History Of The Gold Coast Queensland
The history of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia began in prehistoric times with archaeological evidence revealing occupation of the district by indigenous Australians for at least 23,000 years. The first early European colonizers began arriving in the late 1700s, settlement soon followed throughout the 19th century, and by 1959 the town was proclaimed a city. Today, the Gold Coast is one of the fastest-growing cities in Australia.
When And How To Go Whale Watching On The Gold Coast
Whale watching is so easy on the Gold Coast due to the number of whales coming through and the proximity of the whales to the shore. Dr Meynecke explains: The majority of whales are coming through from mid-June to mid-July on the northern migration and then in September during the southern migration when we often find them very close to shore just a few hundred metres from the beaches and high rises. We then have hundreds of whale sightings per day. But whale watching outside these peak migrations can be equally as good, if not better. Often the whales have more time to rest on the surface and change direction less often, making it easier to observe them.
For a closer look at whales, complete with those skyline views of the Gold Coast, head out on the water on a whale-watching cruise. Because the whales are relatively close to shore, it is usually around 30 minutes by boat from the dock, meaning you can do a whale watching tour in half a day, giving you more time to enjoy some of the many other Gold Coast activities.
Guests will see other wildlife as well on the whale watching tours, including bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead and green turtles, juvenile hammerhead sharks and seabirds.
Apart from watching whales, you might even be able to help with whale research. Several operators support citizen science groups such as Humpbacks and High-rises with guests able to report sightings and upload images.
As Dr Meynecke says, every whale counts.
Backpacking The Gold Coast Suggested Budgets
On a backpacker budget, you can visit the Gold Coast for 75-90 AUD per day. This is a suggested budget assuming youre staying in a large hostel dorm, cooking most of your meals, limiting your drinking, and using public transportation. You can lower this by about another 20-30 AUD by Couchsurfing and limiting your drinking
On a mid-range budget of 245 AUD per day or more, youll be able to stay in a budget hotel or Airbnb, eat out most of your meals, do a couple activities, and enjoy a few drinks at the bar. You wont live large but youll be comfortable.
On a luxury budget of 480 AUD or more, you can stay at a four-star hotel, eat out for every meal, drink all you want, do more expensive tours , and hire a rental car to get around. The sky is the limit!
Heres a chart with some suggested budgets to help you plan. Prices are in AUD:
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Day Trips From Australia Top Tours
I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend Get Your Guide because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages.
La Costa Motel Bilinga
Big hotels tend to dominate the Gold Coasts accommodation scene, but an exception is this small, attractively renovated 1950s motel at the southern tip of the city near the New South Wales border. One block back from the sand and a five-minute drive from Cooloongattas famous Kirra Beach , La Costa is especially convenient for visitors flying in or out of Gold Coast airport, which is just across the highway. Free airport transfers, breakfast and bike rental make it a particularly attractive option. Doubles from A$126 B& B, 127 Golden Four Drive, lacostamotel.com.au
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Beach Hop Along The Dazzling 35
Stretching from the Rainbow Bay in the south to South Stradbroke Island in the north, theres a string of stunning beaches along the Gold Coast. But its the Surfers Paradise that gets all the love from sunbathers, swimmers and surfers mostly for its three-kilometre-long stretch of glistening sand, crashing Pacific waves, and the new $25-million beachfront esplanade that incorporates three distinct zones: urban plaza, urban beach, and urban park. Elsewhere, theres Tallebudgera Beach for its dazzling white sand banks, Main Beach for its alfresco cafés and historic bathing pavilions, Broadbeach for its picturesque parks that line the foreshore, and Tallebudgera Creek for its calm and swimmable estuaries. Further relaxed beach gems worth checking out include Mermaid Beach, Miami Beach, Nobby Beach, Coolangatta Beach, Greenmount Beach, Kirra Beach, and Burleigh Heads – all of which have their own character and quirks. All of the Gold Coast Beaches are manned by lifesavers and lifeguards – with extended patrols on many of busier beaches until 10:30pm to stop revellers entering the water after dark.
Beaches Beaches And More Beaches
Need I say more?
With sparkling white sand and a clear blue ocean, the beaches are definitely the top Gold Coast attractions.
The Gold Coast really has some of the most picturesque and cleanest beaches Ive seen in my life.
Surfers Paradise and Main Beach are two of the best Gold Coast beaches located in the CBD.
Gold Coast, and Australia in general, have amazing facilities along every beach and youll often find spots with free barbecues, public showers and playgrounds for the kids.
