Surfers Paradise is the heart of the Gold Coast, loved by locals and a stark reminder of a youth well spent for locals.
If you’re short on time but still keen to experience the magic of this tourist hub, never fear; here’s a guide to spending 24 action packed hours in Surfers Paradise.
Early morning: Rise with the sun for a walk along one of Australia’s most famous beaches. It’s the quietest time of day in Surfers but the active wear will be out in full force. A magnificent sunrise will ignite you for the day ahead.
Breakfast: Sandbar on the Esplanade has long been a visitor’s favourite and with a recent renovation, it’s now a favourite with the locals too. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your first coffee of the day, a smoothie bowl or an omelette with a side of lamb sausage (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie) while overlooking the beach.
Find it: 52 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise (on the corner of Elkhorn Avenue)
Mid-morning: After letting your breakfast settle, wander over to the river for an adrenaline rush on a jet boat ride around the Gold Coast waterways. Jet Boat Extreme will have you spinning in circles and flying across the water at speeds of over 80kph. Expect to get wet!
Find it: Behind Helm Bar (next door to the Vibe Hotel), 30-34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise
If relaxing is more your style, opt for a Surfers Paradise River Cruise. The cruise travels through the waterways at a leisurely pace while the Captain points out interesting sights and celebrity homes along the way. Morning tea is served and can be enjoyed on the sunlit deck overlooking the skyline.
Find it: 63 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise (next to the Tiki statue)
Lunch: You’ll be famished after a morning on the water so head down to Brooklyn Depot for some New York inspired burgers, hot dogs, ribs and chicken wings. Try a thick handspun milkshake or a lunchtime beer for mum and dad.
Find it: At ‘The 4217’ T2, 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise
Early afternoon: Surfers Paradise has a huge variety of shops to wander through from high end to highly touristy. You could easily lose hours (and dollars) in Cavill Mall alone.
If you’re keen for more activities there’s also Timezone, Infinity – a mind-blowing maze adventure, the Wax Museum – where you’ll come face to face with Johnny Depp, Kylie Minogue and the Dalai Lama and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium – offering 16 themed galleries filled with unbelievable artifacts and interactive exhibits.
Late afternoon: Get a birds eye view of the Gold Coast from 240 metres in the air at SkyPoint Observation Deck. Relax and enjoy afternoon tea (or a sneaky cocktail) while marveling at 360 degree views of the Coast from the ocean to the hinterland. Hot tip: Head up just before sunset to see the dazzling lights of Surfers come on.
Find it: Q1, 9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise
Dinner: After a long day of activities, you’ll appreciate a relaxed dinner. Take a stroll across the bridge to the little village community of Chevron Island. Treat yourself to a takeaway pizza from Arlo’s Pizzeria and perch yourself in the park overlooking the Broadwater.
Find it: Shop 2, 46-50 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island
After dinner: For a sweet treat don’t miss grabbing a gelato from local favourite Yum Gelato before you hit the hay or, if you’re a night owl and you’ve come to see the Surfers Paradise spectacle that is Orchid Avenue, dance the night away in one of the many bars located in and around Surfers Paradise.
Start at the local's favourite Melba’s for drink in this open air bar before wandering up to the newly renovated The Avenue for a stint of live music. As every good bar crawl progresses, you can't miss the Gold Coast's super club Shooters. Have a bit of a jive at newly opened cocktail bar Where Else (with a colour changing disco dance floor), before settling in at late night venue The Bedroom before calling it a night (or an early morning if you gave it a good go).
Don’t forget your kebab on the way home, hold the onion.
So there you have it, one of many ways to spend 24 hours in Surfers Paradise. Keep an eye out for more plus Inside Gold Coast’s ongoing suburb spotlights.
Words by Kirra Smith.