Surfers Paradise travel guide

Surfers Paradise Tourism | Surfers Paradise Guide

You're Going to Love Surfers Paradise

The center of Australia's Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is exactly what its name suggests - a fantastic place to test your skills on the waves. But there's much more than just surfing on offer in this lively resort.

For one thing, Surfers Paradise has legendary nightlife, with clubs, bars, music venues, and casinos all along the coast. But there are places to relax as well. You could witness the glow-worm caverns at Mt Tamborine, swim at the foot of waterfalls in Springbrook National Park, or walk through the rainforest canopy at O'Reilly's Tree Top Walk.

Add in family attractions like WhiteWater World and Dreamworld, as well as the bright lights of Brisbane just an hour to the north, and you have a world-class beach destination.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Surfers Paradise

1. Beach Activities Galore

The centerpiece of Surfers Paradise is indisputable: mile upon mile of beaches that enjoy constant sunshine and excellent waves. If you've ever wanted to learn how to surf, feel like snorkeling or diving to accessible reefs, or just want to stretch out to catch some rays, there's no better Aussie destination.

2. Natural Attractions in the Nearby Area

Nature lovers will also adore Surfers Paradise. You can get to know all about the rainforest by walking the 180 meter length (196 yards) of O'Reilly's Tree Top Walkway, take 4 wheel-drive trips at night to the glow-worm caves at Tamborine Mountain, or get away from it all in Burleigh Head National Park.

3. Family Amusement Parks to Keep Everyone Happy

The Gold Coast is a superb family vacation destination. When the heat gets a little too much for sightseeing, there are water parks like Wet'n'Wild or WhiteWater World. Dreamworld is also heaven for daredevils, with the 38-storey plunge of Giant Drop and the adrenaline rush of the Tower of Terror 2.

4. Brisbane Is a Short Drive Away

When you stay at Surfers Paradise, you'll be a short distance from Brisbane, Queensland's capital city. You can pop into town to see the koalas at the Lone Pine Sanctuary, tour the Queensland Art Gallery, or stroll around Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and be back at your hotel in the evening.

5. Beachfront Markets and Street Performers

The seafront at Surfers Paradise is a wonderful place to be. Every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, it hosts 120 food, art, crafts, and antiques stalls - the ideal place to pick up some souvenirs or watch local musicians and dancers show off their skills.

What to do in Surfers Paradise

1. Surfers Paradise Beach: Picture Perfect

This dazzling beach is one of the Gold Coast's top sights. There is no mistaking that iconic Australian vibe with the golden sand stretching for miles along the idyllic ocean. Join the happy throngs of beach-goers for sunbathing, jogging, swimming, and of course, for surfing. Even if you've never tried it out before, this is the place to learn. At night, the Beachfront Markets come to life with over 120 stalls with trinkets and bargains galore.

2. Cavill Avenue: Gold Coast Central

This pedestrian mall welcomes lazy shoppers day in and day out for a leisurely stroll. There are always high-quality street performers, not to mention surf-art stands in front of the shopfronts and cafés. Other attractions along the way include the Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum, and the Infinity game center. At night, Cavill Avenue continues to draw visitors into the lively chaos of bars and clubs.

3. Q1: Queensland Number One

The tallest building in Australia, this impressive luxury tower dominates Surfers Paradise. Visitors can make the trip to the 78th floor for staggering views of the surrounding landscape at the SkyPoint Observation Deck. For dare-devils, the SkyPoint Climb has you harnessed in for a walk up and around the tip of the tower.

4. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: Koala Cuddles

This epic zoological park draws visitors from far and wide to revel in the unique Australian flora and fauna, and it never gets old. Famous for rainbow lorikeet birds which flock to the area, the park also introduces visitors to Tasmanian devils and adorable koala bears. A miniature railway brings tourists from one habitat to another, and the diversity of creatures provides a never-ending show of sights and sounds. An adventure park is also open for even more fun!

5. Coolangatta: "It's Hot in Brisbane but it's Coolangatta!"

For a change of pace from Surfers Paradise, head down the Gold Coast to Coolangatta. Q1 stands out in the distance as you look up the coastline, but here everything slows down a notch and you can really take in the relaxing beach. Surfers are always at home here, with some of the best surf on the Gold Coast coming in at the end of Coolangatta Beach, by Snapper Rocks. Hiking trails also abound along the coast, and the charm of the town makes this suburb the whole package.

1. Surfers Paradise Beach: Picture Perfect

This dazzling beach is one of the Gold Coast's top sights. There is no mistaking that iconic Australian vibe with the golden sand stretching for miles along the idyllic ocean. Join the happy throngs of beach-goers for sunbathing, jogging, swimming, and of course, for surfing. Even if you've never tried it out before, this is the place to learn. At night, the Beachfront Markets come to life with over 120 stalls with trinkets and bargains galore.

2. Cavill Avenue: Gold Coast Central

This pedestrian mall welcomes lazy shoppers day in and day out for a leisurely stroll. There are always high-quality street performers, not to mention surf-art stands in front of the shopfronts and cafés. Other attractions along the way include the Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum, and the Infinity game center. At night, Cavill Avenue continues to draw visitors into the lively chaos of bars and clubs.

3. Q1: Queensland Number One

The tallest building in Australia, this impressive luxury tower dominates Surfers Paradise. Visitors can make the trip to the 78th floor for staggering views of the surrounding landscape at the SkyPoint Observation Deck. For dare-devils, the SkyPoint Climb has you harnessed in for a walk up and around the tip of the tower.

4. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary: Koala Cuddles

This epic zoological park draws visitors from far and wide to revel in the unique Australian flora and fauna, and it never gets old. Famous for rainbow lorikeet birds which flock to the area, the park also introduces visitors to Tasmanian devils and adorable koala bears. A miniature railway brings tourists from one habitat to another, and the diversity of creatures provides a never-ending show of sights and sounds. An adventure park is also open for even more fun!

5. Coolangatta: "It's Hot in Brisbane but it's Coolangatta!"

For a change of pace from Surfers Paradise, head down the Gold Coast to Coolangatta. Q1 stands out in the distance as you look up the coastline, but here everything slows down a notch and you can really take in the relaxing beach. Surfers are always at home here, with some of the best surf on the Gold Coast coming in at the end of Coolangatta Beach, by Snapper Rocks. Hiking trails also abound along the coast, and the charm of the town makes this suburb the whole package.

Where to Eat in Surfers Paradise

Dining out in Surfers Paradise can be a real delight, with several award-winning restaurants in town. Some of the best include Seaduction Restaurant with its gorgeous sea views, and the French-influenced Citrique at the Marriott. The Elston Restaurant also offers superb down-to-earth burgers and fish and chips and Delhi Darbar is a good north Indian option. Expect mains to cost between A$20 and A$30.

When to visit Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise in February
Estimated hotel price
C$ 71
1 night at 3-star hotel
Surfers Paradise in February
Estimated hotel price
C$ 71
1 night at 3-star hotel

The Gold Coast offers temperatures in excess of 70 degrees for most of the year. Any visit between September and May should offer great sunbathing conditions. However, if you really want to party, try a New Year's vacation, as the resort really goes to town over the holidays.

Data provided by weatherbase
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Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Surfers Paradise

Plane

Many tourists arrive at Gold Coast Airport (OOL). If you touch down at Gold Coast (about 12 miles from town), the cheapest option is to take bus 777 to Broadbeach South station, then to catch the G:link train to Surfers Paradise. If you touch down at Brisbane Airport, you can take the Airtrain to Nerang, a short cab journey from the resort.

Train

The Airtrain service runs from Brisbane to Nerang, which is around 10 miles from Surfers Paradise. If you take the train, the best route into town is to take the 740 bus, which takes just 20 minutes and costs A$4.60. You can also catch a NSW TrainLink service from Sydney. In that case you'll need to alight at Casino and take a taxi to Surfers Paradise.

Car

The best route to Surfers Paradise from Brisbane is to take the M1 to Nerang and then switch to highway 20 into Southport, a couple of miles north of the resort. The A1 is the road to take from Sydney. It may take a long time to cover the 600-mile distance, but it's a beautiful drive.

Bus

Coaches are a popular and affordable way to travel up and down Australia's east coast, and the main company serving Surfers Paradise is Greyhound (who also connect the resort with Sydney).

Airports near Surfers Paradise

Airlines serving Surfers Paradise

United Airlines
Good (2,810 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,358 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,100 reviews)
KLM
Good (345 reviews)
Air France
Good (392 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,397 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,303 reviews)
SWISS
Good (450 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,181 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (914 reviews)
Iberia
Good (906 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,353 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (300 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (305 reviews)
Finnair
Good (683 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,543 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (767 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (436 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (146 reviews)
LOT
Good (335 reviews)
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Where to stay in Surfers Paradise

Downtown Surfers Paradise - located on a sand island separated from mainland Queensland by the Nerang River, Downtown Surfers Paradise is where you'll find legendary nightlife spots like SinCity, casinos, theaters, and attractions like Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Popular Neighborhoods in Surfers Paradise

The Seafront - technically part of the Downtown area, the beach feels like a separate neighborhood, thanks to the wide esplanade that runs along its fringe. There aren't many better places to surf, play volleyball, or swim, while the seafront regularly hosts markets and live music events.

Chevron Island - set back from the high-rises and energy of the resort, Chevron Island is a laid-back suburb with a lively retail scene. There are small galleries like the St. Thomas Studio, boutiques, and bars to retire to after a day at the beach.

Where to stay in popular areas of Surfers Paradise

Most booked hotels in Surfers Paradise

JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 374+
Meriton Suites Broadbeach
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
C$ 182+
The Star Grand at The Star Gold Coast
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
C$ 248+
voco Gold Coast, an IHG Hotel
Excellent (8.4, Excellent reviews)
C$ 178+
Palazzo Versace
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
C$ 397+
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
C$ 370+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Surfers Paradise

Public Transportation

Although getting around Surfers Paradise itself is fairly simple and the city is very walkable, the Surfside Buslines network can be handy if you'd like to reach other Gold Coast destinations. If you do need to use public transportation, it's a good idea to pick up a Go Card, which allows contactless, cut-price travel as far as Brisbane.

Taxi

Taxis are a useful option to have in reserve but they can be quite expensive. Typical rates in the area are A$2.90 for the meter drop, then around A$3 per mile after that. However, Uber is present on the Gold Coast and can offer much cheaper rates.

Car

Australia in general is a great place to have your own car and Surfers Paradise is no exception. If you want to explore the Queensland outback or see all of the local beaches, renting from outlets like Thrifty, Europcar, or Avis makes perfect sense. It can also be a cost effective choice, with rates as low as A$30 per day.

The Cost of Living in Surfers Paradise

Shopping Streets

The best shopping street in Surfers Paradise is probably Cavill Avenue, which is home to Cavill Mall, where you'll find fashion stores like Billabong. Cavill is also home to the Paradise Centre, which is full of small jewelers like Haines & Stephenson and boutiques like Factorie. Another great option is the beachfront market that takes place every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Groceries and Other

Supermarkets in Surfers Paradise include Woolworths and Coles (which is comfortably the largest grocery store in town). Prices for food and drink won't be too high, with a gallon of milk costing A$4.50 and 12 eggs around A$4.

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