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Gold Coast, although the name suggests otherwise, is a city in Queensland. It is the second city in the state after Brisbane (about 100 kilometres to the north) with around 540,000 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest in the country.
If you're looking for a break from the Gold Coast's party scene, think about heading out to snorkel or scuba dive some of the area's famed diving including large reefs with rocky outcrops and enormous bommies adorned with a variety of sponges and soft corals, or some of the amazing wrecks including the Scottish Prince.
Gold Coast has a humid subtropical climate with generally warm conditions throughout the year. Average highs range from around 21 °C in July to 29 °C in January, though the absolute record stands at 40 °C! Lows are between 12 °C and 22 °C respectively and the record minimum temperature is 2.5 °C. Precipitation averages around 1,200 mm a year with July to September being the driest months and February the wettest.
Gold Coast Airport (OOL), also called Coolangatta Airport and about 20 kilometres from Surfers Paradise, has a growing number of flights. Destinations include Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington with Air New Zealand, Darwin and Mount Isa with Airnorth, Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia X, Adelaide, Auckland, Cairns, Christchurch, Melbourne, Newcastle, Osaka, Tokyo and Sydney with Jetstar Airways, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney with Tiger Airways Australia, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Townsville with Virgin Blue and Auckland with Pacific Blue.
Two local bus routes service the Gold Coast Airport, both of which are operated by Surfside Buslines.
Northbound buses include the 702 from Southport via Gold Coast Highway to Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, Australia Fair, and the 761 from Varsity Lakes Rail via The Pines and then express to Varsity Lakes. Southbound there is bus 761 - Tweed Heads via Kirra and Coolangatta.
Buses also run hourly from Brisbane Airport, and will drop you at most hotels.
There are buses from Brisbane and Sydney, which arrive at the bus terminal in Beach Road, Surfers Paradise. There is also a booking/ticket office here.
The Gold Coast's main provider of public bus services is Surfside Buslines. It is a part of TransLink, designed to coordinate the public transport providers in Brisbane and the surrounding areas. The majority of the bus routes that Surfside operates run along the Gold Coast Highway. Services are frequent during the day, with intervals being as little as 5 minutes between Southport and Burleigh Heads.
Around Surfers Paradise there is a series of one way streets and no through roads which makes it a bit tricky to find your way, but with planning ahead it is quite easy, and not too much traffic. Parking is largely available on the streets, but car parking stations are also scattered around. There is plenty of parking at shopping centres such as Australia Fair and at the tourist attractions, such as Seaworld, Movie World or Dreamworld.
There is a good bus service which runs up and down the Gold Coast Hwy, as well as other routes to the more inland suburbs and islands. It is possible to get public transport to most of the main attractions, such as Seaworld, Currumbin Bird Sanctuary or Movie World.
The Gold Coast Oceanway is a foreshoreway along beaches in Gold Coast, Queensland. The Gold Coast Oceanway is a shared use pedestrian and cyclist pathway on the Gold Coast, connecting the Point Danger lighthouse on the New South Wales and Queensland border to the Gold Coast Seaway. The network includes 36 kilometres of pathways and it is possible to walk along the foreshore to each beach, from Seaworld, through Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
There are a number of bike paths along the coast and around the canals behind the Gold Coast.
There are loads of places to eat, ranging from cheap greasy breakfasts through to some quite glamorous restaurants, and every type of cuisine you could want.
A few suggestions:
|Aquarius Backpackers||44 Queen Street, Gold Coast, Queensland||hostel||-|
|Burleigh Point Holiday Apartments||300 The Esplanade Burleigh Heads||apartment||-|
|Coolangatta YHA||230 Coolangatta Rd||hostel||72|
|Currumbin Apartments||955 Gold Coast Highway||apartment||-|
Dependent on your visas, the Gold Coast appears to have lots of seasonal jobs available.
There are many pubs, cafes and restaurants which offer free wifi, usually if you buy something. Gloria Jeans Coffee on the corner of the Gold Coast Hwy and Elkhorn Street has a very reliable internet connection.
There are also a number of internet cafes, and computers are available at most hostels too.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Australia is on a GSM 900/1800 network, so if you have an unlocked phone that works on those frequencies, you will be able to buy a prepaid SIM-card and stick into your phone when you're in Australia. You will receive a new Australian phone number with the SIM-card.
To dial out of Australia use the prefix 0011, followed by the calling code of the country you are trying to reach, followed by the area code of the city/town (without the 0!) and finally the phone number.
Within Australia, it is necessary to add an area code to the phone numbers if you are calling from outside the area. Below are Australia's area codes:
000 is the emergency telephone number in Australia, but the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112 also works on mobile phones.
Australia Post is the government's postal service. Most suburbs will have at least one post office. Opening times are mostly from around 8:00 or 9:00am to 5:00pm though larger ones keep longer hours sometimes. A standard letter or postcard sent within Australia will cost $0.60. Internationally, it costs $1.70 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.85 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.60 to anywhere else in the world.. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail. You can also use use private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL as they are competitive and reliable.
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