Gold Coast is a major tourist destination with plenty of things to see and do. Naturally, the main attraction is the beach. There are many beaches in and around the city, but the most famous is Surfers Paradise. Even if you're not a surfer, this iconic seaside spot is a great place to spend a day soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the sights.
If you do want to hit the waves, Surfers Paradise is just one of many options. Currumbin Alley has gentler waves, making it ideal for novice surfers. Seasoned veterans will want to head south to Rainbow Bay or Snapper Rocks, where big waves attract plenty of serious surfers. Of course, surfing isn't the only activity you can enjoy in the water. All kinds of water sports are available in this area, including diving, snorkeling, jet skis and more.
Want to see some of Australia's iconic animals? The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular spot for young and old alike. Here, veterinarians and staff have long cared for sick and injured animals and birds. The sanctuary works hard to educate visitors about the dangers of bushfires and road accidents.
When you're tired of the beach, head to the Hinterland. It's a lush, green rainforest located just inland from the city. A car or van rental in Gold Coast is a great way to explore this sub-tropical paradise. You can drive to Tamborine Mountain, just 45 minutes from Surfers Paradise, and enjoy the dizzying sights of the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Here, you'll also find the Underground Glow Worm Caves. These caves are home to thousands of luminous worms that light up the darkness.
For families or thrill seekers, Gold Coast is also known for its theme parks. There are five: Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild and WhiteWater World. With a mix of family-friendly attractions, adrenaline-pumping thrill rides and exciting animal shows, these parks are an easy way to spend a day or two. Together, they make up the southern hemisphere's largest collection of theme parks.
If you're feeling peckish on the weekend, visit the Carrara Markets. Open Saturdays and Sundays, from 07:00 to 15:00, these enormous markets offer an eclectic blend of handicrafts, antiques, souvenirs and more. However, they're best known for their delicious food stalls. There's a real emphasis on local farm produce, and they're the ideal spot to pick up some Queensland jam or Gold Coast cheese to take home.