8. Gold Coast

The Gold-Coast is perhaps the best known tourist destination it Southern Queensland. I imagine that the “Gold” in the name refers to golden sand on the beaches. It doesn't seem specifically gold though, except perhaps in the light of a sunrise. The sand itself may be slightly yellower than at Sydney, but overall looks greyer, as it seems to be dirtier than what I'm used to from NSW beaches. But still, that's the name, and sure enough, there is a long expanse of beaches right along the Gold Coast.

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is the most densely built-up area on the Gold Coast. If you are looking for a busy metropolis right on the beach-front, this is the place for you! The apartment blocks tower over the beach, and give it a quite different character to the typical Australian beach. It's worth a visit if only to experience that.

Surfers Paradise Beach in the Early Morning

The early morning is the best time to see the purity of the beach, though it is later in the day that the crowds start appearing. With that also comes a hotter burning sun, and more sea-haze from the on-shore winds that hopefully pick up during the day.

Surfers Paradise Getting Busier
Towards sunset I went up the coast from Surfers Paradise to the end of the Spit, where there is a breakwall and the entrance of the Broadwater into the ocean. It is a popular place for fishing, and it was pleasant to see the sun set there.

Sunset, the Spit at Southport

Nightlife

It was when I was driving through Burleigh Heads after dark that the culture of the Gold Coast really struck me. There was an outdoor party going on at the park behind the beach, complete with drummers and fire-dancing. I could see that the warm night climate, and a large young tourist population combined to make it a party capital. In that capacity, it exceeds any other place I've seen, with Byron Bay perhaps coming a close second.

Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads

Gold Coast Hinterland

There is another side to the Gold Coast though. You can see this by heading into the hinterland. I took the road through Tamborine Mountain to just get a small taste of it. It was a pleasant environment there, with some tropical forest and waterfalls. Being at a higher altitude, it is also cooler there on a hot day. I found a great spot to get some relaxation by driving up to the top of the hill to the western lookout where there was a nice breeze blowing.

Curtis Falls are right in the township of Tamborine Mountain, and are a respectable size. It's a pleasant short walk from the township to the base of the falls.

Curtis Falls, Tamborine
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