Queensland's Gold Coast
Why you should visit the Gold Coast
Only 1 hour south of the Queensland capital city of Brisbane the Gold Coast is a water lover's paradise. Home to 35 patrolled beaches, 6 theme parks and hundreds of resort style hotel rooms it is a relaxing and exciting holiday spot.
When most people think of the Gold Coast they think of the main area of Surfers Paradise, which was the original holiday town in the region. It's best known for its restaurants, skyscraper apartments and gold clad meter maids but there is much much more to the region and I hope by the time you have read my page you will see the Gold Coast has a lot to offer visitors from all walks of life.
With kilometres of beautiful beaches and the gorgeous Queensland hinterland to go with the spine tingling theme park rides there really is something for everyone here.
My 5 top things to do on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast has over 287 days of sunshine per year. The average year round temperature is 24 degrees Celsius!
When is the best time to visit the Gold Coast? - and when to stay well clear!
With fairly consistent weather all year round it's possible to visit almost anytime but there are some times of year when you might like to stay away. These are my personal opinions.....
Do not visit the Gold Coast late October unless you are a rev head (that's Aussie for car racing lover)
The 3rd week in October sees the Gold Coast V8 supercar carnival. Prices for accommodation go up and some streets are barricaded with wire fencing which looks pretty ugly. If you are not are car lover I will give this week a miss.
Do not visit the Gold Coast in November and December unless you are under 21
This one is really really important... after high school ends each year the graduates head to the Gold Coast in huge numbers to celebrate "schoolies" week - fair enough - only problem is schoolies week last closer to a month and the kids cause no end of chaos. This is not an old fogey talking either... anyone over 21 finds this time of year up there pretty damn awful... consider yourself warned!
If you don't have children I would also consider going outside the Australian School holiday periods as prices and crowded are higher then.
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The Gold Coast on your Kindle
If you are a convert to e-readers this kindle guide would be a handy thing to download before you go.
Getting around on the Gold Coast
Should I rent a car or take the bus?
The most commonly asked question by first time visitors to the Gold coast is should I rent a car or use the buses? My preference is to rent a car. Doing this saves you time and money and allows you to be really flexible in your touring. You can pick up a car at the airport.
If you choose not to drive there are a few public transport options to consider. The Gold Coast Shuttle offers airport and theme park transfers. They also offer a gold pass allowing you to use their services for 3, 5 or 7 days.
There is also an extensive public bus service Surfside Buses that will help you save $$$
National Parks on the Gold Coast - You simply MUST visit the hinterland
Only 30 mins west will get you to the Hinterland the some amazingly beautiful National Parks. If you have a car you really should not miss this area. If not try one of the food or wine tours or if you are more active a walking tour of the area. There are numerous tours to choose from.
My top three national parks in the area are:
- Springbrook National Park
Natural Bridge, Numinbah Valley and The Best of All Lookouts
- Tamborine National Park
- Lamington National Park - home to O'Reillys Guesthouse where my parents had a very romantic holiday in the early 1960s and equally romantic today!
A great resource for hikers or walkers
If you are planning on doing any serious hiking in the national parks this book will be invaluable.
Gold Coast Theme Parks - Dolphins, wild water, movie sets and more
The Gold Coast is theme park central making it a great place for families to holiday.
The 4 big theme parks are
Movieworld - Warner Brothers Movie World or "Hollywood on the Gold Coast" as the advertising campaign says has rides and attractions for all ages although I think its probably best suited to families with younger kids.
Dreamworld - is a theme park with rides for the whole family. There are enough scary rides to keep even the biggest thrill seeker along with Tiger Island and an Australian animal exhibit.
Seaworld - This is my personal favourite. If you are only planning on one theme park I would choose Seaworld. There are some great ride and the animal shows are amazing. The attractions include Shark Bay, Penguin Point, Polar Bear Shores and Ray Reef. There are also some great rides.
Wet and Wild or White Water World - Great fun but strictly for nice warm days.
Swim with the Dolphins at Seaworld
Currumbin Sanctuary and Tropical Fruit World - Or where I met Chocolate Pudding Fruit
Tropical Fruit World - Where I met the Chocolate Pudding Fruit a relationship that was made in heaven. Chocolate pudding fruit or black sapote is a fruit that actually tastes like chocolate without the calories. I wish you could get it in Sydney. I did the plantation safari on my visit. It was really interesting to hear how all the fruit is grown and to sample so of the exotic stuff. The ice cream at the end of the tour was amazing!
Open daily from 10am to 4.30pm.
20 mins south of Gold Coast this park has been a favourite for decades. Highlights include the excellent keeper talks that are offered throughout the day, the Aboriginal dancers and didgeridoo shows and of course the rainbow lorikeets that have been feeding here since the 1940s when the park was founded.