Where to Stay on the Gold Coast in 2024

Wondering where to stay on the Gold Coast? If you have settled on the Gold Coast for your next Aussie holiday, then the next big decision is which part of this beautiful region will make a great base for you. Today Aussie travel writer Seana Smith, who writes at Swim the World, is going to share her advice. As a regular visitor in these parts, she knows what’s what!

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The Gold Coast promotes itself as ‘Australia’s playground’ and that is because it 100% is. Stretching 56km from Coomera in the north, where the theme parks are, to Coolangatta in the south with the gorgeous Snapper Rocks, the Gold Coast has dozens of beaches, every entertainment anyone could ask for, plus a hinterland full of forests, waterfalls, vineyards and farms.

Scenic of Where to stay on the Gold Coast
Credit: Destination Gold Coast

Whatever you love to do, you can do it on the Gold Coast; cafes, restaurants, surfing, swimming, beach walks, bush walks, visiting art galleries and theatres, seeing wildlife, seeing shows and visiting theme parks. It is all there to enjoy.

The city of the Gold Coast covers a vast area, more than 70km

But where are the best areas of the Gold Coast for you to stay in? Well, that depends on what sort of holiday you like. Read below a guide to the best areas to stay in on your Gold Coast vacation. I have stayed in all these areas myself, except the Gold Coast’s Hinterland, so can share all the secrets I have learned.

We will start at the north end of the Gold Coast and work our way south.

Main Beach

Main Beach is the peninsula that sits between the ocean beaches and Broadwater, north of Surfers Paradise. There is a coastal reserve at the very northern end, the Spit, miles of beaches and resorts, shops and cafes to explore.

Marina Mirage and resort Gold Coast
Beach resort, shopping centre and marina on the Gold Coast, Queensland

Why stay in Main Beach?

Main Beach is super central and close to everything but is quieter and less frenetic than Surfers Paradise. People love to stay at the three resorts at Main Beach, they are so extensive that you do not need to leave them.

However, the shopping, dining and the adventure sports available at the Marina Mirage centre, do tempt people out. Australia Fair Shopping Centre is also nearby. At the south end, Tedder venue has terrific eateries and upmarket shops, and don’t miss eating out at Southport Yacht Club.

Our favourite main beach accommodation

Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 7 | View prices on booking.com

Five star comfort right on the beachfront, with amazing pools and delightful groups. This resort suits family and adults-only visits too.

Where: 71 Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Queensland

Sea World Resort

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 5  | View prices on booking.com

Sea World resort Dest GC 1
Seaworld Resort Credit: Destination Gold Coast

Fantastic for families with family rooms, kids’ club, a water playground and large outdoor pool plus direct entrance into Sea World. You can book your hotel and park entry in one and just spend your entire holiday here if you want to.

Where: Sea World Drive, Main Beach, Queensland

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast

Guest Rating: 8.3/10 | Max room capacity: 2  | View prices on booking.com

The last word in luxe, this flamboyant five-star hotel has exquisite décor, luxury pool cabanas and plush rooms.

Note: The property is rebranding this August but will operate as it does now, just with a new name.

Where: 94 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, Queensland

Surfers Paradise

With its futuristic skyline and busy, vibrant atmosphere, Surfers Paradise is where you stay when you want to be in the heart of the action near Cavill Avenue and right at the beach.

There are shopping centres, an abundance of cafes and restaurants to suit all taste. You can do water sports on the Nerang River or adrenaline sports like indoor skydiving all within walking distance.

The official Surfers Paradise Sign
The official Surfers Paradise Sign Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Surfers Paradise Beach is 2km long and is prone to rips, so please stick to swimming between the flags.

Why stay in Surfers Paradise?

Stay at Surfers when you love action, and love to be busy. The theme parks are just a short drive away. The HOTA (Home Of The Arts) complex with galleries, theatre and cinemas is just across the Nerang River.

HOTA (Home of the Arts)  Gold Coast
HOTA has a great bar. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

If you are up early on a Sunday, HOTA Farmers Market operates from 6am-11.30am. Pick up some delicious local eats for breakfast and then pop in and explore the collection in the gallery.

The beach at Surfers is a joy too, fabulous for morning walks, and surfing, sunbathing and swimming all day long.

Our favourite Surfers Paradise accommodation

Paradise Resort Gold Coast

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 4  | View prices on booking.com

This family-friendly resort is a regular award-winner and is the best place to stay if you are visiting with young children. There’s a kids’ club, an indoor playground and a fun family pool.

