Anyone who has had the pleasure of a vacay to the Gold Coast shouldn’t need much convincing to book a return visit. But because we love to boast about how seriously epic this slice of paradise is all year round, especially in winter — think: fewer crowds on the beaches, crisp, clear sunny days and loads of awesome adventures to be had — we’re more than happy to list the reasons why you need to start booking in that annual leave.
We’ve teamed up with the legends at Paradise Center in Surfers Paradise to curate a hit list of all the best things you need to do on a winter escape to the GC.
Make A Splash
With an average temp of 22 degrees in the day and clear sunny skies all winter long, it would be rude not to star with a dip. Your first stop should be Novotel Surfers Paradise. Perched atop Paradise Center and boasting sweeping views of the ocean and Surfers Paradise, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in Ibiza at this spot. Next, make your way down to the sprawling beach below — right at the doorsteps of the center — you couldn’t be closer to your very own slice of year-round summer vibes.
Unleash Your Inner Child At This Baller Arcade
Make tracks to Paradise Center, Surfers Paradise’s largest Shopping Center, for a solid day of nostalgia-inducing fun. Kick it off with a visit to Timezone. Sitting at a whopping 5,000 sqm, here you’ll find all of your favorite arcade games including glow in the dark golf, a futuristic wakanda themed laser tag arena, bumper cars, mini bowling, and over 300 games. Next, it’s time to take on Zone Bowling. There are 12 interactive lanes on offer, all of which you can customize with colorful lights and awesome effects. We dig that! If all that competition made you hungry you can fuel up at the Timezone cafe where you can smash cheeseburger bites, hotdogs, fried chicken, loaded fries and nachos – and top it all off with a towering M&M Cookie Explosion shake.
Eat And Shop Til You Drop
All good holidays include two things in equal measure – giving your credit card a workout and stretching your stomach capacity with a bunch of delicious meals. Fortunately, you can achieve both of these goals at Paradise Center, located on the corner of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Cavill Mall and boasting a 100-meter frontage opposite the world-famous Surfers Paradise Beach. Update your wardrobe with some fresh new kicks from Platypus Shoes (their latest drop of Nikes and Dr. Martens are pure fire), grab some vintage sports tees and relaxed denim from Factorie and up your loungewear game at Cotton On Body. Now for the part, you’ve been hanging for – the food. The options are endless at Paradise Center. Smash delicate, handmade pasta and pizza at Love Italy; take a trip to Ireland with a pint of Guinness and a plate of bangers and mash at Kitty O’Shea’s Bar & Restaurant; have a steak and seafood feast at Salty’s on Cavill and grab a cocktail or three at the iconic Surfers Paradise Beer Garden.
Indulge In A Totally Boujee Spa Day
You’re on holiday, so it goes without saying that your itinerary needs to include a day spent relaxing. Fortunately, the Gold Coast is home to some seriously boujee day spas that you’ll want to spend some serious time in. Slip on a plush dress at Eforea Spa and prepare to bliss out. With a focus on total relaxation, you can indulge in a recharging bamboo massage or a Kodo massage inspired by Aboriginal techniques that work to balance and realign energy flow. If you really want to live your best life, book yourself in for one of their head-to-toe revitalization packages that include a salt scrub, mud wrap, hot stone massage and facial. If it’s luxury beauty treatments you’re after then Ocean Day Spa is where you’ll want to head. They offer manis, pedis and dreamy facials that will leave you glowing. And finally, you can’t go past the Q1 Resort & Spa the tropical sanctuary. It specializes in distinctively Australian treatments influenced by Aboriginal Dreamtime therapies, while the award-winning spa’s pulsating Vichy shower, Jet Spa pod and Hyrdostorm steam capsule are to die for. You’re welcome!
Marvel At The World Class Art Scene
Art and culture buffs will want to head straight to Gold Coast’s Home Of The Arts – or HOTA as the locals call it. On the lush tropical grounds, you’ll find a world-class venue boasting incredible interactive art installations and experiences. Your first port of call is the HOTA Gallery where you’ll find an array of jaw-dropping exhibitions like Dumpling Dreams, Bricktionary: the interactive LEGO exhibition and HOTA Collects – a permanent collection of over 100 beautiful pieces from Australian artists. Outside the creativity continues with HOTA’s Sculpture Walk where you can discover art in nature. And keep the stroll going with the precinct’s Adventure Trail, which will take you to the ‘living roof’ of the Outdoor Stage. Trust us, you need to see this IRL oasis. All that exploring will work up an appetite so treat yourself to a decadent meal at the gallery’s restaurant, Palette, where you’ll find a fine-dining menu inspired by the artwork of HOTA. Post meal, take the lift straight to the rooftop for a cocktail at The Exhibitionist Bar which boasts incredible tipples and views of the GC. Pro tip: check out HOTA’s ever-expanding roster of incredible pop-up comedy shows, cabaret and theater – there’s always an amazing show to catch.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping With These Thrill-Seeking Experiences
Adrenaline junkies you’ve well and truly found your happy place on the GC, with a slew of hair-raising and stomach-dropping adventures for you to experience. Kick it off with IFLY Indoor Skydiving where, much like the name suggests, you’ll take flight inside a five-meter wide glass chamber powered by a giant vertical wind tunnel. It might look easy but it will test even the biggest thrill-seekers. Next up it’s time to strap yourself into the Slingshot which will see you catapulted into the sky at 160 kilometers per hour. Want more action? How about scaling Australia’s highest external building with the SkyPoint Climb. You’ll push yourself to the limit as you climb 270 meters above sea level but will be rewarded with some of the most incredible views of the Gold Coast coastline and out to the lush hinterland. But that’s not the end of your blood-pumping adventure. Rug up and hold on tight as you whip around the Gold Coast seaway in a 650-horsepower jet boat at speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour with Jetboat Extreme. And get up close and personal with the ocean’s biggest predators at Seaworld’s Shark Bay Discovery experience. Pull on a wetsuit and try to keep your cool as you snorkel through the Reef Lagoon, home to tropical fish, rays and Black and White Tip reef sharks.
Already packing your bags for a Surfers Paradise escape? We feel you. While you’re at it make tracks to Paradise Center for endless entertainment including next-level eats, stores, epic arcades.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Paradise Center and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.