With its casinos, Jet Skis, yachts and luxury hotels, the Gold Coast looks like it’s straight out of a James Bond movie. Australia’s major theme parks are all here, and the quieter hinterland offers rock climbing, scenic flights and skydiving for thrill seekers. It’s easy to see why millions of visitors flock to the Gold Coast every year: There are more than 30 beaches, including Burleigh Beach, where professional surfers come to compete in February, as well as great shopping and dining.
The Gold Coast encompasses several seaside towns inhabited by over half a million people, making this Australia’s sixth-largest city. The area covers 1,400 square kilometers (541 square miles) from Beenleigh, south of the Queensland capital Brisbane, to Coolangatta Beach at the New South Wales border.
The first Australians, the Aborigines, called this beautiful land of the sun Kurrungul. Europeans settled here, growing and commercialising the area, from the mid-1800s onwards. Tourism boomed in the 1950s, and the golden opportunity to invest in real estate gave the city its name and its skyline.
Some of Australia’s most famous beaches are on the Gold Coast. Two surfing hot spots are Burleigh Beach and Surfers Paradise Beach, an area that’s also popular for shopping and dining. Families looking for a good swimming area will enjoy the calmer waters of Coolangatta Beach.
More family fun awaits at the Gold Coast’s wide range of amusement parks. Interact with marine creatures at Sea World, slide through Wet‘n’Wild Water World, or board the superhero rides at Movie World. You can do all this and more at the biggest Australian theme park, Dreamworld.
The Gold Coast offers year-round entertainment, but you may want to avoid the rowdy “Schoolies” period (when high school graduates celebrate) in November. The weather is hot and humid from December to February (summer), and dry and sunny from June to August (winter). Rain or shine, pack your bathers to enjoy one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations.
Beaches, Family-friendly and Dining
Who doesn’t dream of staying overnight in a water park where you can see Jet Ski stunts, life-sized Nickelodeon stars, plus dolphins, sea lions and polar bears?
Watch stunt shows, get on superhero rides, enter the Ice Age 4D Experience and take a splash in the Wild West at Australia’s theme park version of Hollywood.
Australia’s biggest amusement park features exciting themed areas with everything from tigers and thrilling rides to vintage V8 super-cars and TV characters.
This stretch of beach is known for its regular sets of rolling waves, with high-rise hotels and bustling nightlife along the sandy shore.
Bustling nightlife, great shopping and a legendary surfing beach make this avenue the exciting centre of Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast.
Get an adrenaline kick gliding through caves and tunnels or plunging down a giant water slide, or simply float and splash in a relaxing pool.
Summer is fast-approaching, so we’re answering an important question: What should you do at the beach this year?
The Southern Hemisphere offers half a world’s worth of weird places to go and wild things to do all winter long.