17 Best Things To Do In Surfers Paradise, Australia | 2023 Guide

Ask anyone if they have heard of Surfers Paradise, and their answer is often along the lines of “Yeah, isn’t that the amazing surfing place in Australia?” But contrary to popular belief, Surfers Paradise (or simply “Surfers” as referred to by the locals) is not a great surfing beach at all, but it offers plenty of other reasons to visit this fabulous city!

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When Max first moved to Australia, Surfers Paradise was his stomping ground. He studied at Griffith University, worked at Melbas on the Park restaurant (now renamed to The Cavill Hotel) and got to know Surfers Paradise inside and out. For him, Surfers was home and these are his tips for enjoying the best activities to do in Surfers Paradise.

Surfer's paradise, beaches in Gold Coast
Aerial view of Surfer’s paradise
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Things To Do In Surfers Paradise

With so many things to do in Surfers Paradise, it’s one of the biggest tourist destinations in Australia for both locals and visitors alike. Although the city of Surfers Paradise consists of only 20,000 people, many people consider it to be the capital of the surrounding suburbs that make up the Gold Coast Area.

Surfers Paradise Australia is an entertainment and cultural hub bustling with nightlife and good restaurants, which makes it a common stop for anyone travelling around the Gold Coast.

1. Take Surf Lessons 

If this is your first visit to Surfers Paradise Australia, then a surf lesson has got to be on your list of things to do in Surfers Paradise. Although Surfers is not the best surfing beach along the Gold Coast, it’s a good starting point for any beginner. 

Once you have that out of your system, then you are set to explore the rest of what Surfers Paradise Australia has to offer!

Surf lesson in Surfers Paradise
Surf lesson in Surfers Paradise. Photo courtesy of Liam Brennan/Tourism and Events Queensland.

2. Check Out The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets

Take a stroll along the Esplanade and discover a unique shopping and cultural experience at the Beachfront Markets every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday night. There are more than 100 market stalls offering jewellery, fashion, accessories, artworks, photography, and more. 

Once you’ve had your evening snack, this spot transforms into the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, with street artists providing entertainment along the way. You can groove to live entertainment while taking in the beautiful ocean view. 

3. Tackle The SkyPoint Climb

If you are feeling energetic, then a SkyPoint climb is a must. Reaching 270 metres high, Skypoint Observation deck is Australia’s highest external building climb. You have to be fairly fit to manage all the steps, but the pay-off is unparalleled 360′ views looking out over the entire Gold Coast and beyond.

There are different types of Skypoint Observation deck climbing packages, including a Climb and Dine, where you can reward your efforts with a delicious meal at the SkyPoint Bistro and Bar.

If you’re not feeling so fit, there is also a lift to the Skypoint Observation deck!

SkyPoint Climb
Australia’s highest external building adventure. Photo courtesy of The Edit Suite/Tourism and Events Queensland

4. Relax On A Surfers Paradise River Cruise

Take a Surfers Paradise River Cruise and view the city from the Gold Coast waterways, canals and rivers. There are a number of different tours and packages to choose from. Take a morning cruise, enjoy afternoon tea or sip on a cooling cocktail while sailing by Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise River Cruise
Photo courtesy of The Edit Suite/Tourism and Events Queensland.

5. Visit Nearby Beaches

One of the best things about Surfers Paradise Australia is its location. Gold Coast is surrounded by many unique sights and beautiful beaches; each Surfers Paradise beach is worthy of a spot on your Australian itinerary.

When you’re looking for a change of scenery, you can easily hop over to another part of the Gold Coast. Check out the more upscale Broadbeach with its fantastic dining options and Pacific Fair Shopping Center. Or head to Burleigh Heads to catch some waves, take a scenic walk, or have a picnic on Burleigh Hill; exploring Currumbin beaches is also a great option. 

The Surfers Paradise beach has lifeguards on duty all year round, making it safe for swimming. Just be sure to swim between the flags for your safety! 

Gold Coast. Australia
Gold Coast has some of the best beaches in Australia
Surfers Paradise Beach
Surfers Paradise beach. Photo courtesy of Pixel Frame/Tourism and Events Queensland.

READ NEXT: The Best Beaches in Gold Coast

6. Take A Day Trip To Springbrook National Park

Take a tour of Springbrook National Park. It’s about an hour’s drive from Surfers Paradise Queensland and is the perfect opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Eastern Australia. You’ll find many types of landscapes, cliffs, waterfalls, and forest trails to explore on your way to Springbrook Mountain, which is the highest spot in South East Queensland.

