When you think about the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise with its skyscrapers and infamous glitter strip inevitably comes to mind. Parties on end, entertainment en masse and plenty of activities to keep you busy for a while.

Yep, that's the Gold Coast and I love having out around here for many different reasons.

Last weekend, I got to spend some time right at the heart of Surfers Paradise, shopped and ate my heart out and then rolled down to the beach (or well, pool) and worked on that golden tan. No better place than the Gold Coast to do that!

Staying In The Heart Of Surfers Paradise

For my little weekend getaway, I stayed at the freshly renovated The Island Gold Coast, which has been sitting on the corner of Surfers Paradise Boulevard for years and the make-over looks like a very welcomed change.

There are 98 luxurious boutique rooms and suites which all have expansive views of Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast Hinterland. I got to stay in a King Suite which was surprisingly huge, had a King Bed, a big private balcony overlooking The Island Rooftop and hotel pool as well as views of the ocean and down the Boulevard towards the Hard Rock Cafe.

The suite even has a kitchenette with everything you could need, including a fridge which is handy during those early autumn days that still feel like summer. And of course, the room has flat-screen TV, free Wifi, and air-conditioning. The little dining area and the comfy couch is a plus too.

Boutique Hotel Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise Guide
Lobby The Island

Since I stayed Friday and Saturday night, the popularity of The Island Rooftop on the second floor above the hotel's own bistro was visible as people flocked upstairs ordering cocktails and nibbles, giving the terrace a buzzing sound which I watched from my balcony on the 8th floor for a while.

Related Article: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Australia’s Gold Coast

The Island Gold Coast
Where to stay in Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise Travel Guide

As it got later, hunger drove me downstairs to check out The Island Bistro, which serves Italian-inspired dishes and so I opted for a wood oven pizza. Their Potato Gnocchietti with broad beans, broccolini and fetta was also an interestingly different dish I enjoyed during my stay.

And what better way to kick off a night in Surfers Paradise when one of the best bars in town is only a staircase away?

The open-air Island Rooftop really has a beautiful atmosphere, together with its cozy Acapulco chairs, fairy lights and the DJ playing in the background, it's the perfect venue to come for sunset drinks. There usually are a few good events, live bands or DJs lined up every week, make sure you check out what's on.

As I found my way to bed later on, the noises from the rooftop accompanied me to sleep, which wasn't unpleasant though. It's a weekend after all and I didn't come here to sleep early!

Waking up the next morning, I was greeted with lorikeets singing from the balcony and the sun shining. Another beautiful day on the Gold Coast, which I started with a savoury breakfast downstairs at The Island Bistro.

The Surfers Paradise Neighbourhood

Surfers Paradise is definitely the center of the action on the Gold Coast and a great place to stay and explore if you like nightlife and seek entertainment but also don't want the beach to be too far away.

It's a fun, vibrant place and there are many nooks and crannies to explore. Some may say Surfers Paradise can be a bit seedy too which is true for parts of it, but that kinda adds to its charm.

After a morning spent by the pool, make yourself throw on some clothes and walk down any street from The Island and you will hit some of the many attractions that Surfers has on offer.

The main street of Surfers where all the shops are and which is partly pedestrianised is Cavill Ave. Shop up a storm, surfer wear or tacky souvenirs, it's all to be found here!

Don't miss the vending machine outside of Cotton On which stocks thongs. An Aussie invention for sure! I hear they regularly run out of stock at the machine. Sore feet after the party, lost shoes, thing blowout? Cotton On has you covered 24/7!

When you walk all along Cavill towards the beach, you will soon hit the famous Surfers Paradise sign which is a popular meeting point before accessing the beach which is patrolled along many parts here.

I like getting my morning coffee close by at the little hole-in-the-wall café called ESPL Coffee. For a nice Acai Bowl with a view of the ocean, I come to Montmartre Cafe which is just a few more minutes stroll along the boardwalk.

Other cafes to check out in the are:

  • Lot1, great coffee, try the Healthy Start breakfast
  • Bumbles, on the other side of Surfers, bit of a walk but worth it!
  • Paradox Coffee Roasters, nice breakfast atmosphere
  • Starwell Coffee, small but wow
  • Sandbar, love the views from here, also has nice Acai bowls
  • Elston, great interior, get a takeaway coffee and sit by the beach
Lot1 coffee
Sandbar Gold Coast

Things To Do In Surfers Paradise

There is a lot of things you can do in Surfers Paradise. Here are my suggestions for things to do in Surfers Paradise:

  • Lounge at one of the many beaches
  • Visit SkyPoint Observation Deck
  • Get to great heights at 270m climbing SkyPoint
  • Stroll the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
  • Get on an Aquaduck Tour
  • Go on a whale watching tour (in season only)
  • Visit the Crazy Cat Cafe
  • Go hot air ballooning over the hinterland
  • Learn how to surf, it's called Surfers Paradise for a reason

And when you get bored, just head to another part of the Gold Coast, such as the fancier Broadbeach with all its eateries and Pacific Fair Shopping Center, Burleigh Heads to catch some waves, walk around the point or picnic on Burleigh Hill or explore Currumbin beaches or go for a paddle in the creek.

picnic Burleigh Hill

There are a lot of things you can explore when driving into the Gold Coast hinterland too. You will find untouched hikes, national parks, lookouts and beautiful waterfalls to swim in and small villages where you can browse around unusual shops or relax over a cup of hot coffee chatting to the locals.

From the Gold Coast, it's only an hour's drive into Queensland's capital Brisbane, which is also worth exploring.

Related Article: Short On Time? The Essential 48 Hour Guide To Brisbane, Australia

learn to surf Gold Coast

Getting Around Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is quite compact and very walkable for most parts as it's flat and the next cafe or bench is never too far.

And if you want to explore the nearby areas of Surfers, you can easily get on the light rail which is called the G:Link and connects many suburbs on the northern end such as Helensvale to Surfers Paradise and all the way to Broadbeach.

If you feel more like biking, there is a cool startup which provides dock-less bike share, called Mobike. You simply download the app and you can see where the next bike is waiting for you. You simply unlock it with your phone and lock it once you finish your trip. They even have helmets with them bikes.

I was already really impressed with the dock-less shared scooters and electric bikes on my recent trip to Venice Beach and I am so happy this has made it to Australia.

If you want 5 free rides to kick off your Mobike journey, use my link here and sign up on the app. And if biking s not your thing, there is always good old Uber too!

Related Article: The 21 Best Day Trips Outside Of Brisbane

Gold Coast SkyPoint Views

Nightlife In Surfers Paradise

Surely, if you are coming to Surfers Paradise, you won't want to miss exploring the buzzing nightlife.

Kick off your night at The Island Rooftop bar or some of my other favourite bars around here:

  • House of Brews, one of my favs, great cocktail creations to be found here as well as a huge variety of craft beer on tap
  • Gilly's Surfers Paradise, lovely interior, drinks & live music
  • Brooklyn Depot, burgers, ribs and wings that are easily washed down with a Milkshake or better yet, an extensive drink menu
  • Steampunk, good cocktails, wine and pizza, what else do you want?
  • Stingray Lounge, the QT Hotel's own funky pop bar
  • The Avenue, modern good vibes infused with a bit of New York & a dash of Italian flavours
  • Sandbar, one of my favs on the esplanade with rotation beer taps

And if you are ready to head out and dance the night away, head to Bedroom Nightclub, where DJs from all around the world spin the tunes or socialise at Sin City, Elsewhere or Underground.

Have you been to the golden beaches of Surfers Paradise?

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