I am now on the Gold Coast of Australia. I’ve been “Down Under” at least half a dozen times, but this is my first trip to the Gold Coast. For years, my Australian friends have discouraged me from going. They’ve described it as seedy, run down, chaotic, and not as pretty as other beaches. Wrong.
Ultimately it was work that brought me to Brisbane, and I had four days to spare, so I decided
to ignore their advice and go. I was shocked. It was nothing like they described whatsoever. The beaches were well-kept, the hotels were nothing short of spectacular, the locals and tourists were O-M-G hot and there were enough restaurants to represent every cuisine in the
If you have a chance, definitely check out the new Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residence. An unprecedented combination of 169 stylish guest rooms and suites, and 250 spacious self-contained, apartment, style residences, the Hilton here redefines the Gold Coast travel experience. With its stunning architecture and close proximity to the beach (where you’ll encounter hundreds of surfers), you’re sure to have an amazing time here.
There are many beaches along the Gold Coast and a short list of my favorites would have to include Burleigh Heads Beach, Surfer’s Paradise Beach and Coolangatta Beach. Aside from surf, sun and sand, the Gold Coast is also home to many of Australia’s biggest themed parks, making this the ideal family destination.
There are also numerous walking trails up the mountains in the national parks, so if you’re into hiking, don’t forget to bring the right shoes for the job.
Locals I spoke to told me that the area has gone through a major improvement during the last decade. Gleaming new hotels and restaurants have replaced once-seedy accommodations for backpackers, and formerly cheesy souvenir shops are now fancy coffee shops. (And yes, there’s even a big Starbucks near the beach.) Just so you know, my experience was so different from those of my friends that I now tell people that if you were able to take the towering glass buildings of Dubai and plunk them down on Oahu, you’d have something close to the Gold Coast.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.
Last modified: July 27, 2017