Surfers Paradise is an iconic destination on the Gold Coast known for its high-rise skyline next to a long beach of golden sand. It’s a lively seaside resort with shops and cafés during the day and nightclubs for the evening. Is Surfers Paradise worth visiting? Depending on what you’re looking for, you may want to skip it or absolutely have it on your must-see list.

Is Surfers Paradise same as Gold Coast?

Not really. Surfers Paradise is the largest suburb of the Gold Coast City Council, the second most populous local government area in Australia after Brisbane. The Gold Coast goes from south of the Logan River to the New South Wales border, 60km south as the crow flies. More than 600,000 people live in the City of Gold Coast, which includes areas inland, such as Springbrook National Park and the Currumbin Valley, for a total area of 1,334 km2. In comparison, Surfers Paradise is only 24 km2 and for a population of 23,000 people.

The Gold Coast Airport, also known as Coolangatta Airport, is approximately 30 minutes by car south of Surfers Paradise.

Why you should visit Surfers Paradise

If you want to see all the facets of Australia during your trip

Surfers Paradise is an iconic destination in Australia. It’s easy to reach and a popular stop on the Brisbane to Sydney road trip. Many visitors will be able to add it to their itinerary without making a long detour. The South-East Queensland region has a lot to offer, so it might be worth it to take a peek at Surfers Paradise while you’re around if you’re curious and want to tick it off your list.

Surfers Paradise is iconic in Australia for its sky-rise buildings next to the beach. Many visitors like to go to the sky point observation deck at the top of the Q1 tower to admire the views of the city and the ocean.

It’s funny how you’ll see people wearing tuxedos to a chic restaurant next to party-goers in thongs and board shorts and families with young kids.

If you’re into beach and fun holidays

surfers paradise is overrated

Surfers Paradise is all about the beach and fun. Surfers Paradise, and nearby places on the Gold Coast, can be described as a hub for entertainment near the beach.

During the day, Main Beach is patrolled, and red and yellow flags signal the area for swimming. It’s also easy to hire a surfboard or book lessons* to enjoy the waves. And it’s almost possible to have a beach day every day as Surfers Paradise has more than 300 sunny days per year and an average temperature of 25°C.

In the evening, it’s very lively with restaurants and nightclubs. If things often close early in Australia, it’s not the case in Surfers. It’s the place to be for parties. Some even say it’s Australia’s nightlife capital.

If you like shopping

I don’t know much about shopping, to be honest, but I know many people enjoy Surfers Paradise shops, from top-end designers to beachfront markets.

If you don’t want to spend time planning your holidays (including for families)

Surfers Paradise is made for all types of tourists and has holiday options to seduce groups of young people, couples and even families.

It’s easy to get there, and you’ll only need to book accommodation in advance to organise your trip. You can even choose a resort with a pool and a restaurant if you don’t want to think at all about what to do during the day.

And should you wish to visit the nearby region, which I highly recommend, you can simply book tours.

If you like beach volleyball

Australia is one of the world’s best countries at beach volleyball, and you’ll find some of the best volleyballers in Surfers Paradise. You can watch athletes and amateurs play on the courts along the beaches, and the public can even play for free on Friday afternoons.

Beach volleyball court with the ocean on the right and skyscrapers from Surfers Paradise in the background
Beach volleyball court on Surfers Paradise beach during the Queensland Tour competition

Why I don’t like Surfers Paradise

I prefer natural, authentic destinations

Surfers Paradise is not for me: I don’t find a beach with skyscrapers attractive. Instead, I prefer a natural, quiet environment where I can connect with nature and learn from my visit. For example, I really enjoyed visiting Burleigh Heads nearby, and it should absolutely be on your list if you’re spending time on the Gold Coast. Fingal Head in New South Wales but really close to the Gold Coast is one of my favourite beaches in the region.

Bench in Burleigh Heads National Park with a view of the ocean and Surfers Paradise in the background
Burleigh Heads National Park

There are better places for surfing

Surfers Paradise attracts the crowds. You’ll find many other spots in Australia with great waves and a lot fewer people in the water. Surfers Paradise isn’t even the best surfing beach on the Gold Coast. Many prefer Snapper Rock.

I find Surfers Paradise beach boring

I know it’s weird to say that about the destination famous for being an entertainment hub. But I’m just not into the activities Surfers Paradise is known for.

Even if I’m a nature and ocean lover, I actually don’t like spending my afternoon on the beach and in the water (unless I’m snorkelling or scuba diving). If I go to the beach, I enjoy serenity and character. White-sand beaches can be beautiful, but it’s rather repetitive. I’m much more attracted to rocky coastlines or beaches with wildlife.

I simply don’t like the atmosphere

I’m not a fan of partying, shopping or sunbathing, so it’s easy to understand why I’m not into Surfers Paradise.

Tip: avoid Surfers Paradise from mid-November to early December

Tens of thousands of young Australians go to Surfers Paradise around mid-November to early December for schoolies. Obviously, it’s not fun for families and older visitors to be there at the same time.

The schoolies is an Australian tradition, like a rite of passage, for students who’ve just graduated from high school. The Gold Coast is where the tradition first started and is still the most popular destination for young Australians for their week of partying.

What do you think? Is Surfers Paradise worth visiting? Share your experience in the comments below!

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