Located in southeastern Queensland, Gold Coast is a coastal city known around the world for its beaches and perfect surf spots. Though the city is a mecca for surfers from all over and tourists who enjoy the many beaches, Gold Coast is also a bustling city, as the second most populous city in the state and the sixth most populous in the country. Gold Coast is part of the combined metropolitan area with nearby Brisbane, the state capital, from which many Australians commute.
Situated on Australia’s eastern coast in southeastern Queensland, Gold Coast features coastal terrain with beautiful, sandy beaches, as well as artificial islands and an extensive network of canals traversing 260 kilometers (160 miles) around the city. Along the navigable canals are additional beaches and housing. The canals are fed by the Nerang River, the region’s main river, and Tallebudgera Creek, Currumbin Creek, Gold Coast Broadwater, Coomera River, and Moreton Bay. The canals replaced the wetlands and swamps that once existed in the coastal strip. The Great Dividing Range, or the Gold Coast Hinterland is a mountain range that lies west of the city. The Hinterland features rainforests and a national park.
How to get there
The main airport in Gold Coast is Gold Coast Airport (or Coolangatta Airport), though it is a fairly small airport with primarily domestic flights. Unless visitors are coming from New Zealand or some destinations in Asia, most will need to make a connecting flight to get to Gold Coast. From the airport, there are shuttles transporting travelers into town. Another option for getting into Gold Coast is via train, which runs from Brisbane and Sydney, with bus connections to destinations around town.
When to visit
Gold Coast is best experienced during its warmer months, which fall from October through March (opposite much of the world’s population). However, there are fewer tourists and mild weather during the rest of the year as well, though the water may be too cold for most visitors during those months. Accommodations are also much less expensive during the off-season.
A popular time to visit for teenagers is during November and December, when high school grads flock to the beaches to celebrate. Gold Coast hosts the V8 Supercar carnival, Gold Coast 600, every year in October.
The Gold Coast will be a very popular destination in April 2018, when it will host the Commonwealth Games.
What to see
Gold Coast’s biggest attraction is, of course, its beaches. There are more than 30 beaches, some of which are inland beaches along the canals or lakes, but many are along the oceans. One of the most famous of Gold Coast’s beaches is Surfer’s Paradise, and as its name suggests, the beach features great waves, perfect for surfing, and a long strip of nice sand. Other major beaches include Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, and North Burleigh.
Also located near Surfers Paradise is Q1, the country’s tallest building, which houses residents and stands 232 meters tall and with its extended spire, stands at a total of 322.5 meters.
Aside from the beaches, visitors to Gold Coast can check out the hinterland, where there are national parks including Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park. Wander through the rainforests, take in the waterfalls, climb the mountains, and admire the rock formations. One good stop is Tamborine Mountain, where wineries can also be found.
Additionally, there are theme parks, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to visit indigenous Australian animals like koalas and kangaroos, and gondola rides.
Where to stay
Many young visitors to Gold Coast stay in one of the many hostels near Surfers Paradise, with options including Islander Backpackers Resort, Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort, YHA at Main Beach. Aside from hostels, options include La Costa Motel, Moorings on Cavill, Diamond Beach Resort, Mantra Legends, Sanctuary Cove, and Q1 Resort and Spa. For long-term stays, there’s the Meriton Apartments Southport and Montego Sands Holiday Apartments.