Guide to Surfers Paradise
This is a bit over an hour from Nimbin and is another essential stop on the trip, being home to the 5 biggest theme parks in Australia. Surfers has developed into a large beach city, boasting a decent sized skyline of waterfront offices and apartments.
How to get there
By car or bus, this is just over an hour from Nimbin, or 1.5hrs from Byron Bay. By plane, you can fly to Gold Coast airport which is a short drive from Surfers Paradise.
Where to stay
If you’re camping, the closest Holiday Village is 3km out from the main street. Despite this, it is still full of backpackers to go out with (even in winter). Otherwise, stay as close to Caville Ave as possible, as then you can walk to all your destinations. I would recommend Surfers Backpackers Resort, as they are the only hostel I know of so far that provided free laundry (and we know how impressive that is!)
What to do
1. Visit the theme parks!
If you like adrenaline, visit one of the 5 theme parks in Surfers Paradise: Dreamworld, Movie World, Sea World, Wet n Wild and White Water World. You can often get cheap deals if you buy several passes at once and they are great fun! I would recommend one day for each of them, as there are a lot of rides and some are in different locations to the other.
2. Go up Q1 tower
This is one of the biggest residential towers in Australia and you can go to the top to enjoy a cup of coffee and an amazing view of the entire beach.
3. Do a pub crawl
The pub crawls in Surfers are on every night and are guaranteed to be a great time as you are taken to 4 of the best clubs in town with a huge group of backpackers.
4. Stroll down Caville Ave
This is the main street and mall area with all the shops, cafes and bars you could need.
5. Enjoy the beachfront
Surfers has a long beach you can sunbaked on, as well as a busy esplanade with a walking track and night markets every week.
6. Check out Chevron island
Beyond Surfers Paradise about a 10mins walk inland are many islands, hosting heaps of boutique bars, pubs and tapas places. People who live here don’t consider themselves from Surfers and residents never cross the bridge back.
Surfers has an incredible nightlife every night of the week. In Caville Ave you will find a stand with ‘nightlife information’ ran by a bunch of promoters who can tell you where to go that night.
They also run great pub crawls a few nights a week which are the best way to experience a few bars in one night and easily meet people. To give you an example, the last time I was there was a Tuesday night in winter. Sin City nightclub had ladies night, with free entry and $10 all you can drink (including spirits) and was packed full of backpackers and locals.
How long to stay
I would allow 2 or 3 days to enjoy Surfers. If you’re planning on visiting the theme parks, add one day for each park as they are a day trip each.