A Complete Guide to the Gold Coast's Best Beaches
The Gold Coast is Australia's answer to Las Vegas and Orlando wrapped up with one big sunshine-filled bow! The city is popular with audiences of all kinds, but its beaches are among Queensland's favorites. You'll find the perfect beach for you while you're here, but I bet you will love them all!
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Where to stay in The Gold Coast, Australia
The Langham Gold Coast
Beachfront hotel with luxury rooms and an outdoor pool on Australia's Gold Coast.
JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa
Set on 2.5 acres in the town of Surfers Paradise, this high-end hotel boasts numerous eateries and its own private marina on the Nerang River.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast
On a pristine stretch of the Gold Coast, close to Surfer’s Paradise, this upscale favorite has direct access to a private beach and lagoon-like pools.
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Things to do in The Gold Coast, Australia
Best Beaches Close To Everything: Surfer's Paradise & Main Beach
After you arrive on the Gold Coast, settle into your hotel and are ready to get sand under your feet, this is where you go first. 'Surfer's' as locals call it, has skyscrapers in the background that contrast the sea. You'll find people of all kinds here! Main Beach is just north of Surfer's and is home to Seaworld and one of the only beachfront resorts on the Gold Coast. It's a little quieter but no less lovely.
Best Beaches For Families: Tallebudgera Creek, Rainbow Bay & Budds Beach
Tallebudgera Creek is perfect for families with its calm waters suited for kiddos, plus plenty of shading from trees. Rainbow Bay is another popular beach for everyone (families included) and is one of my top favorites for its pure beauty. Budds Beach, located inland on the Nerang River, is close to plenty of amenities and has a playground.
Best Beach For Couples: The Spit
For a classic pier experience, the Spit is for you! Queue a long walk down the pier, hand in hand with your partner, spotting fishers and people walking their dogs on the way. Once you're done, relax on the beach or at Doug Jennings Park.
Best For Surfing: Snapper Rocks
For avid surfers, Snapper Rocks doesn't disappoint. It hosts surfing competitions big and small such as the first part of the 2022 World Surf League Challenger Series. Done surfing? You can get food at The Rainbow Bay Surf Club and plenty of places nearby.
Best For Views: Currumbin Creek & Burleigh Heads Beach
Imagine hopping out of your car, trekking down the stairs, then turning to see unique rock formations and towers in the distance in addition to an amazing beach. To top it off, cuddle koalas at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary just minutes away! Who doesn't want to cuddle a koala? North is Burleigh Beach, one of the most popular beaches on The Gold Coast (aren't they all, though?). To make your experience even better, tree-dotted Burleigh Hill overlooks the ocean, a timeless spot for picnics. Need more exercise? Walk Burleigh Head National Park, taking in the views from Tumgun and Jebbribillum Lookout among other amazing spots.
Day Trips from the Gold Coast
Take a road trip through the stunning Glasshouse Mountains, hunt for waterfalls in Lamington & Springbrook National Parks and explore Queensland's largest city, Brisbane.
Places to eat & drink in The Gold Coast, Australia
When in Southport and needing coffee, Hazel Espresso is waiting for you! Head to Davenport Street for their perfectly Instagrammable drinks, be it your usual coffee order or something entirely new, and munch on tasty food inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine.
KAMI in 'KAMI Burleigh' translates to 'God' in Japanese, so it better be good! They're another casual establishment with quick meals like pork gyoza, stir fry, and 'Hot Jam Bao' (strawberry jam with ice cream) to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The same minds behind KAMI Burleigh also created Magnolia Lane, serving delicious breakfast food close to the beach. Get your usual avocado toast, pair it with a drink of your liking such as coffee or a smoothie, and you're good to go wherever you're off to next.
Looking for some of the best dining? Head to Yamagen, located inside QT Gold Coast Hotel. For the connoisseur of whisky, they have Queensland's largest collection. The restaurant mainly serves different 'Omakase' menus and appetizers like edamame, sides like popcorn prawns and main dishes like teriyaki chicken. You'll be full for a while!
Palm Beach Avenue's available to cure your hunger for all three meals of the day, seating you in a chic and fun restaurant with monstera leaf wallpaper on pillars and pastel colors all around. They offer vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options as well. If you're there at the right time, you can snag outdoor seating and be serenaded by the ocean waves.
Balboa Italian Palm Beach is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, so you'll have to book ahead of time! Load up on all the carbs you like here, or get what they offer for takeout! The beach is close by, after all.
The Cardamom Pod is conveniently located right in Broadbeach and is completely vegan and vegetarian! Smoothie bowls, waffles, chai cheesecake, oh my!
In beautiful Coolangatta, Siblings Kirra seats indoors and outdoors on Marine Parade. They offer a large menu with something to satisfy whatever your taste is today. Does American Honey Creme Brulee sound good to you?
Need to Know
The weather is generally warm and humid with parts of the year that are drier and others that are rainier, comparable to Florida (where I'm from) among others. Always bring a swimsuit, never skip sunscreen and note that you'll need a sweater from June-August. Opposite seasons mean that our summer is their winter!
For more travel tips, check out my Complete Guide to Hotels & Things to Do in Perth, Australia.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Australia, and part of our larger series on beaches.