The Gold coast is a coastal city on the western shores of Continental Australia. It is Australia’s main tourist destination and a haven for surfers complete with long stretches of open beaches facing the Pacific, almost like equivalent of the Miami of continental Australia. Main things to go for here are the beaches and theme parks (i.e. Movie world, Dreamworld, Seaworld and Wet and Wild), with the latter I will cover in a separate blog post. Noticeably on arrival, surprisingly, the Gold coast skyline is now decked with skyscrapers, where none existed almost 20 years ago when I was last here. Surfer’s paradise also saw a large increase in immigrants residing in the area, making the region very cosmopolitan and friendlier, unlike Sydney.
The local city transport system is well-served by a new electric tram system, like those in Europe. Operated by Translink, it links from the University grounds through gold coast highway to Surfers Paradise past the Australia Fair Shopping Centre. There are still no tram to airport connections however, which are still largely served by Airport buses and Taxis, which is the recommended travel mode for groups. The Gold Coast itself consists of 70 km of coastline with some of the most popular surf breaks in Australia such as the South Stradbroke Island, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise itself, the Broad beach, Mermaid Beach. There is even a “Miami Beach” as well. Besides having one the best surfing waves in the region, the beach also has one of the best beach monitoring and rescue services, partly because of the rather rough seas and waves in the region courtesy of regular cyclone winds.
The main shopping area can be found at Cavill Avenue, where all the magic happens, you can find a number of shopping malls, boutique and nice beach side eateries and pubs. There are many shops decked out with surf wear and accessories, despite their up-market look, the retail prices here far cheaper than what you get in Singapore. Attractions in the region includes includes Ripley’s and Draculas haunted house (a cool horror-themed dinner and cabaret) and Cypress mini-golf/amusement center just off the outskirts of the district. You can find the biggest and best-rated Time zone arcade in Australia here too. The arcade is a behemoth complete with tons of gaming machines, their own laser tag and bumper car arena.
There are eateries to cater for all budgets; a nice breakfast place will include the beach-side Surfers Sandbar and Pancakes in Paradise along Surfers Paradise boulevard, with lunch recommendations at Ben’s Fish & Chips (possibly the best Fish and Chips in the region). Dinner recommendations will include the Hog’s Breath Café/Bar, the Clock hotel bar, Waxy’s Irish Pub, Kitty O’shea’s Bar & Restaurant and washing it all down with desserts at the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar also along Surfers Paradise boulevard.
Surfer’s paradise has a night market which opens daily and runs from 6pm till late and is situated throughout the entire length of the beach walk along the Esplanade in front of the main shopping district.
These beachfront markets sell anything from clothing, souvenirs, toys, photographs and food, though not necessarily a bargain. Last, but not least, the main observation deck in town to look out for will be the Skypoint observation deck. Located up in the top of the Q1 building, it is the tallest spot in Surfer’s paradise overlooking even the Soul building. At the top, it offers full 360 panoramic views of the city and the fantastic beachline all through an internal glass paneled interior with a roof top cafe and bar.
Gold Coast Surfer’s Paradise photo gallery.