Gold Coast, Queensland
Mention the Gold Coast and various images come to mind… stunning beaches, a surfing paradise, exciting theme parks, sun-kissed locals, sophisticated style, the list goes on. It’s a place where you can let loose and feel free, all with a smile on your lips and the sun on your cheeks! With its signature 52 kilometres of golden surfing beaches, world class accommodation, award-winning dining, amazing shopping and thrilling attractions, the Gold Coast has something for everyone.
The Gold Coast is renowned for its white sand beaches that stretch across 57 kilometres (35 miles) of coastline. Choose from the sheltered waters at Coolangatta and Currumbin beaches or the popular surfing breaks at Main Beach or Burleigh Heads. First-time surfers can book a group or private lesson with Get Wet Surf School at The Spit, Surfers Paradise. Wave Break Island lies just off Main Beach and offers fantastic snorkeling and diving, with more than 50 species of fish. Explore this colourful underwater world on a Queensland Scuba Diving tour.
Explore the Gold Coast’s distinct neighbourhoods, each with their own vibe. Hire a bicycle at Surfers Paradise and ride 20 minutes to sophisticated Broadbeach. There are plenty of restaurants and shops here, including vegetarian eatery Cardamom Pod, and the major shopping centre Pacific Fair. Neighbouring Mermaid Beach is home to Bam Bam Bakehouse, where you can stop for coffee and a pastry. A further 30 minutes ride south is the popular surfing spot of Burleigh Heads. Take the 1.2-kilometre (0.7-mile) scenic Oceanview Walk through Burleigh Headland National Park, where you can spot whales from April to September. Or continue along the road to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can feed a kangaroo, get up close to a crocodile or cuddle a koala. Head back to Surfers Paradise for the beachfront markets, held every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night from 4pm to 9pm. Get On Your Bike can arrange bicycle drop-off and pick-up at any location in the Gold Coast.
As well as its beaches, the Gold Coast is equally famed for its world-class theme parks. Water lovers should head for Wet ‘n’ Wild with its extreme waterslides such as Kamikaze and the Tornado. Warner Bros Movie World is great for families, with plenty of kid-friendly attractions and the chance to meet loveable cartoon characters. Dreamworld caters to adventure seekers with the Big 9 Thrill Rides, including The Giant Drop, Tower of Terror and Buzz Saw. To experience more than one park, buy a Mega Pass, which gives you access to Wet ‘n’ Wild, Movie World, Sea World (a marine animal park) and the Aussie farm and wildlife experience, Paradise Country. Tickets to Dreamworld can be bought separately.
Turn away from the beach and explore the enchanting Gold Coast hinterland, with its unspoiled national park and charming mountain villages. Adventure seekers can test their legs on the three-day Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, which passes an ancient volcano and goes through World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, or follow a cycling trail through the wineries and boutique breweries of Mount Tamborine. At Lamington National Park stroll through the rainforest canopy 15 metres (49 feet) above ground at O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway. Or book a 4WD Rainforest Eco Safari to see the spectacular waterfalls at Springbrook, including Natural Bridge.
Picturesque and challenging golf courses await you on the Gold Coast. Choose a resort course such as Palmer Gold Coast, carved out of 65 hectares (160 acres) of native woodlands, the RACV Royal Pines Resort, which is home to the Australian PGA Championships, or the Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove, which give you access to The Palms and The Pines courses. Alternatively, try the public courses at Parkwood International, an 18-hole course set in undulating bushland around a series of lakes and ponds, or Links Hope Island, just a 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast.