Why I'm Dying to Visit Australia's Gold Coast

Bright lights, beautiful city (Image: Matt Barrett,  Unsplash )

Bright lights, beautiful city (Image: Matt Barrett, Unsplash)

I don’t know about you, but it seems like my travel bucket list grows by the day. With more destinations than I could possibly count on that list already, I better live another hundred years if I plan to get to them all. A boatload of money sure wouldn’t hurt either — especially in terms of my latest travel infatuation: Australia’s Gold Coast.

The Land Down Under as a whole has been on my list for a long, long time now, but it was only recently that I stumbled across a friend’s Instagram post showcasing the Gold Coast, a city of some 600,000 people located very near Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. The tall buildings, the sandy shoreline, the pristine blue water… it was practically love at first sight. I needed to know more: where this place was, what it was all about, and, most importantly, what it would take to get there.

Spoiler alert: turns out flying all the way across the globe is expensive. I mean, who knew?! Even staring at those intimidating flight prices could not deter me from finding out more, however. Why? Because even if I can’t make it to the Gold Coast this year (or next year, or the year after that), there will come a day that I make it happen. Lots of people dream about going lots of places, but oftentimes it comes down to simply making a plan — whether that be saving over a period of months, finding help through a travel agent, or whatever else — and executing. As our friends at Nike would say: just do it.

So, what does the Gold Coast have to offer visitors? Well, let’s start with the obvious, which would be the 43 miles of sandy coastline on the South Pacific. Along with oodles and oodles of local beaches, such as Surfers Paradise, Mermaid Beach, and Burleigh Heads, comes some of the most popular surf breaks not just in Australia but the world. And with right around 300 sunny days a year on average, there is plenty of time to hit the waves.

Taking a break at Surfers Paradise (Image: Asif Aman,  Unsplash )

Taking a break at Surfers Paradise (Image: Asif Aman, Unsplash)

If the beach isn’t enough for you — if you have a screw loose, in other words — not to fret, as the Gold Coast has much more to keep you entertained, as well. “From the iconic Surfers Paradise beach and the dining precincts of Main Beach and Broadbeach to the lush, green hinterland, there’s an experience waiting for you at every turn on the Gold Coast,” writes Martha Tattersall on australia.com. Outside of soaking up the sun along the coastline, travelers might enjoy visiting picturesque Mount Tamborine in Lamington National Park; embarking on a tropical fruit tour; or stopping in at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Another option would be visiting one of the handful of theme parks in the area which have helped the Gold Coast become known as Australia’s “theme park capital.” Sea World, Dreamworld, Warner Bros. Movie World, and Wet’n’Wild are your primary go-to’s, but there’s also Paradise Resort, the INFINITY Attraction, and The Rockpools at Broadwater Parklands, among other various attractions.

Whatever you do, make sure to stop by the SkyPoint Observation Deck inside the Q1 Resort Building in Surfers Paradise for the fantastic views up and down the coastline, as well as for a bite to eat at the SkyPoint Bistro + Bar. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you also have the option of taking on the SkyPoint Climb, a 90-minute, open-air adventure atop the Q1 building, one of Queensland’s most recognized landmarks.

Still not impressed? Feel free to check out Lonely Planet’s travel guide. And if you somehow manage to run out of things to do in the Gold Coast (an unlikely scenario), Brisbane, a mere hour to the north, has no shortage of things to do, either.

-LTH