Springbrook National Park’s plateau is It’s home to some of the most ancient conifers on the planet. It’s almost surreal to imagine touching something so ancient!

Interested In A Tour? We Recommend This Day Tour To Springbrook National Park & Tambourine National Park

Springbrook National Park, QLD. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia
Springbrook National Park, QLD. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

7. Take A Day Trip To Currumbin Rock Pools

Just 30 minutes away from the Gold Coast, the Currumbin Rock Pools are a great day trip from Surfers Paradise. You have natural swimming pools, with rope swings and boulders to jump off and into the cool water, and a few rapids and waterfalls. 

There is also a picnic area with gazebos and toilet facilities on site.

Currumbin Rock Pools, Currumbin Valley, Queensland, Australia
Currumbin Rock Pools

8. Attend A Festival

Surfers Paradise Australia is also home to many annual festivals, including the Festival of Film, Music and Dance, Sand Safari Arts Festival, and Viva Surfers Paradise. No matter what time of year you are visiting the area, there is always something happening.

9. Visit HOTA (Home of the Arts)

At HOTA, you’ll find a world-class art collection, hilarious comedy, and theatre performances worthy of applause. 

Here, you can watch an eclectic selection of art-house films from around the world at HOTA Cinema, and while you are perched in the impressive HOTA Gallery, the Exhibitionist Bar serves up fantastic flavours, creative cocktails made from local ingredients, and unforgettable city views.

HOTA, Home of the Arts
HOTA, Home of the Arts Entrance. Photo courtesy of Hotel Miami/Tourism and Events Queensland

10. Take in the View From Evandale Parklands 

Located behind the Gold Coast Arts Centre, Evandale Parklands is the perfect location to escape the crowds. It features a beautiful lake, surrounded by a walking track, and plenty of shady places to set up a picnic blanket. You will catch an amazing view overlooking the Nerang River and the stunning Surfers Paradise skyline in the background.

11. Go Whale Watching

We recommend you go whale watching during your trip to this coastal city if you happen to be here between June to October, you can see the majestic humpback whales on their migration. 

During the tour, you can learn more about these incredible marine creatures by listening to their unique whale songs through an underwater microphone attached to the boat.

Interested in Whale Watching Cruise? We Recommend This Whale Watching Tour.

Whale watching
Whale watching

12. Get on A Jet Boat Ride

For an adrenaline rush, swap a leisurely scenic cruise for an exhilarating jet boat ride along the Gold Coast from the Main Beach. You’ll still see the same landmarks but with high-speed thrills and daring tricks included! 

With its 650hp twin jet-power turbo engines, this boat is known as the most powerful ride on the Gold Coast. So if you’re seeking excitement, this jet boat ride is the way to go! 

Interested in This Thrilling Tour? We Recommend This Extreme Jet Boat Ride

Jet Boat Extreme
Aerial view via jet boat tour with Surfers Paradise skyline on the horizon. Photo courtesy of Mel Campbell Creative/Tourism and Events Queensland

13. Hop on A Jet Ski

Take control of your own adrenaline rush by renting a jet ski. You’ll race across the rolling waves, passing by iconic Gold Coast sights like Sovereign Island, Stradbrook Island, and Couran Cove. Then, you can venture into the scenic mangrove forests.

Interested in Renting A Jetski? We Recommend This Self-guided Jetski Provider

14. Learn the Basics of Stand-Up Paddleboarding

For a relaxing self-paced exploration of Surfers Paradise, grab a stand-up paddle board (SUP) and cruise along the tranquil Gold Coast Broadwater, where you might even spot some friendly wildlife. 

If you’re an experienced paddler, you can venture to nearby Chevron Island and Macintosh Island Park. If it’s your first time on a paddle board, no need to be afraid; stand-up paddle boarding is beginner-friendly!

Interested in Taking A Lesson? We Recommend This Standup Paddleboarding & Marine Life Tour

Go Vertical Stand Up Paddleboarding
SUP is one of the most popular things to do in Surfers Paradise. Photo courtesy of Courtney Atkinson/Tourism and Events Queensland

15. Explore The Touristy Spots Downtown

First things first, check out the Gold Coast Wax Museum. This wax museum features impeccable wax figures of famous people and intriguing exhibits. Take a guided tour through some parts, including the spooky Chamber of Horrors. 

Or get swinging at Holey Moley Golf Club and enjoy some mini golf fun with Holey Moley 18 quirky holes, plus restaurants, bars, music, and more!

