Many would argue that the Gold Coast, colloquially known as the GC or ‘Goldie’, is THE place to be in Australia. If your idea of heaven on earth is spending all day at the beach and all night partying, then you’ll certainly agree!
The area attracts a whopping 10 million visitors annually but it’s not just tourists who are succumbing to the city’s charms – the glittering Gold Coast is also Australia’s fastest growing city as more and more people decide it’s too good for just a holiday.
Rental housing costs can be high, but overall the Gold Coast is an affordable place to live compared to other Australian cities.
- Median house price: $622,000
- Monthly rent on a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre: $1,772
- One-way ticket on public transport: $3.30
- 1 litre of milk: $1.44
- Loaf of bread: $2.33
- 1kg of apples: $3.50
Set on 70km (34 miles) of arguably the world’s most attractive coastline, the Gold Coast’s beaches draw sun-seeking visitors from all over the world. Whatever your vibe, you’ll find a stretch of sand to suit you:
- Surfers Paradise – Chances are if you’ve only heard of one Australian beach, it’s this one. A wide paved boulevard and even wider stretch of sand means there’s plenty of room for everyone despite the big crowds this place attracts. And there’s so much here to keep you busy after your splash, from a casual bite to eat to a serious night out!
- Broadbeach – A beautiful, long stretch of white sand and green sea, Broadbeach boasts a plethora of waterfront food options and Pacific Fair Shopping Centre just 10 minutes’ walk away if you fancy a spot of retail therapy. There’s not much shade though, so come prepared with a beach umbrella or head to the nearby Pratten Park with shady BBQ facilities and a kids’ playground when you’ve had enough sun.
- Main Beach – Fringed by white sand dunes and glamorous resorts, Main Beach is great for walking and cycling thanks to the dedicated paths. Just be aware that the surf can get a little rough at times so always swim between the flags.
- Burleigh Heads – A favourite with locals, Burleigh is lined with imposing Norfolk pines and is well-protected from the wind, making it a scenic and inviting spot for a swim. It’s a great place to surf too, thanks to its perennially popular right-hand point break.
- Currumbin – this beach has managed to keep a small town feel in the midst of the bustling Gold Coast. That’s no small feat! The adjoining Currumbin Creek is perfect for littlies to paddle around safely in the calm, shallow water. Meanwhile the rest of the gang can try their hand at surfing or stand-up paddle boarding, or simply enjoy the glorious water.
Rest assured you’ll be well looked after in the surf – The Gold Coast has Australia’s largest professional surf lifesaving service to protect people on its beaches and to promote beach safety in the community.
There are literally dozens of theme parks and amusement parks on the Gold Coast, big and small, so grab the kids and dedicate a day entirely to fun! Here are three of the most popular:
- Dreamworld – Australia’s largest theme park with oodles of thrill-seeking rides on offer including the world’s tallest free-falling ride plus Tiger Island, ABC Kids World and WhiteWater World with waterslides and a wave pool.
- Sea World – A marine animal theme park with shows, rides, educational exhibits and the chance to come face-to-face with polar bears, dolphins, seals, penguins, sharks, rays, turtles, tropical fish and more.
- Movie World – Known as ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’, Movie World is a film-themed park with live shows, thrill rides and a street parade featuring kids’ favourite cartoon characters.
If you like to keep fit and have fun doing it, you’ll fit right in on the GC. And if that’s not your usual style, take heart – maybe some of that high-energy enthusiasm will rub off on you! Try your hand at one of the locals’ favourite pursuits guaranteed to get your blood pumping:
- Surfing – no surprises there! Bring your board or hire one at the beach and hit those famous waves
- Work on your core by having a go at stand-up paddle boarding
- Sea kayaking is great fun and fantastic for building upper-body strength
- Scuba diving will give you the opportunity to see some incredible underwater life
- Fishing, boating, whale watching, four-wheel driving and golf are also hugely popular but slightly more relaxed options that will still see you enjoying the fresh coastal air and sunshine
Trust us when we say that the Gold Coast is party central. We’ll leave it to the locals to give you the best advice on where to go. Here are the top 10 GC nightclubs according to residents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 8 of the 10 are located in the nightlife hotspot of Surfers.
- The Bedroom, Surfers Paradise
- Underground, Surfers Paradise
- Sin City, Surfers Paradise
- Elsewhere, Surfers Paradise
- Cocktails, Surfers Paradise
- Shooters, Surfers Paradise
- Love, Broadbeach
- Platinum, Broadbeach
- The Avenue, Surfers Paradise
- Melbas, Surfers Paradise
Find out more about things to do at night on the Gold Coast
Just 45 minutes west of the coast lies the lush Gold Coast hinterland – a rainforest paradise beckoning to nature lovers, foodies and discerning shoppers alike. Known as ‘the green behind the gold’ the hinterland is dotted with charming mountain towns, hiking trails, antique shops and boutique accommodation, making it the perfect day trip or weekend getaway from the Goldie.
- Head to Mount Tamborine for excellent wineries (seven to be exact!), the Glow Worm Caves and the famous Gallery Walk, a street chock-full of cafes, art galleries and souvenir shops.
- Springbrook is a breathtaking mountain and plateau in the hinterland boasting fantastic rainforest walks, scenic lookouts, waterfalls and the incredible Springbrook National Park.
- Canungra, known as the ‘Valley of the Owls’, is a cute historic town offering visitors a range of activities from the sedate to the adrenaline-pumping – all with a common theme of appreciating the surrounding natural beauty: bird-watching, bushwalking, hangliding and paragliding to name a few.
Read about even more fun things to do on the Gold Coast.
While there are certainly many positives to living on the Gold Coast, consider the sometimes extreme summer heat and humidity and any potential difficulties you may encounter finding work before you make a decision on your new home in Australia.
Congratulations! You’ll need to get the essentials sorted before you leave or soon after you arrive. Here are some tips on setting up the basics you’ll need to start your new life.