A quick guide to: The Gold Coast

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Talk to anyone from outside Australia and they have probably heard of the stunning Gold Coast region. It’s a mecca for tourism, with Visit Gold Coast reporting the 2013-14 financial year saw over 11 million visitor arrivals grace its sparkling shores. By comparison, Sydney – arguably our most famous city – saw barely 9 million in the same time period, based on Destination NSW stats.

To put this maths into plain English – this sun-soaked seaside area is incredibly popular, and well worth putting on your Australian road trip holiday plans.

Gold Coast at a glance

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The Gold Coast is situated in Queensland, and is easy to get to. You could pick up an unlimited-kilometre rental car in Brisbane and drive the one-hour journey south, with spectacular coastal views ready for your eyes if you detour off the main highway and into Southport. Alternatively, Gold Coast Airport has flights arriving from all over the nation, and even a number of international flights too.

Here are some more awesome facts about the region:

  • Did you know there is around 70 kilometres worth of coastline here? You’d be harder put trying not to find a great beach to play on with all that choice.
  • The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre claims this is the country’s most biologically diverse city, with a combined animal and plant species total of over 3,000.

Where to visit on your Gold Coast holiday

Spread across the coastline, you’ll want a rental car to fully explore the many attractions here. Make sure you add some of the following to your road trip itinerary.

Theme parks
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The ‘GC’ is the theme park capital of Australia, according to Gold Coast Tourism. Some of the biggest, best and most famous attractions can be found here. Don’t leave the area without first visiting Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, Dreamworld or the Australian Outback Spectacular.

Shopping

This is not just a tourist area, but a bustling city in its own right. See what you can find at some of the over 100 stalls in the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, or visit the country’s largest outlet mall (220 stores): Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre. There’s plenty more, too, so don’t be afraid to walk or drive about in search of a bargain.

Beaches
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As we have suggested, there is an absolute plethora of world-class beaches to be found here on the Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise is aptly named if you love the namesake sport, with Broadbeach, Main Beach and Coolangatta also providing excellent aquatic experiences.