Welcome to Gold Coast
If your Aussie travel fantasies consist of sun-soaked beaches, bronzed surfers, and sunset cocktails, the Gold Coast should top your to-do list. Queensland’s most famous holiday destination is blessed with more than 25 miles (40 kilometers) of pristine sands, year-round sunshine, and world-class surf. Surfers Paradise is a haven for backpackers and renowned for its nonstop nightlife, while the elegant coastal resorts of Broadbeach, Main Beach, and Miami offer fine dining, romantic canal cruises, and the coast’s biggest shopping mall. Those with kids in tow will find theme parks—including Sea World, WhiteWater World, and Movie World—right on their doorstep, while animal lovers can spy koalas at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Of course, the number-one draw to the Gold Coast is its beaches, and there are endless options for water sports, kayaking, jet skiing, scuba diving, and whale-watching tours, as well as adrenaline-fueled activities such as skydiving or hot-air ballooning. For a change of scenery, Byron Bay, North Stradbroke Island, and the Sunshine Coast are all close enough for a single-day tour. If the sun and surf get to be too much, Brisbane—just an hour away—has shady parks, edgy art museums, and riverfront restaurants. Alternatively, escape the beach altogether to explore the famous Village Markets in Burleigh Heads; or head into the hinterlands, where Lamington National Park, Springbrook National Park, Burleigh Heads National Park, and Tamborine Mountain offer ample opportunities for guided hikes, cycling excursions, rain-forest walks, and glow-worm tours.