There are many resort towns up and down the eastern coast, but none of them are as established nor as popular as the Gold Coast, one of the country’s fastest growing communities as well as one of the most visited in all of Australia. With almost 60km of white sandy beaches, stretching from Coolangatta in the south to Paradise Point in the north, as well as World Heritage-listed national parks, fantastic rainforests, modern theme parks and a great nightlife, the Gold Coast manages to attract people from all around the globe.
With the opening of the Surfers Paradise Hotel in 1925, tourism became the area’s number one focus, and Brisbanites began to come down in droves to enjoy the golden beaches that perhaps influenced the name of Queensland’s southern coast. After the war ended, tourism continued to grow with the adoption of the moniker “Gold Coast” in the 1950s and the development of high-rises and the founding of the iconic Meter Maids in the 1960s and 70s. Today the Gold Coast continues to grow at a rapid pace, thanks to the building of even more attractions, including the tallest building in Australia, the Q1.
If the Gold Coast were a piece of jewelery, then the suburb of Surfers Paradise would undoubtedly be the jewel. Surfers is a fusion of cosmopolitan feeling and beach lifestyle, with skyscrapers dotting the skyline and bordering an amazing coastline. The city offers non-stop entertainment, with the myriad of water sports in the day giving way to the incredible nightlife. The city plays host to a number of competitions, including the Quiksilver Pro-Surfing Competition in March.
It’s really the nightlife, however, that seems to draw the most backpackers in. Countless nightclubs and bars entice you in with their neon lights and organized pub-crawls all throughout Surfers. It isn’t uncommon to be out until daybreak in Surfers, which is why you might see loads of people sleeping out on the beach when the sun comes back. Whether you’re looking for just a simple lounge bar or perhaps looking for something a bit more active that involves a dance floor, Surfers will have everything you need.
Something to keep in mind, however; Surfers is a pretty wild place come nightfall. So keep your wits (and more importantly, your wallet) with you at all times, and if you’re not quite into the party scene every single day, a stay in Surfers may be just a bit overwhelming for you.
There is quite the variety of things to do in the Gold Coast, but in addition to being known as “Australia’s Playground,” it’s also known as the theme park capital of the country. There are no less than six major theme parks in and around the Gold Coast, and each of them easily deserve at least a day of exploration. Dreamworld with its water park WhiteWater World, Warner Bros. Movie World with its water park Wet’n’Wild, and the marine park Sea World with a separate water park and resort complex all make up the largest complex of theme parks in Australia, and each of them continue to grow as demand increases.
Theme parks are not the only thing that the Gold Coast has to offer in terms of attractions. Wildlife parks have taken on a bit of a theme park theme in this part of southeast Queensland, and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is chief among them. It is famous for its feeding of large flocks of beautiful rainbow lorikeets and the rehabilitation of many animals in the veterinary and rehabilitation hospitals, but it also houses attractions with a wildlife theme, such as dingo encounters and crocodile feedings, and even a miniature railway. The David Fleay Wildlife Park is another such destination, though they are just as attentive to the needs of animal care as they are to the needs of backpackers.
Water sports is a key attraction here on the Gold Coast, from learning to surf at the many surf schools in the area, to taking a jet ski tour, and even tours by kayaking are available. No matter what water sport you’re into, the Gold Coast is happy to oblige!
There are so many bars and nightclubs on the Gold Coast that it can be difficult to know where to begin. Surfers Paradise is definitely a great place to start with its myriad of choices, but Southport certainly has its own a premier destination for clubs. No matter where you go, the nightlife here is certainly no experience you’re ever had before.
The Gold Coast is known throughout Australia as the place to go for theme park madness. With six different theme parks to choose from, the adventure is endless. Ride some of the best roller coasters in the Southern Hemisphere, and if you’re feeling a little overheated, head to the water parks to cool yourself down!
In addition to fantastic theme parks, the Gold Coast houses some of the most incredible wildlife parks in all of Queensland. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the Gold Coast’s leading native wildlife and coastal rainforest experience. They have hundreds of native Australian animals on display in natural bushland and rainforest surroundings for you to experience; you can even cuddle a koala!
The Gold Coast’s accommodation options are as numerous as any other big city, and perhaps even more so since the city is popular with tourists from here and abroad. Surfers Paradise is going to be a great place to stay if you’re into partying until the early morning, but if you’re one that likes to crash at the end of the night, accommodations in many other suburbs are available, with transportation to and from the Gold Coast Airport aplenty.
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