Where to stay on the Gold Coast

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  • Post last modified:July 20, 2024
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Book a Surfers Paradise hotel to be in the thick of the Gold Coast. It’s a popular choice for good reason – enjoy accommodation, restaurants, the beach and entertainment all in one place. Yet, keep in mind that there are quieter (and too often missed) areas with as beautiful stretches of sand to the north and south. 

Below, we start with the centre of attention and work our way out to the surrounding beaches, where the crowds are smaller and the buildings shorter. Are you ready to find the perfect place on the Gold Coast for you?

Surfers Paradise

Bursting with energy, Surfers Paradise is a playground for all ages. This tourism hub provides an array of action — eateries, bars, souvenir shops, arcade halls and nightclubs — within steps of the legendary Surfers Paradise Beach, where you can bask in the sun until the afternoon when the towering skyscrapers block the sun.

A massive icon, the Q1 Tower has an observation deck with a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. To raise the stakes even further, register for the SkyPoint Climb and set off for the roof.

Best hotels in Surfers Paradise

Q1 Resort & Spa

Capture the Gold Coast’s most renowned view from the comfort of your own luxurious apartment.

Meriton Suites

Bed down in an exclusive fully-equipped unit in a shiny landmark facing Surfers Paradise Beach.

The Island

Each room comes with a private balcony, and the high-spirited rooftop bar is a top spot for socializing.

Soaring buildings, one of them the Q1 Tower, watching over the sugar-white Surfers Paradise Beach
Q1 dominating the Surfers Paradise skyline.

Broadbeach

Zoom out just a little bit to find Broadbeach, slightly less playful but more sophisticated than Surfers Paradise to the north. While acclaimed places to grab a bite or drink abound, the Kurrawa Surf Club stands out for its casual menu and intimate ocean view.

Bonus features: Broadbeach’s Pacific Fair is a shopper’s dream with 400-plus stores, and the glamorous Star casino complex is the place to go if you’re feeling lucky.

Best hotels in Broadbeach

Vue Broadbeach

Succumb to upscale coastal living some 120 m from the beach.

Peppers Broadbeach

Be spoiled by an amenity-rich complex encompassing two soaring towers.

The Wave Resort

Enjoy an unbeatable location for Broadbeach entertainment.

Yellow lifeguard tower facing Broadbeach
Broadbeach — a gem south of Surfers Paradise.

Main Beach & Southport

Main Beach is an exquisite blend, nestled between vibrating Surfers Paradise and the pristine nature of the aptly named Spit. Refreshingly low-rise, leafy Tedder Avenue entices those who want to sit down for a tranquil cup of coffee or meal. The ocean-hugging Gold Coast Oceanway leads way into untouched coastline with plenty of space for relaxing exercise or quiet reflection. For theme park action, Sea World has you covered.

Across the Broadwater (and accessible by tram, boat or walking), Southport contains the Gold Coast’s Central Business District. Highlights include the Australia Fair shopping center and Chinatown.

Best hotels in Main Beach & Southport

Sheraton Grand Mirage

Appreciate lavish seclusion surrounded by The Spit.

Oscar on Main Beach

Score self-contained lodging in Main Beach’s heart.

Sea World Resort

Your ultimate home base for Sea World.

Dancing fountain along lush Tedder Avenue in Main Beach
Elegant Tedder Avenue in Main Beach.

Mermaid Beach & Miami

South of Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach and Miami mark a sweet spot for those who want to avoid the tourist trail. Away from theme-park and Surfers Paradise swarms, visitors can enjoy calm but no less scenic beach days.

At Miami Beach’s south end, rainbow-coloured stairs ascend a headland to the perched Mick Schamburg Park, where overlooks afford brilliant views both north and south. Another chief pleasure is being elbow to elbow with locals, sampling food stalls and listening to live music, at the Miami Marketta, a lively night market running on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Best hotels in Mermaid Beach & Miami

Blue Heron

Be quick to snap up a room in peaceful Mermaid Beach.

Grande Florida

Splash in two large lagoon pools framed by lush palm trees.

Nobby Beach HV

There’s no shortage of options at this friendly holiday park.

