Tackle the huge waves off Broadbeach, snorkel through a shipwreck off Main Beach or walk golden sand fringed by high rises in Surfers Paradise. Get your thrills on virtual reality rides at Dreamworld, swim with dolphins at Sea World and watch movies being made at Warner Bros Movie World. Explore the waterfalls, rainforest, lookouts and scenic bushwalks of the lush Gold Coast hinterland. Shop til you drop in art and craft markets, huge airy malls and high-end boutiques. Then get into the Gold Cost's glitz, glamour and fun at its bars, nightclubs and events.
Five ways to glam it up on the Gold Coast:
Surfers Paradise, QLD
Ride the world-class waves of Broadbeach, Kirra and Main Beach. Or lie on the golden sand of Surfers Paradise, where afterwards you can trawl the shops, cafes and restaurants of lively Cavill Avenue. Underwater the view is just as good. Snorkel or dive the wreck of the Scottish Prince, a haven for all types of marine life, off Main Beach. Get up close to morays and wobbegong shark from Kirra Beach and guitarfish, trevally and turtles of the Gold Coast seaway. Or explore the artificial reef just off Narrow Neck. When you’ve finished in the water, dine out in Broadbeach and bike ride and picnic on family-friendly Mermaid Beach. You can shop in high-end boutiques, explore the historic bathing pavilion or mingle with incognito celebrities at Main Beach, the Gold Coast’s place to be seen.
Lamington National Park, QLD
Swim in crystal clear rock pools, picnic on a scenic peak and hand feed tropical birds in the lush sub-tropical rainforests of the McPherson Range. Visit Cameron Falls, Cedar Creek Falls and the Witches Falls in Tamborine Mountain National Park,. Discover the spectacular Natural Arch – a waterfall cascading through the roof of a cave that also holds Australia's largest glow worm colony - in Springbok National Park. Or picnic alongside ancient trees and native animals and birds in the ecological haven of Lamington National Park. Stop at boutique wineries on the Gold Coast Hinterland Wine Trail, visit quaint mountain villages such as Mount Tamborine and relax in award-winning rainforest retreats.
Swim with dolphins, feed seals and meet polar bears at Sea World, where you can also brave rides like the mysterious Bermuda Triangle or the thrilling Corkscrew rollercoaster. At Dreamworld, you can see movies being made, take a scenic helicopter flight or survive the mother of all tidal waves on the Wipeout. Ride through the rapids on a hollowed log or try the first Australian motorbike rollercoaster. At Warner Bros Movie World you can see movies being made, get your thrills on the stomach-dropping Lethal Weapon rollercoaster or end with a splash on the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride. Hit the giant wave pool in Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park and explore a frozen forest in Frozen World. Meet hundreds of multicoloured mountain parrots in Currumbin Sanctuary and kangaroos and emus in Fleays Wildlife Park.
Gold Coast, QLD
Wander the evening arts and crafts markets in Cavill Avenue or check out the designer stores along Orchid and Elkhorn Avenues. Do a one-stop-shop in one of the airy mega malls lining the Gold Coast, including Pacific Fair, Harbour Town, Paradise Centre and Marina Mirage. Or jump on a bus from Surfers to the huge weekend Carrara Markets, where everything from fresh fruit to leather belts are for sale. See the work of local artists and stock up on delicious local cheeses at the Tamborine Mountain Art and Craft Market. Or pick up an original hand-made gift at Broadbeach Art and Craft Markets. With a huge variety of shops buzzing seven days a week, the Gold Coast is serious retail heaven.
Gold Coast, QLD
Soak up the heady atmosphere of Cavill Avenue, where every night is a weekend. Then join a party boat from Surfers Paradise or cruise the canals of the Gold Coast in a gondola. Hop between restaurants, friendly pubs, upmarket bars and buzzing nightclubs in Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Coolangatta-Tweed. On the Gold Coast, the permanent party buzz is helped by a festival for every month of the year. Discover Tamborine Mountain’s songbirds, lush gardens and vibrant songbirds in the Spring Flower and Garden Festival in September. Or feast on great food and wine in idyllic settings for the Tastes of Gold Coast festival in August. Join the cheering crowds for Australia’s premier marathon, the Gold Coast Marathon in July. Or enjoy burning rubber and daredevil acts during the Indy 300, Queensland’s biggest party, in October.