Also, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a must-visit in Surfers Paradise, offering unique attractions like a 7D theatre and a thrilling mirror maze. And pay a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s four new galleries, where you can learn about humans in space and discover mind-blowing facts. Expect the unexpected!

Another fun thing to do downtown is to witness thrilling horse races at the Gold Coast Turf Club, an Australian horse racing venue with shows, performances, and horse-related spectacles. Spend a day watching horse jumping, trying delicious food, and enjoying the action. Check the club’s event calendar for details here before you go!

16, Board The Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

Early risers, you can soar above the Gold Coast’s coastal landscape on a thrilling hot air balloon ride. Join a tour to catch the sunrise, see the Surfers Paradise’s canals, and enjoy forest-covered mountains. For a more enjoyable experience, wrap it up with a champagne breakfast after your 60-minute flight.

Check The Availability For A Hot Air Balloon Ride With Champagne Breakfast

Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast
Sunrise balloon ride over the hinterland. Photo courtesy of The Edit Suite/Tourism and Events Queensland

17. Enjoy A Sightseeing Dinner Cruise Along The Gold Coast Waterways

Why settle for just a scenic view of the Gold Coast waterways when you can indulge in a delightful buffet dinner and sightseeing cruise? There are many tour providers that will provide you with just that! 

Feast on a delectable buffet featuring locally sourced ingredients, and enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer, or even a delicious cocktail to elevate your dinner experience. All while you bask in the sunshine with a drink in hand as you listen to entertaining commentary from the expert crew about the iconic Gold Coast.

Interested in A Tour? We Recommend This Sightseeing Cruise with Buffet Dinner

Coomera Houseboat Holidays
Luxury houseboats for hire to cruise the Gold Coast Waterways. Photo courtesy of The Edit Suite/Tourism and Events Queensland

Where To Stay In Surfers Paradise

If you are really to immerse yourself in this seaside city and enjoy all the fun things to do in Surfers Paradise, then you are going to need a base. While there is no shortage of accommodation options in Surfers Paradise, it’s mostly resorts and large hotels.

If you are determined to find a more eco-friendly option, you may have to go a little further out of the city, but the Gold Coast has plenty of sustainable options which make an excellent base to explore the area and Surfers Paradise.

Gold Coast. Australia. Photo Cover
Gold Coast, Australia 

Novotel Surfers Paradise

Novotel Surfers Paradise is located smack bang in the heart of Surfers Paradise, meaning you are perfectly located close to all the major Surfers Paradise attractions. This place is near great beaches, fun Surfers Paradise nightlife, and cool theme parks. Best of all, it’s dog-friendly! 

Every room has a private balcony with views of the ocean or the city, perfect for unwinding in the evening. This hotel is all about efficiency and a green corporate culture to reduce its carbon footprint.

Even more, Novotel Surfers Paradise acknowledges the Kombumerri People of the Yugambeh Language region, who are the Traditional Owners of the lands. Novotel Surfers Paradise recognises that their traditional knowledge and heritage play a vital role in environmental assessments and the sustainable management of ecosystems.

Q1 Resort & Spa

The Q1 Resort & Spa (rates starting at AUD $159 for a one-bedroom apartment) is an iconic high-rise building in Surfers Paradise, Australia which held the title of the tallest residential building in the world between 2005 and 2011, Q1 building is still the tallest residential building in Australia.

The good news is that they are also dedicated to eco-friendly practices such as using energy-efficient technology throughout all of their resorts, a commitment to recycling and encouraging their guests to ‘go green’ with a free bike sharing scheme.

Royal Woods Gold Coast Resort

Close to Surfers Paradise is the Royal Woods Gold Coast Resort. They are dedicated to the conservation of the surrounding tropical environment of the Gold Coast region.

Their relaxing garden has been cultivated from carefully selected native plants which require little water to survive and have 9,500 litre water tanks for their gardens and pools. A one-bedroom suite at Royal Woods can be around a very reasonable $180 AUD, depending on the time of year. 

Sanctuary Beach Resort 

Sanctuary Beach Resort is right by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and a short 5-minute walk from Tugun Beach. The apartments have all the essentials, including free WiFi and a washer/dryer. 

You can also unwind by the outdoor pool or play some tennis. They have put several sustainable practices in place to minimise their environmental impact. It’s a great place for a mix of luxury and nature at your own pace!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Pixel Frame/Tourism and Events Queensland


If you prefer a more private accommodation or want to live like a local, then there are countless options available on Airbnb.

