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Shimmering skyscrapers shoot up from fine, white sand and endless outdoor adventures await in the Gold Coast. Since the late 1920s, when Surfers Paradise put the Gold Coast on the map as an idyllic seaside attraction, the city has evolved into Australia's sixth largest metropolis, with a booming tourism industry that welcomes millions to its sun-drenched shores each year. Offering just about every adventure you can dream up, it's easy to see why locals and travelers love the Gold Coast. Whether you've set your sights on learning to surf or you've been longing to unlock the UNESCO-listed wonders of Fraser Island, the Gold Coast offers something for everyone.
The Gold Coast's areas and neighborhoods welcome suntanned surfers and well-heeled travelers alike, making it an ideal stop for all manner of coastal Australian adventures. Suburbs like Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise provide waterfront accommodations fueled by high-octane nightlife, while Currumbin's proximity to a wildlife sanctuary makes it a must for those who crave a slower pace.
The seaside suburb of Broadbeach beckons with several of the region's premium hotels and a shopping complex housing more than 300 retail boutiques. Tourists flock to the breakers, where surf schools provide hours of entertainment, while additional delights can be derived from the region's green spaces and farmers markets.
Surfers Paradise offers sun, sand, and surf on repeat. And that's not all. This aptly-named suburb serves as the Gold Coast's tourism and entertainment hub, with an assortment of luxury hotels dominating the scene. Beyond its irresistible white-sand beach, much of the town's activity unfolds along Surfers Paradise Boulevard.
Conveniently situated near the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, the coastal suburb of Currumbin is home to a pristine surfing beach and an exquisite rainforest region. Comfortable accommodations are easy to come by, as well as upscale bistros that deliver their fare with a heaping side of coastal scenery.
From friendly marine mammals to sublime coastal vistas, there are myriad things to see in the Gold Coast. If you're traveling between May and October, consider arranging a guided whale-watching cruise in hopes of catching sight of Australia's gentle giants along the "humpback whale highway." Or, plunge beneath the surface of the sea to behold a magnificent coral reef teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles during a guided scuba dive near Wave Break Island. For those who like to rise with the sun, a hot-air balloon ride above the cerulean depths of the Pacific Ocean might be just the thing. Equally attractive vistas can be gained with admission to the Skypoint Observation Deck, where you'll find sublime views near the top of the sixth-tallest tower in the world.
Whether your idea of vacation is pure relaxation or nonstop entertainment, there are plenty of things to do in the Gold Coast. Consider launching your explorations with a visit to Moreton Island, where a full-day tour provides countless opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and tobogganing down the island's sand dunes. Similar thrills can be found on South Strandbroke Island, where empty beaches and tropical rainforests are home to fuzzy wallabies who just might emerge from the foliage to greet you. Can't decide where to spend the day? See it all during a seaplane ride that soars over Surfers Paradise and Moreton Bay's 360 islands. The inland suburb of Oxenford, with its 4 theme packs, is a can't-miss location for families traveling with kids. Bottlenose dolphins and Californian sea lions abound at Sea World Gold Coast, while the waterslides and whitewater rides at Wet'n'Wild appeal to thrill seekers of all ages. Looking to relax after all of the excitement? Luxurious spa treatments are easy to come by. Consider booking a body treatment or massage at the beautiful Q1 Resort & Spa. Finally, when your adventures come to a close, make the easy journey to Gold Coast Airport in a shared shuttle or private limousine.
There's fun for the whole family no matter where you wander in Gold Coast. Here are some family friendly experiences you can do together that are sure to make your escape a blast:
A break in Gold Coast need not cost a fortune. You won't even need your wallet if you go to:
Pratten Park - Make this your first port of call if you're looking for fun during your break.
Cod Hole - Dive in and splish-splash around at this fun-for-all attraction.
Rockpools - Be inspired by the innovation and design of this fantastic example of modern architecture.
Queensland Korean War Memorial - Detour to this historic landmark and learn a bit about the cultural heritage of the area.
Mariner's Cove Marina - Socialize with the local people and seek out the hidden character and soul of this unique place.
Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre - Flick through your guidebook and find out why this place deserves a spot on your travel itinerary.
Reach Out for Christ - Get a better understanding of local religious beliefs at this spiritual sanctuary.
Kurrawa Beach - Go for a relaxing walk along the coastline and maybe even stick a toe in.
Burleigh Head National Park - You're bound to feel connected with Mother Earth at this spectacular attraction.
Cascade Gardens - Whether you know your lilies from lilacs, you won't struggle to find beauty in this spectacular display.
When the forecast is full of sunshine, these outdoor activities promise a great time:
Grab your camera and be wowed by these local icons:
If you want to see the best of this place, add these attractions to your itinerary:
There are lots of tours and activities here that are just the ticket if you're traveling on a budget:
You'll hardly have time to grab your wallet out of your bag with so many great free things to do: