The Gold Coast is a great example of everything that makes Australia an enticing holiday destination! Lined with golden beaches and crystal clear waters, it is also a great place for nightlife, theme parks and nature. If you only have time for on Aussie destination, the Gold Coast is the place to be.
Though often considered a single city, the Gold Coast is actually a collection of smaller cities in one area. This can make it difficult to figure out where you want to stay before arrival.
That’s why we built this guide! We’ve figured out the seven best neighborhoods in the Gold Coast, and categorised them by what they are best for.
So without further adieu, let’s get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Gold Coast
- Southport – Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for your first time
- Broadbeach – Where to stay in Gold Coast close to everything
- Surfers Paradise – Where to stay in Gold Coast for nightlife
- Coolangatta – Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for families
- Miami – Where to stay in Gold Coast on a budget
- Burleigh Heads – Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for couples
- Currumbin – Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for nature lovers
Where to Stay in Gold Coast
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Gold Coast.
Best Hostel in Gold Coast
Located right in the main tourist neighborhood, BUNK Surfers Paradise is perfect for backpackers that want to be right in the heart of the action! It has fantastic social facilities where you can meet other guests to explore the city with, as well as regular events. They even provide a free breakfast.
Best Budget Hotel in Gold Coast
Down in the Coolangatta neighborhood, Komune Resort and Beach Club gives you a little peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre! It is located right on the beach, allowing you to easily relax and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Gold Coast.
Best Luxury Hotel in Gold Coast
The Palazzo Versace truly is the height of luxury in the Gold Coast! Famous worldwide for its unbeatable level of service, this five star hotel is owned by the Italian fashion brand of the same name – and this sense of style and elegance oozes out of every detail.
Gold Coast 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the seven best neighbourhoods in Gold Coast. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Southport – enjoy a taste of luxury at Main Beach, just across the bridge from Southport
- BEST place to visit in Southport – head to Boomerang Art, a small gallery dedicated to works by Indigenous Australians
Just north of Surfers Paradise, Southport is one of the more peaceful neighborhoods on the Gold Coast. This makes it a fantastic choice for first-time travellers that want to ease themselves into the city – especially if you expect a little bit of jetlag! This leafy neighborhood oozes charm and has some interesting cultural highlights worth exploring.
Across the bridge from Southport is Main Beach. The areas are so close we’ve counted them as one in this guide – but they are very different in atmosphere. Main Beach is worth a visit if you want to splurge on some of the most luxurious attractions in town!
- Australia Fair Shopping Centre is great for those wishing to indulge in a little retail therapy – they have everything from high street to high end!
- Take a boat trip up coast – Southport is one of the most budget-friendly places to hire a yacht
- The nearby rock pools are a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike – grab a swimsuit and enjoy the sheltered waters
- Want to get away from the busy city centre attractions? Head to Anzac Park and enjoy the beautiful native plant life
- Randy Wallhole is a great restaurant to kick back, relax and enjoy a delicious brunch with views over the coast
Best Hostel Southport
This hostel has everything you could possibly want from a coastal accommodation! The large communal areas are perfect for socialising with other backpackers and include a barbeque, outdoor pool and spa area. There is a licensed bar on-site with regular happy hours to save you some cash.
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Best Budget Hotel in Southport
Though a little bit more inland, the Earls Court Motel is located right outside a tram stop – giving you easy access to all of the main attractions in the city! They offer both traditional motel rooms as well as fully serviced apartments. A full English breakfast is provided every morning.
Best Luxury Hotel in Southport
Associated with the luxury Italian fashion brand, the Palazzo Versace is not only the pinnacle of luxury in the Gold Coast – but arguably in the entire world! Set right on the waterfront, every room has a balcony with gorgeous views across the coast and city. It is only a short walk away from Main Beach.
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(Where to stay in Gold Coast close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Broadbeach – browse the weekend markets throughout the city for great souvenirs and street food
- BEST place to visit in Broadbeach – head down to Kurrawa Beach for a more laid-back alternative to the bustling crowds at Surfers Paradise
South of Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach is another great neighborhood for staying well connected whilst also avoiding the business of the main strip! Broadbeach is where many of the trams start and finish, giving you easy access not just to the city centre but also towards Coolangatta and the airport.
