by Bookastay staff
Over 10 million visitors every year leave the Gold Coast happy and sated with sun, surf and experiences they’ll never forget. It’s blessed with an exceptional year-round climate and natural beauty – 70km of beaches and 100,000 hectares of world heritage-listed rainforest.
Add to this Australia’s biggest range of theme parks, golf courses, shopping centres and casinos and you have a winner. From Main Beach at the north end of the coast to Coolangatta in the south there are beaches all the way and more shopping than you can shake a full wallet at. And if you feel like escaping the sun to experience some natural beauty that doesn’t involve sand, head to Tambourine Mountain in the cool coastal hinterland. Here’s our list of the different precincts and what you can expect to find.
Main Beach, to the north of Surfers Paradise, is where you’ll find Sea World, Palazzo Versace and the Marina Mirage shopping mall. Give surfing a go at the great surf school here, and keep in mind that Summafieldayze happens here in early January.
Surfers itself is the heart of glitz on the Gold Coast. With its late night shopping 7 days a week, and beachfront markets every Wednesday and Friday between 5.30 and 10pm, it’s a not only a surfer’s paradise, but also one for retail junkies. Try out Infinity – a futuristic maze that will blow your mind. Or take a gander at the 360 degree views of the SkyPoint Observation Deck 230m in the air.
Broadbeach is justly proud of its pristine beach. It also boasts the whopping great Conrad Jupiters casino – it’s open 24 hours and has a lot of stuff going on, from gala stageshows to cabaret. There’s also Pacific Fair, one of Austalia’s largest retail centres with 300-odd shops, restaurants and cinemas.
Further south, at Burleigh Heads, there’s more of a family feel, with safe swimming beaches lined by pretty parks. There are kilometres of wide shady walking tracks in the national park with plenty of bbq areas. The arts and crafts markets are on the last Sunday of every month, 8am-2.30pm in Justin’s park on the beachfront. The David Fleay wildlife park is close by–a great family day out.
Coolangatta Beach is the southernmost point of the Gold Coast, right on the NSW border. Lots of history going on here–Captain Cook named Mt Warning and Pt Danger on his way up the coast in 1770, and tourists have been thronging here since the mid-1800s. There are 36km of bike and walking tracks, and divers love the Kirra, Cook Island and Nine Mile Reef dive sites. Plenty of iconic annual events in Coolangatta too: the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro surf comp in February, the Cooly Classic Ocean Swim in April, and the rock’n’roll nostalgia fest Cooly Rocks on in June keep the happy visitors piling in.
Tambourine Mountain is the last precinct in the area, and it’s a complete change of scene. No sand or surf, but with cosy hideaways, vineyards, galleries and spas, it’s trés romantic. Perfect for nature lovers too: giant skinks, birdwing butterflies and lyrebirds are often to be seen scampering or fluttering among the ancient rainforest cycads. Take a drive up to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat – do the rainforest treetops walk and spoil yourself with a spa treatment.
So – those are the areas and some of their attractions. But this is the Gold Coast: how could we forget the theme parks?
Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet ‘n’ Wild and WhiteWater World are action-packed crowd-pleasers. Warner Bros. Movie World and the Australian Outback Spectacular provide their own unique feel, while Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary will get you back to nature. Check out the links below to find out which one is right for you – or purchase the Super Pass, for unlimited entry to three parks over 28 days.
The Gold Coast can be glitz and glamour or laid-back beach living. Make your choices and book your accommodation with Bookastay now!
Where to stay
What to do
- Head up Skypoint Tower for a 360 degree view
- Go jet-boating on the Broadwater
- Get lost in Infinity Attraction
- Walk for miles along the beach boardwalk
- Shop at Pacific Fair or Marina Mirage
- Take a day trip to O’Reilly’sin the cool forests of the hinterland
- Go to any number of theme parks
- Get feral at Currumbin Willdlife park
- Eat out at Dracula’s
- Play a round of golf
- wwww.visitgoldcoast.com - for all the info you need about the Gold Coast
- www.tourismgoldcoast.com - for more info on theme parks
- www.tamborinemtncc.org.au - for all info on Tambourine Mountain
Burleigh Heads surfer. Credit: Tourism Queensland
Tambourine Mountain. Credit: Italiansweet
The Gold Coast at night from Broadwater. Credit: Burning Image, via Flickr Creative Commons
The amazing dolphins at Seaworld.Credit: flyingcloud