Gold Coast

The Gold Coast, home to some of the world's best beaches, including the internationally renowned Surfer's Paradise, caters to over 4.5 million tourists a year. This amazing city is the sixth most populated area in Australia and you really couldn't find a more exciting place. With world renowned nightlife, sandy beaches, high class resorts and retreats, sexy beach babes, theme parks, wineries, performing art and national parks, this not-so-little beach town is the Vegas of Australia.

The Gold Coast really is a destination you can go to and experience everything without even having to leave the region. There are an array of beaches on offer to suit your needs whether it be swimming, surfing, family friendly or a nice quiet secluded location. Main Beach offers a trendy atmosphere with a cosmopolitan vibe, and is fringed with a beautiful park completed with amenities, barbeques and Southport Surf Lifesavers Club. If you're after a classic Gold Coast beach experience head to Surfer's Paradise beach and hire a surfboard for the day. If you head a few miles further south, Coolangatta will grace you with its long white sands and bikini babes. If it's the surf you are here for Snapper Rocks - the infamous 'superbank' is one of the best surfing beaches in the world. It plays host to the annual Roxy Pro and Quicksilver Pro comps and is like Central Station when the waves are rolling in.

Population: 550,000

Airport: Gold Coast Airport [OOL]

Attractions:

The Gold Coast is the Theme Park capital of the world so it's impossible to visit the region without screaming on the Tower of Terror at Dreamworld, laughing at the penguins at Sea World or becoming a movie star at Warner Brother's Movie World. Surfer's Paradise has it's own mini theme park smack bang in the middle of the city - Adrenalin Park - with a range of stomach wrenching rides including a sling-shot.

If it's an Australian wildlife experience you are after, look no further then Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. It is home to more then 1400 Australian species ad is still a favourite with locals and tourists after three decades. For all those who have never experienced the Australian outback at it's full raging capacity, the Australian Outback Spectacular is the perfect addition to any holiday agenda to get you that feeling of true Aussie blood with dashing horses, cattle mustering and bush poetry.

The Gold Coast Hinterland is home to lush rainforests, beautiful views and the unique Australian flora and fauna. Visit O'Reilly's and do the tree tops walk from fifteen metres above the ground, take a three-day hike on the Hinterland Great Walk, take a day trip to Tamborine Mountain to see the waterfalls or walk across the natural bridge in the Numinbah Valley. If you're on a time budget though and are after the full rainforest experience, Lamington National Park is your must see destination.

Between June and October up to 10,000 humpback whales pass through the Gold Coast heading for warmer waters and there is no better place to see them. Tours are available for half and full-day sessions and depart from Marina Mirage, Main Beach. Whales generally pass a kilometre or two off the beach making them easy to spot, and you can also expect to see dolphins, sharks and even sea turtles.

Transport Around City: Most people rely on rental cars or private cars to get around the Gold Coast. Buses are available and there are proposed developments of a train system to add to the current train line. We would suggest hiring a rental car if you are going to be touring around otherwise most likely, shops, cafes and the beach will all be in walking distance. If you are staying on a canal a new Canal link service is being trialled currently.

Recommended Restaurants: Little St Kilda Café and Italian Restaurant (Palm Beach), Can Tho Kitchen (Runaway Bay), Rossini Café Restaurant (Broadbeach), Max Brenner (Robina), Absynthe (Surfer's Paradise)

Recommended Bars: Alto (Broadbeach), Cocktails and Dreams (Surfer's Paradise), Jupiter's Casino, Fisherman's Wharf Tavern (Main Beach)

Recommended Hotels: Palazzo Versace, Crowne Plaza Surfer's Paradise, Chevron Renaissance, Pethers Rainforest Retreat, Sheraton Mirage.

Climate: The Gold Coast has a subtropical climate with hot, sunny summers with high UV levels. Winters are warm during the day with temperate night time temperatures.

Best time of year to travel: All year round.