Beaches such as Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Mermaid Beach and Surfers Paradise offer soft golden sand, rolling waves, blue Pacific waters and the opportunity to soak up the seemingly endless sunshine. From an early morning jog to a leisurely stroll at sunset, the Gold Coast's clean, uncrowded beaches set the perfect pace for a truly unforgettable vacation or weekend away. Surfers Paradise is famous for its surf beaches, international standard accommodation and exciting attractions.
The heart of Surfers Paradise is Cavill Avenue. Bounded at one end by Surfers Boulevard and by the Esplanade at the other, Cavill Mall is a must-see when you're in Surfers. Dozens of cafes, eateries and bars to cater to all tastes and budgets. There are many money exchanges and souvenir shops, and for the keen shopper, there are hundreds of clothes and specialty shops within walking distance. Its also home to Ripley's Believe it or Not, and Hard Rock Cafe.
Follow the roads inland from the Gold Coast's beaches and a magical world unfolds. Gold Coast's Hinterland offers a world of tropical rainforests, mountain villages, and other hidden treasures.
Much of the hinterland area is National Park, allowing you to experience the natural beauty of the area first hand on one of the park's many walking tracks. These include Witches Falls, Border Rangers, Lamington, Mt Warning, Nightcap and Springbrook National Parks. All National Parks in the hinterland area offer maps to guide you on their walking tracks, which are designed for all levels of fitness. In addition, many day tour companies have guided walks through the rainforest with visits to natural swimming holes.
Currumbin Sanctuary has the largest collection of native Australian animals in the world. Feed the colorful lorikeets, which visit twice daily, walk amongst the kangaroos, pose for a photograph with a koala or have a totally wild encounter with wombats, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, and fresh water crocodiles, all in their natural environment.
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast is full of excitement and action. Two floors of gaming tables, a high rollers room, a fabulous live show, and a host of bars and themed restaurants. Open 24 hours, the casino is one of the Gold Coast's most popular playgrounds without the kids.
Throughout the year the Gold Coast plays host to an exciting range of events and spectacular entertainment. From fun runs and festivals to competitions and concerts, the region's special events calendar caters for adults and children of all ages. Time your Gold Coast holiday to coincide with a major event like the Honda Indy 300, JAL Marathon, Magic Millions horse-racing carnival, Australian Surf Life Saving Titles, Billabong Pro surf carnival or a celebrity-packed golf Tournament.
Set against a backdrop of beautiful beaches and stunning mountains are a number of championship golf courses that are among the world's best. Some 40 courses, varying in design and difficulty, have given the region the nickname, Australia's 'Golf Coast'. The mild climate means perfect conditions all year round.
When it comes to markets, the Gold Coast has a varied selection to choose from including the biggest (and perhaps the best) markets in the Southern Hemisphere, Carrara Markets which offer crafts, food, leather goods, novelties, books, rides - you name it, it's there. The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets are held every Friday night between 5.30pm and 10pm. Other great coast markets include Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, Canungra, Coolangatta, Jimboomba and Tamborine Mountain.
Shopping on the Gold Coast is just bliss! Pacific Fair, one of Australia's largest shopping centres, has leafy walkways and lakeside restaurants as well as a stunning selection of international and Australian retailers. You'll find imported and local designer fashions and accessories together with casual dining, cafes and art galleries at Marina Mirage, overlooking the magnificent Southport Broadwater. Enjoy a stroll around Marine Village at Sanctuary Cove and see unusual displays of glass blowing and opal cutting in a relaxed waterfront setting. Surfers Paradise is also Shopper's Paradise with a wide range of shopping centres, boutique-lined boulevards and duty free stores. The Oasis Shopping Centre at Broadbeach is right in the heart of a popular cafe and dining precinct featuring resort fashions, superb giftware and deliciously different restaurants. Robina Town Centre offers department stores, supermarkets, arts and crafts markets every Saturday plus free street entertainment on weekends.
Surfers Paradise is the Coast's nightlife entertainment hotspot, with a huge selection of nightclubs, bars and restaurants for younger and older patrons. Popular Surfers nightspots include Cocktails and Dreams, The Drink, Shooters Saloon Bar, Melbas, Hard Rock Cafe and Billy's Beach House, while Orchid Avenue and the beach end of Cavill Avenue offer alfresco cafes, restaurants and snack bars. Nightclubs are also located at Coolangatta and Broadbeach.
Sanctuary Cove is a world class resort with two championship golf courses - The Palms, a public course and The Pines, a private course reserved for members and Hyatt Sanctuary Cove guests. Take time, also, to explore the waterfront Marine Village great range of eateries, designer fashion wear as well as fine wines, gifts and antiques.
South Stradbroke Island is just a 20 minute ferry trip from the Runaway Bay Marina, a 20 minutes drive north of Surfers Paradise. It offers some of the Gold Coast's most beautiful and unpopulated beaches. The island's several resorts offer their facilities for day-trippers, including water sports and guided environmental tours.
The Surf Life Saving Clubs along the Coast have created a way of life for members, centred around ocean safety and friendly competition. Visit one of the clubs for a bite to eat or to find out about local surf life saving competitions and beach patrols.
Don't miss visiting one of the Gold Coast's Theatre Restaurants! Spectacle, magic and gothic comedy are the keynotes at Dracula's Cabaret Restaurant at Broadbeach, and was winner of the coveted Excellence in Entertainment Award. Take an electrifying trip tracing the evolution of music from the 50's to the 90's The Base Dinner & Show Club. You'll find crazy characters, food, drink and non-stop stand-up comedy action at Crazies Comedy Box in Broadbeach, just behind the casino.
The Gold Coast is the Theme park capital of Queensland. Discover eleven themed worlds of fun and excitement at Dreamworld, the largest theme park in the southern hemisphere. Catch the lights, cameras and action at Warner Brothers Movie World, where the magic of the screen comes alive. Be delighted by the friendly marine life at Sea World. Or take the plunge on Wet 'n' Wild's speed slide. The Coast also boasts a number of smaller theme parks and attractions, such as Cable Ski World, Frozen World, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, and a range of family amusement arcades.
Many of the Hinterland wineries offer tours and tastings. These include: Mount Tamborine Winery, Albert River Wines at historic Tamborine House and Canungra Vineyards.