10 Things That Might Surprise You About This Destination

10 Things That Might Surprise You About This Destination

30 Oct 2023

Think you know the Gold Coast? Think again. Even regular visitors are still discovering new things about this ever-evolving destination. The Gold Coast is full of surprises…

1. We’ve got more canals than Venice 

Stunning waterways are Gold Coast’s strong suit and it’s easy to access our beautiful Broadwater, creeks and canals. To explore the sparling waterways that weave through the city, jump aboard a river cruise, picnic boat, HOPO ferry, BBQ pontoon or self-drive eclectic boat. For an adrenaline charged experience try jet boating or join a jet ski tour to visit nearby islands. Feeling active? Throw in a line, paddleboard, kayak, swim or just splash about in the shallows. You can even go on a romantic gondola ride!  

Naturally, all these waterways mean there’s a bounty of waterfront restaurants, cafes and bars to enjoy too. 

2. It does get cold sometimes

Look, winter on the Gold Coast isn’t terrible. Blessed with a sub-tropical climate, we enjoy blue skies, sunshine and average temps of around 25°C (77°F) while many southern states endure freezing cold and miserable weather. But it can get chilly here, On some of the coldest winter mornings it can drop just below zero, which is quite cold enough thanks very much! So pack beanies, puffer jackets and warm clothing if you're visiting in winter - especially if you’re planning to spend time in the Hinterland (which you absolutely should!). And don't worry - when the temperature drops, there are plenty of ways to keep cosy on the Gold Coast.


3. We’re on Yugambeh Country

The Yugambeh language people are the traditional custodians of the place we now know as the Gold Coast and they’ve been caring for and connected to the lands, rivers, oceans, plants and animals of this region for over 60,000 years. You can learn about their traditional life, hunting methods, Dreaming stories and their continuing culture at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Burleigh Heads. Join a tour of Burleigh Headland with a First Nations guide to learn about the Indigenous history of the Gold Coast and their sacred connection to this place we all love so much.


4. It's pronounced Choo-gun

The southern suburb of Tugun often trips visitors up with its pronunciation - choo-gun. To speak the local lingo just shorten everything to the first syllable and add a ‘y’ to the end. Broady, Palmy, Tally and Cooly are all suburbs of the Goldy. 


5. Some of the most affordable accommodation is on the best real estate


Gold Coast holiday parks, campgrounds and tourist parks are some of the best in Australia. You can park your caravan on the banks of Tallebudgera Creek, camp on an almost deserted island at South Stradbroke, stay in central Main Beach or Burleigh Heads or wake up to the sounds of the rainforest. Park up your caravan, pitch or tent or enjoy a wonderful stay at a villa, cabin or safari tent - just be sure to book well ahead because they’re very popular.


6. It’s a popular stop on the Humpback Highway

Located on the annual migration route of thousands of whales (aka the Humpback Highway), our seaside city is one of the best places in Australia for whale watching. The season stretches from late May to October and you can take your pick from a variety of tours. Step aboard a custom-built vessel with multiple viewing platforms and underwater microphones that let you hear the whales singing as they pass by your boat, or join a half-day research expedition where your observations will assist with whale conservation. Seeing these incredible creatures up close in their natural environment is an exhilarating experience that will stay with you long after you set foot on land again. 

7. We’ve got a world-class art gallery

Gold Coast culture received a major glow up in 2021 when the brand new $60 million HOTA Gallery and neighbouring outdoor stage were complete. You won’t find any big city cultural snobbery at HOTA. This is a gallery for the people – inclusive, inspiring and in true Gold Coast style, you’re welcome to visit in board shorts and thongs if that’s your vibe. There’s an impressive array of spaces to explore throughout the gallery including touring and permanent exhibitions, collections and indigenous art. You can explore the five levels of visual art offerings as well as sweeping views of the city, and finish your visit with a cocktail at rooftop bar, The Exhibitionist. The gallery is surrounded by shady parklands with a picturesque lake - perfect for a picnic, play or leisurely stroll.

8. There's a completely unique experience for SCUBA divers 

The Gold Coast is home to the world’s first buoyant reef and certified divers will be intrigued by this unique diving experience with serious wow factor. It’s only a quick 10-minute boat ride from the Gold Coast Seaway, Wonder Reef is positioned perfectly with the city as its backdrop.  Beneath the surface, nine huge sculptural structures hang suspended at different depths, swaying with the motion of the ocean like a giant kelp bed. Covered in coral and home to numerous sea creatures, Wonder Reef is a fusion of art, science, engineering and nature that has an evolving marine eco-system that makes for an one-of-a-kind diving experience.


 9. You'll love our local drops

If you love to sample a local drop when you’re on holiday then we’ve got good news. The Gold Coast is home to an impressive number of award winning craft breweries, boutique distilleries and wineries. Whether your drink of choice is a liquor or a larger, vino or a vodka cocktail, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Visit Granddad Jack’s or Wildflower Gin to try Gold Coast spirits, Balter Brewing or Black Hop Brewing for a local craft beer or Witches Falls Winery for some excellent vino. For something different, drop in to Sobah Beverages in Burleigh - an Aboriginal and family run company making a range of premium non-alcoholic craft beers infused with native fruit and spices.

10.There's a lot to look forward to!

There are some seriously exciting things planned for the future of this city, including incredible new attractions, luxury hotels and a certain global sporting event on the horizon. A sprawling eco-adventure precinct is planned for development in Numinbah Valley in the Hinterland, encompassing outdoor sport and recreation, glamping tents and eco-cabins in a beautiful bushland setting.


The Club at Parkwood Village is getting a Palm Springs inspired resort, centred around a giant surf park lagoon where surfers can ride artificial waves all day and stay in luxe accommodation with plenty of other dining and entertainment options incorporated into the precinct. 


We have a Mondrian Hotel opening in Burleigh Heads in 2024 and a Ritz Carlton coming to Marina Mirage. And looking forward to 2032 the Gold Coast will be hosting many events for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralypmic Games. Exciting times ahead for our city!


Craving more Gold Coast content? Check out where to get your Thrill, Chill and Fill in this city.


Kate Veling
Kate Veling

Travel writer, Kate Veling, came to the Gold Coast for six months and loved it so much she’s still here 20 years later. The laidback lifestyle suits her to a tee and as a mum of three, she knows all the best parks, swimming spots and kid-friendly fun to be had in her ‘hood. She’s often found getting amongst the thriving local arts and culture scene, dancing to live music or kicking back on the beach, but rest assured it’s all in the name of research.


Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. 
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.