Aside from its great location, Broadbeach has plenty of excellent attractions in its own right! It is known as a haven for foodies visiting the city – with food trucks, hole in the wall restaurants and upmarket establishments all available. There is also a great beach, with fantastic facilities and an easy-going vibe.
- The Pacific Fair Shopping Centre is the commercial heart of the city, with plenty of fantastic restaurants, hundreds of stores and a casual dining food court
- If you want to try your luck at some gambling, the Star Hotel and Casino is the premier destination in the Gold Coast
- Whilst Broadbeach isn’t known for its nightlife, it has some chilled alternatives to the main strip – we recommend Love Nightlife
- Head to Moo Moo to discover why Australian cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world
- Admire native plant life, and watch out for the spiders, at Cascade Gardens
Best Hostel Broadbeach
Though there aren’t any hostels within Broadbeach itself, Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort is only a short walk away – giving you easy access to two of the most popular areas in the city! Family-owned, this hostel has an inviting atmosphere and excellent social facilities. There is also free WiFi access.
Best Budget Hotel in Broadbeach
This large aparthotel is only a short walk away from the beach – perfect for experiencing the multiple amenities available in the area! All apartments are fully serviced and come with well-equipped kitchens, allowing you to self cater with ease. Free parking facilities are also available on-site.
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Best Luxury Hotel in Broadbeach
Another excellent five star resort, this magnificent accommodation has everything you could possibly need for a luxury getaway to the Gold Coast! There is an outdoor pool, as well as extensive spa and fitness facilities. Like many Gold Coast accommodation choices, rooms take the form of serviced apartment suites.
(Where to stay in Gold Coast for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Surfers Paradise – try your hand at indoor skydiving at iFly, or take to the skies and jump out of a plane with the many coastal providers
- BEST place to visit in Surfers Paradise – learn about everything that makes the world weird and wonderful at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Surfers Paradise is easily the most well-known neighborhood in the city and with good reason! This is where most of the entertainment attractions are based. With towering skyscrapers, golden beaches and 24/7 nightlife, Gold Coast is the place to be if you want to party Australian style.
Aside from the nightlife, Surfers Paradise really does have a little something for everyone! Families will enjoy the abundance of kid-friendly entertainment facilities, whilst the restaurant scene is perfect for couples looking for a romantic date location during a short vacation. If you’re stuck for choice, you can’t go wrong with Surfers Paradise.
- Head to the beachfront every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday to pick up whatever your heart desires at the expansive market
- The Avenue is a great nightlife venue if you are into live music, cheap drinks and an eclectic atmosphere
- For a more typical nightlife experience, check out Elsewhere Bar who have a retro style and rotating roster of DJs
- No trip to the Gold Coast is complete without a trip up the SkyPoint Observation Deck where you can enjoy unparalleled views across the city
- The Bazaar Buffet is somewhat of a local institution thanks to their well-priced lunch and dinner offerings
Best Hostel Surfers Paradise
BUNK Surfers Paradise perfectly embodies the party spirit of the neighborhood! All guests are welcomed with a complimentary drink, and there are nightly social events hosted in the spacious common areas. There is an on-site bar selling discounted drinks, and a well equipped shared kitchen.
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Best Budget Hotel in Surfers Paradise
Located right in the heart of the action, BreakFree Cosmopolitan is perfect for budget-conscious travellers that came to the Gold Coast to party! These fully serviced apartments come with well-equipped kitchenettes and air conditioning. There is a rooftop pool for all guests, as well as a barbecue area.
Best Luxury Hotel in Surfers Paradise
If you want to splurge whilst staying centrally, you can’t go wrong with this five star boutique hotel! It comes with all the usual amenities such as swimming pools and restaurants, as well as added extras like spa facilities and tennis courts! Rooms are fully air conditioned and come with modern appliances.
(Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Coolangatta – climb to the top of Kirra Hill for marvellous views along the coast
- BEST place to visit in Coolangatta – Coolangatta Beach is the perfect spot to enjoy the sun and waves without the busy Gold Coast crowds
Coolangatta is a little bit further out from the city centre than other neighborhoods, but its proximity to the airport means it is well connected to the entire region by tram! For families, Coolangatta is a peaceful neighborhood that offers a lot of the charm of the Gold Coast without the crowds and parties.