If youre into surfing or paddle boarding the Gold Coast is the place to be and youll be hard pushed to find a stretch of beach without at least a couple of people out there in the waves. Definitely spend a day in Surfers Paradise, and check out the quieter beaches around like Burleigh Heads.
Not into surfing with a board? Why not try a bit of body surfing?!
Its free and a lot of fun! Youll be pretty surprised how far you can surf a wave into shore with nothing but your body.
If youre interested in swimming away from the ocean, the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre has real swimming pools for doing laps and playing with kids.
Swimming and enjoying the water on the Sunshine Coast is one of the best free things to do in the area.
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Other Things To See And Do On The Gold Coast
1. Walk the Burleigh Hill
Make like the locals and stretch your legs along Burleighs esplanade before heading around the hill. The track is bordered by lush rainforest on one side and stunning views north to Surfers Paradise and south over Tallebudgera Creek. It takes around 45-minutes to walk .
2. Go whale watching
Between June and October, humpback whales make their migratory journey from the Antarctic to warmer waters where they mate and give birth. Later in the season, the whales are on their return journey, swimming with their calves beside them. Its also common to see are bottlenose dolphins, huge loggerhead turtles, and orcas. Tours start at about 75 AUD .
3. Experience the nightlife
The Goldie is one of the biggest party destinations in Australia. There are countless bars, clubs, and pub crawls here. Surfers Paradise has the biggest nightlife , but Coolangatta is just as good and less touristy .
4. Visit the Infinity Maze
If you are looking to do something completely different, check out the Infinity Maze. This mirror maze is filled with funky music, dazzling lights, sound effects, and mirror illusions. Its like a super fun carnival mirror maze but way more interactive and high-tech. Its a good activity to do with kids. Admission is 25.90 AUD when booked online in advance.
5. Check out the Currumbin Valley rock pools
6. Hike the Lost World Valley
7. Hang out at Miami Marketta
8. Visit the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
9. See Twin Falls
You Must Do This When You Visit The Gold Coast In Australia
For all its diversity, beauty, wonderful climate and friendly, laid back lifestyle the Gold Coasts major attraction is its beaches. 57 kilometers of endless surf, sand, and sunshine. You can go for a swim, or get on a surfboard. But theres something else thats just as good.
Get on your bike! Go for a late afternoon bicycle ride. Grab a bike from somewhere, find an uncrowded section of the beach and get going. You wont regret it.
Late Afternoon Beach Ride along The Spit
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Eat A Lamington At Lamington National Park
You may have heard of the beloved lamington, an Australian cake that, along with pavlova, coconut ice fairy bread are staples of bake sales and birthday parties nationwide.
The first question that many visitors to the Gold Coast ask when they find out about Lamington National Park is, is there some connection to lamingtons? and the answer is yes the National Park was named after Lord Lamington, who once made the National Park his home, and it is generally believed to have been invented by Lord Lamingtons chef.
Unsurprisingly, theres a few spots to stop for a cup of tea and a lamington in the park, and its quite a meaningful experience to know that youre enjoying this dish in its birthplace, along with many generations of lamington-lovers, and even Lord Lamington himself over a century ago!
A Perfect Day In Surfers Paradise
The Gold Coast in Australia epitomizes the perfect lifestyle. It offers what seems endless white sandy beaches, surf, sun-drenched days, theme parks, beachside dining, and a vibrant, active nightlife. To say a visitor is spoiled for choice in beach and surfers paradise is an understatement.
Its also a contradiction, with the northern Gold Coast, in particular, being a forest of high-rise apartments and hotels. Some may find it too glitzy, too touristy but I can state for sure it has something for just about everyone.
The Gold Coast has always been the holiday destination of choice for both overseas visitors and locals. The year-round mild weather and beautiful natural coastline make it an obvious choice. It has a population of over 500,000 residents and is Australias largest non-capital city. It embraces some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
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Explore The Gold Coast Like A Local
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Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners of the land, sea and waters of the Australian continent, and recognise their custodianship of culture and Country for over 60,000 years.
Mount Tamborine Wine Tasting
If youre starting to get a bit tired after all the activity why not try something a bit more relaxing like a guided wine tour.
If you dont fancy a guided tour, Witches Falls winery offers a bit more of a casual option where a member of staff will guide you through a tasting and you can create your own cheese platter to accompany.
This is a fantastic opportunity to relax and unwind after a morning of exploring the surrounding hinterlands.
