Beach Vacations to Gold Coast, Australia

Surfer's Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia
Surfer's Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia (Tienzieyung/Flickr)

Gold Coast Surfing Travel Tips

  • Gold Coast beaches are regarded as some of the safest places to learn to surf, especially the area around the famed Super Bank. Here, Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay both have great surf schools. But watch out in the Snapper Rocks area when the waves get going—it can be dangerous.
  • Stand-up paddle surfing is popular on the even Gold Coast waves and most surf schools offer these lessons as well.
  • The Spit is a good place for beginners: It’s one of the last undeveloped spots on the Gold Coast and is protected by the Seaway wall. It is also sheltered from the northeast summer winds.
  • South Stradbroke Island is better known as TOS (The Other Side) and there are great peaks here, especially in southwest and northwest winds. There is a ferry that will take you from the coast to the isle for a small charge.
  • The Gold Coast is full of friendly, local surf clubs that serve up cheap beer and food, and are generally located right in front of the beach. The Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club is one of the better-known ones, right across from the beach just down from Cavil Avenue.

The Gold Coast is Australia’s South Florida: plenty of high rises, cheap beach eats, tanning bodies, and kids just out from school. A vacation spot since the 1880s, more than two million visitors annually hit the beaches here. The Gold Coast is situated in southeast Queensland, just one hour south of Brisbane. Access to the area is via the Gold Coast Highway, which runs the length of the coast, off the Pacific Highway from Sydney or Brisbane. More than 35 beaches (each patrolled by lifeguards) and over 40 miles of uninterrupted sands line the coastline. The most developed and well-marketed spot on the coast is the town of Surfers Paradise (yes, there’s a Hard Rock Café here), with tons of holiday apartments and large-scale resorts. Flashy properties like Palazzo Versace and the Q1 tower shouldn’t be missed, if even just for a walk-through.

The Gold Coast is an affordable, family-friendly place with a number of theme parks: Dreamworld, Sea World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, WhiteWater World, Warner Bros. Movie World, and the Australian Outback Spectacular. If those don’t keep you busy, there are nightly dinner cruises, bungee jumping, kitesurfing, jet skiing, and around 40 golf courses. Or how about a lesson with Brad Holmes Surf Coaching or paddling with an Aboriginal guide with Balunjali Interpretative Cultural Kayaking Tours?

Don’t be put off by the commercialism of the area: Just inland is around 250,000 acres of World Heritage-listed rainforest. And if you want to venture further north into Queensland, the more laid-back and less-developed Sunshine Coast beckons beyond.


Published: 21 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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