Water Playground Paradise Resort 1
Paradise Resort

Where: 122 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

QT Gold Coast

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity:  | View prices on booking.com

The favourite hotel of design lovers, the QT is super central and has fabulous décor, not to mention the coolest pool on the Gold Coast. Most rooms have expansive ocean views.

TravMedia Australia 1534249 Rooms Deluxe Ocean View King 1

Where: 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise Queensland

Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise

Guest Rating: 8.7/10 | Max room capacity: 8  | View prices on booking.com

Absolute beachfront and right beside the main shopping centre, this self-contained apartment hotel is luxurious and elegant whilst being totally central.

Peppers Soul Gold Coast
Peppers Soul Gold Coast

Choose from one bedroom ocean view apartments to family sizes spaces of up to 4 bedrooms or perhaps splurge on the penthouse. Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise even have apartments with plunge pools on the balcony!

Where: 8, The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Q1 Resort and Spa

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: | View prices on booking.com

Stay in Australia’s tallest residential tower and enjoy amazing views and terrific resort facilities that include a heated lap pool and two large lagoon pools.

With one, two and three-bedroom apartments, Q1 Resort gold coast is a great choice for families or groups.

You can pop up to enjoy the outdoors Skypoint Climb at the top of the building.

Where: 9 Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Queensland

The Breakers Apartments

Guest Rating: 8.4/10 | Max room capacity: 6 | View prices on booking.com

More affordable apartments are found here at the southern end of the Gold Coast. Right on the beach, with cabanas in the garden and a BBQ area, these are a fun choice, out of the busiest part of this suburb..

Where: 60 Old Burleigh Road, Surfers Paradise


Broadbeach is the next suburb south of Surfers Paradise, yet feels quite different. It is less compact and less busy yet still has plenty of cafes, restaurants and shopping.

Broadbeach waterfront and skyline
Broadbeach waterfront Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Why stay in BroadBeach?

Stay the night at Broadbeach to enjoy a less frenetic pace whilst still being pretty close to all the fun stuff the Gold Coast has to offer.

For families, there is a massive playground and reserve by the beach. Hop on the light rail to go up to Surfers or down to the huge Pacific Fair Shopping Centre.

The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre is nearby.

Our favourite Broadbeach accommodation

The Waves Resort

Guest Rating: 8.7/10 | Max room capacity: 7 | View prices on booking.com

This luxury apartment hotel has magnificent beach views from the upper levels and enormous apartments with all the mod cons. There’s also a large swimming pool in the complex.

Wave apartments 1

Where: 89-91 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads has the laid-back atmosphere of a coastal village yet has plenty of trendy cafes, breweries and restaurants to keep a foodie happy. Joining you have Miami Beach and Mermaid Beach when you fancy a change.

burleigh heads beach 1 1
Burleigh Heads Beach

Of course Burleigh Heads is most famous for its iconic surf break, and it is where many serious surfers always choose the best places to stay.

Why stay in Burleigh Heads?

There are delightful coastal walks here too and just south is Currumbin with its famous Wildlife Refuge, and also the charming Tallebudgera Creek is close by, a lovely spot for swimming and relaxing.

Gold Coast skyline and surfing beach visible from Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Burleigh Heads Beach and Surfers skyline

Our favourite Burleigh Heads accommodation

Swell Resort

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 5 | View prices on booking.com

This 4.5 star apartment hotel has pools, tennis courts, gym and yoga classes. It is a short alk from the beach and national park which has such lovely walks to enjoy.

Where: 1 Ocean Street, Burleigh Heads, Queensland


At the far south end of the Gold Coast is laid-lack Coolangatta beach, a gorgeous stretch of beach itself, surrounded by other pretty areas, including Rainbow Beach and Snapper Rocks. There are many apartment blocks here as well as fascinating retro hotels plus no shortage of places to eat, drink and shop.

Coolangatta Gold Coast Credit: Destination Gold Coast

Why stay in Coolangatta?

The proximity to the airport makes this a great area to base yourself at, especially if you are more interested in beach culture than in theme parks and galleries and theatres. You can fly in and get to your hotel or apartment within 10-15 minutes of leaving the airport.

This is also a terrific area for enjoying the many interesting things to do over the border in Tweed area of northern NSW, like snorkelling with turtles at Cook Island.

