Located on Australia’s famous Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is renowned for its stunning stretch of beach and as the true heart of Queensland. But there is more to Surfers Paradise than just the beach! Let Vacations by Marriott show you how to spend 4 fun-filled days exploring the area’s best dining, snorkeling and famous sites.

Day One: You hit the ground early in the afternoon at the Gold Coast Airport in tropical Queensland, gather the luggage and are soon on your way to the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa.  Once checked in, you arrive in your room and are immediately impressed by the floor-to-ceiling window, which provides great views of the resort’s pool areas, and the beach just beyond.  The weather’s great, so you slip into a swimsuit and take a walk along the beach, which features high-rises on one side and what looks to be some good waves on the other.  You think you might find out what it takes to surf those waves before the trip is over, but for now you find a pair of lounge chairs fronting the resort’s saltwater lagoon and cool off in the water before your thoughts turn to dinner.  Omeros Bros. is one of the top-rated seafood restaurants in the area, and as evening arrives, you sit down to enjoy a New Zealand Whole Sole, dry-grilled with fresh lemon and paired with an Australian Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River.  Perfect. 

Day Two: This morning you’re up very early and headed north to Brisbane, where you board a deluxe, tri-level ferry bound for Moreton Island, known as one of the most beautiful – and fun – spots off the Gold Coast.  Once on the island, you join a small group and snorkel the clear waters for a while, looking for turtles, dolphins and colorful reef fish before swimming back to the beach for a little rest and relaxation.  After a delicious picnic lunch, you hop into a glass-bottomed kayak and follow a guide as you paddle toward the Tangalooma Wrecks – a group of semi-submerged ships located offshore.  The air is warm and the water inviting, but there’s even more to explore, and you’re soon headed inland aboard a 4x4 to the “desert,” which is an expanse of dunes where you ride a sand toboggan downhill at speeds approaching 40 miles per hour. It all makes for a very full, unforgettable day under the sun, and you eventually arrive back in Surfers Paradise ready for a room service dinner and a good night’s sleep.   

Day Three: Located about an hour inland of Surfers Paradise, Lamington National Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Godwana Rainforests of Australia, and a great place to explore Queensland’s natural beauty.  Upon arrival, you walk across nine different footbridges located about 45 feet (16 meters) above the rainforest, as a guide discusses the features of the diverse ecosystem and helps you identify unique species of plant and animal life. Once you’re back on the ground, you get an up-close encounter with bird species native to the region during a feeding.  The wedge tailed eagles, Albert lyrebirds, bowerbirds and flocks of vibrant red-and-green king parrots eat the seed right out of your hand! After the birds are fed, you take a bush walk among the park’s trail system, and later make a stop at a local alpaca farm to spend some time with the furry, friendly creatures and snap a couple of selfies.  Back at the resort, you retreat to the Ruby Spa for a relaxing massage – just what’s needed after a couple of really busy days.

Day Four: You’ll depart the Gold Coast for home tomorrow, but today you’ve decided to learn how Surfers Paradise got its name by taking a surf lesson. You start by visiting Get on Your Bike to rent a beach cruiser for the 20-minute ride through beachfront neighborhoods to Main Beach – home of the Get Wet Surf School.  You pick up a few of the basics on dry land, then grab your soft top surfboard and make your way out into the surf.  True to the instructor’s guarantee, within a few minutes you’re on your feet and riding the (relatively) gentle waves, and you begin to develop an understanding of why the sport of surfing became so popular and addictive in Australia.  Afterwards, you stop by Domanis Cafe for pizza and a beer before returning to the resort to get ready for a night of celebration among the neon-lit clubs.  The music pulses and you toast your successful adventure on the “Goldie,” as the locals refer to this stretch of coast.  It’s hard to imagine another place that can offer quite the same amount of fun and good times.