The Gold Coast is a beautiful beach paradise 1 hour south of Brisbane that is famous for sunshine and surfing. With 70 km of gorgeous sandy beaches and a subtropical climate that gets on average 300 days of sunshine per year, it is the perfect spot to take your next vacation.
In the Gold Coast, there are 35 beaches that are patrolled year round that provide endless stretches of white sand and crashing surf. My two favorite spots would be Surfers Paradise if you want more of a Miami feel, with surfers, shopping, and nightlife. While Burleigh Heads further south has way fewer tourists and more exciting foodie scene to explore. Both are outstanding spots and offer two distinct beach experiences.
The most popular beach would be Surfers Paradise. The area is known for the highrise skyline that borders the beach where you can find shopping, restaurants, and hotels, making it a convenient vacation spot as everything is walking distance.
When visiting the beach there is a wonderful boardwalk that has plenty of built-in seating and changing areas. Along the boardwalk, you’ll be able to find the Surfer’s Paradise sign. Directly across the street from the sign is a kiosk where you’ll be able to rent surfboards or sign up for surfing lessons.
Burleigh Heads Beach
Burleigh Heads was my favorite beach along the Gold Coast, it is away from the skyscrapers of Surfer’s Coast though you can still see them off in the distance. Around Burleigh Heads, you’ll find fewer tourists and hotels but you’ll make up for it with a more relaxed vibe. The beach is outstanding for surfing, and next to the beach you can find Burleigh Head National Park, where you can hike through the rainforest to a lookout point. From the lookout, you might be able to spot Humpback Whales or even dolphins.
My personal favorite aspects of this beach are more outstanding cafes and sophisticated dining experiences right along the water. The entire area is very hipster, so you can find lots of healthy eating spots and fresh seafood.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Second, to the beaches, the next best place in the Gold Coast would have to be Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can interact with a variety of Australian animals such as kangaroos, koalas, and quokka. The Sanctuary helps with the conservation of local wildlife, but it also provides you the chance to get up close to the animals. For example, at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, you can hand feed Kangaroos and Lorikeet birds. Or you can sign up for the experience to hug a koala, walk dingos or feed crocodiles.
I spent half a day exploring the park and had a tremendous time. I can’t recommend visiting enough, as when visiting Australia you need to see a Koala!
The View From SkyPoint Observation Deck
In Surfers Paradise you can find the SkyPoint Observation Deck, which provides the best lookout point of the Gold Coast. Located in the Q1 you can pay a $25 admission fee to get a 360 video of the area. When visiting for a bit extra you can also pay to get your meal included, so you can dine overlooking the Gold Coast for a memorable meal.
Bathhouse By Greenhouse
After spending time hiking, surfing, and swimming you might want to spend some time to relax. I know for me after the long flight to Australia my muscles were aching and a visit to the spa was just what I needed to feel recharged.
Bathhouse by Greenhouse is a popular spot with locals as spa only allows 12 guests at a time. A such you have a really relaxing experience where you can enjoy the two hot tubs, wet steam room, cedar sauna, magnesium plunge pool, and sun deck.
To visit you must make an appointment, but it is highly worth the experience. Packages start at $40 for 90 minutes but you can add additional spa services such as a massage. Included in your visit are your towel and herbal tea.
The small spa is located in a renovated warehouse and is a bit hard to spot from the road as it is behind a building. Yet once you find your way inside, you will be able to enjoy this best-kept secret of the Gold Coast.
Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. It is located a short drive away from the beaches of the Gold Coast, and there are plenty of tour companies, such as Southern Cross Tours which I went with that will pick you up from Surfer’s Paradise and take you around the park.
Within the national park, you’ll be able to see several waterfalls with the two best ones being Natural Bridge Waterfall and Purling Brook Falls.