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+ World class right points
+ Near-perfect tropical climate
+ Flat day entertainment
+ Inexpensive
- Super crowded surf arena
- Few lefts
- Generally small waves

The Gold Coast, Queensland, AUSTRALIA

Kirra, Joli

Surf Spots

Duranbah (D-Bah)
Snapper Rocks
Currumbin Alley
Burleigh Heads
Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast)
The Spit
South Stradbroke

The Surf

Queensland’s Gold Coast is one of the most intense surf zones in the world, combining 40K’s (25mi) of legendary spots with a huge, hungry surf population. It’s the most visited stretch of coastline in Australia, but don’t be misled by the name “Surfer’s Paradise”, as the heart of this zone is dominated by skyscrapers not palm trees and the mass-tourism hordes rule out anything approaching deserted. However year round warm temperatures, a raging nightlife and endlessly long, right point breaks tempt southerners and foreigners alike, to try their luck in Australia’s most competitive line-ups.

When to Go

The main 2-8ft (0.5-3m) NE-E swells occur from December-March, which is the tropical cyclone season in the Coral Sea. At this time one can expect about 2-3 swells per month lasting between 3-7 days. However, they’re not as predictable and consistent as Antarctic lows, and if the cyclone is too close, the surf will be choppy and erratic. Winter produces 2-8ft SE swells on the E-SE exposed breaks. The best winds (SW-SE) often blow from May to August, which is not the cyclone season. Between January and April, winds are usually light with a dominant S-E direction. The most unfavourable period starts in September when lots of N winds mess up the E-NE facing coastline. It starts to improve again in December. As a general rule the beaches are better at high tides and point breaks at low. Tidal range can reach 6ft, so get a tide chart.

dominant swell NE -NE NE -NE NE -SE NE -SE NE -SE NE -NE
swell size (ft) 4-5 4-5 2-3 2 2-3 3
consistency (%) 70 60 40 30 40 50
dominant wind E -S E -S SE -SW SE -SW N -SE N -SE
average force F4 F4 F4 F4 F4 F4
consistency (%) 62 63 59 49 61 73
water temp (C) 26 25 23 21 22 24
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts springsuit 3/2 springsuit springsuit
Gold Coast - 275,000

40km (25mi)

GMT +10hr

Travel Information


There is little to fault about the Gold Coasts subtropical weather. November to April is the “wet” season with some rainy days and warm temperatures. Cyclones usually only affect northern Queensland. It stays pleasant throughout the dry season (May-October) but nights can get a little bit chilly. For 6 months of the year, you can surf in boardshorts and rash vests, or a shorty for the early mornings. In the dry season you may need a 2mm steamer in the early morning. A springsuit would be the all round winter wetsuit.


This is a great place for organised entertainment with Sea World, Wet n’Wild, Cableski Movie World, DreamWorld, Currumbin Sanctuary and Fleays all keen to occupy you on the flat days. Also more than happy to separate you from your money is Jupiters Casino. There is some mega nightlife action on Orchid Avenue.


The most likely problems are drop-ins and collisions at zooed out spots. You stand more chances being attacked by an aggro local, than a shark! NE winds bring in the nasty Blue Bottle jellyfish. The skin cancer rate is very high. Use more than just sunscreen.


There are more than 50 surf shops stocking all the gear at bargain prices. The Aussie beer culture leads to some serious nights out but it’s still crowded for the dawn patrol. Cheap food and drink at RSL Clubs. Queensland has a reputation as the “Police State”, with harsh drink driving penalties and draconian cannabis laws. Avoid them where possible!

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