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Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast is world famous for its beautiful beaches, outdoor lifestyle, upmarket accommodation and fun activities. Here is our visitor guide for 24 hours in Surfers Paradise, for travellers who are in town for a good time, not a long time.

10am: Surfers Paradise surf lesson

With its seemingly endless strip of sand and crystal clear, rolling waves, the iconic Surfers Paradise beach does not disappoint. Sign up for a learn to surf class or go swimming between the red and yellow flags then snap a selfie under the Surfers Paradise sign which spans the beach entrance.

Surf lesson
Learn to surf at Surfers Paradise

12pm: Surfers Paradise Surf Club

There are some excellent dining spots but few are more quintessentially Australian than a surf lifesaving club. Northcliffe SLSC has a breezy veranda where you can enjoy a hearty lunch and a cold brew (or two) as seagulls wheel overhead and swimmers take on those famous waves.

2pm: Go jetboating at Surfers Paradise

If you want to get your heart racing and see the sights, Jetboat Extreme zips around sand bars and zooms past pelicans on the Broadwater, a wave-free estuary adjoining Surfers Paradise. You’ll find it behind the Vibe Hotel Gold Coast.

3pm: voco Gold Coast check in

For something cheap and cheerful, voco Gold Coast has a great central location and bargain room rates throughout the year. Don’t miss the Clifford’s Restaurant on the ground floor which also offers some of the best people watching on the Gold Coast.

voco Gold Coast room
voco Gold Coast

5pm: Head to Skypoint

Swap the beach for the clouds during a twilight climb on Australia’s highest external building walk atop the Gold Coast skyscraper Q1. Daredevils can walk to the top of the building and check out the 270 metre sheer vertical drop; less adventurous types may prefer the Skypoint Observation Deck downstairs. This glass-enclosed viewing area is one of the best spots on the Gold Coast to watch the sun go down. Buy tickets for the observation deck in advance to avoid the queue which forms around this time or you might miss the sunset.

Skypoint Climb on the Gold Coast
View from Skypoint Climb

8pm: Steampunk for dinner

Head to Steampunk for wood fired pizzas, smokin’ molecular cocktails and a funky fitout. If you want something casual, take a walk along the mall or the foreshore and drop into one of the dining options with outside seating so you can people watch.

10pm Party on at Stingray

Things heat up after 10pm which makes Stingray Bar at QT Gold Coast the perfect spot to finish your night out. Choose from 50 in-house tequilas accompanied by tasty bar snacks with a Cal-Mex twist or you feel like a late night snack.

Stingray nightlife
Stingray nightlife

8am Breakfast at The Island

Head to Goldie’s for breakfast choices such as traditional eggs Benedict, sourdough fruit loaf with jam or a Turkish breakfast featuring fried eggs, sourdough, cucumber, heirloom tomato, salted ricotta, goat’s curd, olives, grilled haloumi and chorizo.

Disclosure: The writer loves visiting Surfers Paradise at any time of year (except during Schoolies which is best avoided unless you’ve just finished high school). 

Looking for some Gold Coast accommodation? Read our reviews of the Hilton Surfers Paradise, Oaks Calypso Plaza, The Darling, Surfers Paradise Marriott, Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, The Star Grand, voco Gold Coast, Wyndham Hotel Surfers Paradise, AVANI Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences, Rydges Gold Coast Airport, Oaks Gold Coast Hotel, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, and the retro La Costa Motel. If you’re visiting the Gold Coast, don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to the Gold Coast.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.