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Welcome to Gold Coast, Australia

Introduction

The Gold Coast is Australia's sixth largest city and Australia's premier holiday destination. Famous for its stunning beaches, subtropical rainforests and theme parks, the Gold Coast is an extensive coastal city in the southeast corner of the state of Queensland in Australia, located one hour south of the state capital of Brisbane.

The Gold Coast was once an informal name for the stretch of coastal towns from Surfers Paradise in the north to the state border with New South Wales in the south. With a warm climate, over 50km of beautiful beaches and plenty of undeveloped land, the towns grew rapidly, especially with migrating retirees from the southern states. The merged towns are now suburbs of the City of Gold Coast and the city has also stretched out to take in more areas to the north and west.

Beyond the beautiful coastline, is the vast hinterland consisting of mountain ranges covered with rainforest, much of it national park. The hinterland has breathtaking scenery, tropical rainforest with abundant wildlife, bush walks, quiet villages, craft shops and spectacular lookouts. Wander through the magnificent wilderness area of the Gold Coast Hinterland for the day or stay in a cozy mountain retreat.

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Travel to Gold Coast

Brisbane City is one hour north on the M1 Motorway. Many visitors arrive at Brisbane International Airport and travel to the Gold Coast by coach, train or motor vehicle.

Gold Coast Airport (OOL) is located in Coolangatta at the southern end of the Gold Coast about 30 minutes drive to Surfers Paradise. There are frequent connections from major Australian cities and some international flights from New Zealand and Singapore. Most tourists from overseas arrive at Brisbane International Airport (BNE) and travel one hour to the Gold Coast.

Airport Coach services are available from the airport to most parts of the Gold Coast. The main bus terminal is at Surfers Paradise.

Taxis from the Gold Coast Airport to Surfers Paradise cost about AU$50-60.

Coaches are available from many other locations in Australia. Greyhound has several daily services from Brisbane and Sydney to the Gold Coast. Gold Coast City is approximately 80km (1hour drive) south of Brisbane on the M1 motorway.

CityTrain services run from Brisbane to Nerang and Robina, with connecting buses to Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta.

Countrylink trains arrive from Sydney at the town of Casino with bus connections to Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise.

Local Transport

Taxis on the Gold Coast are clean, safe and always use the meter. It may be difficult hiring a taxi late on Friday and Saturday night in Surfers Paradise.

Surfside Buslines service the Gold Coast 24 hours a day with frequent air-conditioned bus services along the coast between Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise, suburban areas and the theme parks.

Car rental is popular to visit the surrounding attractions if you are not taking a tour. Gold Coast and the surrounding area is very easy to drive around with normal traffic conditions and parking is plentiful. There are large parking lots at the theme parks and other attractions. Australia drives on the left side of the road.

Gold Coast Weather

The Gold Coast City has a sub-tropical climate. Summers are warm to hot, with average temperatures of 19C to 29C (66 to 83F). Humidity is high during January and February and summer storms with heavy rainfall are common late afternoon on hot humid days but usually pass over quickly and sometimes put on a good lightning show. Winters are warm, dry and sunny with average temperatures between 9C to 21C (48 to 69F).

Gold Coast Attractions

Surfers Paradise Gold Coast

Q1 Resort is the world's tallest residential building located at Surfers Paradise. The building is 320m high with an observation deck at the top. The design of Q1 Gold Coast reflects elements of the Olympic torch and Sydney Opera House. QDeck located on level 77 & 78 of Q1 has the highest vantage point of the Gold Coast with amazing 360 views that extend from the surf to the hinterland. Enjoy a drink at QBar which is open to midnight Fri & Sat. [Open 9am-9pm, adult $16, child $9]

Warner Bros. Movieworld is a movie related theme park where you will experience a fun-filled, adventure with all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Meet your favourite movie stars and enjoy all the behind-the-scenes action, comedy stunts and exhilarating rides, shows and attractions! [Open 10.30am-5.30pm]

Wet 'n' Wild Water World is located adjacent to MovieWorld next to the M1 motorway. Wet'n'Wild Water World combines all the fun and excitement of the world's latest water slides and leisure pools with a shaded twenty acre subtropical garden. [Open 10am-5pm]

