While there are plenty of wild places to visit in Australia – and many along its eastern shores – sometimes it’s nice to have adventures a little closer to civilization. If you’re looking for a vacation from your vacation, or if you’re simply searching for something a bit different to do in Australia, Gold Coast has you covered. What’s more, the city is just a short drive away from Brisbane, allowing you to easily add Australia’s amusement capital to any coastal itinerary.
A Surfer’s Paradise…
While it’s true that surfing is an option in many of Australia’s seaside cities, nowhere is it as accessible as it is in Gold Coast. Waves are incredibly consistent year round, making the area attractive to pros and amateurs alike.
There are surf schools scattered along the coast for all age and experience levels, but the absolute best area for beginners is Rainbow Bay. A short drive south from the city proper, Rainbow Bay offers a sheltered harbor that is perfect for even the littlest of dudes. Coolangatta Learn to Surf, one of the local schools, offers group and family lessons, and is definitely worth checking out if you’re even remotely interested in the sport. Currumbin, just a few minutes north, is another great spot to learn, though learners planning to practice here should have at least some prior experience.
If you’re a bit more experienced at hanging ten, the city’s surfing options really open up for you. Aside from Currumbin, Duranbah Beach and Burleigh Heads offer great waves that are perfect for the advanced surfer. Both locales have great sands and restaurants as well, should you prefer to watch the pros at work instead of trying out the waves yourself.
Not to be Confused with Surfers Paradise
Even if surfing isn’t your thing, you’ll still want to head to Surfers Paradise – the Gold Coast’s premiere entertainment district. Home to boardwalks, beaches, and other unique attractions, Surfers Paradise boasts a carnival-like vibe during the day that gives way to a vibrant nightlife once the sun goes down.
Though the area sports enough attractions to fill several days on your itinerary, “Surfers” (as it’s come to be known) has several highlights that everyone should visit. The list starts with Surfers Paradise Beach, rated as one of the top beaches in Australia – and the world. If you prefer the great indoors, try out the Infinity Maze, a trippy and incredibly unique walkthrough attraction featuring state-of-the-art special effects. Other indoor activities include Dracula’s Haunted House and staples such as Madame Tussauds and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
If it’s thrill rides you’re after, head back outside to visit the likes of the SlingShot and the Vomatron, among others. The area features plenty of restaurants as well, many of which are a great way to relax and take the day at a slower pace.
Theme Parks Galore
While boardwalks, beaches, and surfing are all fantastic activities, they are far from the only things to do in Gold Coast. The city also serves as the theme park capital of the Southern Hemisphere, offering up big name attractions and local favorites alike. Parks such as Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, and Dreamworld allow you to explore. As Australia’s largest theme park, Dreamworld is of particular interest. The park boasts a zoo, five roller coasters, and nearly forty other attractions.
For water fun away from the beach, the Gold Coast also offers water parks such as Wet n’ Wild Gold Coast and WhiteWater World to whet your appetite. One last themed experience, the TreeTop Challenge, will allow you to get closer to nature through canopy walks and zipline adventures. If the wildlife you see here interests you, consider making Brisbane or Cairns the next stop on your tour.