Surfers Paradise – the pulsating, lifestyle heart of the Gold Coast
The name Surfers Paradise is almost synonymous with the Gold Coast, with both widely recognized around the world. The thick forest of high-rise buildings towering over the beach has become the icon of this, perhaps Australia’s most famous beach (or does that honour go to Sydney’s Bondi Beach?).
While the beach was the original attraction here – as the very name implies – today we could easily say that the many off-beach lifestyle attributes of this lively town have taken over as the main appeal. These include outdoors cafes and restaurants, fine dining on cuisines from around the world, ample choice of bars, a full-service casino, nightlife and entertainment plus plenty of shopping in private stores and vast shopping malls. There’s also a good variety of attractions in the surrounding area, including the huge theme parks Sea World and Dreamworld, plus wildlife sanctuaries at Currumbin and David Fleay’s. Day tours include whale-watching cruises and mountain, rainforest ventures in the Gold Coast’s beautiful, mountainous hinterland and many more.
The beach, however, still remains the focal point of activity for most visitors during the day. The great majority of visitors are not real ‘surfers’, however just playing in the waves is both exercise and fun enough for most.
Surfers Paradise was not the first Gold Coast beach to attract visitors. Its immediate neighbour to the north was given the name ‘Main Beach’, because in the 1920s that is exactly what it was, both the first beach visitors from nearby Brisbane reached, and the main place they stopped for surfing and beach fun. The surf life saving club at Main Beach also preceded the establishment of that in Surfers Paradise in 1926.