Looking north across Miami Beach and Mermaid Beach, backdropped by Surfers Paradise, from North Burleigh Lookout
Looking north over Miami and Mermaid Beach.

Burleigh Heads

It’s the combo of a gorgeous sand strip and lively dining and drinking scene that has established Burleigh Heads as a Gold Coast favorite for locals and visitors alike. Take your pick along charismatic James Street or sit down with an unrivaled sea view at the classic Surf Life Saving Club, Rick Shores or Burleigh Pavilion.

Then there’s the eye-catching namesake headland and national park, flanked by Burleigh Beach and Tallebudgera Creek. Two tracks, one along the ocean and one through the rainforest, make exploration as effortless as exciting.

Best hotels in Burleigh Heads

Indigo Blue

Every apartment offers spellbinding vistas of blue waves and green pines.

Oceanside Cove

Relax with Burleigh Heads’ focal point on your doorstep.

Gemini Court

Be wowed by the location at the base of Burleigh Head National Park.

Iconic Burleigh Pavilion overlooking Burleigh Beach, where people soak up the sun
Effortlessly combine pleasures in Burleigh Heads.

Southern beaches

The parade of stunning beaches continues past Burleigh Heads.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach features perhaps the most family-friendly beach on the Gold Coast. At Tallebudgera Creek Beach, sheltered from the open ocean, you don’t have to fear big waves. And the adjacent Custard Canteen bakery is a lifesaver for those who forget to pack a picnic.

Currumbin

No, Currumbin isn’t only about its famous wildlife sanctuary. Visit Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club to savour a casual meal and be amazed by the peculiar rocky outcrop, Elephant Rock, rising above the venue.

Tungun & Bilinga

One side of the story: Tungun and Bilinga (home to Gold Coast Airport) lack major attractions. The other side: If you’re just looking for a quaint spot to catch some rays and feel sand under your feet, these beachside suburbs are as good as they come.

Coolangatta

Both the Gold Coast and Queensland end with Coolangatta, named after a ship wrecked off the coast in 1846. Below the Point Danger headland, surfers flock to catch the legendary breaks of Snapper Rocks, backdropped by the Surfers Paradise skyline.

Best hotels on the southern beaches

Sanctuary Beach Resort

Effortlessly combine the beach and cute animals in Currumbin.

Tessa’s on the Beach

Embrace an oceanfront Bilinga haven, designed with tasteful Palm Springs influences.

The Pink Hotel

Coolangatta’s most vivid exterior and quirky furnishing mean endless Instagram potential.

Woman sitting on a cliff and watching surfers while the sun sets over the Gold Coast
Coolangatta’s Snapper Rocks at sunset.

Gold Coast hinterland

Rainforests, waterfalls, exotic birds, villages and even wineries await in the Gold Coast Hinterland. While you can drive to most hinterland places of interest — including Tamborine Mountain, Springbrook National Park and Lamington National Park — in under 1.5 hours, an overnighter allows you to get closer to nature.

Best hotels in the Gold Coast hinterland

Pethers Rainforest Retreat

Large windows make the lush Tamborine Mountain setting spill into each of these fancy villas.

Binna Burra Sky Lodge

Wake up with sweeping Lamington National Park views outside the window.

Springbrook Mountain Chalets

Feel the magic in the teeming rainforest on the Springbrook plateau.

Red stall providing avocados for 1 dollar each on Tamborine Mountain in the hinterland
Find a different vibe in the hinterland.

In case you wonder…

Where to stay on the Gold Coast for theme parks?

Most of the major theme parks, including Dreamworld and Warner Bros. Movie World, have uninspiring locations along M1. The exception is Sea World, calling beautiful Main Beach home.

Where to stay on the Gold Coast with family?

There’s no shortage of kid-friendly areas on the Gold Coast. Restful favourites include Main Beach, featuring Sea World, and the Southern Beaches, with Tallebudgera Creek Beach and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Which is the best place to stay in Gold Coast for couples?

The opportunities for memorable dates are plentiful in Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads. On top of their many places to dine and drink, Broadbeach boasts the shopping mecca of Pacific Fair, and Burleigh Heads has its namesake national park, a unique spot for a romantic stroll.

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