re you going on a holiday to Surfers Paradise in the Gold Coast? Wondering whether Surfers is the holiday you want? Not sure what to do there? Well, you’ve come to the right place because below is a list of the 10 best things to do in Surfers Paradise. If these activities sound like something you want to be doing on a holiday, then head on down to Surfers Paradise.
10 Best Things to Do in Surfers Paradise Gold Coast
1. Gold Coast Theme Parks
The Gold Coast Theme Parks is the #1 attraction in Surfers Paradise. Located 20 km north of Surfers, Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World and Wet’n’Wild have been bringing people to Surfers Paradise from all around the world. Test your lung capacity (or better yet, the kids’) on the thrilling rides and swirling action at the five American-style theme parks. Discount tickets are sold for these theme parks; the 3 Park Super Pass covers entry to Sea World, Movie World and Wet’n’Wild.
Read more about Gold Coast Theme Parks.
2. Surfers Paradise Beach
If you’re not at one of the Gold Coast theme parks, you’re at the Surfers Paradise Beach. Classified as one of the top 10 beaches in Australia, Surfers Paradise Beach is world-known in Australia. The beach has sand so clean that it squeaks, great surf, and fresh breezes; turn your back on the tacky high-rises. However, if you’re after a relaxing beach holiday, head further south to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.
3. Surfing & Kayaking
Behind the seemingly impenetrable wall of high-rises, Surfers Paradise Beach has enough swell to give beginners a feel for the craft of surfing. If you’re new to surfing, the surf schools situated along the beach can give you a lesson or two.
4. Surfers Paradise Nightclubs
If you’re not here for the nearby theme parks, you’re here to party. Surfers is the acknowledged party hub of the Gold Coast, happily catering to all demographics, from 40-somethings getting squiffy on martinis to Gen Ys dropping pills on the dance floor and schoolies cutting loose on the beach. The backpacker places particularly go all out to ensure that the town goes off every night of the week, but after a while the excessive party scene becomes repetitive. Orchid Avenue, one block back from the Esplanade, is the nightclub and bar strip.
5. Surfers Paradise Markets
Surfers Paradise is well known not just for its nightclubs and entertainment but also for its shopping. Although Cavill Mall is the recognised centre of Surfers Paradise, new upmarket shopping precinct Circle on Cavill promotes itself as the ‘new heart of Surfers Paradise’. Visitors can purchase anything from cheap clothes to designer labels here.
6. Adrenaline Park Surfers Paradise
If you’ve already been to the Gold Coast theme parks and still crave a bit more of the adrenaline action, Surfers has it covered. Experience the Broadwater with spins, slides and speed! Jetboat Extreme propels you across the water in a turbo-charged, twin-jet powered, custom-built jet boat. Almost a rite of passage in Surfers is betting your life against the strength of a giant rubber band at Bungy Australia. On the same block there are new and inventive ways to revisit your breakfast. Flycoaster swings you like a pendulum after you’ve been released from a hoist 34m up. Sling Shot catapults you into the air at around 160km/h and Vomatron whisks you around in a giant arc at about 120km/h.
7. Q1 Observation Deck
The Gold Coast’s newest, tallest building is Q1, a gleaming steel-and-glass tower inspired by the Sydney 2000 Olympic torch. At 230m high, it’s a stunner and hard to miss. Zip up to the Q1 observation deck for a spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Gold Coast and its hinterland. On a clear day you can see north to Brisbane and south to Byron Bay. Wander around the glass-enclosed deck and you’ll learn other interesting tidbits, like the Q1 is the world’s 20th tallest building, the arc lights illuminating the spine can be seen 200km away, and it takes 43 seconds to reach the observation deck on the 77th floor. A small theatre in the Skyline Room shows a short film on the history of the Gold Coast, or you can stop in at the cafe for a piece of Q1-shaped cake and a coffee. Better still, head up there before sunset for a cocktail in the Skybar.
8. Hot Air Ballooning Surfers Paradise
The Gold Coast hinterland is not very far from Surfers Paradise and what better way to see it than from the air in a hot air balloon. Both Balloon Down Under and Balloon Aloft offer early morning flights over the Gold Coast hinterland; prices include transfers and a hot breakfast after the flight.
9. Whale Watching Surfers Paradise
Between June and November, migrating humpback whales make the journey between their feeding grounds in Antarctica and their breeding grounds in the sub-tropical coastal waters of eastern Australia and Fiji. During these months, Whales in Paradise leaves central Surfers Paradise for 3 ½ hours of whale-watching action. Take a dose of sea sickness tablets the day before as precaution.
10. Surfers Paradise Fishing Charters
If you enjoy your fishing, you’ve come to the right place. With its location along the Queensland coast, Surfers Paradise is popular with several fishing charters including deep sea fishing, trawling and reef and game fishing. Fishing charters companies run both half day and full day tours.
