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Even the early explorers of this shimmery strip, which stretches from the Gold Coast Seaway to Byron Bay, would be scratching their heads at its popularity. No one could have predicted a destination with so many must-do activities from its beachside suburbs, to its hinterland wonders and its southern hippie chic neighbours.  

Surfers Paradise

For true nostalgia, snatch a sassy snap with a Surfers Paradise Meter Maid or visit Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or the Wax Museum. Shop along Cavill Mall, sunbathe at Queensland’s iconic beach, and end with cocktails at Melbas on the Park, around since 1981.

Broadbeach

Bikini queen Paula Stafford is honoured in a Broadbeach park, home to weekend markets and yoga classes. The Oasis Shopping Centre, Oracle Boulevard Broadbeach and Pacific Fair are all popular shopping destinations. In the hood since 1989, feast on Italian fare or grab a gelati from Mario’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.

Burleigh

Swim at one of the Gold Coast’s most protected beaches, surf the headland or picnic under the pine trees. Walk Burleigh Heads National Park, before dining on seafood at the waterfront Oskars, The Fish House or takeaway fish and chips and a Burleigh Brew on Burleigh Hill.

Hinterland

Octogenarian Mick O’Reilly runs at Billy Tea Tour at O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat and knows everything about Lamington National Park home to numerous walks including the Treetops Walk. Trek the John Stacey Suspension Bridge in Springbrook National Park and enjoy the Natural Bridge waterfalls. Spot glow worms after dark.

Get Snap Happy

TravelShoot’s local photographers will capture any tourist’s ultimate Gold Coast holiday as well as share secret spots to shoot the perfect snap. Take a photographic course, workshop or lessons with Remember Forever Photography. Head to Snapper Rocks for the perfect sunrise and Burleigh Hill for sunset.

Byron Bay

Trek to Australia’s most easterly point at the Byron Bay Lighthouse or take an eco adventure with Whale Watching Byron Bay. Byron Bike Tours guides rides along the coastline and rainforest. Snack on a Byron Bay organic donut or drink a Byron Bay Brewery beer.

Views from above

Ride the lift to level 77 of Q1 and enjoy SkyPoint’s 360 degree views from 230 metres high or stand on a platform 270 metres above sea level at Skypoint Climb. Soar over the ocean with Sea World Helicopters or balloon over O’Reilly’s Vineyard.

Day cruises & islands

Viewing decks allow incredible views of migrating humpback whales aboard the fleet of Whales in Paradise. Gold Coast Adventures has luxury catamaran cruises or Tall Ship tours to nearby islands. Experience both land and water with Aquaduck, or tour the backwaters with Broadwater Canal Cruises.

Just add water

Australian Kayaking Adventures paddles the Gold Coast canals while Currumbin Boatshed Bait and Tackle hires out non-motorised water equipment at Currumbin Creek. All Coast Paddle Board Hire has craft for plying Tallebudgera Creek and Get Wet Surf School offers a first surf lesson stand-up guarantee.

Shows

Jupiters Gold Coast is the showgirl of this destination while the Australian Outback Spectacular offers a down-to-earth glimpse into outback life. At the theme parks, Sea World’s dolphin shows are educational and entertaining; Movie World’s stunt drivers, thrilling; Dreamworld’s Tiger Island, breathtaking; and Dracula’s, terrifyingly terrific.