Queensland’s Gold Coast is one of the planet’s top surf destinations. A 30 kilometre strip of Aussie suburbia and holiday accommodation, it stretches from Surfer’s Paradise to Coolangatta. If you’re looking for good waves and a good time, check out the Goldie!
The waves The Gold Coast is home to half-a-dozen classic right-hand points. If you’re lucky enough to be there when a cyclone swell hits, you’ll find yourself smack bang in the middle of one of the wonders of the surfing world.
Unfortunately the lineups will be the most crowded you’ll ever see, as every Queensland surfer and his dog descends on the place. Drop-ins are run of the mill here, and the locals can get pissed off and quite heavy at times.
Hot spots Kirra and Burleigh Heads are the jewels of the Gold Coast. Both are sand-sucking turbo rights that’ll give you the tubes of your life, unless of course you’re a goofyfoot in which case you’ll probably cop a few in the neck on your backhand! When the swell drops, check out Duranbah (just over the border at Tweed Heads) – a peaky and super-sucky beachbreak that’ll keep you happy between cyclones.
Accommodation Short-stay holiday apartments can be pretty expensive; if you’re going to be here a month or more, find somewhere to rent through a real estate agent (expect to pay around Aus$350 per week for a place near the beachfront).
Food and drink Australia’s multi-ethnic population is reflected in the range of food available; Thai and Malaysian restaurants can be great value, and don’t forget the good ol’ Aussie pie shop. Beer comes by the schooner or the case, and is always served so cold you can’t taste it – which is lucky ‘cos most of it’s pretty shocking! Failure to drink beer will of course land you in serious trouble!
Nightlife From serious gambling in the casinos, to rough ‘n ready public bars, there’s something to do every night. Most establishments stay open late, and are filled with willing lads and lasses. Many a young surfer has lost their way in the nocturnal funpark of the Gold Coast, so beware!
Hazards Injuries caused by drop-ins and collisions in the overcrowded surf are the most probable sources of distress, although severe hangovers and strange rashes are not uncommon after a bit of a night out. The locals demand respect, notably at Kirra and Burleigh.
How to get there Flights to Brisbane start from around £659.
What to expect The pointbreaks of Kirra, Burleigh Heads and Greenmount on Australia’s Gold Coast are some of the surfing world’s great natural wonders. If you want to enjoy them at their best though you’ll have to set your alarm clock, as the coast has now taken over from Malibu as one of the most crowded surf areas on earth. However there are so many beaches you’ll still find plenty of room. And if it goes flat, well, this is Australia’s favourite holiday destination so there’s plenty more to do.
When to go January to April is generally the best time to visit the Gold Coast.
Where to surf Beginners and intermediates just pick a beach. There are miles and miles of beaches suitable for learning. For advanced surfers, The Superbank – stretching from Snapper Rocks, through Rainbow Bay to Kirra – is world famous but very crowded. Burleigh Heads and Currumbin offer great alternatives.
What will £20 buy you? From sports fishing to the multiplex cinemas, bars, nightclubs, golf courses and the most varied selection of restaurants, there’s plenty to spend your money on. £20 will get you entry into the cinema followed by a light snack at Sushi Train afterwards.