Surfers Paradise Festival
The Surfers Paradise Festival is three-week long festival held every year around Easter which provides free community events for the entire family, ranging from food and art to music and entertainment.
Be entertained as the country’s best street entertainers battle it out over the Easter long weekend for the Australian Street Entertainment Championships, experience the non-stop program of fun at the Festival Pavilion filled with stacks of performances and kids workshops, pull up a beanbag and enjoy a night of film at SIPFest, and finish it all off with the most popular festival event, Seafire, as they light up the sky with a spectacular fireworks competition.
Other Festivals of Surfers Paradise
While Surfers Paradise Festival is the main festival in Surfers, there are plenty of other festivals to keep you entertained. What better way to experience Surfers Paradise than during one of the many festivals the town throws for locals and visitors alike. The streets of Surfers come alive with activities and throngs of visitors from the world over making it a fun and exciting place to visit. If you can head here during these times, you’ll be in for a treat.
Below are the top festivals of Surfers Paradise.
Big Day Out – Probably the best of the festivities on offer in Surfers Paradise, this huge international music festival takes place in late January.
Quicksilver Pro-Surfing Competition – Visit Surfers Paradise in mid-March and see some of the world’s best surfers out on the waves.
Surf Life-Saving Championships – Also in mid-March, expect to see some stupidly fit people running about wearing very little.
Gold Coast International Marathon – This one’s for the runners. Head to Surfers in July and compete in the Gold Coast International Marathon with a view.
IndyCar – If you’re a car racing fan or simply want in on the action, visit Surfers Paradise during the four days in October when the streets are transformed into a temporary race circuit for the Australian leg of the IndyCar motor racing series. With over 250,000 spectators, the Surfers’ party scene goes way over the top.
Coolangatta Gold – In October the eye-candy barometer zooms into the stratosphere when the superfit and superbuff strut their stuff at the famous Colangatta Gold. It’s the Ironman of surf life-saving, one of the most gruelling physical events on the planet, and an incredible eye-candy extravaganza for the mere mortals.
Schoolies Week – If you’re looking for a party scene, head over to Surfers Paradise from mid-November to mid-December for the month-long party by school leavers. It generally involves lots of alcohol and unruly behaviour.
Where is Surfers Paradise Located?
Surfers Paradise is part of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. In terms of distance, Surfers Paradise is located 78 km south of Brisbane, 34 km north of Coolangatta and 94 km north of Byron Bay.
Surfers Paradise Map
Getting to and from Surfers Paradise
You can get to Surfers Paradise by car, train or bus from many cities in Queensland – namely, Brisbane in the north and Coolangatta and Byron Bay in the south.
Surfers Paradise to Brisbane City/Brisbane Airport
You can get from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane city and Brisbane airport by car, train or bus. However, it is not advisable to travel by train from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise as you have to connect to a bus to get to Surfers.
If you don’t have a car, there are several bus companies that operate between Surfers Paradise and Brisbane. Greyhound Australia has frequent services to/from Brisbane; Premier Motor Service serves the same routes and is less expensive; Kirklands travels to Surfers Paradise from Brisbane, stopping at most Gold Coast towns along the way.
Coachtrans operates the Airporter direct services from Brisbane airport to anywhere on the Gold Coast and also has services from Brisbane City to Surfers Paradise or to the theme parks. Aerobus has transfers from Brisbane airport to Gold Coast accommodation.
Citytrain services link Brisbane to Helensvale station (one hour), Nerang (1 ¼ hours) and Robina (1 ¼ hours) roughly every half hour. Surfside Buslines runs regular shuttle buses from the train station down to Surfers Paradise and beyond, and to the theme parks.
Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay
You can get from Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay by car or bus.
The easiest way to get from Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay is by car. From Gold Coast Highway / State Route 2 and West Burleigh Road get on to Pacific Motorway / M1 in Palm Beach. The Pacific Motorway/M1 takes you all the way to Byron Bay in New South Wales.
If you don’t have a car, there are three bus companies that service this route. Greyhound Australia has frequent services from Surfers Paradise to Byron Bay and back. Premier Motor Service is less expensive. Kirklands travels to Surfers Paradise from Byron Bay, stopping at most Gold Coast towns along the way.
Bus from Coolangatta airport to Surfers Paradise
The Gold Coast international airport is at Coolangatta, 34km south of Surfers Paradise. Long-distance buses from Coolangatta stop at the Southport bus transit centre on Scarborough Street in Surfers Paradise.
Surfers Paradise Train Station
It’s not advisable to take the train from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise as you have to connect to a bus to get you to Surfers Paradise. The nearest train stations to Surfers Paradise are Robina (12 km), Nerang (13 km) and Helensvale (18 km). Citytrain services run regular trains from Brisbane to these railway stations every half hour. Surfside Buslines runs regular shuttle buses from the train station down to Surfers Paradise and beyond, and to the theme parks.
Tell us what you think. What draws you to Surfers Paradise? If you’ve been there before, what were some of the highlights of your trip?
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