The Gold Coast, a place where the sun is always shining and as the name suggests a haven for surfers. I did not love the Gold Coast, this was down to my bad mood, a couple of not so great hostels and a general feeling. But there is still a lot to like about the area. Here are my top 5 Gold Coast Highlights as well as some suggestions for more things to do in the area.
1. Pacific Fair Shopping
At the end of the G Link Tram Line is Broadbeach South, here is where you can find Pacific Fair. Until 2006 it was Queensland’s biggest regional shopping centre. This beautiful shopping centre has something for everyone.
With discount brands as well as high-end fashion. I only spent a short time here as I walked to and from the library. Not only are there great shops and restaurants, but there are also plenty of areas inside and out to sit and enjoy the surroundings. There is a pretty garden area with a water feature and bridge. If I had money coming in and space in my suitcase I would have spent a lot more time here.
2. Walk to the Spit
On the day I did my Hot Air Balloon Ride I also walked to the spit with a new friend from the room. It was a 12K round trip walking both along the beach and along the promenade. Federation Walk Coastal Reserve is 93 hectors of coastal dunes, with established walkways for hiking and jogging.
There is some wildlife to be seen if that’s your kind of thing but I had my eye on the ocean. It was a much longer walk than we both anticipated but it was great to spend that time getting to know someone new.
At the Gold Coast Seaway at the end of the walk, there is the spit, a rocky area pointing out into the sea with a little lighthouse type structure. The views back towards Surfers Paradise were stunning and the Gold Coast beyond that.
If you are thinking of doing this walk make sure to take plenty of water and sun protection. I did not cover enough up and ended up getting burnt. So now I have some interesting tan lines.
What a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Coolangatta is the most southerly point on the Gold Coast and straddles Queensland and New South Wales. Affectionately known as Cooli, this area has some stunning beaches and views back across to Surfers Paradise. I didn’t explore the shops and restaurants here.
The first time I came was on the 18 days G Adventures Tour, it was a short stop on our way to Brisbane and we only stopped at the lookout. When I moved to the Gold Coast I was not aware I had already been before. I visited the area with a friend who was keen to show me the nicer areas on the Gold Coast. We travelled by car stopping at Currumbin beach along the way (also very beautiful).
Coolangatta has a few stretches of beach broken up by stretched of rock reaching out into the sea. When I went with my friend Lise we walked all the way along the beach around a rocky area and up to the lookout point. This is when I realised I had been here before. The views from here are stunning!
I then grabbed an ice cream from a shop at the top before we walked back down to the beach to find a spot for sunset. The angle of the beach means it looks straight at Surfers Paradise. As the sun sets in the west it casts a beautiful glow over the built-up region making for some lovely photographs.
4. Burleigh Heads
This area is where my friend Lise chose to stay. It’s a beautiful suburb of the Gold Coast about an hour (by public transport) south of Surfers Paradise. As Lise worked in Surfers she picked me up and took me down there one day to have a bit of an explore. It was a lovely area and the beaches are of course stunning. We walked along the beach to the head but didn’t do the full nature walk around the Nature Reserve. Even though I didn’t get to spend very long here it was a really nice area and I can see why Lise has chosen to call it home.
5. Hot Air Balloon Ride
I have written a full post on my Hot Air Ballooning Experience. Although the sunrise was a bit of a flop it was a pretty magical thing to do. There are several companies that offer balloon rides on the Gold Coast. I went with GoBallooning due to the discount available with the hostel. Most of the companies take off in the hinterlands area, so expect an early start but some stunning countryside views.
Other Things To Do
There are plenty of other things to do on the Gold Coast. So if you are spending a bit longer here it’s worth fully investigating. Whale watching was another one mentioned to me by a fellow traveller. I was tempted by this but decided to save it for Byron Bay.
Some of the other girls in my room also visited the Sky Deck. With stunning views out over the Gold Coast and the waterways, this is a great opportunity for some cool photos. Apparently the fee you pay lasts the day. So to make the most of it why not go for sunrise, during the day and for sunset to see the beautiful coast in all lights.