Seaworld is an aquatic theme park located on the Southport Spit. Experience a whole world of amazing rides, shows and attractions with impressive marine animal shows and exhibits. [Open 10.30am-5.30pm]

Dreamworld is a theme park where you will experience a fun-filled, adventure with many thrill rides, child-friendly rides, Australian animal attractions and shows, as well as a Tiger zoo. [Open 10am-5pm]

WhiteWater World is a great water park located adjacent to DreamWorld. [Open 10am-5pm]

Australian Outback Spectacular is a one and a half hour evening dinner show featuring an amazing cast of talented performers, skilled stockmen and a huge array of delightful animals includinghorses, cattle, camels, sheep and dogs. The ticket includes a sumptuous three-course Aussie BBQ dinner and drinks as well as a free Stockmans hat! [Tue-Sun night, adults, $100, child $70]

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Brisbane Travel Koala has many native Australian animals on display in natural bushland and rainforest settings providing a rare opportunity to get closer to amazing native wildlife. The Sanctuary offers a world of discovery through fascinating wildlife shows, displays and nightlyadventure tours. [Open daily 8am-5pm, adults, $39, child $21]

Gold Coast Waterway Cruise is a great way to relax and view the beautiful sites of the Gold Coasts waterways and homes of the rich and famous. Enjoy a sunset cruise with a welcoming glass of champagne, a romantic sunset and stunning views of the city lights as evening falls over the beautiful Gold Coast Broadwater. [Adults from A$35]

Australian Surf Life Saving Championships are held throughout the year around Australia with many events on the Gold Coast.

Indy 300 motor race is hosted at Surfers Paradise street circuit every October. Indy 300 is all about the speed and excitement of motor sport, the electric vibe from the crowds and the party atmosphere.

Gold Coast Marathon is held in July when the climate is cooler. There is a marathon, half marathon, 10km run and 7.5km walk. [Open to everyone, entry fee applies]

Magic Millions Horse Racing Carnival is held in the second week of January every year. The glamorous Gold Coast is the venue for the Magic Millions Yearling Sales and ten days of Carnival and society events surrounding the Magic Millions race day. The Magic Millions Sales and race day has established its reputation on the international horse racing scene.

Gold Coast Oceanway is a 36 km network of pathways along beaches from the Gold Coast Seaway (The Spit) to the Point Danger Lighthouse (Coolangatta). The pathways provide healthy and environmentally-friendly ways for pedestrians and cyclists to explore the beaches of the Gold Coast and provides access to a wide range of coastal environments including spectacular coastal vistas, headlands, mangroves, dunes and rainforest.

Mt. Tamborine National Park is an extensive area of National Park behind the Gold Coast. Mt Tamborine Village is located on top of the range and is very popular with day visitors for its arts and crafts shops, galleries, tea houses, picnic facilities and nearby forest hikes. Mt Tamborine Village is about 30mins drive from Surfers Paradise.

Golf - The Gold Coast has over 50 international standard golf courses featuring picturesque lakes and waterways catering for the beginner to the professional.

Game & Reef Fishing is extremely popular with visitors. Several tour operators are available to take visitors fishing from Mariners Cove Marina on Sea World Drive at the Spit.

Adventure Sports such as Scuba Diving, Bungy Jumping, Sky Diving, Mountain Biking, Sea Kayaking, Go Karts, Parasailing and more are available in the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Beaches & Waterways

Gold Coast Travel

Famous for its sun, surf and sand the Gold Coast stretches along 70 kms of beautiful coastline with over 400 km of canals and tidal rivers. The subtropical climate makes beachcombing a pleasure with an average 25C, 300 days of sunshine per year and water temperature of 22C. Visitors can swim and surf safely all year at over 25 patrolled beaches. Sun protection is important as the UV exposure risk can be extreme especially in summer.

