Gold Coast

Travel Guide
Gold Coast showing a skyscraper, a sunset and general coastal views
For a break in the sun, head to this expansive city: the perfect combination of beaches, theme parks, nightlife, rain forests and mountains.

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 541 square miles (1,400 square kilometers) 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 commercializing 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 vacation destinations.

Where to stay in Gold Coast

Dorsett Gold Coast
Dorsett Gold Coast
4 out of 5
1 Casino Dr, Broadbeach, QLD, 4218
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $89 per night from Jul 21 to Jul 22
Stay at this 4-star eco-friendly hotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Surfers Paradise Beach and ...
4/5 Very Good! (249 reviews)
"Off peak room rate very favourable. Brand new hotel great view. Part of the star casino complex with the casino floor a short walk away. Various dining options. Construction next door meant finding the place was a little tricky, but staff were very helpful. Only one thing the adjustable shower seemed ..."

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2022

Dorsett Gold Coast
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
3.5 out of 5
86 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, QLD, 4217
The price is $96 per night from Jul 31 to Aug 1
Stay at this 3.5-star beach aparthotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy free WiFi, a fitness center, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Surfers Paradise Beach ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (171 reviews)
"It is a lovely place"

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
Novotel Surfers Paradise
Novotel Surfers Paradise
4.5 out of 5
Cnr Surfers Paradise Blvd and Hanlan St, Surfers Paradise, QLD, 4217
The price is $112 per night from Jul 20 to Jul 21
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury hotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy breakfast, WiFi, and room service. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4/5 Very Good! (955 reviews)
"Staff were very friendly and helpful."

Reviewed on Jul 2, 2022

Novotel Surfers Paradise
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
3.5 out of 5
86 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, QLD, 4217
The price is $96 per night from Jul 31 to Aug 1
Stay at this 3.5-star beach aparthotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy free WiFi, a fitness center, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Surfers Paradise Beach ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (171 reviews)
"It is a lovely place"

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
5 out of 5
2669 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach, QLD, 4218
The price is $96 per night from Jul 20 to Jul 21
Stay at this 5-star luxury aparthotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy free WiFi, a restaurant, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (2,937 reviews)
"Located close to everything. Very clean and well equipped."

Reviewed on Jun 26, 2022

Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Q1 Resort & Spa
Q1 Resort & Spa
4.5 out of 5
9 Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise, QLD, 4217
The price is $213 per night from Jul 17 to Jul 18
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury aparthotel in Gold Coast. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (3,383 reviews)
"Ultra modern"

Reviewed on Jun 16, 2022

Q1 Resort & Spa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Gold Coast

Rent a car for the most flexible way of exploring the Gold Coast. You can also get around by other means if you prefer. The regional bus service provides connections between beaches, theme parks, the airport and urban areas. There are also 16 tram stations throughout the area. Consider renting a van, a motorhome, a houseboat or even a yacht for a more novel way to discover the coast. Visit the Department of Transport and Main Roads website. Browse Gold Coast rental cars.

Best time to visit

Get the best out of your experience of the Gold Coast by aiming to visit between April and May. At this time of year, there will be lots of sun, the chances of rain will be fairly minimal, and temperatures will be comfortable, around 79 F (26 C) at their highest. Look for great deals at this time and you have a good chance of finding them, as local kids will be in school so fewer people will be traveling.

Popular places to visit in Gold Coast

Top things to do in Gold Coast

Cities near Gold Coast