|Destination: Australia's Gold Coast|
|Destination Type: Cities|
Natural beauty. Non-stop excitement. Friendly Australians. It’s Australia’s lifestyle capital. Australia’s Gold Coast is a region of contrasts offering a 70-kilometre (44-mile) stretch of pristine golden surf beaches, backed by lush green subtropical rainforests. Renowned as Australia'’ premier holiday playground, the Gold Coast’s casual resort atmosphere is enhanced by a multitude of attractions for visitors of all ages and interests.
Splash Out on Golden Beaches:The Gold Coast is famous for its stunning beaches and rich beach culture. For decades Australians have flocked to this fabulous region to enjoy a fun and relaxing holiday by the sea. With 70 kilometres (44 miles) of uninterrupted coastline, there are beaches with appeal for body surfers, surfboard and sailboard riders, protected calm waters for families with young children as well as deserted stretches for sun worshippers wanting to top up their golden tan.
A staggering 35 beaches are patrolled year-round by professional lifeguards creating a safe swimming environment for beginners and experienced swimmers. Surf clubs are dotted along the coastlinewhere visitors can watch lifeguards in training for major surf life saving contests and beach patrols. Host venue for the Australian Surf Life Saving titles every March is the Kurrawa club at Broadbeach.
Visitors are invited to visit the surf clubs to soak up the sunshine, take in spectacular views, enjoy a hearty breakfast, wonderful seafood or a cold beer with some locals. There are also parklands adjacent to most clubs offering family-friendly facilities such as barbecues, picnic areas and playground equipment. Beachfront art and craft markets operate most weekends and each Friday evening at Surfers Paradise.
FAST FACTS: 300 days of sunshine/Safe year-round swimming/35 patrolled beaches/70km coastline
See the Green behind the Gold
Within an easy 30-minute drive of the Gold Coast’s beaches awaits the magnificent wilderness area known as the Gold Coast Hinterland. Well signposted roads cut steep paths to the lush subtropical rainforests reaching 1000 metres above sea level. The air is cool and crisp and options for day and evening tours abound.
The hinterland is the perfect place to enjoy active pursuits like bush walking, abseiling, hang gliding, horse riding, hot-air ballooning and 4WD safaris. More leisurely activities include bird watching and wandering through award-winning gardens and tropical fruit plantations. During winter, toast marshmallows in front of an open fire.
Steeped in history, the hinterland is home to various museums and art galleries as well as fabulous restaurants, tea houses and craft shops. New to the region are several boutique wineries which can be explored as part of an exciting wine trail. The wineries feature cellar door tastings, historic homesteads for a leisurely lunch, lively jazz bands on weekends and the chance to learn about fully organic wine production techniques.
Much of the hinterland is World Heritage-listed national park including the country’s largest preserved stand of subtropical rainforest, Lamington National Park. A vast mountainous area, Lamington has the highest bio-diversity of flora and fauna found anywhere in Australia. Queensland’s first national park, Witches Falls is on Tamborine Mountain while Springbrook National Park protects rare 4000-year-old Antarctic beech trees. Springbrook also is home to the region’s highest single drop waterfall, Purlingbrook Falls. More than 300 kilometres (186 miles) of graded walking tracks enable visitors to explore these pristine wilderness areas.
Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the chance to capture on film Australia’s magnificent wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, rock pools and wildflowers. Experienced tour guides offer insight to this fascinating region as part of day tours, evening visits to glow-worm colonies and star gazing expeditions.
Traditional Aussie farm experiences can also be found at popular attractions. There are demonstrations of boomerang throwing, whip cracking, sheep shearing, cow milking and brewing up an Aussie favourite of billy tea and damper.
Australia’s sixth largest city, the Gold Coast is located on the east coast, an easy one-hour drive south of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city. Brisbane and the Gold Coast are linked by a new eight-lane super motorway and modern rail service.
The Shopping is Sensational:For dedicated shoppers, the Gold Coast is the place to indulge. Designer labels abound at a variety of chic boutiques found at Main Beach, Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.Hot designer bargains and the latest surf wear can be picked up at factory outlets while authentic Australian arts and crafts are on display throughout the region. Unusual gifts and souvenirs can be found at colourful markets staged along the beachfront and in the hinterland.Visit resort shopping villages and combine spending sprees with a relaxing coffee or juice at cafes overlooking calm waterways, beaches or cool rainforests. In the Gold Coast Hinterland, follow the craft and antiques trail and discover works by famous Australian artists.Three of Australia’s largest shopping complexes are found on the Gold Coast and take days to explore. Shop for opals, jewellery, resort fashions, beach wear, leather goods and pamper yourself with locally produced cosmetic and herbal treatments.
Exciting Events and Festivals:The Gold Coast has always been Australia’s premier fun spot with world-class festivals and sporting events happening year round.
Major surfing, surf life saving, marathon, triathlon, motor sports, horse racing, sailing regattas and tennis events are played out against a stunning backdrop of sweeping beaches and green mountains.
The region’s 40 championship golf courses are also used for major tournaments attracting the world’s best players
A Wealth of Water Activities:With the Gold Coast’s sparkling coastline and more canals and waterways than Venice, the Gold Coast is renowned as Australia’s aquatic playground. Visitors are offered a range of water activities including calm and deep water fishing, water skiing, parasailing, jet skiing and sailboarding.Hiring your own watercraft is a great way to make the most of the Southport Broadwater, Australia’s largest expanse of calm water. Try a wave runner, jet ski, a two-seater mini speedboat or houseboat. Guided tours on water include kayaking, parasailing, catamaran sailing, leisurely cruises, fishing charters and learn to surf lessons.Scuba diving is a great way to explore the underwater world of the Gold Coast. Discover the secrets of the historic wreck Scottish Prince which sank off Southport 113 years ago. Explore Palm Beach reef, Nine Mile reef off Kirra Point or Cook Island off Tweed Heads – all alive with turtles and fish!
The Excitement Never Stops:Widely known as Australia’s theme park capital, the Gold Coast offers all the thrills and spills you can pack into a day, a week or a lifetime. Visit Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World and Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World for a host of thrill rides that will leave you breathless.Close encounters with Australian birds and animals can be enjoyed at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the David Fleay Wildlife Park while visits to farm resorts in the hinterland offer traditional Aussie experiences including cow milking, whip cracking and sheep shearing.Working fruit plantatins like Tropical Fruit World give you the chance to taste some of nature’s exotic delights. Be sure to visit the ‘bush tucker’ garden.There’s action and amusement at fun places like Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and the Infinity fun-house plus Australia’s hottest extreme rides like the Banzai Bungey, Flycoaster and Bungee Rocket.A scenic flight over the coastline can be enjoyed in a fun Tiger Moth, helicopter, seaplane, Twin Pioneer airplane or a hot-air balloon. Visitors can also take a day tour by seaplane to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and enjoy diving, snorkelling and other reef