Gold Coast City Guide Introduction

Mention the Gold Coast and most people conjur up images of delicious beaches, wickedly fun amusement parks, world class golf courses, bikini clad meter maids, white jumpsuits and gold sandals. And even on a short break to Australia’s Miami cum Vegas by the Sea you won’t miss those star attractions.

But as they say on the late night infomercials, “Wait, there’s more!” And we’re not talking about a set of shiny steak knives.

Amongst the heady mix of high-rise apartment blocks and monolith shopping malls the Gold Coast is sparkling with indoor and outdoor adventures and exotic experiences for all ages, tastes and budgets.

For party people and sun seekers, Surfers Paradise lives up to its brazen name. But if you’re looking to escape urban life, South Stradbroke Island, the inland beaches and hinterland rainforests are a short boat or car ride away.

Is it any wonder that more than three million sets of sandy feet trek through Gold Coast hotel lobbies every year – not to mention the damp towels on the car seats of 7 million salty day-trippers?

Best time to visit

Being a subtropical spot, the Gold Coast has mild and warm winters - averaging 22 degrees Celsius in July - and humid hot summers, with an average high of around 29 degrees in January. As for rain, it’s a rarity. Over 300 days of sunshine a year. But when skies do open for a few short hours, you’ll want your gumboots.

If you want to see Gold Coast at its best and beachiest then March is your time to shine, avoiding the madness of Schoolies later in the year and making the most of the local events calendar.

Major events in Gold Coast

  • The Gold Coast and region has plenty of annual events to keep tourists and locals entertained.

  • In February, the summer of love is in full swing Good Vibrations Festival, showcasing international and national dance music artists.

  • In February and March watch the world’s beast surfers carve up the waves in the ASP World Tour Quiksilver Pro at Coolangatta.

  • In May, it’s the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival with national and international acts performing for free.

  • For two weeks in June, head back to the 50s and 60s at the free Wintersun Festival of rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll music and hotrod and classic car displays.

  • In July, when southern Australia is freezing its bits off, chariots of fire can run the Gold Coast Marathon along with 16000 hot n sweaty pavement pounders from across the world.

  • As things start to get warmer n October, the International who’s who of motor racing head to the Gold Coast Indy 300 to burn rubber through the streets of Surfers Paradise. The only thing hotter than track is the party action.

  • Famous—or notorious— in late November and early December is Schoolies where thousands of school leavers from all over Australia party for two weeks of concerts, dances and parties. Consider yourself warned.

    Getting around the Gold Coast

    Plenty of options to get around town, with frequent buses of all shapes and sizes, regular taxis, community bike hire and a new ferry service that goes from Gold Coast to South Stradbroke Island.

    Of course there’s nothing like a stroll in the sun. Getting here is a cinch—the Gold Coast has its very own international airport, and there are trains from Brisbane and highways arriving from across the country.

    Hotel.com.au Staff Favourites

    The Hotel.com.au team have road-tested some of our Gold Coast hotels and here are a few personal recommendations of their favourite places to stay.


  • 3 star
    122 Ferny Avenue Surfers Paradise 4217 Australia

    Located in Surfers Paradise, Paradise Resort Gold Coast is by the ocean and minutes from King Tutts Putt Putt and Slingshot. This family-friendly resort is within close proximity of Adrenalin Park and...more

    4 self rated
    138 Ferny Avenue Surfers Paradise 4217 Australia

    When you stay at Australis Sovereign Hotel in Surfers Paradise, you'll be near the beach and minutes from King Tutts Putt Putt and Slingshot. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Budds Beach...more

    4 star
    10-14 Enderley Avenue Surfers Paradise Surfers Paradise 04217 Australia

    With a stay at Baronnet Apartments, you'll be centrally located in Surfers Paradise, walking distance from SkyPoint Observation Deck and close to Surfers Paradise Beach. This 4-star apartment is withi...more

    BreakFree Peninsula

    4 star
    Cnr Clifford St and The Esplanade Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    BreakFree Peninsula is conveniently situated on the oceanfront, only 250 metres from Cavill Avenue. It features an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and offers spa facilities and free parking. The...more

    Mantra Sun City

    4 star
    Corner Ocean Ave and Gold Coast Highway Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    Relax in either the indoor or the outdoor pool at Mantra Sun City, located in the heart of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. You can workout in the fitness centre or play a game of tennis on the hot...more

    4 self rated
    Hamilton Avenue Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    Q1 Resort and Spa’s Skypoint Observation Deck rises 230 metres above Surfers Paradise, with 360° views over the Gold Coast hinterland, Pacific Ocean and Byron Bay. Recreation options include the Q1 Spa,...more

    3.5 star
    18 Hanlan Street Surfers Paradise 4217 Australia

    With a stay at Beachcomber Surfers Paradise, you'll be centrally located in Surfers Paradise, steps from Timezone and Centro Surfers Paradise. This aparthotel is within close proximity of Cavill Avenu...more

    3 star
    23 Ferny Avenue Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    Just 400 metres from Surfers Paradise Beach, Mantra Towers of Chevron offers a private sanctuary of sandy beaches, swimming pools and tropical gardens overlooking the ocean. Facilities include a priva...more

    4 star
    10 Alexandra Avenue Gold Coast 4218 Australia

    BreakFree Diamond Beach offers quality self-contained accommodation situated amongst tropical gardens, less than 100 metres from Broadbeach. The resort features 2 swimming pools and a spa. All BreakFr...more

    4 self rated
    Seaworld Drive Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    Located on Broadwater, linked by monorail to Sea World and only 15 minutes' walk from the popular Surfers Paradise and Marina Mirage Shopping area, this 4.5-star hotel boasts a 50-metre lagoon pool an...more

    4 star
    2346 Gold Coast Highway Gold Coast 4218 Australia

    Just 5 minutes' walk from the white sands of Mermaid Beach on Queensland's Gold Coast, this tropical resort offers apartments with free WiFi, flat-screen TVs and cooking facilities. Guests can enjoy 3...more

    4 star
    9 Ferny Avenue Gold Coast 4217 Australia

    With 3 outdoor pools, a sauna, hot tub and an in-house cinema room, Mantra Circle on Cavill offers a number of relaxation options. Guests can work out in the fitness centre or take an 8-minute walk to...more

    4 star
    71 Hinde Street, Ashmore Gold Coast 4214 Australia

    Ashmore Palms offers self-contained resort-style accommodation on 6 hectares of tropical landscaped gardens. Facilities include 2 swimming lagoons, 2 children’s playgrounds and a full-size tennis cour...more

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