Gold Coast Travel Guide

Gold Coast Overview

The Gold Coast, Queensland’s number one spot for revelry and hedonism, is Australia’s little piece of the Costa del Sol, Ibiza and Las Vegas all squeezed into a sun soaked beach town. Far removed from the stereotypical no worries ethos that the country is accustomed to, the Gold Coast stretches along 40km of uninterrupted beach with a sparkling and brash array of cutting-edge residential towers, gleaming entertainment complexes and vast shopping arcades. For the most part this is a place to party and loved as much by Aussie holidaymakers as it is by sun tanned backpackers. The Gold Coast offers boundless entertainment opportunities all year round from American-style theme parks to beach based activities to more bars and nightclubs than it is possible to shake a stick at.

The beating heart of the Gold Coast is Surfer’s Paradise, the epitome of the party scene, entertainment centre and a hotbed for backpacker tourism. Yet, and it may come as a surprise, it does not have to be all about the glitz and glamour. At the far south of the strip both Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads offer more of the commonly known easy-going coastal town vibe and some of the regions best surf breaks. And there is more, as moving inland the Gold Coast Hinterland provides the perfect escape from the maddening crowd and the chance to explore the national parks of Lamington and Springbrook spilling out over the rolling McPhersonRange.
Regardless of motive there is no denying that the Gold Coast is a fun place to be around and being only an hour from both Brisbane and Byron Bay is an easy place to reach. One thing that does surprise visitors, especially backpackers, is the cost of living and hostels are often pricier than other towns and cities in Queensland. Nevertheless, as with much of the country the best asset comes for free - enjoying the magnificent beach and excellent surf.

Things to do in Gold Coast

Surfer’s Paradise - The quintessential town and heart of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is bright, brash and busy where bronzed lifeguards, meter maids donning skimpy gold bikinis and backpackers learning to surf and looking to party all come as part of the package. This is Queensland’s backpacker heaven and party capital alive 24-hours a day with its bars, nightclubs, surf shops and sweeping stretch of beach. There are really on a few reasons to come here, being to party, spend money and nurse a hangover on the beach.

SouthStradbrooke Island - North of Surfers Paradise is a 20km strip of sand separated from the mainland and an ideal daytrip destination to escape the maddening Gold Coast crowds and relax on the partially secluded beaches. Ferries depart from Runway Bar Marina and throughout most of the year require prior booking.
Coolangatta- Right on the border of Queensland and NSW, Coolangatta is the proud owner of some of the best surf and least populated beaches on the Gold Coast and a true coastal town community vibe. Set back from GreenmountBeach, the town host a handful of streets lined with hotels, hostels and bars and cafés. Those here to surf tend to head for the breaks off Point Danger, Kirra Point and Snapper Rocks. The town is also famous for the ability to celebrate the New Year twice, owing to the time zones of the two states.
Burleigh Heads - Snuggled between Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise is a pleasant beachside suburb favoured by families and those looking for a quieter Gold Coast scene. Backed by pristine parks, the beaches here are ideal for picnics and BBQs. The suburb also plays host to Burleigh Heads National Park, a great spot for walking and exploring the array of fauna and flora.
Theme Parks - In line with its bright lights image the Gold Coast is peppered with a host of entertaining parks that in some way or anther are likely to cater to all tastes. Head to Dreamworld for thrill seeking adventure on roller-coasters and Wet n Wild for water based fun including kamikaze slides and wave pools. Movie buffs and families might like to check out the Warner Bros Movie World or for a day of animal fun and high-jinx spend the day at Sea World.
Gold Coast Nightlife - By far and wide the place to be for nightlife is Surfer’s Paradise with Orchid Avenue and Cahill Avenue being the spots to find frenzied bars packed to the rafters with backpackers, pub-crawls and Aussie holidaymakers.
Gold Coast Bars
Burleigh Heads Hotel - Modern Aussie bar on the Burleigh Heads esplanade.
Cocktails & Dreams - Huge bar cum dance club attracting a young early 20s crowd.
Coolangatta Hotel - Coolangatta’s liveliest spot is an all in one restaurant, bar, disco and live music venue.
Howl at the Moon - Massive party venue with restaurant, bar and nightclub and plenty of live sing-a-long music.
Elsewhere Bar - Funky bar blending a retro and 70s disco décor with regular live bands.
Shooters - Boisterous pool bar/club and an iconic backpackers watering hole.
Waxy’s Irish Pub - Standard Irish theme pub that gets packed 7 days a week without fail.
Gold Coast Clubs
The Bedroom - Number one spot on the Gold Coast for house and dance music span by international DJs.
Billy’s Beach House - Live music, pool parties and chill out lounge on the Esplanade.
Platinum - Stylish dance club at Broadbeach. Regular sets by big name DJs.
Vanity - Smooth nightclub popular for its Ladies Nights and Sunday sessions.

Hotels in Gold Coast

Budget Hotels Gold Coast

Aquarius Backpackers - Ever busy hostel, bar and pool room in the Southport district of Surfers. Tel (61) 7 5527 1300.
Backpackers Inn Paradise - Range of well priced rooms in a centrally located hostel offering plenty of tours and activities. Tel (61) 7 5538 4344.
Gold Coast Hostel - Laidback and comfortable hostel at KirraBeach, Coolangatta. Tel (61) 7 5536 7644.
Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort - Superb resort offering spacious rooms and swimming pool close to the beach and town centre. Tel (61) 1800 282 800.
Midrange Hotels Gold Coast
Chateau Beachside - Spacious hotel rooms and modern studios with fine beach views. Tel (61) 7 5538 1022.
Paradise Inn Motel - Family run motel resort 10-minutes walk from the centre of Surfers. Tel (61) 7 5592 0585.
Swell Resort - Self-contained apartment resort at Burleigh Heads ideal for couples and families. Tel (61) 5586 0500.
Luxury Hotels Gold Coast
Palazzo Versace - Decked out in Versace furnishings this resort is the epitome of indulgence and requires a seriously fat wallet. Tel (61) 7 5509 8000.
Q1 Resort - Stylish self-catering apartments housed in the Gold Coast’s fanciest skyscraper. Tel (61) 7 5630 6637.

Gold Coast Weather

Gold Coast Travel Resources



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