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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

Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
5 out of 5
2669 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach, QLD
The price is $93 per night from Jul 18 to Jul 18
Located in Broadbeach, this luxury aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Star Gold Coast, and Pacific Fair ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (2,621 reviews)
"I liked that there was a shower no bath in the room. I was also pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to an ocean view room."

Reviewed on Jun 19, 2021

Meriton Suites Broadbeach, Gold Coast
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast
5 out of 5
Casino Drive, Broadbeach Island Gold Coast, Broadbeach, QLD
The price is $128 per night from Jun 21 to Jun 21
Located in Broadbeach, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and Surfers Paradise Beach. Cavill Avenue and Timezone are also ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (1,162 reviews)
"only criticism of property is its a 15 min walk to the beach"

Reviewed on Jun 6, 2021

The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast
Sea World Resort
Sea World Resort
4.5 out of 5
Sea World Drive Main Beach Gold Coast, Main Beach, QLD
The price is $162 per night from Jun 21 to Jun 21
This family-friendly Gold Coast hotel is located on the waterfront, within a 15-minute walk of Philip Park and Sea World. Marina Mirage Shopping Centre and Sand ...
4.1/5Very Good! (1,209 reviews)
"excellent price considering the free entry to 4 theme parks on both day"

Reviewed on Jun 17, 2021

Sea World Resort
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.
Paradiso Resort Kingscliff
Paradiso Resort Kingscliff
4 out of 5
78-80 Marine Parade, Kingscliff, NSW
The price is $204 per night from Jun 23 to Jun 23
Located in Kingscliff, this beach apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kingscliff Beach and Kingscliff War Memorial. South Kingscliff Beach and Casuarina ...
4/5Very Good! (416 reviews)
"This property is right in the heart of Kingscliff with access to the beach and all the cafes and restaurants. No need to go anywhere. The apartments are great with fully equipped kitchen, living and bathrooms. A home away from home."

Reviewed on Jun 17, 2021

Paradiso Resort Kingscliff
The Escarpment Retreat
The Escarpment Retreat
5 out of 5
123 Alpine Terrace, Tamborine Mountain, QLD
Located in Mount Tamborine, this luxury villa is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Tamborine National Park Lepidozamia Section and within 3 mi (5 km) of Tamborine Mountain ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (187 reviews)
Anniversary Getaway
"This was a beautiful location for a romantic getaway. The villas are large and well presented. Breakfast was delicious, freshly made to order and the staff were friendly and welcoming."

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2020

The Escarpment Retreat
Sunrise Cove Holiday Apartments
Sunrise Cove Holiday Apartments
4 out of 5
28 Moss Street, Kingscliff, NSW
The price is $280 per night from Jul 18 to Jul 18
Located in Kingscliff, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Kingscliff Beach and South Kingscliff Beach. Kingscliff War Memorial and Casuarina ...
4.3/5Excellent! (173 reviews)
"Fantastic location, nice views, very spacious. Only downside was parking very tight for larger cars. Otherwise perfect."

Reviewed on Feb 28, 2021

Sunrise Cove Holiday Apartments
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

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What to Know for Visiting Australia’s Gold Coast

What to Know for Visiting Australia’s Gold Coast

What to Know for Visiting Australia’s Gold Coast
Weirdest winter vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere

Weirdest winter vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere

Weirdest winter vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere
Top 10 beach activities

Top 10 beach activities

Top 10 beach activities

Cities near Gold Coast