This is a great area for discovering nature along Australia’s coast, with plenty of secluded beaches and interesting rock formations waiting to be discovered! It is also just a short trip away from New South Wales, allowing you to discover other parts of Australia with ease.
- Snapper Rocks are a natural formation that are a popular place for locals and tourists alike to relax and bask in the sun
- Take a guided tour into the Hinterland to discover spectacular mountains and unique Australian nature and wildlife
- Head to the Captain Cook Memorial and Lighthouse to learn about Australia’s turbulent colonial history
- Rainbow Bay Surf Club have a fantastic seafood menu – as well as equipment hire for those more interested in hitting the waves
- For a typical Australian barbecue experience, head to Bondi Grille with their extensive menu and great atmosphere
Best Hostel Coolangatta
Located a stone’s throw away from the Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay Backpackers is a calm oasis away from the busy city centre! Rooms are cosy and well equipped with sturdy furniture, charging sockets and high speed WiFi. They run regular activities – including surf trips to the waves at Coolangatta Beach.
Best Budget Hotel in Coolangatta
Komune Resort and Beach Club is the perfect accommodation for families – especially if you are seeking the typical resort experience! They have plenty of activities on-site – including a games room, table tennis and, of course, a large outdoor pool. A complimentary breakfast buffet is provided every morning.
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Best Luxury Hotel in Coolangatta
With apartments and large rooms available, this is the perfect splurge option for families visiting the Gold Coast! This four and a half star hotel comes with fantastic guest ratings and adds a touch of elegance to everything they do. The outdoor swimming pool is heated, and there is even a private cinema.
(Where to stay in Gold Coast on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Miami – try out some skating and rollerblading at Pizzey Park with their large skating complex and great hire facilities
- BEST place to visit in Miami – The Walls Art Space is a locally owned gallery with a rotating selection of local artists
Miami is located in the south of the Gold Coast and is a great option for those that want to stay in the notoriously expensive city on a budget! Hotels are cheaper in this area but still come with the great attractions and restaurant scene nearby that entice visitors to the Gold Coast year after year.
Mermaid Beach is just north of Miami and is another great area for those on a budget! The beach here is much calmer than the more famous beaches in the north and has some excellent equipment hire facilities that won’t break the bank.
- Head up to Mermaid Beach to check out the excellent facilities and budget-friendly surfing equipment and lessons
- Granddad Jacks Craft Distillery offers a fantastic tour of their premises as well as cocktail tasting events
- South Nobby Headland is a small coastal park with breathtaking views across the Gold Coast – perfect for catching the sunset!
- Miami Tavern is a hugely popular dining spot in the area with a great selection of fresh steaks and other barbecue eats
- Grab a bike from Ecobikes – an environmentally conscious hire company that offers manual and electric bikes at great rates
Best Hotel for Backpackers Miami
Whilst there aren’t any hostels in the neighborhood, the Patawalonga is a very budget-friendly bed and breakfast in the Miami Waters area! A continental breakfast is provided every morning, helping to set you up for the day ahead without adding an extra expense. There are also private parking facilities on-site.
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Best Budget Hotel in Miami
For a little bit of an upgrade, the Surf Street Motel is located closer to the beach. Straddling the boundary between Miami and Mermaid Beach, this motel gives you easy access to both areas! Rooms come with basic facilities – including complimentary WiFi access and hot drink making equipment.
Best Luxury Hotel in Miami
For a touch of luxury for less, Grande Florida Beachside Resort is an excellent four star hotel that comes in slightly cheaper than the other splurge options in the city! They offer fully serviced apartments with air conditioning, as well as on-site facilities such as an outdoor pool and a tour desk.
(Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Burleigh Heads – hire a kayak and explore the local area with Gold Coast Paddlesports
- BEST place to visit in Burleigh Heads – admire the gorgeous views from Burleigh Heads Beach and National Park
Burleigh Heads, named after the natural landmark located on the coastline of the neighborhood, is a major hotspot for surfing and other beach sports in the city! Located halfway between Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise, it is also a great in-between for couples that want to enjoy the attractions with an easy-going crowd.
