Gold Coast Solo Travel Guide


  • Located in Queensland, the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city (~600,000 residents).
  • Europeans settled in the area in 1823, when John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. It officially became a city in 1959.
  • Known for its coastline (57 km stretch from South Stradbroke Island to Coolangatta) and theme parks (including Movie World, Sea World and Wet N Wild).
  • Visited by around 10 million people every year, with almost 850,000 coming from overseas.


  • Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD). 
  • Spoken languages: English. Be prepared for plenty of Australian slang/jargon!
  • Best time to visit: from August to November for the warmest/sunniest weather. The summer months (winter in Northern Hemisphere) often mean heavy rain and thunderstorms.
  • Arriving from the airport: from Coolangatta airport, bus is $8.50. Taxi fare ranges from $15 to $50 (depending on how far north your destination is).


To be in the heart of the action, stay in Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach and choose from the many accommodation options (including hostels, beachfront apartments, and luxury hotels). For a quieter location, opt to stay in the south of the city. To get away from the beach, choose a relaxing bed and breakfast in the Hinterland for breathtaking views of the coastline and surrounding rainforest.


  • The city has a railway line running from Varsity Lakes to Central Brisbane stations and Brisbane Airport.
  • There is a comprehensive bus network which includes services to most major tourist attractions. Fares start from $4.80.


  • Drinking age is 18, last call is between 12 AM and 1 AM (unless you are at Surfers Paradise, where you can party all night).
  • Surfers Paradise is the city’s party center. Many bars and clubs stay open until early morning.
  • Relaxed scene: visit one of the many bars and restaurants in Broadbeach.
  • If you feel like gambling, Jupiters Casino is located along the highway in Broadbeach.


  • Q1 is one of the world’s tallest residential buildings (height: 1,058 feet). Visit the observation deck on level 77 for panoramic views of the city.
  • The Gold Coast has many world famous surfing beaches, as well as the biggest professional surf lifesaving service in Australia.
  • Hinze Dam, also known as Advancetown Lake (built in 1979).


  • A walk along some of the city’s world famous beaches, such as Surfers Paradise, is a must.
  • There are many rainforest walks to enjoy in the Gold Coasts hinterland. Take a night time glow worm tour at Springbrook National Park, or walk the track around Natural Bridge.
  • Stroll around Burleigh Head National Park and take in the beautiful views of Tallebudgera Creek, the southern coastline and the Coral Sea.


  • Tip: save money when visiting attractions by picking up tourist brochures, available from tourist information desks and most holiday accommodations.
  • Where to find good cheap eats: eating out can get expensive just about anywhere in Australia. Keep a look out for early bird deals – some restaurants offer as much as 50% off before 6 PM. Broadbeach offers a giant selection of cuisines to choose from.
  • Dangerous areas: most areas of the city are very safe. Trouble can occur in Surfers Paradise at night, around the bars and nightclubs.

The Best Gold Coast Guide Books:

Recommended trip duration: 3-4 days