Our favourite Coolangatta accommodation

Greenmount Beach House

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 3 | View prices on booking.com

This retro hotel is reasonably priced, beautifully positioned on the headland at the south of Coolangatta, which has a lovely short walkway south to Rainbow Beach.

Greenmount hotel lobby

The rooms are spacious, the parking is easy and there is a cute pool.

Where: 3 Hill St, Coolangatta QLD 4225

The Pink Hotel Coolangatta

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 4 | View prices on booking.com

Art lovers will adore this historic retro hotel. Each room has custom artworks and plush velvet couches.  There’s a rooftop cocktail bar too, and the beach is just minutes away.

Pink Hotel Gold Coast
Pink Hotel Gold Coast

Where: 171 Griffith St, Coolangatta 

Gold Coast Hinterland

If you are looking for a more nature-based holiday, with lots of bush walks, waterfalls and amazing views, not to mention animal experiences and vineyards, then the Gold Coast Hinterland is for you.

Why visit the Gold Coast Hinterland?

Just an hour’s drive from Surfers Paradise and a one hour 15 minute drive from Coolangatta Airport, the Gold Coast Hinterland has plenty to keep nature lovers engaged and well-exercised.

Gold Coast Hinterland DGC TLSTILL19 057
Credit: Destination Gold Coast

Walk through the rainforest in Springbrook and Lamington National Parks, whizz down some of the excellent mountain biking trails, go horse riding and then enjoy the shopping at Tamborine Mountain and eat locally sourced produce at delightful cafes and restaurants.

There are also some fantastic waterfalls waiting to be discovered.

Purlingbrook falls in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia
Purlingbrook falls in the Gold Coast Hinterland Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Many people choose to stay in one of the Gold Coast beach areas and then drive up to the hinterland for a few more days.

Our favourite Gold Coast Hinterland accommodation

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

Guest Rating: 8.1/10 | Max room capacity: 4 | View prices on booking.com

Historic resort hotel set amongst the UNESCO listed rainforest of Lamington National Park. It’s hard to imagine much better than sitting in the infinity pool, reading at the fireplace or enjoying a drink in the rainforest bar. All less than 90 minutes from Coolangatta Airport.

O'Reillys Campground Gold Coast Hinterland
The campground at O’Reilly’s Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

O’Reilly’s offer a full range of experiences from its campground with stunning valley views to gorgeous cabins that offer a lot more comfort.

OReillys rainforest retreat 147755-19
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Where: 3582 Lamington National Park Road, Canungra, Queensland, 4275

Pethers Rainforest Retreat

Guest Rating: 9.0/10 | Max room capacity: 2 | View prices on booking.com

Romantic, adults only, in the heart of beautiful Tamborine Mountain. Spacious studio villas featuring a wood fire, balcony overlooking the rainforest and spa bath.

Where: 28b Geissmann Street, Tamborine Mountain

Binna Burra Lodge

Guest Rating: 8.7/10 | Max room capacity: 6  | View prices on booking.com

Bunkrooms to luxury apartments, spectacular views, and a rainforest setting. Binna Burra gives you easy access to hiking trails and is a great place to stay to escape the rat race for a while.

Binna Burra Lodge property
Binna Burra Lodge Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Binna Burra recently opened brand new Tiny Wild Houses on top of Bellbird Clifftop. These self contained quarters have a full size glass wall giving you breathtaking views from our bed.

Binna Burra Lodge Bed and views
Binna Burra Tiny Wild Houses Credit: Travmedia

 Where: 1069 Binna Burra Rd, Beechmont QLD 4211

When is the best time to visit the Gold Coast for a beach holiday?

The best time weather wise to stay on the Gold Coast is also the busiest. Peak periods include Australian School holidays and the “Schoolies” period from Oct to late November.

The Gold Coast Australia 500 is held in late October and this week is best avoided if you are not interested in the car racing.

If you can book outside these times, you will find Gold Coast hotels are substantially less expensive.

The weather is lovely well into autumn and spring so don’t rule out these times!

Map of Where to stay on the Gold Coast

We hope this helps you decide where to stay on the Gold Coast and which will suit you best for your holiday.

Do check out our other Gold Coast articles here:

It’s always a good idea to keep an on eye on the Destination Gold Coast website for updates and events too.

About the Author: Seana Smith is a full-time writer and avid swimmer. She shares her love of the water on her website Swim the World.

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