Best Restaurants In Surfers Paradise

There is no shortage of places to eat in Surfers Paradise. Take one step out of your accommodation and on the streets and you will see everything from kebab shops to fine dining that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Dining at Surfers Paradise
Couple eating and drinking on the Gold Coast. Photo courtesy of Jesse Lindemann/Tourism and Events Queensland

Shiraz Persian Restaurant & Bar

Shiraz Persian Restaurant & Bar serves a diverse menu of traditional, Halal-certified Persian dishes. They offer slow-cooked meals, grilled skewers, and a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. 

The majority of their menu is plant-based, making it both healthy and eco-friendly. It was voted as the best restaurant in Gold Coast in 2020!

Cafe Alfons

Cafe Alfons is the latest chapter in the Koehler family’s 110-year legacy of bakeries and cafes in Frankfurt. They serve premium coffee, homemade cakes, and a delicious menu. 

You can also explore a montage of the Koehler family’s history and enjoy cakes from generations-old recipes from fresh, quality ingredients.


With all this coastline, you know that the seafood is going to be good. If you want to splash a little cash and sample the best seafood in Surfers Paradise, then head to Critique for the seafood buffet Gold Coast style! 

The views over the water also make this the perfect choice to have a romantic meal with your significant other.

White Rhino

White Rhino With its central location, offers a unique dining experience with lush greenery, birdcage booths, indoor and outdoor seating, and even a waterfall (yes, it really is a waterfall!). 

They serve delicious lunch and dinner, craft cocktails, and award-winning wines. Don’t miss their Chilli Bug Linguini, Chargrilled Eye Fillet, or Wagyu Beef Burger. And for breakfast, they’ve got both your sweet and savoury options covered!

Blossoming Lotus

If you are vegan or vegetarian then the first choice seems to be Blossoming Lotus. The menu is Thai Vegan style, seasonal and made fresh daily, but you can usually find staple dishes, and a variety of salads.


If you’re looking for a Gold Coast venue with delectable food, unique drinks and live entertainment, then Steampunk is the right place. They serve Modern Australian cuisine in a visually stunning setting with gadgets, machinery, and more. 

It’s not your typical nightclub, it’s a relaxed spot to enjoy drinks and food without the usual nightclub hustle and bustle.

Best Bars And Clubs In Surfer’s Paradise

If there is one thing Surfers Paradise is known for besides its beach, it is the partying. Cavill Avenue is where you will find the majority of the Surfers Paradise bars and Surfers Paradise clubs.

Live Music

For live music and a pub atmosphere, check out Waxy’s Irish Pub. It is located downtown and is a local favourite for Sunday sessions.

The Avenue has live entertainment every night of the week, but Fridays and Saturdays are the main draws, and the best thing is, it’s free entry!

If you are looking for a mid-week shindig, then head to the House of Brews. They have a live act every Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the weekends.

Live entertainment at Miami Marketta
Live entertainment at Miami Marketta. Photo courtesy of Hotel Miami/Tourism and Events Queensland

Nightclubs And Cocktail Bars

For those looking to enjoy the famous Surfers Paradise nightclubs be sure to check out SinCity, famous for being open and busy seven days a week from 9pm to 5am.

Retro’s Cocktail Lounge is another popular haunt and offers a fun, albeit, slightly cheesy night out! It plays all the top tracks from the 80, 90’s and the naughties and serves fishbowl cocktails. If you plan ahead, you can get in for free by joining the guest list.

If R’n’B and hip hop are more to your liking then Havana is the place to go. It is all about the freshest hip hop and RnB vibes. They regularly host guest DJs and live shows right in the heart of the Gold Coast. 

Another top option for Surfers Paradise bars is The Island Rooftop, perfect for sipping on a cocktail and watching the sun go down.

Tip: If you are looking for an eco-friendly way to zip between Surfers Paradise bars, hail a Green Cab. These pedal cabs operate every evening from 6pm til 10pm, and all through the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

Wherever you end up staying, eating, and playing, Surfers Paradise Australia will undoubtedly satisfy the party side of anyone and is a natural stop for most tourists traversing the East Coast.

Surfer's Paradise at night.
Surfer’s Paradise at night


Have You Visited Surfers Paradise, Australia? Share Your Top Tip With Us Below

2 thoughts on “17 Best Things To Do In Surfers Paradise, Australia | 2023 Guide”

  1. A non-surfing beach called Surfer’s Paradise?

    But hey, I don’t mind. I’ve been there together with friends and it was amazing. I loved the food and the parties were insane. I know some surfers who ended up disappointed though, thinking that they can surf there.

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