Surfers Paradise Beach: Best Gold Coast Holiday Guide (2023 UPDATE)
Table of Contents
Welcome to my Gold Coast Holiday Guide on Surfers Paradise Beach!
To make this article easier for you to read, I have broken this article about the beach at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast down into different sections:
2. Why Visit Surfers Paradise Beach Queensland?
3. Where is Surfers Paradise Beach?
4. History of Surfers Paradise Beach
5. About Surfers Paradise Beach
6. Modern Day Surfers Paradise Beach
7. Best Time To Visit Surfers Paradise Beach
8. How To Get To Surfers Paradise Beach
9. Surfers Paradise Beach Things To Do
10. Surfers Paradise Shopping & Entertainment
11. Events at Surfers Paradise
12. Meter Maids at Surfers Paradise Beach
13. Schoolies at Surfers Paradise Beach
14. Surfers Paradise Accommodation
15. Tips for Visiting Surfers Paradise Beach Queensland
I hope you enjoy reading my review of this fantastic Gold Coast beach destination!
Along with Bondi Beach in Sydney, Surfer’s Paradise is one of the best and most famous beaches in Australia.
Located in the heart of Queensland’s Gold Coast, ‘Surfers’ as it is colloquially known as is a world class tourist and entertainment destination which welcomes, on average 20,000 visitors every day.
One of the best known and busiest beaches in Queensland, Surfers Paradise is known for its golden sand, iconic skyscrapers and beach lifestyle.
Ironically, despite its name, the Surfers Paradise waterfront is actually a lot more popular with visitors who come more to sunbath, chill out, relax and exercise, rather than surf.
Part of a 16 km stretch of stunning beach coastline, Surfer’s Paradise consists of 2km of gleaming sand and rolling pacific ocean surf.
Surfers Paradise is a captivating destination that attracts visitors from around the world for a multitude of compelling reasons.
Nestled along the stunning Gold Coast of Australia, this vibrant coastal city boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and urban excitement. Its world-renowned beaches, with their golden sands and perfect waves, are a surfer’s dream and a sun-seekers paradise.
Beyond the beach, Surfers Paradise offers a bustling hub of entertainment, dining, and shopping options, ensuring never-dull moments. The skyline is adorned with modern skyscrapers that glisten in the sunshine, adding a touch of cosmopolitan glamour to the coastal landscape.
The area truly has something for everyone, from thrilling water sports and wildlife encounters to electrifying Surfers Paradise nightlife and family-friendly beach activities. So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a vibrant cultural experience, this vibrant Gold Boast beach suburb promises an unforgettable journey in one of Australia’s most iconic destinations.
Distance from other destinations in Australia to Surfer's Paradise
- Adelaide (2073 km)
- Brisbane (76 km)
- Byron Bay (92 km)
- Darwin (3478 km)
- Hobart (2493 km)
- Mackay (1046 km)
- Melbourne (1705 km)
- Noosa (226 km)
- Perth (4368 km)
- Sydney (837 km)
- Townsville (1428 km)
Surfers Paradise Beach Queensland is situated on the east coast of Australia, specifically along the stunning Gold Coast in the state of Queensland. It occupies a prime location within the suburb of Surfers Paradise, which is part of the larger Gold Coast region, about 76 km south of Brisbane.
This iconic beach stretches for approximately 3 kilometres along the coastline, offering pristine sands and world-class surf conditions. The beach at Surfers Paradise is easily accessible and conveniently located, making it a central and highly popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Its accessibility, combined with the breathtaking natural beauty of the area and the vibrant urban amenities nearby, makes the Surfers Paradise waterfront a must-visit location for anyone exploring the best Gold Coast beaches.
The history of how Surfers Paradise became the popular Australian beach and tourist destination it is today is a very interesting one.
The first European to settle in the area was a farmer called James Beattie. Around the 1870s he staked out an 80-acre (32 ha) farm on the northern bank of the Nerang River. An area close to what is now Cavill Avenue.
With the farm failing to generate consistent profit, he sold it to a German immigrant called Johan Meyer in 1877. He turned the land into a sugar farm and mill.
However, this venture was also unsuccessful, as the sandy soil was not conducive to growing crops. So within a decade he too sold the farm to concentrate on providing access to tourists wanting to visit the beach area.
