Home Discover Australia Visit the Gold Coast in Queensland

Visit the Gold Coast in Queensland

Visit the Gold Coast in Queensland

Situated a one-hour drive south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular travel destinations for both Australian and international tourists. Built 60 years ago, Gold Coast City is a sprawling urban area that stretches 60 kilometres along the Pacific coast, from the city of Beenleigh in the north to the state border of Queensland and New South Wales in the south. It includes the towns of Surfers Paradise, Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta, just to name the best known.

With nearly 630,000 inhabitants, the Gold Coast is the second largest city in Queensland, after the capital Brisbane, and the sixth largest city in the country. It is also the region of Australia with 300 sunny days a year, endless beaches, incredible surfing spots and many other attractions. So to not miss a thing during your visit to the Gold Coast, here is all the information you need!

How to get to the Gold Coast?

By plane

You can get to the Gold Coast via two airports, no matter where you come from:

  • Gold Coast International Airport: Located in Coolangatta, 25 km south of the centre of the Gold Coast. This airport is connected to major cities in Australia and also offers direct flights to international destinations such as New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Brisbane International Airport: Located in northeastern Brisbane, this airport is much larger than Gold Coast Airport and is therefore ideal for international travellers. Trains connect the airport to the Gold Coast.

By train

Translink trains depart every 30 minutes from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and back.

From Brisbane Airport, trains run via Brisbane Central Station and Downtown, Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes to the Gold Coast. It takes about an hour from Brisbane central station to Helensvale.

By bus

Two bus companies connect the big cities of the country and also the Gold Coast:

  • The Greyhound Company offers several daily cruises from Brisbane. Buses stop in Southport twice a day, in Surfers Paradise five times a day and in Coolangatta four times a day.
  • Premier Motor Service stops at the Gold Coast on the Brisbane-Sydney and Brisbane-Lismore routes. From Brisbane, they offer two daily trips to Southport, Surfers Paradise or Burleigh Heads and one to Palm Beach.

By shuttle bus

You can also reach the Gold Coast by shuttle bus. Many companies offer this service, including ConeXion. You can choose to meet the shuttle at a specific stop (for example, from the airport) or ask for it to pick you up/drop you off at a particular address. These services are cheaper than a taxi and easy to use.

By car/ motorhome / van

Whether you are coming from Brisbane in the north or Byron Bay in the south, you take the Pacific Motorway (M1) and drive about an hour to the Gold Coast.

If you want to rent a car to get there, check out: Rent a car in Australia

Best travel time

Climate of Gold Coast

The mild subtropical climate (65% humidity) on the Gold Coast is pleasant all year round. With an exceptional 300 days of sun a year and average temperatures of 17.3°C in winter and 25.3°C in summer, the weather is almost always perfect.

The seasons are not very pronounced and it doesn’t get really cold. In winter (from June to August) is dry season whereas in summer (from December to February) it rains more often.

You find all weather forecasts on the website of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Tourism activities

Between December and February, the summer season is in full swing. This is not only the hottest time of the year (up to 35 ° C), but also the summer school holidays in Australia. The number of tourists is at its peak. Therefore, this is the ideal season to move to the Gold Coast if you are looking for a job in the tourism or hospitality industry.

If you prefer to escape the tourist bustle, avoid this time and go there during the quieter months of March to May or September to November.

Events & Dates not to miss

April: Surfing championship

Every year, the Gold Coast hosts the first leg of the World Surfing Championship, the Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast. The event brings together thousands of fans to see how the best surfers in the world tackle the famous Superbank wave in Coolangatta. The spot is one of the best in the world, with a wave that sometimes runs for 3km between Snappers Rocks and Kirra Point.

From June to October: Whale watching

Every year, you can see whales migrating to and from Antarctica along the southern and eastern coasts of Australia. Join a 2 1/2 hours tour for an exceptional experience.

October: Gold Coast 600

The GC600 car race transforms the streets of Surfers Paradise into a high-speed track for 3 days. Accommodations at this time of year are quite expensive.

November: Schoolies, Melbourne Cup & Festivals

Every year in late November, thousands of teenagers gather in Surfers Paradise to celebrate the end of high school. These are the Schoolies! Better to avoid this period if you don’t want to meet many young people partying!

The first Tuesday of November is also the Melbourne Cup, a horse race that stops time and pours a lot of alcohol. Throughout the month of November, festivals (country music, markets, art etc) follow one another. Many events are free.

See all Gold Coast events HERE.

What to do in Gold Coast?

Whether you just want to stay for a few days or longer, there is plenty to do on the Gold Coast!

Water Sports

The Gold Coast is famous for its surf spots and beautiful beaches. Spend time on one of the city’s ten beaches and try some water sports. In Broadwaters, you can go surfing, paddle-boarding, swimming, snorkelling, or drive jet ski. Popular beaches in Gold Coast are Surfers Paradise Beach, Burleigh Heads Beach, Coolangatta Beach and Broadbeach.

Walking trails

If you prefer to walk in the shade, head inland for a refreshing break. In the middle of the rainforest, you can enjoy walks, camping, wildlife watching and breathtaking views. Lamington National Park is one of the country’s most popular nature destinations. It is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, spectacular scenery and numerous opportunities for outdoor activities.

For lovers of greenery and tranquillity, the Gold Coast boasts dozens of the country’s finest golf courses.

