal landscapes, tranquil inland lakes, white sandy beaches, and an endless aqua ocean are just some of the natural features of the island. The numerous freshwater lakes, Ibis Lagoon, Blacksnake Lagoon, Welsby Lagoon, Lake Kounpee,   Brown Lake and the beautiful Blue Lake situated in   Blue Lake National Park are not to be missed. the lakes are a surprise for visitors not expecting an oasis in the middle of miles of golden sand. There are also a number of man-made water spots including the Key Hole Lakes, Yarraman Lake, Herring Lagoon and Palm Lagoon. In some areas, there are extensive swamplands such as the long Eighteen Mile Swamp and another behind Flinders Beach. Other notable features of the island include Adder Rock between Amity and Point Lookout and on the southern tip of the island is Swan Bay an area of very large sand dunes.

What nature misses out on, the three main villages Dunwich, Point Lookout, and Amity Point provide. The small resident population maintains a friendly village atmosphere with excellent accommodation choices and a variety of cafés and restaurants.

The largest town and your first port of call on arrival are Dunwich. Although this is the major settlement there aren’t many places to stay except for two camping grounds. The town is home to the North Stradbroke Island Golf Club, a collection of Aboriginal shell middens tucked into the sand dunes along the main beach and the local museum.  Dunwich also features the “TERRA-BULLA-LEAUMEAH”   reserve with informative signs, historical references, and native plants.

Point Lookout boasts the local bowls club, the islands only public hotel and a collection of impressive cafes and restaurants. Reputed to be the best land-based whale watching site in Queensland, Point Lookout makes a great place to stay as there is a wide array of accommodation that caters to every budget and taste.

Amity Point, known for its seaside fishing and relaxed village atmosphere boasts an enclosed swimming area and a boat ramp providing easy access for those wishing to pursue ocean activities. Amity features low key accommodation including camping, cabins, and bungalows.

There are numerous ways to enjoy all that the island has to offer including bicycle tours, whale watching, 4WD tours, fishing charters, sea kayaking, snorkeling, sandboarding or surfing lessons.

Come for a week and stay for a month, it’s a familiar story on North Stradbroke Island.

South Stradbroke Island
Although geographically very close to it all, South Stradbroke Island is an adventure far away from the glitter of the Gold Coast. Even though the southern end of it fronts the   Broadwater, and the tip marks the   Gold Coast Seaway, the island is, for the most part, an oasis. Separated from North Stradbroke by the Jumpinpin channel, the island is accessible from the Gold Coast by boats departing from Runaway Bay Marina near Southport, water taxis from the Marina Mirage or seaplane access from Paradise Waters.

Half Day Dolphin & Stradbroke Island Tour
If you’re after peace and quiet avoid the eastern beaches, known as a mini Surfers Paradise and head to the western side. Perpetually calm and tranquil, the western beaches are naturally protected from strong currents and ocean waves. Lagoon-like waters are perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, or making use of the many water sport attractions available. If you’re interested in hiking or exploring, take the ten-minute walk through tropical bushland to the eastern beaches. The eastern side is popular with surfers and also where the Humpback whales migrate each year.

Other activities include Aboriginal cultural performances, sea kayaking or resort activities (lawn bowls, tennis, cycling, putting, a sprint track, rock climbing, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, parasailing or surf fishing).

If you’re after a true Australian sporting battle, then head to South Stradbroke Island on New Years Day. The much loved and fiercely challenged annual Currigee Cup has been held on the island since 1965.

Gold Coast Things to do

For a daring start to your day channel your inner adventurer and take a hot air balloon flight. You will start the day bright and early with a champagne breakfast followed by an hour flight floating among the clouds with a stunning bird’s eye view of the coast and its magnificent hinterland. When you touchback on the ground, you might like to chill out for a bit to come down from the remarkable high of the Gold coast hot air balloon flight.

gold coast things to do

Head to the beach to pull up a patch of sand and engage in some serious relaxation. Now, everybody knows about Surfer’s Paradise, but the Gold Coast has more than 70 km of beach and it would be a crime not to discover some of the more secluded beaches along the strip. Currumbin is a great choice as it offers the triple deal of Currumbin Beach, Currumbin Lake, and Currumbin Alley. If you want to surf, then the beach is great and for gentle bathing the ocean fed lake is sublime. There are also interesting rock formations that are fun to climb and explore between swimming and sunbathing sessions.

After lunch gets head for the hills – or Burleigh Hill at least. Burleigh Hill is part of the Burleigh Head National Park where you can take the 1.5 km Oceanview trail where you can take in dazzling ocean vistas, see ancient volcanic formations and stroll through a sub-tropical rainforest right in the center of the Gold Coast. If you are lucky, you will see migrating whales or playful dolphins passing by as you look out to sea from one of the lookout points on the headland.

Gold Coast Best Attractions

From the simple pleasure of lazing the day away on some of the world’s finest beaches to the thrills offered at local theme parks and attractions, there is much to fill up your time taking Gold Coast holidays. The Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia but there is more on offer including jet boating, Harley Davidson tours, jet ski hire, deep-sea fishing tours, zoom around the track with WRX car racing, go-karting, the bungee bullet, 4WD adventures, and amphibious cruises.

