10 Must-Visit Attractions on Australia's Gold Coast

Australia's Gold Coast boasts a great diversity of things to see and do
Australia's Gold Coast boasts a great diversity of things to see and do | © Travelscape Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Tom Smith
21 August 2020

From world-class theme parks and towering skyscrapers to gorgeous beaches and wildlife sanctuaries – that’s what the Gold Coast has to offer, and more. Here are the 10 things you must see and do when you head south of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia.

Dreamworld

Amusement Park, Park
Map View
The Gold Coast is renowned for its theme parks, and Dreamworld is the biggest of the lot, home to 40 attractions – including five massive roller coasters, among the best in Australia – as well as the DreamWorks Experience, Tiger Island, ABC Kids World and Corroboree, which provides an insight into Indigenous Australian culture and native animals. Amusement park aficionados will also love the water-themed Sea World and film-focused Warner Bros Movie World.

Springbrook National Park

Park, Natural Feature
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Overlook at the Springbrook National Park, New South Wales, Australia
© Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
The Gold Coast’s not all about bling, surf and theme parks – the expansive hinterland provides lush rainforest to go with all that golden sand. And the Unesco World Heritage-listed Springbrook National Park is one of its highlights, home to a dense forest and rich diversity of bird life, perched on an ancient volcano. Don’t miss the highly Instagrammable Natural Bridge cave and waterfall.

Snapper Rocks

Natural Feature
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Currumbin, Main Beach, Kirra, Broadbeach, Palm Beach, Coolangatta – having to pick the best beach on the Goldie is a bit like selecting a Beatles top track or Tom Hanks’ finest film. But surfers won’t hesitate naming Snapper Rocks their favourite strip of sand because of its clean waves, consistent swell and the man-made Superbank, a sandbank that allows boardriders to cruise all the way to Coolangatta.

Skypoint Observation Deck

Building
Map View
Child (girl age 04) looks at the view of Surfers Paradise from the Skypoint observation deck at the top of the Q1 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
© Rafael Ben-Ari / Alamy Stock Photo
The skyscrapers spanning the Surfers Paradise beach form one of Australia’s most recognisable skylines, and this observation deck offers an unrivalled perspective of it. Located on level 77 of the Q1 Building, SkyPoint contains a bistro and bar for a meal with a seriously good view, as well as the highest external building climb anywhere in the country, ascending to a platform that towers 270m (886ft) above sea level.

Wet’n’Wild

Amusement Park
Map View
Australia’s premier water park attracts more than one million visitors a year, making it the biggest in the country and one of the biggest on Earth. The Giant Wave Pool and Calypso Beach are designed for families, and there are even more high-octane rides for older kids – names like Black Hole, Kamikaze, Mach 5 and Tornado hint at just how hair-raising these adrenaline-pumping rides are.

Tamborine Mountain

Natural Feature
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Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park, Queensland, Australia
© Piter Lenk / Alamy Stock Photo
The panoramic vistas from the top of this lofty plateau are a good enough reason to visit Tamborine Mountain – and that’s before you’re introduced to all the art galleries, country markets, gourmet restaurants, award-winning wineries, romantic B&Bs, rainforest walking tracks and man-made Glow Worm Caves.

Metricon Stadium

Sports Center, Stadium
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The Gold Coast Suns’ AFL outfits aren’t world-beaters on the field, but their boutique stadium is one of the best places to watch footie anywhere in Australia. Away fans have flocked to the Goldie for some winter sunshine and an easy victory on the road since the Suns entered the comp in 2011 – Steven Seagal has come closer to winning an Academy Award than the Suns have ever got to claiming a premiership flag in their seven lowly seasons to date.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Zoo
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Currumbin Sanctuary, Australia.
© Travel Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo
In the Gold Coast hinterland, this sanctuary is known around the world for its huge numbers of wild rainbow lorikeets that fly in for a feed. But that’s not the only native Aussie animal you can get up close and personal with – kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, dingoes, wombats, echidnas, emus, quokkas and cassowaries are only a handful of the park’s adorable attractions.

Cavill Avenue

Bar, Beer, Australian, $$$
Map View
This pedestrian mall is the beating heart of Surfers Paradise, loaded with all the bars, restaurants and nightclubs that the Glitter Strip is famous for. Snap a selfie at the Surfers Paradise sign on the sand, spot one of the Goldie’s famous metre maids or shuffle down the mall past surfer shops, eateries and legendary watering holes.

Burleigh Heads

Natural Feature
Map View
Surfers at Burleigh Heads, Tower block apartments at Surfers Paradise in distance, Queensland, Australia
© Geoff Marshall / Alamy Stock Photo
Wedged between Coolangatta to the south and Surfers to the north, Burleigh offers protected waters for a dip as well as waves for a surf around the headland. Explore the Burleigh Head National Park, grab a souvenir from the Burleigh Art and Craft Markets or pack a picnic to enjoy under the huge pine trees that shade the sand.
These recommendations were updated on August 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.