Amusement parks

Thrill-seeking people will find the country’s largest amusement parks on the Gold Coast! There is also a novelty in the leisure industry, called Top Golf, which was opened in 2018.

Come dive into the heart of the Marvel universe, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo or even Marilyn Monroe at Warner Bros Movie World. To see the marine animals, go to Sea World ($89 a day – open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). If you want to cool off while having fun, Wet’n’wild Gold Coast and its water games is for you! ($79 per day – open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

You can also choose to buy a pass for Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild valid for 3 days for $159.

Surfers Paradise is known for its bars, clubs and attractions, Broadbeach for its casino, Burleigh Heads for hipster stores and Coolangatta for its cool vibe. Enjoy the diversity of the Gold Coast as you explore each of its neighborhoods with their unique atmospheres.

More info: Top 10 Gold Coast Attractions

Gold Coast suburbs & districts (from North to South)

Southport and Main Beach

Southport is both the historic district and the business centre of the Gold Coast. It is one of the oldest and most popular travel destinations on the Gold Coast.

The streets of Southport showcase street art and are full of Asian restaurants, turning it into a small Chinatown.

If you want to go for a swim in calm waters and do water sports, Broadwater Parklands is the perfect place. Beach lovers head to Main Beach on the other side of the estuary. There are also small cafes and restaurants on Tedder Avenue.

Surfers Paradise

This place is undeniably known as the heart of the Gold Coast and is characterised by tall skyscrapers and a long beach. It is also famous for its nightlife, international events and the dynamic atmosphere.

Beside the beach and the many shops and restaurants, the SkyPoint Observation Deck is the main attraction of Surfers Paradise. This 360-degree viewing deck is located 230 meters up the Q1 Tower, Australia’s tallest residential tower. You can buy your tickets on the spot or online before you go (it’s cheaper). It costs $36 to climb up to the tower viewpoint and admire the view.


Broadbeach is located off Surfers Paradise and is less touristy. There are also beautiful beaches, waves for surfing, quiet parks to relax and many great places to go out and shopping.

Here you will find the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Center, the Star Casino, and the Pacific Fair Mall.

Mermaid Beach and Miami

There are fewer buildings and it is much more relaxed than in Broadbeach. There are some trendy and hip restaurants and bars, from modern Australian to Asian cuisine.

On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays you can stroll around Miami Marketta. In a cool and alternative atmosphere, they offer street food from 25 different countries with good beer and live music.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads or Burleigh, as the locals call it, is the hip Gold Coast area. The beaches are perfect for sun worshippers and surfers, while the National Park has breathtaking ocean views. In addition, the cafes and restaurants are among the best in the area.

Currumbin and Palm Beach

Palm Beach offers a particularly beautiful beach with some old beach huts in the background. Nestled between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other, Palm Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches.

Currumbin Creek offers visitors a safe and calm area to swim and is ideal for standup paddling. A few meters from the beach is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see many native animals.


Once you arrive in Coolangatta (Coolie for locals), you’ve reached the end of the Gold Coast. The town is adjacent to Tweed Heads. You can walk up the Point Danger hill and set one foot in Queensland and the other in New South Wales. This is also the perfect place to watch whales between June and September.

Where to stay on the Gold Coast?

Broadbeach ( South Surfers Paradise)

There’s no shortage of hotels and residences in this town, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

For those with a budget, The Darling at The Star Gold Coast is a five-star hotel with a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and casino. Rates start from AUD 700 per night.

The Ocean Pacific Resort is less expensive (from AUD 200 a night) and offers modern flats just a stone’s throw from the beach.

For those on a budget, the Tropicana Motel offers reasonably priced rooms (from AUD 120 per night). As an added bonus, the motel is just a 3-minute walk from the beach.

Surfers Paradise: the mythical sport of surfing

If you’re looking to treat yourself in Surfer Paradise, you won’t want to miss out on the JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa. 28 floors, 5 restaurants, 2 pools, a spa and a private beach area make up this hotel. Rates start from AUD 680 per night.

Voco Gold Coast is a little more affordable, but still has two pools, a spa, a games room and a restaurant. From AUD 200 per night.

The Bunk Surfers Paradise Backpacker Hostel is a comfortable hostel with a swimming pool and jacuzzi. Located just a few minutes from the beach, rates start at AUD 66 per night.

Burleigh Heads to disconnect from concrete and buildings

You can relax at the Solnamara Beachfront Apartments, which offer panoramic ocean views. Rates start from AUD 360 per night.

Indigo Blue offers luxury flats with direct views of the beachfront. Rates start from AUD 280 per night.

For those on a tighter budget, the Burleigh Gold Coast Motel offers fully-equipped rooms from AUD120 per night.

Mount Tambourine for the great outdoors

The Pethers Rainforest Retreat Bed & Breakfast is a haven of peace in the heart of nature, offering a real opportunity to unwind. Rooms start at AUD 370 per night.

The 4.5-star Stonehaven Guest House is well worth a visit, with its building reminiscent of a manor house in the middle of the forest. Overnight accommodation starts at AUD 220.

Camelot Boutique Accommodation is located at the top of Tambourine Mountain. It offers both luxury spa cottages and en-suite rooms. From AUD 165 per night.

Pethers Rainforest Retreat
5/5 - (2 votes)
Australia Backpackers Guide
The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here