The Gold Coast offers a wealth of sights and experiences from 35 patrolled beaches that sit close to action-packed theme parks to World Heritage-listed rainforests and championship golf courses, including the following…
Head to the theme parks for some thrills, watch a cavalcade of horseback action at the Australian Outback Spectacular, explore the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or climb Mount Warning before sunrise to get a sensational view of the coastal beaches that extend from Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay.
Hike through rugged mountain scenery past tumbling waterfalls, subtropical rainforest and rare flora and fauna in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed reserves of the Gold Coast hinterland.
Wannabe surfers can attend a surf clinic and learn the basics of form and technique.
Between June and November, experience the thrill of seeing majestic humpback whales on their annual migration past the Gold Coast beaches.
Several whale watching cruises depart from Main Beach. In March, watch athletes compete in the Quicksilver Pro-Surfing Competition and the Surf Life Saving Championships.
Thrill to the Gold Coast Indy car race in October, but steer away from Surfers Paradise in Mid-November if you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of the end-of-school-year celebrations known as Schoolies Week; thousands of high school graduates from across the country converge on Surfers for a week of hard partying.
The Gold Coast offers a choice of attractions for adventurous couples, including the following…
The Gold Coast is Australia's theme park capital. Check out the fastest, the longest, the highest and the most exciting thrill rides in the country – along with unique wildlife experiences and top-notch entertainment.
If you plan on spending a few days on the Gold Coast and want to visit several theme parks, check out the range of great-value multi passes available.
You'll find it all here from Dreamworld, Sea World and Warner Bros. Movie World to WhiteWater World and Wet'n'Wild Water World…
Dreamworld – Experience a day of fun-filled action at Dreamworld, which features several themed areas and more than 40 rides and attractions, including the park’s famous Big 7 Thrill Rides, DreamWorks Experience and the Australian Wildlife Experience.
Get an adrenaline rush on a choice of high-octane action rides, including the aptly named Giant Drop, in which you free-fall 120 metres reaching speeds of 135kph in a matter of seconds; the screamingly fast Tower of Terror II roller coaster, which propels you upwards at 4.5Gs reaching speeds of 160kph and giving you 6.5 seconds of weightlessness; and the Cyclone, a high-speed gravity roller coaster.
Or jump on to a full-scale replica 500cc racing bike on Mick Doohan's Motocoaster, a fluid bike-race track featuring 18 high-speed corners on a 600m circuit.
Elsewhere, watch Bengal tigers play and swim with their handlers on Tiger Island, home to six Bengal tigers, six Sumatran tigers and two cougars; and view 800 native animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary where you can also cuddle a cuddle a koala, pat a kangaroo or even feed a crocodile.
Tip: Avoid the queues by buying an Earlybird Pass (A$10 extra) and hiring a Q4U virtual queuing device, which offers advance booking on 11 different rides.
Location: Pacific Highway, Coomera (around 25km north of Surfers Paradise)
Phone: 07/5588-1111; Website: www.dreamworld.com.au
Admission: A$74 adults, A$221 family of 4 (All-inclusive except skill games, souvenir photos and helicopter rides); Free parking
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm; Main St., Plaza Restaurant, and Koala Country open at 9am. Extended hours during Easter and during December and January. Closed December 25 and until 1:30pm April 25 (Anzac Day)
Sea World – Get up close and personal with marine life and experience a huge choice of amazing rides, shows and attractions at Australia's largest marine theme park.
More than just a theme park, Sea World plays an active role in marine research and rescue and is committed to educating visitors about the marine environment.
Check out Canadian polar bears, watch fairy penguin and the endangered dugong exhibits, swim with dolphins, snorkel with seals and dive with sharks (if you are a certified diver) at Shark Bay – the world's largest artificial lagoon system for sharks.
Watch as dangerous tiger sharks circle the huge aquarium in one section, see harmless reef sharks, rays and other fish in another section, and don't miss the numerous eagle, manta and sting rays at Ray Reef.
Read more about the Sea World…
Movie World – Check out the only movie park in Australia and the nation's answer to Universal Studios.
Choose from a range of movie-themed rides and attractions from slow river rides to thrilling roller coasters and motion simulators.
Popular rides include Justice League: Alien Invasion, an interactive shooting ride; Superman Escape roller coaster; Arkham Asylum Shock Therapy roller coaster; and the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride, a flume ride featuring geysers, mine shafts, a ghost town and the largest drop of its kind in Australia – boats reach speeds of up to 70kph on the final 20m drop.
