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A guide to the Gold Coast – chilled surf beaches, vibrant nightlife and lively entertainment

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Being Australia’s sixth largest city and blessed with a year round sub-tropical climate, the Gold Coast has everything to offer visitors. Be it a family holiday, romantic getaway or special event, the Gold Coast spoils you with its warmth and passion for relaxation. Lively entertainment can also be found here too, with world-class theme parks, adrenalin-fueled water sports and indulgent shopping offered in abundance.

Astrid Kavanagh

My Destination local expert on

Gold Coast

Northern Gold Coast and The Broadwater


This area is famous as the theme park capital of Australia and the Sothern Hemisphere. It is the most recently developed area of the Gold Coast and the closest to Brisbane. The luxury resort facilities of Sanctuary Cove and Hope Island are located here. The Broadwater offers fishing and boating activities, along with easy access to South Stradbroke Island. It is also home to the Southport Broadwater Playgrounds - a great family destination with calm waters for swimming. However, there are no surf beaches in this area so it would be off to nearby Central Gold Coast for your fill of water-based fun.


Central Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise


Stretching from trendy Main Beach and The Spit through to Surfers Paradise and cosmopolitan Broadbeach, Central Gold Coast is a thrilling spot to explore. The buzzing centre of the Gold Coast, this area remains largely responsible for the coastal city’s overall image today. Cafes, bars, restaurants, golden beaches, live shows and all-night entertainment can be found here, offering glitz and glamor from sunrise to sunset.


Southern Gold Coast and Coolangatta


This area is blessed with the north facing beaches of Coolangatta, Greenmount and Rainbow Bay which are popular swimming and surfing beaches. Coolangatta and its beaches rightly lay claim to some of the world’s best surfing. Here you will find Snapper Rocks - now a famous surf break and the start of the large sandbank known to surfers as ‘the Superbank’. The area has a vibrant on-the-move atmosphere, with an abundance of local shops, restaurants, alfresco cafes and beachfront markets.


Hinterland and Mount Tamborine


Less than a 30-minute drive from most parts of the Gold Coast, this area is now recognised as one of Queensland's most significant tourist destinations. Famed for excellent wine tasting and plentiful eco-tourism, bushwalking activities dominate the area. Other popular pursuits include hiking, horse riding, hot air ballooning, hang gliding and abseiling. Visitors can spend hours browsing handmade art and crafts, perusing market stall, or just admiring the natural scenery that includes spectacular views over the Gold Coast and vast lands of Southeast Queensland.


South Stradbroke Island (South Straddie)


South Straddie is a rare island, home to blooming natural flora and pristine surf beaches. An ideal beach fishing spot, this sandy recluse is a great place to escape the fast pace of everyday life and relax amongst a plethora of natural, unspoilt beauty. Accessed by ferry from the Northern Gold Coast or by boat across the calm waters of The Broadwater, South Straddie is easily reached.


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