Drawing on rankings from top travel experts and our expert review-fueled algorithm that identifies the world’s best hotels, restaurants, and attractions together, we’re debuting our Experts’ Choice destination awards. In Oceania, it’s Queensland’s Gold Coast, known for its miles of beaches, that takes this year’s prize.
Over half a million people are will flock to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which kicked off Wednesday and continues through April 15th. Beyond the Games, perfect weather, nightlife, theme parks and water sports draw these and 12 million other visitors yearly to this sunny stretch south of Brisbane.
Festival 2018, a celebration of the arts, coincides with the Commonwealth games and will feature both local and global music, theater, circus, dance, and visual arts. Events are taking place at multiple venues, like Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Even after the festival’s over, HOTA (Home of the Arts) is an arts and entertainment hub that’ll help you get your fill.
The Guardian, in its ‘Where to go in 2018’ list, describes Surfers Paradise as a “high-rise strip of nightlife and theme parks that colours this coastline with a reputation for raucous partying.” Indeed, the Gold Coast is known the country over for hosting “Schoolies Week,” the equivalent of Spring Break for Australian students, which happens in mid- to late November.
The area’s not just for teenage revelers, though, with more grown-up nightlife options, high-end shopping and luxury accommodations, not to mention Surfers Paradise Beach. Families flock to Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, and Warner Brothers Movie World, all owned by the same company, which offers a multipark pass.
The Gold Coast is most famous for its miles of beaches, too numerous for us to introduce you to individually, but the local tourism corporation has a handy guide to which beaches are best for which activities. It’s not all about the beaches, though: there is some pretty spectacular scenery to behold when you hit the trails at Springbrook and Lamington National Parks — among The Telegraph’s reasons for naming the Gold Coast one of its 20 destinations to visit in 2018. Wildlife lovers will be won over by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and its cuddly koalas.
When choosing where to stay during your Gold Coast visit, you’ll have a variety of options to fit budget and style. TripExpert’s glitzy top hotel truly epitomizes the over-the-top Gold Coast itself — Palazzo Versace 90 is a fashion house-branded waterfront property with gorgeous views, a lagoon pool, imported Italian artwork and fabrics, and, of course, an in-house Versace boutique.
Mr and Mrs Smith calls QT Gold Coast 91 a “hedonistic high-rise” that “aims to please, with dreamy dining, a cool pool, stylish spa and sea-view rooms.” It’s a TripExpert Best of Gold Coast winner that offers “retro surfer chic” (The Telegraph) for less than you’ll pay for Versace luxury.
One more hotel worth mentioning is the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast 85, a Lonely Planet top choice that has for decades been an attractive beachfront beauty. The rooms are spacious and there are 18 private luxury villas favored by long-stay guests.
Whether it’s the Gold Coast‘s status as a party capital, its iconic beaches, its family attractions, or its natural beauty, there are as many reasons to visit the Experts’ Choice Best of Oceania winner for 2018 as there are days of sunshine here. So start planning that trip with our help!