Experience 4Gs while travelling at speeds of 64kph at Batwing Spaceshot, a pneumatic powered ride, which shoots riders up to a height of 61m and then back down.
Or try the Green Lantern Coaster featuring the steepest drop on any roller coaster in the Southern Hemisphere and the second steepest in the world.
Watch the Hollywood Stunt Driver show and perhaps have your photo taken alongside costumed characters such as Batman, Austin Powers, Marilyn Monroe and Scooby Doo, among others.
The theme park sits alongside an active film studio – Warner Roadshow Studios.
Location: Pacific Highway, Oxenford (Around 21km north of Surfers Paradise)
Phone: 07/5573 8495; Website: www.movieworld.com.au
Admission: A$75; VIP Pass A$110 – unlimited entry to SeaWorld, Movie World and Wet'n'Wild for 12 months; Free parking
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm, rides and attractions operate 10am-5pm
Wet 'n' Wild Water World – Get wet and go wild in this vast water park that provides loads of fun for all ages.
Wet 'n' Wild Water World offers a choice of excellent waterslides from the aptly named Mammoth Falls to Terror Canyon II and Super-8 Aqua Racer; a wave pool complete with metre-high surf; and Surfrider that simulates the sensation of surfing the world's biggest waves, plummeting you 30 meters while you spin on a giant board.
In the Extreme H20 zone, you can plunge down the scary Kamikaze, a giant, U-shaped, friction-free slide with a near-vertical 11-meter drop reaching speeds of 50kph and thrill to the pitch-black water spirals of the Black Hole and the churning Tornado.
Had enough? Then take it easy on Calypso Beach, a ‘tropical island’ fringed with white-sand beaches and a lazy river; or check out the latest-release films at Dive'n'Movie from a tube dinghy in the water or deck chair on the shore.
Read more about the Wet 'n' Wild Water World…
Cycle or walk along the Oceanway, a 36km network of pathways that stretches along the beaches from the Gold Coast Seaway (The Spit) to the Point Danger Lighthouse (Coolangatta).
Take in the glorious sea views from Point Danger, Greenmount, Kirra Point, Elephant Rock, Currumbin Ridge or Burleigh Heads.
The track passes through a number of leafy beachside reserves, with a range of facilities including showers, barbecues and playgrounds.
Get up close and personal with colourful rainbow lorikeets, just one of the more than 1400 native Australian animals that live in this natural bushland and rainforest setting.
Look out for crocodiles, snakes, wombats, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos and endangered frogs.
Hold a tray of food for wild rainbow lorikeets that flock here by the hundreds twice a day for feeding at 8am and 4pm, which usually lasts for about 90 minutes. It’s quite an experience – don't miss it!
Join one of the dozen daily animal shows, informative talks, Aboriginal dance and didgeridoo sessions, have your photo taken cuddling a koala, hand-feed a kangaroo, join a free miniature steam-train ride through the park and visit the animal hospital.
Take a Segway Safari guided tour of the park, get higher into the natural setting on a treetops Outdoor Green Challenge rope adventure or join the nightly guided Wildnight Adventure that includes a tour of the sanctuary's nocturnal inhabitants from 7pm and Aboriginal dancing by firelight afterwards.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is owned by The National Trust of Queensland, a registered charity and not-for-profit organization that reinvests all proceeds back into the Sanctuary.
Location: Currumbin (Around 14km south of Surfers Paradise)
Phone: 07/5534 1266; Website: www.cws.org.au
Admission: A$49 adults, A$10 robes course, A$89 Wildnight Adventure, book online for discounts
Hours: Daily 8am-5pm, grounds close at 5:30 for Wildnight Adventure. Closed December 25 and from 1:30pm-5:30pm April 25 (Anzac Day)
Discover this cool, green region only a 30-minute drive from the golden beaches and bright neon lights of the Gold Coast. Drive along backcountry lanes through pretty canyons into quiet highland valleys with scenic lookouts.
At an altitude ranging from 500m to 1000m, savour the clean, crisp air as you explore national parks on foot or bike, spot wildlife and sample locally made wine at several boutique vineyards.
Read more about the Gold Coast hinterland…
Latest update: Gold Coast Attractions: 10 September, 2022