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Escape To An Island Paradise At Mclarens Landing
McLarens Landing is a picturesque Balinese-style resort on South Stradbroke Island, surrounded by gorgeous bushland and with a very luxurious atmosphere at affordable prices.
The Landing has its own private beach, a bar/restaurant, and various activities such as beach volleyball, jet skis, paddleboats, seaplanes, and more.
McLarens Landing is generally accessed through the Gold Coast Island Adventures cruise company, with full and half-day cruise packages available.
Get Your Adrenaline Fix At The Brilliant Theme Parks
The Gold Coasts Orlando-style theme parks are big business. If youre travelling with kids, make a beeline for Wet n Wild for its Caribbean-style beach, giant wave pool, and action-packed H20 rides , and Warner Brother Movie World for movie-themed rides, special effects studios, Hollywood-referencing restaurants, and plenty of chances for little ones to meet their favourite cartoon characters. Equally visit-worthy is Infinity Attraction for its futuristic maze and series of around 20 mind-blowingly cool multi-sensual environments, and Paradise Country for its farmyard staples , excellent sheep shearing displays and stock horse demos, and up-close encounters with emus, koalas and kangaroos.
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Things You Need To Know
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Gold Coast Gear And Packing Guide
If youre heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
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Beautiful Breathtaking & Full Of Adventure
With a population of almost 400,000, the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s fastest growing urban areas. Miles of beaches, lakes and forests make this an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Of course with a relatively large population you’ll also find commercial centers, restaurants and cultural activities that are bound to keep you entertained. Theme parks, golf courses, nature trails and arts and crafts markets are just a few of the highlights of the region.
Should you want to explore beyond the Gold Coast, high-speed rail will bring you from the Robina station or Helensvale Station to the center of Brisbane in just over an hour. If you’re interested in exploring the rest of Australia, the Gold Coast Airport is also nearby and offers nonstop service to many Australian cities as well as to New Zealand and Asia.
Watch The Pelican Feeding At Labrador
Labrador is a suburb of the Gold Coast boasting stunning crystal-clear waters, coastal villas, fine dining, and a less expected attraction: dozens of pelicans! These amusing-looking birds are quite friendly, and have become a symbol of Labrador.
You can get up right close to the birds as they feast on the bits and pieces left over from the local fishmonger, Charis Seafood.
Theres also a lovely beach and park at this site, and its a lovely way to while away a few hours.
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Gold Coast Theme Parks
The Gold Coast is well-known for its theme parks, which are very popular tourist destinations and beloved by both the young and the young at heart.
There are four theme parks to visit, each with their own charms: Sea World, Dream World, Warner Bros Movie World, and WetnWild.
Try to make the time on your itinerary to visit all of them!
Movie World is great for lovers of Warner Bros favorites like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, and the mascots that walk around make for great snaps to remember.
Its very family-friendly and has matinee shows with all of the classic characters that have been loved by generations on the other hand, if youre passionate about Australian marine life, then Sea World is well worth a visit.
Thrill-seekers should head straight to Dream World, and if its a stifling-hot Queensland summer day, then WetnWild is a great place to cool down and have great fun in the process!
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Hotels In Gold Coast Australia
The Gold Coasts a tourist mecca, so there are thousands of rooms available for booking. From backpacker hostels, AirBnB stays, self-contained units through to luxury hotels. Here are few for you to consider, but there are hundreds on online booking sites. Check them out to see who is offering the best deal.
Guide To The Gold Coast
From theme parks to shopping, surfing to ancient rainforest, heres how to make the most of the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast’s star attraction is its beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. Beyond the beaches, discover laid-back neighbourhoods, a booming culinary scene and the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks. And be sure to leave enough time for a trip into the subtropical hinterland for rainforest walks and waterfalls.
The Gold Coast can be reached by international and domestic air travel into Brisbane International Airport or Gold Coast Airport.
- Gold Coast Airport is 30km from the city and services domestic and international arrivals
- Brisbane International Airport is 80km from the city and services domestic and international arrivals
- Once you have landed at either airport, you can easily hire cars or catch taxis, rideshares and shuttle services to take you into the Gold Coasts city centre
The Gold Coast is serviced by a variety of dependable trains, buses, taxis and ferries to safely get you where you want to go. When using public transport, be sure to get a go card as this electronic ticket can be used for buses, trams and trains that service South East Queensland.
During summer the average temperature is a pleasant 21 – 28.4°C , with winter only dropping slightly between 12.5 – 21.5°C .
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