Perhaps the most iconic surf destinations in the world, Surfers Paradise - on Queensland's Gold Coast - is a colourful, buzzing resort that attracts everyone from surfer dudes to families searching for sunshine fun. The gorgeous sands and warm waters of the Pacific are perfect for a beach-based holiday but there's an amazing array of attractions on land to guarantee a great time away from the beach, too.
Surfers Paradise has been Australia's favourite playground since the 1930s when a local businessman persuaded the authorities to change its name from Elston to Surfers Paradise - which just so happened to be the name of his hotel. With its long stretches of stunning sands and ideal surfing conditions, Surfers Paradise was perfectly placed to become the centre of the action as the Aussie surf scene exploded in the 1960s.
If amassed teenagers is not your scene, Surfers Paradise is best avoided as term finishes. The area is one of the favoured 'schoolie' destinations and there are tons of teen themed events in town and on and around the beach.
Once More on to the Beach - The 3km strip of sand that has made Surfers Paradise's name as the Gold Coast's premier surf destination is indeed picture-postcard perfect. And if all you want to do on your vacation is hang out on the beach, catch some rays and ride some waves, there's no better spot to do it than here. The beach welcomes everyone, particularly families, and is patrolled all year round by the local Surf Life Saving Club. The beach here is also home to Australia's beach volleyball scene with professional competitions taking place regularly. There's room for not so gifted amateurs to have a go, so don't worry if you haven't reached Olympic standard with your spiking.
Water sports are, naturally, hugely popular here. There's surfing, of course, or you can try jet-skiing, parasailing, diving, snorkelling, kayaking... the list is endless (and probably exhausting!). But when you're on holiday here, you simply have to try everything you can.
Variations on a Theme (Park) - Its growth as the premier resort in Australia over the last couple of decades has made Surfers Paradise the nation's theme park capital, too. Dreamworld offers the ultimate in adrenaline rides; Whitewater World and Wet n Wild do exactly what it says on the tin with a plethora of rides and slides designed to get you very wet; and Warner Bros. Movie World brings Hollywood to the Gold Coast.
Then there are the wildlife parks that bring you closer to Australia's marvellous creatures. Explore marine life at Sea World; the Australian Outback Spectacular introduces you to that rugged life; and there are more than 1400 animals and birdlife to meet at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Straight to the Top - For something to get the heart really racing, try the SkyPoint Climb, which takes you 270m up into the air to the top of one of Surfers Paradise's iconic landmarks, the Q1 Resort Tower. If getting to the top via an exterior climb seems a little too extreme, take interior lift instead to the SkyPoint Observation Tower for unparalleled views of the Gold Coast.
A Feel for Fashion - Surf stores dominate the beachfront and the malls of Surfers Paradise where you get stock up on all the beachwear you'll ever need. But the resort is also known for its quirky boutiques and designer outlets where you can browse to your heart's content. The best bargains are to be found at the twice-weekly beachfront markets where there are more than 120 stalls and live entertainment to provide a great soundtrack to your shopping.
Let the Music Play - If daytime is beach time, night-time is club central in Surfers Paradise. With a wide variety of bars and clubs to choose from, the partying goes on until the wee hours every night. The resort is also blessed with a fine selection of restaurants, cafes and eateries, particularly along the beachfront, where you can dine out on a budget or splurge on top-class cuisine.