Built for pleasure and remaining a place dedicated to sun, surf and the body beautiful, this strip of coast is possibly Australia’s most iconic holiday destination. Its shimmering high-rises can, when glimpsed from afar, resemble a make-believe city, and its reputation for tackiness is occasionally deserved. But this is far outstripped by the area's youthful spirit and startling physical beauty: some 52km of pristine sand with countless epic surf breaks, stunning sunsets, blissful water temperatures and 300 sunny days a year.
While Surfers Paradise’s malls and mega-clubs entertain the party-hard kids, the other neighbourhoods have distinct charms of their own, from booming culinary scenes and coastal chic to retro beach holiday nostalgia and laidback local flavour. Not to be overlooked is the lush, misty subtropical rainforest of the hinterland – a good place to get in touch with the spirit of the traditional owners of this land, the Yugambeh people.