He set up Meyer’s Ferry, which operated from 1880 to 1928. Transporting passengers and vehicles operated across the Nerang River.
In addition, as well as operating a horse-and-buggy service from the Southport railway station to the beach, he also the Main Beach Hotel.
By 1889, this hotel was designated a post receiving office. Subdivisions were created around it under the official place name of Elston. So named, by the Southport postmaster, after his English wife’s hometown of Southport in Lancashire.
When Meyer died in 1901 the Main Beach Hotel’s licence lapsed. Rendering Elston as a tourist town without a hotel or post office for a period of 16 years.
In 1917, a land auction was held by the Brisbane real estate company Arthur Blackwood. They sold off subdivided blocks in Elston as the ‘Surfers’ Paradise Estate’. The auction failed subsequently on account of beach access being difficult.
However, this is generally accepted as being was the first recorded reference to the name Surfers Paradise.
Surfers Paradise consists of 3 km of gleaming sand and rolling pacific ocean surf
By 1921 the beach at what is now Surfers was busy enough to warrant the placing of the lifesaving reel on it. Three years later in 1924 the present-day Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club was founded there.
In 1925, after the Jubilee Bridge opened and the South Coast Road was extended, Elston began to get more visitors.
As it was no longer cut off by the river, entrepreneurs and businessmen began buying land and developing property around Elston and further south at Burleigh Heads. Pretty soon a number of hotels began to open to accommodate tourists visiting the Gold Coast beaches.
One of the most popular of them was the Surfers Paradise Hotel. Opened by Brisbane hotelier Jim Cavil in 1925 it resided on what eventually became the Surfers Paradise Centre. (The area encompasses the Hard Rock Café and Surfers Paradise Beer Garden).
By opening this hotel and a neighbouring zoo, Cavill created the first of many Surfers Paradise attractions that started to pop up. As it was located between the ferry jetty and the picturesque surf beach off the South Coast Road, it quickly became popular. Pretty soon shops, restaurants and supporting services opened up around it.
On 1 December 1933, after a concerted push by Cavill, the name Elston was officially changed to Surfers Paradise – after the local council decided the name was more marketable.
A development boom hit in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1959 Kinkabool was the first highrise to be erected near the Surfers Paradise waterfront. It stood 10 stories high and still stands to this day in Hanlan Street. Other iconic buildings included the Iluka, St Tropez and also The Pink Poodle.
Distance from other beaches in Queensland to Surfer's Paradise
- Broadbeach (4 km)
- Burleigh Beach (13.5 km)
- Coolangatta Beach (32 km)
- Redcliffe Beach (110 km)
- Mooloolaba (176 km)
- Hervey Bay (364 km)
- Yeppoon (751 km)
- Sarina Beach (1019 km)
- Mission Beach (1662 km)
- Cairns (1775 km)
- Cape Tribulation (1913 km)
Part of a 16 km stretch of stunning beach coastline, Surfer’s Paradise consists of 3 km of gleaming sand and rolling pacific ocean surf. It is watched over by a trio of lifeguard towers. All of which keep look out over surfing and swimming areas that are specially designated.
The beach itself is fronted to the east by the Surfers Paradise Foreshore. A redeveloped public space, completed in 2011 that features contemporary coastal streetscaping of verdant foliage, pretty wildflowers and about 95 pandanus trees.
From this foreshore there is plenty of parking and signed access tracks from the esplanade directly down to the sand. As well as plenty of seating areas and barbecue facilities that afford ocean views too.
The Esplanade and the area around it features the most highly developed section of the Australian coast. Numerous highrise hotels and buildings tower over it.
The ‘best’ time for you to visit Surfers Paradise Beach Gold Coast largely depends on your preferences and what kind of experience you’re seeking.
However, the most popular time to visit is undoubtedly during the Australian summer, which spans from December to February. During these months, you can expect warm temperatures, plenty of sunshine and ideal conditions for swimming, surfing and other popular beach activities in Surfers Paradise. This is also the peak tourist season, so the area is bustling with energy and events.
If you prefer milder weather and fewer crowds, consider visiting the beach at surfers during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). During these times, the Gold Coast weather is still pleasant, and you can enjoy the beach and Surfers Paradise attractions with a bit more tranquillity.
