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The Essential City Guide to Surfers Paradise

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Visitors to sun-soaked Surfers Paradise can sample everything that's great about Australia in one compact, easily navigable area. This vibrant suburb on the Gold Coast has relaxed hotels, fine dining with an Asian twist, and plenty of bronzed locals exuding famed Aussie charm. Nearby, you'll find wildlife sanctuaries, lush rain forests, and adrenaline-fuelled amusement parks. Then there are the beaches, with their golden sand and crisp, blue surf.

Sunbathing and surfing along the coast


The main beach at Surfers Paradise is impressive, and a great place to see and be seen - but this is the Gold Coast, so there is no shortage of alternatives nearby. Try Burleigh Heads for great waves, or head south to Currumbin Beach to escape the crowds and enjoy the family-friendly vibe. Water sports are incredibly popular, and novices are well catered for, with an abundance of surfing schools and equipment for hire. Most hotels have swimming pools, providing an alternative for days when the surf is too rough.


  • Go Ride A Wave, Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217; Tel: +61 7 5526 7077; Website: Go Ride A Wave

  • First Wave Surfing, Macarthur Parade, Main Beach QLD 4217; Tel: +61 413 627 873; Website: First Wave Surfing

Dining and drinking to suit all tastes


You'll find a staggering variety of food and drink options in and around Surfers Paradise, from sophisticated restaurants and refined clubs, to casual cafés and raucous pubs. Seafood buffets are legendary in these parts, and many fancy hotels offer them: try the elevated Four Winds restaurant at the Crowne Plaza for a buffet with a view. Cheaper dining options abound on Cavill Avenue and the beachfront, and there is Asian dining in neighboring suburbs. Large-and-loud clubs dominate the nightlife scene, but there are also low-key places like the Black Coffee Lyrics cocktail bar.


  • Four Winds, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2807 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217; Tel: +61 7 5592 9907; Website: Four Winds

  • Black Coffee Lyrics, 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217; Tel: +61 402 189 437; Website: Black Coffee Lyrics


Entertainment for the young, and young at heart


Families are spoilt for choice on the Gold Coast, with dozens of themed attractions catering to all ages. Perhaps the best-known location is Movie World, which offers amusement park rides and an array of impressive live shows. Naturally, there are several water-themed venues, including Sea World and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast (the latter is reliably popular with adults, too). Well-known brands like Ripley's Believe It Or Not! and the Hard Rock Café also have local outlets.


  • Movie World, Pacific Motorway, Oxenford QLD 4210; Tel: +61 7 5573 3999; Website: Movie World

  • Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast, Pacific Highway Oxenford, Gold Coast QLD 4210; Tel: +61 7 5556 1660; Website: Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast


Natural wonder and quiet charm inland


For many, the Gold Coast hinterland - a short drive from Surfers Paradise - is the true highlight of a trip to this part of the country. Australia's famed flora and fauna are on full display here: Try Lamington National Park for hiking, or the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk for an introduction the area's native vegetation. Boutique accommodation options, from the basic to the luxurious, are plentiful in this region, and there is no shortage of restaurants with stunning views: Dancing Waters Cafe, near Purling Brook Falls, is one of the best.


  • Lamington National Park, Binna Burra, QLD 4211; Tel: +61 13 74 68; Website: Lamington National Park

  • Dancing Waters Cafe, 33 Forestry Road, Springbrook QLD 4213; Tel: +61 7 5533 5335; Website: Dancing Waters Cafe