Discover Boutique Hotels in Gold Coast, Australia

Surfers Paradise (aka the 'Glitter Strip') is its best known beach, where you can catch major waves or just pose on the shore; Main Beach and Broadbeach, to the north and south of Gold Coast's urban hub, offer more refined alfresco dining with views over the sea (shades compulsory). Bars, boutiques, galleries, markets and duty-free shopping will draw the grown-up crowd; kids will love Sea World aquatic park, where encounters with seals, sea lions and penguins will put a smile on their dial. If all that spray-tan gets too much, head to the lush, green hinterlands, where Tamborine National Park offers hiking, mountain-biking and the odd distillery as a post-exercise reward. Weirdly, the area also does a world-beating limoncello.

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When to go

With around 300 days of rays a year, there's almost always sexy weather and warm water on the sun-snogged Gold Coast. Times to avoid are Schoolies Week in late November, when high-school leavers party in packs around Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise. The noise-sensitive should also give late October a miss, when the Gold Coast 600 V8 supercars race, held over three days on a street circuit, brings petrolhead mayhem. Fun times to visit are New Year's Eve and the Australian summer for buzzy surf comps.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Fly into Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta (www.goldcoastairport.com.au), the hub for international and domestic flights into the area. From here it's about a 42-kilometre, or 35-minute drive, north to Surfers Paradise, at the heart of the Gold Coast. Hire a car at the airport or hop aboard a shuttle bus transfer. Airlines serving the airport include Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Tiger Airways, Air New Zealand, Air Asia and Scoot, with regular connections from Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, as well as Asia.
  • Trains

    Nerang train station is 15 kilometres, or a 20-minute drive, from Surfers Paradise, handy for rail connections from Brisbane. If you've flown in to Brisbane, the Air Train (www.airtrain.com.au) from the airport stops at Nerang and three other Gold Coast stations. Alternatively, take the local Queensland Rail line to Nerang (www.translink.com.au).