Surfers Paradise is the heart of the Gold Coast. With an iconic esplanade, world-renowned beaches, shopping, dining, bars and year-round entertainment, there are countless Surfers Paradise attractions. Experiencing Surfers Paradise like the locals is more than just going to the major hotspots – it’s about connecting with the local community and immersing yourself in the coastal culture.
Here are our top tips on how to experience Surfers Paradise like the locals.
Rise and shine
Start the day with a breathtaking sunrise over Surfers Paradise Beach. Even in the early hours of the morning you’ll find joggers, walkers, surfers and beachgoers already out and about as they make the most of this special time of day. With the promenade lined with cafes, you can kick back with a cup of coffee as you look out over the Pacific Ocean.
Catch a wave
The locality’s name speaks for itself. Surfers Paradise has world-renowned waves that are perfect for surfing. For an authentic Surfers Paradise experience, catch the early morning waves alongside the locals. Beginners can enrol in a surf lesson with a qualified instructor, while experienced surfers can rent a board and hit the water.
Sail the seas
For a more leisurely water-based Surfers Paradise experience, why not try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding? You can take in the coastline from a different perspective and connect with the natural beauty of the area. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a dolphin! There are loads of options for kayak and stand-up-paddleboard hires, lessons and tours.
Shop local with a view
Take the shopping outdoors at the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets. You can browse more than 100 stalls selling artisan and local goods, fresh produce, gourmet provisions, handmade wares and more – all while enjoying the live entertainment and the scenic ocean backdrop. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 9pm, the Beachfront Markets are a family-friendly Surfers Paradise attraction not to be missed!
Explore the Esplanade
There are so many ways to explore the iconic Surfers Paradise Esplanade. You can walk, jog, bike, rollerblade or skateboard your way along the flat 4km pathway parallel to the coastline. With plenty of drinking fountains, picnic facilities and accessible facilities, you can easily spend hours wandering up and down the Esplanade.
Eat like a local
From beachfront cafes to hole-in-the-wall gems and rooftop restaurants, Surfers Paradise boasts a diverse culinary landscape. For a breakfast that truly reflects the Surfers Paradise way of life, head to Paradox Coffee Roasters for delicious, hearty and unpretentious handcrafted food. At lunchtime, you can’t miss Salt Meats Cheese for woodfired pizza and other Italian fare in a rustic and casual environment. Make dinner a unique Surfers Paradise experience in itself, by dining at Bazaar at QT Gold Coast, an innovative restaurant and interactive dining experience that takes the buffet concept to the next level.
Soak up the sunset
With an abundance of high-rise buildings, it’s easy to soak up the Surfers Paradise horizon at sunset. The cotton candy sunset skies are best enjoyed from high up – and preferably with a cocktail in hand! Sit back and relax at one of the many rooftop bars as you take in the sunset. Our favourites are QT Gold Coast and The Island.
Getting to Surfers Paradise
There are so many Surfers Paradise attractions and experiences to enjoy, and Airtrain can help you get there. Airtrain services travel between Brisbane Airport to the Gold Coast every 15 minutes on-peak (and 30 minutes off-peak), making Airtrain the easy and reliable airport transfer for your Surfers Paradise attractions.
Airtrain has ticket options to suit all your travel needs. To get to Surfers Paradise, consider Airtrain & Tram which takes you via the G:link tram to Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Once you have arrived on the Gold Coast, it’s easy to get around. The Gold Coast is covered by an extensive network of trains, buses, and G:link trams. All public transport uses a smart card for travel, or you can purchase a paper ticket. With Smart Ticketing available on trains and trams, you can also use your Visa, Mastercard or American Express contactless debit or credit card to pay.
Short term visitors should check out the go seeQ card which allows you unlimited travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days on buses, trains, ferries and G:link trams. It also includes 2 Airtrain journeys to/from the Brisbane Airport. For longer stays, travel like the locals with a go card – just touch on at your station of departure and touch off when you arrive at your destination.