Avoiding the wet season, which occurs from December to March, is advisable if you want to minimise the chances of heavy rainfall and storms. Ultimately, the best time to visit Surfers Paradise Beach depends on your preferences, but it’s a destination offering something special year-round.
Surfers Paradise consists of 3 km of gleaming sand and rolling pacific ocean surf
Getting to the Surfers Paradise waterfront is convenient and straightforward, thanks to its accessible location on Australia’s Gold Coast.
If you’re arriving by air, the nearest major airport is Gold Coast Airport (OOL), which is approximately 20 kilometres from Surfers Paradise. From the airport, you can easily catch a taxi or shuttle or use rideshare services to reach your destination in about 30 minutes. Alternatively, public buses and trams connect the airport to Surfers Paradise.
The Gold Coast beaches are well-connected by highways, and Surfers Paradise is just off the Pacific Motorway (M1) for those travelling by car. Parking facilities are available in and around Surfers Paradise, although peak tourist seasons can be quite busy.
Once you’re in Surfers Paradise, the beach itself is easily accessible by foot, and you can explore the area on foot or by using the efficient tram system that runs through the heart of the city.
Whether by air, road, or public transportation, Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast is well-connected and ready to welcome visitors from the USA, UK, New Zealand, Europe, Asia and everywhere else from around the world!
Things to do at Surfers Paradise Beach
- Jet Ski-ing
- Build sandcastles
Containing a wide expanse of sand, there are plenty of things to do on Surfers Paradise Beach Queensland. These include the following:
1. Swimming at Surfers Paradise Beach
Given that there are three patrolled lifeguard towers along the 2km stretch of beach this should tell you that Swimming at Surfers Paradise Beach is a potentially hazardous thing to do.
Whilst thousands of people do it every day without issue, it is important to be aware that when waves break rips are prevalent. Channels of deep rips also tend to run out from the line of the shore. Therefore you should ALWAYS do your swimming at Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast between the flags, don’t swim too far out and avoid the rip holes and outer trough.
2. Surfing in Surfers Paradise
While beach breaks extend the full length of the beach, surf conditions tend to be best on the outer bar. Here you’ll find plenty of experienced surfers enjoying a moderate swell and offshore winds.
The Nerang entrance wall can produce some of the best quality bars and breaks for Surfing in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
You may be interested to note there are plans in the pipeline for Queensland’s first surfing reef on the beach at Narrow Neck.
Beach fishing is a very popular along the entire length of beach at Surfers.
Conditions are best when there are rips across the inner bar. With the Nerang jetty and entrance wall being among the most popular spots to fish the channel or surf.
At any given time there are a whole raft of beach activities in Surfers Paradise including jet skiing, wake boarding, canoeing and paddle boarding that take place along the ocean.
Surfers Paradise is also an excellent beach to walk on against a backdrop of the magnificent views.
The Gold Coast is marketed towards tourists and international visitors, especially those who are young adults.
There are hundreds of bars, restaurants, clubs and Surfers Paradise shopping outlets that target them. Many of these are within 100 metres of the main beach.
You certainly won’t go hungry in this part of the Gold Coast. Everything from Thai to Indian, Brazilian to Persian is available in Surfers. Likewise there are plenty of bars and coffee shops too.
As a general rule, the area in the eastern part of Surfers Paradise Boulevard towards the beach tends to house family-friendly Surfers Paradise attractions. These include Time Zone, Adrenalin Park and Ripley’s Museum.
By contrast most of the adult entertainment, clubs and bars tend to be located in the suburb’s western part.
Beach fishing is a very popular along the entire length of beach at Surfers.
As you would expect from a world class beach destination Surfers Paradise events take many forms. Not only do they incorporate the prestigious Surf Life Saving competitions, they also encompass a range of artistic, cultural and community events throughout its precinct.
One of them, the Surfers Paradise waterfront Markets operate every Friday and Saturday night between 4 pm and 9 pm. In addition the masterplanned space hosts a full calendar of free public events. These include the Surfers Paradise Festival and the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships.
The Supercars Vodafone Gold Coast 600 race also takes place in the streets here.
Way back in 1965 The Meter Maids of Surfers Paradise were launched when Bernie Elsey, a local businessman announced his opposition to parking metres being installed in Surfers Paradise.
