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Introducing The Gold Coast

The neon lights of the Gold Coast have more in common with the glitz and glamour of Miami or the hedonistic pastimes of Las Vegas than they do Australia. But somehow this heady mix of high-rise apartment blocks, airport-sized shopping malls and million-dollar theme parks feels at home here. While there’s no denying that this 35km strip of golden sand is the most aggressively developed patch in Australia, it’s also one of the most popular holiday destinations and receives more than two million visitors every year. So it must be doing something right.

The shared appeal is the sand, surf and nightlife, but there’s more to the Gold Coast than just the beach. Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads have some excellent surfing breaks and there are also laid-back neighbourhoods favoured by families. Beyond the high-rises stands the Gold Coast Hinterland, a densely forested region home to two of Queensland’s best national parks: Lamington and Springbrook. And then there’s Surfers Paradise & Broadbeach, which is both the epitome of the Gold Coast and the exception to the rule. It’s brash and it’s tacky but that’s exactly what people love about it.