Australia’s Gold Coast stretch of coastal towns starts north of Surfers Paradise and stretches south to the state border with New South Wales in the south. The northern end (especially Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach) is more commercialized, with plenty of action for younger travelers. The southern end caters mainly to vacationing families. Away from the coast, the western side, called the “hinterland”, consists of mountain ranges covered with rainforest, much of it part of national parks.
The Gold Coast has a sub-tropical climate with plenty of sunshine year round, an average of 300 days a year! Summer temperatures range from 66 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures range from 48 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a great vacation destination!
The most popular things to do in this area include;
Beaches. There are approximately 25 miles and well over 30 beaches to see and swim or surf in. Almost all are patrolled by volunteer and professional lifesavers. Some of the best beaches include:
– Surfers Paradise has a long stretch of beach, with flags and patrols every few hundred meters along the beach. Sure to find a place for a swim, but the beach right outside of Cavill Ave is generally very busy and packed with tourists, just walk north or south along the beach to find a (slightly) less crowded alternative.
– Broadbeach is about 2 miles south of Surfers Paradise and will generally have the same surf conditions as Surfers Paradise. The upside, however, is that it’s not that far away and nowhere near as busy as Surfers.
– North Burleigh is 3 miles down from Broadbeach (and over a small hill). It’s generally less popular than its bigger brother, Burleigh Heads, but a good place to go if there are winds blowing from the north as the hill provides a bit of protection. Although if there are northerly winds, swimming in the afternoon isn’t such a good idea as they’ll bring in the stingers.
– Burleigh Heads is only about a mile south of North Burleigh and a nice beach with a large park and a hill that is good for picnics. There are cafes surrounding the beach and the hill cover means that this beach is usually pretty nice when there are winds coming from the south (whereas others like Surfers will be blown out and horrible).
Hinterland. Referred to as “the green behind the gold” (a reference to Australia’s national colors – green and gold), the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to three national parks, numerous mountains, creeks, waterfalls valleys, and natural rock formations. The area is mostly covered in sub-tropical rainforest, but sections have been cleared for dairy farm land and wineries. The Hinterland is best seen by car or on a bus tour.
The parks include: Mt Tamborine, Springbrook, Numinbah Valley and Currumbin Valley.
The Gold Coast region is big on theme parks. Investigate ticket discounts before you go, as multi-park passes, combined travel and entry, and multi-day passes can usually be obtained at a discount. They include:
– Sea World is the oldest and also one of the most established theme parks in Australia. It’s the closest to heart of the Gold Coast and will be interesting for those who have a liking for marine animals. Lots of shows and live acts, and you could easily spend a day here without going on any rides. It still does have some thrill rides, with the corkscrew roller coaster, and speed water slides.
– Dreamworld is a traditional theme park with a popular tiger zoo and the home of the Australian Big Brother House. Bountiful in rides; thrilling and otherwise. Features a great little kids’ area with Wiggleworld. If you are in it for the rides, and not the theme, then this is the place to be.
– Warner Bros. Movie World is a movie themed park with Warner Bros. themed rides and Looney Toons walking around all over the place. It is the most themed of the Gold Coast parks. Pretty crazy rides but not as extreme as some other parks. Depending on your blood pressure this may be a good thing.
– Wet’n’Wild is a water theme park with a wide range of slides, a wave pool, ‘dive-in movies’ at night in the wave pool and even a river where you can just lie in a tube and float around and around! A definite must during the summer, though best left to a day that isn’t stupidly hot or the queues are just ridiculous.
– Australian Outback Spectacular has a new Epic Outback Show, complete with stampeding cattle, wild horses and an Australian Dinner.
– WhiteWater World is a newer water park next to Dreamworld, said to be just as good as Wet’n’Wild, if not better
– Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, originally famous for its bird feeding of rainbow lorikeets, this park has expanded to have a number of animal exhibits. Although the lorikeet feeding still takes place just inside the entrance, there are hundreds of native Australian animals on display in natural bushland and rainforest settings around the park. There are open enclosures where you can get close to the usual assortment of kangaroos, emus, wallabies, etc. There is also an abundance of dining and shopping options in this area.
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