Though officially part of the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads has a small-town atmosphere that ensures you will have a welcoming stay. There are plenty of great restaurants dotted around the area, as well as some major shopping venues to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. There’s truly something for everyone!
- Jellurgal Cultural Centre is dedicated to the culture and history of the Indigenous Australian population and has plenty of interesting exhibits
- For shopping, head to the Village Markets where you can enjoy high street brands and luxury outlets
- Looking for the perfect couple’s restaurant in the Gold Coast? Rick Shores is right on the coast, giving you magnificent sunset views every evening
- For a more local shopping experience, head to the Burleigh Markets every morning to pick up local souvenirs and fresh ingredients
Best Hotel for Backpackers Burleigh Heads
This homestay is the perfect alternative to a hostel for backpackers that want to stay in Burleigh Heads! With a shared kitchen and great barbecue facilities, socialising is encouraged – though you still get to enjoy the privacy of your own room. This makes it a great choice for young couples that want a social atmosphere.
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Best Budget Hotel in Burleigh Heads
Though a little more expensive than other budget choices in the area, Regency on the Beach has some fantastic facilities that make it all worth it! There is a huge outdoor pool area with plenty of sun loungers, and there are also some barbecue and spa facilities on site. Free WiFi is included.
Best Luxury Hotel in Burleigh Heads
The Village at Burleigh is a collection of holiday homes right on the coast – giving you the best of both worlds in terms of private accommodation and resort-style hotels! There is a large outdoor swimming pool, as well as a barbecue area. Apartments come with balconies overlooking either the pool or the coast.
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(Best neighborhood in Gold Coast for nature lovers!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Currumbin – head to the coast where you can try your hand at scuba diving and snorkelling
- BEST place to visit in Currumbin – learn about Australia’s diverse native wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Located on the other side of the airport from Coolangatta, Currumbin is another fantastic area for those that want to stay close to the Gold Coast whilst still avoiding the busy city centre! This area is a haven for nature lovers, with plenty of fantastic outdoorsy activities available – from hiking to scuba diving and everything in between.
Like Coolangatta, Currumbin is a peaceful neighborhood that is well connected with the city centre. This makes it perfect for those that want the best of both worlds when it comes to natural attractions and bustling entertainment facilities! Simply hop on a tram to experience the sights and sounds of the Gold Coast.
- Surf World Gold Coast is a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of surfing and its influence on the area
- Climb up the Elephant Rock for the ultimate photo opportunity in front of the Gold Coast skyline – it’s also a great sunset spot
- Take a trip out to Superbee Honeyworld to learn about the local bee population and their significance to manuka honey farming
- The Sanctuary Markets are a low-key alternative to the busy markets of the city centre – perfect for souvenirs and street food
- For a more typical sit down meal, head to the Boatshed where you can enjoy an expansive tapas menu
Best Hostel Currumbin
Though technically in Coolangatta, this Youth Hostel Association accommodation is located next to the airport – giving you easy access to Currumbin! Affiliated with Hostelling International, this is a very high quality hostel with great social facilities and unbeatable levels of service. They also run regular events and tours.
Best Budget Hotel in Currumbin
Only a short walk away from the beach, this is an excellent accommodation choice for taking in all of the main attractions in Currumbin! There is a small children’s pool on-site, and the dedicated tour desk offers regular discounts on tours and admission tickets. They also have free parking facilities.
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Best Luxury Hotel in Currumbin
Boasting a beach-side location and unbeatable ocean views, the Royal Palm Resort is a touch of elegance in Currumbin! There is an excellent outdoor pool deck with plenty of sun loungers and waterslides. There are also tennis courts, indoor games rooms and a huge wellness suite with gym and spa.
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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Gold Coast?
It’s no wonder that the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations! With theme parks, beaches and dazzling restaurants there truly is something for everyone. If you want to sit back and bask in the Aussie sun, you have to head to the Gold Coast.
For the best area, we’re going to go with Broadbeach! Surfers Paradise can get very hectic, however, Broadbeach is a much calmer neighborhood that is still very well connected to the city centre.
Nevertheless, all of the neighborhoods mentioned in this guide have their charms – and we hope we have helped you choose the right one.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
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