• Surfers Paradise
  • Theme Parks
  • The Spit
  • Broadbeach
  • Burleigh Heads
  • Currumbin
  • The Hinterland

  • Accommodation 
    Getting There & Away 
    Getting Around 
    Where to Go Next
    Gold Coast viewed from Burleigh Heads 
    Picture: Gold Coast viewed from Burleigh Heads.
    GOLD COAST (City population 600,000) (100 kilometres south of Brisbane) 

    The Gold Coast is a surf beach party city and is built up along the entire 30km of beach. The concentration of apartment and hotel towers and the centre of the nightlife is in Surfers Paradise. The weather is warm and there are a number of big and very popular themed amusement parks with thrilling rides guaranteed to get you wet. The beautiful rainforest in the Gold Coast hinterland offers a cooler quiet break from the surf, sun and partying on the coast.

    Surfers Paradise 

    Bristling with hotel towers overlooking the beach, Surfers Paradise is the centre of the lively Gold Coast. Cavill Ave (pictured) and Orchid Ave are the main streets and are lined with tacky sounvenier shops, nightclubs and bars. Once a year the IndyCar race is held around the streets of Surfers Paradise.

    Surfers Paradise 
    Picture: Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

    Theme Parks 

    The theme parks draw many tourists and are as good as anywhere else overseas. Entry fee includes all rides and shows. Makes a full day of fun. 

    Dreamworld Lots of thrilling rides, the best having having a wild Western theme. Located on the Gold Caost Highway near Coomera, half an hour’s drive from Surfers towards Brisbane. Open daily 10am to 5pm, open later at peak times. Entry $34, children $29. Phone 5588 1111. 
    Sea World Thrilling rides, waterslides and dolphin and sealion shows (pictured). Located on The Spit, 10 minutes north of Surfers. Open daily 9.30am to 5pm. Entry $39, children $24. Phone 5588 2222. 

    Movie World Thrilling rides with Hollywood movie themes, stunt show and studio tours. Located on the Gold Coast Highway near Coomera, twenty minutes drive from Surfers towards Brisbane. Open daily 9.30am to 5pm. Entry $39, children $24. Phone 5573 8485. 

    Wet n Wild Waterslide park. Also has wave pool. Located on the Gold Caost Highway near Coomera, half an hour’s drive from Surfers towards Brisbane. Open daily 10am to 4pm, 5pm in summer, longer at peak times. Entry $21, children $15. Phone 5573 2255. 

    Dolphins performing at Seaworld theme park 
    Picture: Dolphins performing at Seaworld

    The Spit 

    On the spit sandbar 3km north of Surfers are a number of pleasant waterside eating complexes. They are Fisherman’s Wharf, Mariners Cove and the upmarket Marina Mirage hotel, shopping and dining complex. Sea World theme park is also on the spit. The northern end of the spit is undeveloped. 


    Jupiters Casino and the large Pacific Fair Shopping Complex are on the Gold Coast Highway in the suburb of  Broadbeach 6km south of Surfers. There are also a number of hotel towers at Broadbeach.

    Burleigh Heads (pictured at right and at the top of this page) 

    The small Burleigh Heads National Park occupies a rocky headland offering good views along the coast to the skyscrapers at Surfers 15km to the north. There are a couple of short forest walking tracks here too. The information office is on the Gold Coast highway. Phone 5535 3032. The suburb of Burleigh Heads itself is quite pleasant and has lots of lower rise beachside accomodation and good surf.

    Burleigh Heads 
    Picture: Burleigh Heads

    Currumbin Sanctuary is Australian wildlife park. The highlight is the brightly coloured lorikeets which fly to the santuary to be fed. There are a variety of Australian marsuipials there too, like kangaroos, koalas and emus. Currumbin is on the coast 21km south of Surfers. The Santuary is off the Gold Coast Highway. 

    The Hinterland 

    Springbrook National Park Driving up the Currumbin River valley will take you to the cooler rainforests and waterfalls in the national park. There are a couple of walking trails and some visitors take a dip in the natural pools in the river. There are guided tours from the Gold Coast. Higher on the mountain plateau is Lamington National Park also with rainforest, waterfalls and eucalypt forest views. 


