It’s been quite some time since our trip to Australia. So it was about time to end our honeymoon posts series and share with you our impressions about Gold Coast.
Our stay in Gold Coast came at the end of 20 days of fun and challenging activities in Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. Check out our other posts of the honeymoon series. That being said, what we had in mind for the Gold Coast was: sunbathing, swimming, and a whole lot of relaxing. But as you’ve probably gathered by now, we can’t be in a new location and not do our usual exploring. Most of the time involving massive amounts of walking.
A little bit about Gold Coast
Gold Coast is located about 60 km southeast of Brisbane, on the coast of the state of Queensland. Gold Coast occupies an area of about 400 square km and its beaches span over 57 kilometers of coastline. It is one of Australia’s most visited spots, with more than 10 million visitors each year. Gold Coast is well known for its beaches, surfing culture, night-life, a multitude of theme parks, and the lush rainforest hinterland. The subtropical climate is a major factor in Gold Coasts’ popularity as a tourist destination. With a yearly average temperature of approximately 23 degrees Celsius and 11-13 hours of sunshine, I can see why.
Where to stay
There are quite a few accommodation options, for all budgets and travel styles, from weekly / monthly rentals to large-scale resorts and hotels. I found it quite overwhelming deciding what to book and in which area. Our top accommodation criteria: by the beach, within walking distance from a good selection of restaurants and relaxed area.
Gold Coasts’ public transport is quite good and easy to use. You just need a plan and … a Go card. Check Destination Gold Coast guide for more information.
Overall, we were happy with our choice of staying in Main Beach. But while visiting different parts of the Gold Coast, there were a few other areas that seemed interesting. We thought to make a list of the areas we visited, and short one-line description based on our impression. This is a subjective classification, based on our experience and time spent in each area.
- Main Beach – It has a very calm and relaxed atmosphere. Here you will also stumble upon some Gold Coasts’ luxury hotels
- Surfers Paradise – Most known Gold Coast neighborhood, offering many hotel and restaurant choices and a bustling night-life
- Broadbeach – By far the most recommended by locals. Many beaches to choose from and a tram ride away from Surfers Paradise
- Burleigh Heads – Offers a perfect combination of beaches and green spaces. Apartment-style resorts are the preferred type of accommodation in this suburb
- Currumbin – Best neighborhood for families
What to see
We felt that our short 5 days stay was nowhere near enough to both explore and relax. We would have enjoyed at least another 5 days. After a rather busy year planning the wedding, we were in need for some rest. So we chose to explore only the coast on this trip to the Gold Coast. Here are a few of the things we did while on the Gold Coast.
Federation walk and the Spit
One of our favorite things to do – explore by walking around as much as we can.
The Spit is located about 3.8 km north of Main Beach. The Spit is a permanent sand spit and is the gateway between the Gold Coast Broadwater and the Ocean. Getting there from Main Beach takes about an hour, if you’re choosing to walk on the coast by the beach. Of course, you’ll want to stop so many places to take in the views of the beach and the ocean. On your way there you can take a detour through Philip Park, follow the Federation Walk trail, and/or stop by the Sand Bypass System jetty. It was such a relaxing walk, and for the most part, we were the only ones on the path.
Burleigh Heads to Broadbeach walk
This was by far one of my favorite walks in the Gold Coast. After a few hours spent at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, we still had some daylight to spend exploring. So instead of heading to the hotel, we grabbed an Uber and headed out to Burleigh Heads. We had been recommended to check it out by one of the Uber drivers a few nights before. The people we met in Australia have all been so nice and very helpful. This made our trip to Australia even better and more memorable.
Before starting our walk, we had a quick bite to eat at the then newly opened Burleigh Pavilion. The food was delicious, and a spot by the window will provide an amazing view of the Ocean and the Surfers Paradise skyline. Next, we followed the beach coastal road for as long as we could on our way to Broadbeach. We did have to make our way through some residential areas as we came closer to Broadbeach. Out of curiosity, we googled some of the beachfront properties for sale. We soon realized we were on one of Gold Coasts’ most expensive streets, Hedges Avenue, also known as “Millionaires Row”.
Main Beach to Surfers Paradise walk
We couldn’t visit the Gold Coast, and not stop in Surfers Paradise for a couple of hours, just to see what is all about. Surfers Paradise Beach is about 4-5 km from Main Beach, and just about an hour away walking or a short 22 minutes bus/tram ride. Surfers Paradise was pretty much as we expected it to be: a great beach and pretty busy streets, even in mid-day. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bar choices, for every budget. We were parched and tired, so before heading back to Main Beach, we stopped for some refreshments at Skyline Rooftop Bar.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
After missing my chance to “have breakfast with koalas” in Hamilton Island, I started looking for another chance to experience the Australian wildlife while in Gold Coast. While researching I came across the famous Australia Zoo and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was way closer to Main Beach and had very good reviews. We spent 3-4 hours here and we found this to be the perfect amount of time. We had plenty of time to make our way to the koala “daycare” more than once and took the time admiring the lorikeets and the hopping kangaroos. For those that grew up watching Blinky Bill cartoons, you’re in luck, you’ll find a full-size reconstruction of Blinky Bill’s house here.
Sunsets on Main Beach
What better way to end a day than by a stroll on the beach at sunset. This is one of our favorite past times when on holiday.
While we travel to a new place, we like to think, what would be the pros and cons of living there, from our perspective and based on our limited information and experience. I was amazed at how much of an impression Gold Coast made on us. We went there thinking of it as “just another beach holiday”, and left thinking that someday we would love to move there. I hope that we at least make our way again for a longer stay.
Where to eat
As with everything else on the Gold Coast, there are so many and so varied dining choices. Here are a few of the ones that left an impression.
A great choice if you’re looking for some fish and chips. If fish and chips are not your thing, not to worry, there are many other types of fresh seafood you can choose from and it will be cooked on the spot. You’ll find Peters Fish Market just by Marina Mirage at 120 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach.
Located in the QT Gold Coast hotel, it is just one of the many options of restaurants this hotel has to offer. I would describe Yamagen’s menu and decor as a traditional Japanese restaurant with a modern twist. The food was delicious. The only small issue we had was not being able to figure out the size of the portions before ordering, and ending up having too much food.
The definition of a restaurant for every taste! Gotham Grill and Rooftop bar offers two very different types of experiences: a classic fancy New York-style steak dinner or a more relaxed pizza/burgers and cocktails on the rooftop. As the name has it, the restaurant sports a sleek Gotham style decor. The restaurant is located at 6 Bayview Street, Runaway Bay.
We have so many great memories from our honeymoon trip. We are looking forward to traveling again and revisiting some of these places someday.