These maids wore a tiara and bikinis made of gold lamé and were hired by Elsey to put coins in parking meters that had expired.
While meter feeding was against the law, the local council decided to ignore the offence due to the good publicity these maids attracted. Infact so popular did they become that in 1967 Bruce Small, the Mayor of the Gold Coast at the time used them in his promotion of the city.
Today, meter maids wear a gold lycra bikini and an Akubra hat. Some also wear a sash with the words “Surfers Paradise Meter Maids” emblazoned on it.
As parking meters are now all cashless the role of the Meter Maids has changed to one of assisting visitors and participating in tourism events.
The Gold Coast is synonymous with Schoolies and during the last week of November and first week of December there is no getting away from it.
This tradition of Schoolies Week began on the Gold Coast beaches in the early 1980s. The event is often seen as a rite of passage for graduating students. The final transitional period from youth to adulthood.
Surfers Paradise still accommodates the largest single venue for the event. Every year an estimated 40,000 teenagers travel to the Gold Coast for it.
Despite its negative perceptions amongst some, official Schoolies events on the Gold Coast are considered very safe.
A dedicated Schoolies event zone, which features live music and youth-themed beach activities in Surfers Paradise, is established each year on the sand to provide a safe, fun environment for school leavers.
These are drug-free and alcohol-free events. The area is also monitored for the exclusive use of current Year 12 school leavers.
In addition, volunteers in bright orange vests act as the Schoolies Support Team providing practical support and advice.
Recharge Zones are also located close to the Schoolies Hub. These provide a safe place to keep hydrated with free water available.
Where to stay at Surfers Paradise Beach
1. Q1 Resort & Spa
2. Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residences
3. Mantra Sun City
4. Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise
5. Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise
6. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa
7. Artique Surfers Paradise
8. Mantra Legends Hotel
9. Rhapsody Resort
10. Novotel Surfers Paradise
11. The Island Gold Coast
12. Watermark Hotel & Spa
13. Vibe Hotel Gold Coast
14. Paradise Centre Apartments
15. Circle on Cavill
16. Wyndham Surfers Paradise
17. Surfers Paradise Beachfront Resort
18. Moroccan Resort
19. Paradise Resort Gold Coast
20. BreakFree Acapulco
If you want to visit Surfers Paradise there are a range of hotels and holiday accommodations available on this part of the Gold Coast that cater to every traveller’s budget and preference.
As you can see I have outlined a list of 20 Surfers Paradise Hotels, resorts and holiday accommodation providers above. You can find out more about them in this post I wrote about Surfers Paradise Accommodation.
Overall, the standard of accommodation in Surfers Paradise is pretty good, though you do get what you pay for. It is always advisable to book in advance, especially at weekends and in school holidays as they are often fully booked up.
Visiting Surfers Paradise Beach can be a fantastic experience, particularly if you follow these tips to enhance your trip:
By following these tips, you can make the most of your visit to Surfers Paradise Beach and ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable experience.
Where Is Surfer’s Paradise Beach?
Surfer's Paradise Beach is located in the heart of Gold Coast in Queensland. It is one of several family-friendly beaches in Surfers Paradise suburb you can go to.
What Things To Do Are There at Surfer’s Paradise Beach?
There is a wide range of things to do at Surfers Paradise Beach Gold Coast including swimming, surfing, fishing, walking and playing ball sports.
How Far is it from Brisbane to Surfer’s Paradise
The drive from Brisbane to Surfer's Paradise takes about 90 minutes. The two destinations are separated by a distance of about 78 km.
How Far Is Surfer’s Paradise from Tweed Heads in NSW?
From Tweed Heads in New South Wales, it will take you about 50 minutes to cover the 30 km drive to the beach at Surfer's Paradise.
When is the Best Time to visit Surfers Paradise Beach?
Due to its mild climate, you can visit Surfers Paradise beach Queensland all year round. The best time is arguably in late spring or early autumn when the temperatures are still warm and the crowds have reduced in number due to children being in school.
What are good Surfers Paradise Hotels To Book?
Surfers Paradise's best hotels include the Hilton, QT Gold Coast and Mantra Circle on Cavill. All of them provide a range of choices for tourists and travellers seeking exceptional comfort and unbeatable access to the area's main landmarks and attractions.