Ahhh, Surfers’ Paradise — so aptly named for its vast, clean expanses of golden sand, and line after line of waves rolling in from the sea. If you want to be in the heart of the action during your holiday in Gold Coast, Australia, this is the place to be. Whether you’re here for some action-packed adventure or some serious shopping, there’s enough to fill up an entire week’s worth of time.
1. Do stand-up paddleboarding in the Nerang River
If you’ve never done stand-up paddleboarding before, the Nerang River is a great place to learn. Approximately 62 kilometres (39 miles) long, it threads through the main area of Surfers Paradise, passing populous beaches, quiet residential areas, and even mangroves further north.
A particularly good place to learn the sport is at Budds Beach, where the waters are shallow and calm enough — the perfect place to gain your balance, and not have to worry about falling. There are a couple of mobile rental companies that set up shop there every day, and they’ll even give you introductory lessons for a small fee.
If you’re going stand-up paddleboarding, though, remember to slather yourself in sunblock — the Australian sun can be ferociously hot. It’s also advisable to don swimwear and remove all expensive jewelry before going in. Though it can seem daunting at first, it only takes about ten minutes to get the hang of the sport, and in no time at all you’ll be paddling your way down the river to explore other parts of Surfers Paradise!
Go Vertical Stand Up Paddleboarding
Address: River Dr, Budds Beach QLD 4215, Australia
Opening Hours: 7 am to 6 pm
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Contact: +61 423 716 625
Website: Go Vertical
2. Jet ski to South Stradbroke Island
If you’re a thrill-seeker who would rather be steering a powerful machine than a paddleboard, jet skiing is the perfect activity for a warm Australian afternoon — it’s just you, the pristine white of the foam churning in your wake, and the open horizon stretching out before you. Jet along the Nerang River and explore the less-populated parts of Gold Coast, like the mangroves, or even go all the way to South Stradbroke Island. Although it’s an hour’s ride away, the clean, seashell-littered beaches of the island make it worth a visit. There’s even a restaurant right by the beach, so you can park your jet ski and grab lunch before heading back!
No license or experience is necessary; after a quick safety briefing, you’re good to go. A swimsuit, sunblock, and sunglasses are highly recommended, and if you’re concerned about your eyewear falling into the sea, most jet ski companies sell inexpensive shades for five dollars a pop, or a strap to secure your glasses. As for where to stash your money and phone, most jet skis have a little glove compartment with a waterproof box for your belongings.
Jet Ski Safaris
Address: Mariners Cove, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise
Opening Hours: 7 am to 6 pm
Contact: +61 07 5526 3111
Website: Jet Ski Safaris
3. Learn to surf at the Spit
The Spit, a land mass that extends into the Coral Sea, is popular with both fishermen and surfers. It’s a good place for beginners to learn surfing, as the waves that roll in are relatively easy to handle, and the gentle gradient of the sandbar underfoot means that you won’t find yourself suddenly floundering in deep water.
A few surf companies run lessons here, and you can choose between group or private lessons. For a quicker grasp of the sport, we’d recommend private lessons — although they cost more, you get more personal attention from the surf instructor, and they allow you to learn at your own pace. For starters, try body-boarding, where you lie flat on your stomach and hang on while the wave carries you to shore. When you’re more confident, you can try climbing up and standing as the wave crests… And voila, suddenly you’re a surfer!
Get Wet Surf School
Address: Seaworld Drive Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, QLD, Australia 4217
Opening Hours: 7 am to 7 pm.
Duration: around 3 hours
Contact: +61 1800 438 938
Website: Get Wet Surf School
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4. Cycle or work out with gorgeous views of the sea
While in Australia, do as the Australians do — work out outdoors! The coast in Surfers Paradise features a long, smooth path perfect for a jog, with stunning views of the sea. There are even exercise stations dotted along the path, so you can stop and do a quick resistance workout every now and then.
Cycling paths are also plentiful in Gold Coast, with several options available for renting bicycles — some even have a mobile service that drop off bikes wherever you are, and pick them up from your location when you’re done. It’s a great way to explore areas beyond Surfers Paradise, like Broadbeach and Mermaid Beach.
Beach Bikes Gold Coast
Contact: +61 0413 119909
Website: Beach Bikes Gold Coast
5. Shop at the beachfront markets
It's Beachfront Markets o'clock! Time for your mid-week markets / shopping / treat fix down at the Surfers Paradise foreshore. We're open now until 9pm. See you there!Posted by Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets on Tuesday, 14 March 2017
Itching for a bargain? Every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday night, the coast comes alive with the buzz and lights of more than 120 stalls that form the beachfront markets. One of the biggest on the Gold Coast, the beachfront markets offer a quirky variety of accessories, artisanal wares, and even handmade beauty products, making it the perfect place to get a Surfers Paradise souvenir. The stall owners are always keen to share about the history and making of their products, and the live performances add to the festive atmosphere. If you’re looking for somewhere to take a stroll after dinner, be sure to pay the beachfront markets a visit — you might find yourself going home with a beautiful handmade bowl, or a unique piece of art you’ve fallen in love with.
Opening Hours: Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings
Website: Beachfront Markets
6. Visit Mount Tamborine for a getaway
If you feel like getting away from the bustle of the city for a day or two, rent a car and drive up to Mount Tamborine, only an hour away. Although it’s a relatively short distance from the city, Mount Tamborine draws you into an entirely different world: the hushed beauty of the hills is very different from the pulsing beat of Surfers Paradise.
While you’re there, be sure to visit the organic skincare farm, where they grow their own lavender and roses. You can also savour fresh fudge from the aptly-named Fudge Heaven — with a variety of over 40 flavours, all made from fresh butter and cream; you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Tamborine National Park, where you can immerse yourself in the quiet beauty of the rainforest. You can choose from a number of different trails; the most popular leads to Curtis Falls in the Joalah Section.
Website: Mount Tamborine
Visit Surfers Paradise today
An action-packed itinerary awaits you, whether you prefer the thrill of water sports or more leisurely activities like shopping. Surfers Paradise remains the jewel of the Gold Coast, set against the sparkling backdrop of the Coral Sea. If you’re looking for somewhere warm and sunny to hang out during your next November or December vacation, this is the place for you.
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