This is where beautiful beaches meets Vegas! Gold Coast holidays are very popular with the Aussies as the Gold Coast is such good fun. It is a party town with something for everyone.
It has fab theme parks and water parks for the kids, amazing nightlife with casinos, clubs and bars and even some pretty countryside within a couple of hours drive.
It's popular with the young crowd and reminds me a bit of Miami - huge skyscrapers behind beautiful beaches. This isn't the place for you if you want a quiet relaxing type holiday - this is hustle and bustle and party!
That said, there are some areas which are much quieter so don't be put off by my comparison to Vegas!
Getting here and when to come
To enjoy gold coast holidays you can get here easily as there are direct flights to Coolangata airport which is just outside the Gold Coast. You can fly here from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Given its a popular holiday destination, virgin blue and jet star, the cheap airlines fly here.
Otherwise, fly into Brisbane and hire a car or get the train or bus to the Gold Coast. It's about an hour's drive from Brisbane and its an easy drive down the freeway.
The best time to come is between late October and March when it's hot (and humid) so you can enjoy the beach culture. To guarantee yourself the weather December through to February are the hottest months but also the busiest (and therefore the most expensive)
Outside of these times, there is plenty to do despite a bit of rain or colder weather. It's just not ideal to enjoy the beaches during the winter months.
What to do and see
Gold Coast Holidays can be whatever you want them to be as there is quite literally something for everyone.
Hit the theme parks - Dreamworld, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World, Wet n Wild, White Water World are the most popular theme parks. Get a pass if you intend to visit more than one. Click here for getting the most out of your visit to the Gold Coast Theme Parks.
Hit the bars or beach -There are three beaches – Surfers Paradise, Main Beach and Broad Beach.
Surfers Paradise Beach backs onto the main nightlife area so tends to be full of the young set enjoying gold coast holidays. The majority of accommodation is in this area too. This area is FULL ON. It’s never quiet so only stay in this area if you want to party or your hotel is a few blocks off the front. The beach markets 5.30pm to 10pm on Wednesday and Friday nights are worth a look.
Cavill Avenue is where it all happens and is good in the day, but really comes to life in the evening. You'll find Raptis Shopping Plaza here with over 190 shops to look at. Try Charlies for Coffee. If it's raining then "Believe it or Not Ripleys" is worth a look.
At night, Melbas nightclub is well known and has been voted the best nightclub for the under 30's on the Gold Coast. Orchid Avenue is where you'll find a larger selection of nightclubs and gentlemen's clubs.
Main Beach and Broad beach are a bit more upmarket and are more about the food. This means that the crowd are slightly older. Try eating at Ristorante Fellini, 74 Sea World Drive, Main Beach or Gold Coast Gondolas, 60 Sea World Drive.
Main Beach also has a small shopping centre (Marina Mirage) and a few designer outlets. It is home to the famous Palazzo Versace Hotel. If you can’t afford to stay, no problem, but at least come for a look round or even afternoon tea.
Go to Northcliff Surf Club for lunch and admire the view. This is a local secret. The food is great offering value for money but the view is what makes it.
Go inland and explore the Hinterland which is just an hour's drive from the beach - Tamborine, Eagle Heights and Springbrook are all nice townships that you can visit. The drive to Mt Tamborine is particularly stunning and the Gallery Walk in the village has some delightful shops. There are pleasant cafes, boutiques and craft shops to visit. If you fancy doing some walking then try Mt Tamborine National Park or Springbrook national park are good choices. There are in fact 9 National Parks to choose from in this area.
Nurinbah Valley Adventure Trails is also worth looking at if you fancy seeing the "Green Behind the Gold" (the local's nick name for the Hinterland) from Horse Back. They offer a 3 hour ride for just $80 through wonderful scenery.
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O'Reileys, the Hinterland - real pampering at its best. Perfect for couples. From $435
Binna Binna Wilderness Retreat offers cabins and luxury safari tents in the heart of the Hinterland. From only $160 this is a bargain given the views. No Mobile phone service and no TV so come here for total relaxation.