Dreamworld

Adjacent to the M1 Motorway, Coomera
A theme park for the adventure-lover, featuring a huge range of rides and entertainment for the young and young at heart with 13 worlds to capture your imagination – from Tiger Island to the Australian Wildlife Experience. Dreamworld we have as the best Gold Coast tourist attraction.

Dreamworld

 

Warner Bros Movie World

Pacific Motorway, Oxenford
Fun for the entire family with rides, entertainment, stage shows, and Australia’s favorite Warner Bros characters. Be a star at Warner Bros Movie World where you can get lost in the fantasy world of all your cartoon favorites.

Warner Bros Movie World

 

Seaworld

Sea World Drive, Main Beach (07 55882205)
A marine experience for the whole family featuring polar bears, sharks, dolphins, stingray and fairy penguins.

Sea World Gold Coast

 

Gold Coast Walks

Away from the beach, theme parks and noise explore the Gold Coast on foot. The green behind the Gold of the hinterland is well worth a visit.

Burleigh Headland National Park Walk

There are two tracks to choose from, each meandering through almost 30 hectares of forest and pandanus groves.

Burleigh Headland National Park Walk

 

Gold Coast Hinterland

One of Australia’s newest long-distance walking tracks, the Gold Coast Hinterland walk connects Lamington and Springbrook Plateaus together.

Gold Coast Hinterland

 

Botanic Gardens

258 Ashmore Road, Benowa (07 5581 6984)
The gardens are set over 31 hectares and are a must-see for both locals and tourists.

Botanic Gardens

Gold Coast Tours

Australian Day Tours Australian Day Tours
View the wide selection of day trips, adventures, and experiences. We offer tours to Lamington Plateau-O’Reilly’s, Australia Zoo, Mt Tamborine, Theme parks, Tangalooma Island Resort and more! We also offer full and half-day tours to major Brisbane city attractions including Lone Pine – Australia’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary, Mt Coot-tha and Sirromet Winery.

Bunyip Bike ToursBunyip Bike Tours
Bunyip Bike Tours take you to see the wonders of the Gold Coast region in an environmentally friendly and interactive way – mountain bikes! Bunyip Bike Tours offers an exciting glimpse into an alternative Gold Coast holiday experience. We are a locally owned and operated company focused on delivering a fun, interactive and personal tour

Free Spirit toursFree Spirit tours
Experience the unique view from Free Spirit Tours’ custom made Trike as you cruise through exciting Surfers Paradise, spectacular high rise buildings, million-dollar homes, amazing Gold Coast beaches and waterways. Feel the crisp mountain air as you wind your way up into the Hinterland for wineries, rain forest canopies and spectacular views of the Gold Coast.

Southern Cross toursSouthern Cross tours
Southern Cross 4wd tours will take you to sub Tropical Rainforests behind the beaches of the Gold Coast. Visiting both Tamborine National Park and the World Heritage Listed Lamington National Park. Our fully guided tours in Australian built 4wd trucks will ensure an educational and exciting day out. This tour is thoroughly enjoyed by all ages and includes Morning Tea, Aussie BBQ Lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Tallship CruisesTallship Cruises
Full day & Half day Island Adventures Our full-day cruise is from 9 am until 4 pm sailing both ways to South Stradbroke Island, McLarens Landing. You will be on the island for roughly 4 hours where you can enjoy a various amount of water sport activities, 4WD Tour and our live island entertainment. Enjoy a delicious BBQ Buffet Lunch or order from our menu.

Gold Coast Weather

Gold Coast weather produces temperatures that can reach as high as 40C but it would be seen as rare for this part of Australia. In January 2010, Coolangatta set a new record for the month when the thermometer hit 37.9C to break the old record of 34.9 in 2004. Inland the temperature hit the low 40s centigrade.

As well as all that sunshine the Gold Coast has an average rainfall of about 1400mm annually, the majority of which falls in the summer period, as is the norm with most subtropical climates. February, March, and April offer the best rainfall with 644mm the highest and August and September the lowest with barely a shower at just 0.2mm.

But recent years have seen a number of records tumble and in October 2010, the Gold Coast recorded its wettest October with 264mm of rain falling. In Summer (December-March) with temperatures reaching a comfortable 29C on average the world-famous beaches are packed with tourists and locals.

Humidity can be high, especially before a tropical storm, but is often followed by cool sea breezes. On hot days the rainforests and mountain creeks of the hinterland are the places to be – where temperatures are markedly cooler – around 10C lower than the coast.

Once Autumn arrives in March the temperatures dip a little (15-25°C) but are accompanied by sensational sunny days and wonderful nights. During Winter the average temperature is still 11-21°C with sunny days and cool evenings and with less than 60mm of rainfall per month. Spring is very similar to Autumn on the Coast with glorious sunny days, occasional downpours, but balmy evenings which are perfect for outdoor entertaining.