    Youth Hostels - Surfers Paradise 

    Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort 2835 Gold Coast Hwy, south of the city centre. Phone 55924677. $14, double Dorm $36. Pool, small gym, sauna, tennis court, pool room, free laundry use and free basement parking. 

    Cheers Backpackers has great party atmosphere. 8 Pine Ave. Phone 55316539. Dorm $12 to $14.. Pool, bar, large BBQ courtyard, video nights karaoke evenings. 

    Surf n Sun 3323 Gold Coast Hwy. Phone 55922363. Bed in 4 bed room is $13. Double room $36. All rooms have TV and bathroom. 

    Sleeping Inn Surfers 26 Whelan St. Phone 55924455. Dorm $15, double $40. 

    Couple O’ Days Accomodation 18 Whelan St. Phone 55924200. Dorm $14. Check room before paying. 

    Youth Hostels - Southport (5km north of Surfers) 

    Southport is a busy shopping suburb 5km north of Surfers and faces the Nerang River. There is no surf beach. 

    Trekkers is clean comfortable and friendly. 22 White St, 4km north of Surfers. Phone 55915616. Beds in 4 bed dorm are $15, twin rooms with own TV $32. Nightly trips to Surfers nightclubs are organised. 

    Youth Hostels - The Spit/Mainbeach 

    British Arms Hostel is YHA affiliated. In the Mariners Cove complex on The Spit at Mainbeach, 4km north of Surfers. Phone 55711776. Dorms $14 to $18, doubles $36. Free beers on check in. 


    Nightclubs and Bars 

    Cavill Ave and Orchid Ave in Surfers Paradise have many bars and nightclubs. Try Bourbon Bar for cheap beer, Shooters saloon bar, Cocktails & Dreams nightclub and the interconnected Party nightclub. 


    Hoyts 6 is inside the Pacific Fair Shopping Complex at Braodbeach. The massive shopping complex is next to the Gold Coast Hwy 6km south of Surfers. Phone 55703355. 

    Mermaid 5 is a little further south at 2514 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach. 


    Jupiter Casino is on the Gold Coast Hwy at Broadbeach, 6km south of Surfers. It also has a nightclub Fortunes which is more glamorous than the Surfers clubs. 

    Getting There and Away 

    By Plane 

    Coolangatta airport is at the southern end of the Gold Coast 27km south of Surfers. There are only domestic flights. Coachtrans buses (phone 55888747) meets every flight into Coolangatta airport. Fares to Surfers are $9. 

    Brisbane airport is 100km to the north and you may find airfares through Brisbane are cheaper. 

    By Bus 

    Surfers bus station is at the corner of Beach and Cambridge Roads. Coachtrans (phone 55888747), Greyhound Pioneer and McCafferty’s have frequent services to Brisbane ($12), Byron Bay ($18) and Sydney ($66-$79). 

    By Train 

    The Gold Coast is not properly serviced by train. The rail line to the Gold Coast from Brisbane is inland. Catch the train to Helensvale or Nerang and change to a bus. It is easier to just catch a bus all the way to Brisbane. 


    From December to March persistant heavy rain can flood the major rivers around the Gold Coast blocking road transport south. 

    Getting Around 

    The Gold Coast is basically a long strip next to the ocean. The Gold Coast Highway run the length and Surfside has regular buses along it 24 hours a day. Buy an single fare or a daily ticket $8, weekly $26. 

    Where to Go Next 

    Brisbane, Queenslands capital 100km to the north. 

    Travel north to Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef (2500km away) 
    From Brisbane, the 2500km coastal Bruce Hwy goes near the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Heads, Hervay Bay, Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef National Park to Cairns and beyond into the remote and rugged Cape York Peninsula

    Travel south to Sydney (1100km away) 
    The Pacific Hwy follows the coast south through Byron Bay, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Forster and Newcastle to Sydney. Consider detours from near Coffs Hatbour up scenic Waterfall Way to historic Armadale and from Newcastle to the Hunter Valley Wineries, Australia’s best. 

    Copyright (c) 2000 Graham Warren. Backpackers Guide to Australia is a trade mark (TM)
    Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.
    Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia.
    The Spit/Mainbeach, Queensland, Australia.
    Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia.
    Southport, Queensland, Australia.
    Currumbin, Queensland, Australia.
    Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia.
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