The most popular beaches, with amenities and entertainment options, are at the northern and southern ends of the coast. In the north, Surfers Paradise Beach is the most famous beach with flagged patrols every few hundred meters along the beach. Main Beach, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Miami Beach are all popular northern beaches. The northern coast is one large beach so one can walk on the beach from Main Beach through Surfers, Broadbeach, Mermaid, and Miami to Burleigh Heads. The popular southern beaches are Coolongatta Beach, Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay which have spectacular views of the whole Gold Coast up to the Surfers Paradise skyline in the distance.

World-renowned surf breaks are at Snapper Rocks (Rainbow Bay), Kirra and Burleigh Heads.

The Gold Coast is a boating and fishing paradise. Southport's Broadwater and South Moreton Bay are Australia's largest expanse of calm water as there are over 270 km of navigable waterways that reach right up to the Brisbane River and beyond without going into the open ocean.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Surfers Paradise Night

Most of the bars and nightclubs are concentrated in Surfers Paradise around the Cavill Avenue Mall and at the Broadbeach Mall. Tweed Heads at the southern end of the Gold Coast has various service clubs (eg Twin Towns club) where there are restaurants, bars and night clubs.

Conrad Jupiter's Casino is located at Broadbeach across the Gold Coast Highway from the Broadbeach Mall area. Jupiters Casino features many gaming tables, restaurants, bars and an International Showroom featuring spectacular stage productions.

QBar at the top of the Q1 Tower in Surfers Paradise is a great place to enjoy a drink and take in the fantastic Gold Coast views. [open to midnight Fri & Sat nights]

Dining

Surfers Paradise Night

The Gold Coast hosts more than 500 restaurants and cafes, from great value family restaurants to up-market romantic, fine dining establishments, offering cuisine from around the world with fresh seafood and contemporary Australian cuisine being the Gold Coast's specialties. The standards are first class and the Gold Coast is fast becoming known internationally as an outstanding dining destination.

Popular areas are Tedder Avenue in Main Beach, Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise, Surf Parade and the Broadbeach Mall at Broadbeach. There are many restaurants along the Gold Coast Highway between Surfers Paradise and Miami Beach. Conrad Hotel & Jupiters Casino has an excellent seafood buffet and an award-winning Chinese restaurant serving authentic Asian cuisine. Surfers Paradise has many Japanese and Korean "lunchbox" style restaurants of excellent quality and reasonable price.

Most hotels have restaurants and cafes providing buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at affordable prices. Most shopping centers have a food court offering value-for-money meals. Caf chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans are everywhere as are western fast-food chains such as McDonalds and KFC.

Gold Coast Shopping

Gold Coast Broadbeach

Broadbeach Mall and Oasis Centre is another popular area with numerous retail stores, designer boutiques, foodcourts and alfresco restaurants and cafes. There is a small monorail that links the Oasis Centre to the Conrad Hotel and Jupiters Casino and the Gold Coast Convention Centre across the other side of the Gold Coast Highway.

Surfers Paradise is the commercial and tourist centre of the Gold Coast. The main shopping streets are the Gold Coast Highway, Cavill Avenue Mall, Elkhorn Avenue and the Surfers Paradise Centre. There are many shops from tourist orientated shops merchandising Australian opals, sheepskins, wool products, and aboriginal artworks to international up-market stores such as Louis Vuitton.

Marina Mirage is situated on a spectacular waterfront location overlooking the beautiful Broadwater, directly opposite the five star Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa and is adjacent to the world's first Palazzo Versace Hotel. Marina Mirage offers award winning restaurants, designer boutiques with the world's top fashion labels, specialty stores with elegant homewares, gifts and artwork.

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre is the largest shopping centre on the Gold Coast, at Broadbeach. The centre has cinemas, food courts and numerous retail stores including the Myer department store.

Robina Town Centre is another large shopping centre on the Gold Coast, at Robina. The centre has cinemas, food courts and numerous retail stores including the David Jones department store.

Beyond Gold Coast

Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia with a population of 2 million. The city is only one hour north by motorway and can be visited as a day trip.

Byron Bay and the headland is the most easterly part of Australia. Only one hour south by motorway, Byron can be visited as a day trip or longer.

Lamington National Park is a one hour drive west from the Gold Coast and has many beautiful lookouts, waterfalls and picnic spots.