Home to some of the most beautiful national parks, beaches and rainforests in the country, the Gold Coast is a glittering gem in the crown of Queensland. Famous for its never-ending golden beaches, surfing hotspots and vibrant nightlife, the Gold Coast is perfect for beachside holidays in the sun.

The places on this list are popular with locals and are perfect for getting a glimpse of the real Gold Coast. Of course, many of the better known highlights, including Surfers Paradise, Main Beach and Burleigh are well worth a visit. In fact, it would be sacrilege to come to the Gold Coast and not at least have a day at Surfers Paradise. But we promise you that the best way to discover the hidden beauty of an area is through local knowledge.

To make sure you get to enjoy the best that the city has to offer, here are five of the best local spots on the Gold Coast that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Rainbow Bay

Nestled at the southernmost tip of the Gold Coast, Rainbow Bay is among the most beautiful of all the Gold Coast beaches. Connecting the ever-popular Snapper Rocks to Greenmount Point, the bay is protected from southerly ocean winds, ensuring the shallow waters are warm and calm.

From May to September, visitors flock to the region to catch a glimpse of the 27,000 Humpback whales migrating just 50m off of the shore. If visiting in April, be sure to check out the Corona Open Gold Coast Surf competition, which is held at Little Mali and Snapper Rocks and guarantees plenty of fun under the Queensland sun.

Just behind the beach, you’ll find beautiful parklands with BBQ facilities, picnic tables and a kids playground. Pack a picnic and make your way here in the late afternoon, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunset as the sun drops beneath the horizon. From swimming and surfing to picnics and beach games, Rainbow Bay is well worth a few hours of your time when in the area.

rainbow bay gold coast

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is popular with both locals and tourists alike - and for good reason. As the birthplace of modern professional surfing competitions, it is seen as sacred to many in the world of surfing. Kick back and relax amongst the towering pine trees, gorgeous beaches and amazing dining scene.

Whether you are chasing waves or not, there is a range of activities in Burleigh to choose from. For those travelling with small children, make your way across to the nearby Tallebudgera Creek. Here you'll find protected shallows, walking tracks and trails that guide you through a variety of rainforest and mangrove ecosystems along the Gold Coast.

Wining and dining is popular in the town area, with a great variety of chic restaurants, cocktail lounges and bars scattered within the townships borders. Be sure to stop for a drink or two at Burleigh Pavilion, where you can soak up spectacular ocean views before making your way to the Village Markets or the many shops and boutiques in the area.

restaurant overlooking the beach

Springbrook National Park

Discover the fresh air and stunning landscapes at one of Queensland's national treasures; Springbrook National Park. Explore lush rainforests full of ancient trees and areas of exceptional ecological importance. Breathe in the cool mists of the breathtaking waterfalls and immerse yourself in the spectacular natural beauty of the Gondwana Rainforest.

Providing a perfect backdrop for stunning bush walks, picnics in paradise and wildlife walks, Springbrook National Park is a little under a 45-minute drive from Dorsett Gold Coast. If you want to submerge yourself in the cool freshwater pools that can be found off of Purling Brook Falls, you can hike the extra loop to Warringa Pool for an afternoon of cool water dips.

For those who want to see the Gold Coast glow worms, make your way to the natural bridge found within Springbrook National Park. Inside, you'll discover an illuminated world of glow worms in their natural habitat, which is as entertaining as it is educational. While viewable throughout the year, the glow-worms reach their peak glow from December to March when the climate is hot and humid.

waterfalls springbrook national park

Currumbin Beach

Nestled on the border between NSW and Queensland, Currumbin Beach has long been a popular local hotspot. Less than a 20-minute drive from Dorsett Gold Coast, it takes top spot as Queensland's cleanest beach. Cool off in the crystal clear waters, fish in the Currumbin Creek estuary, climb Elephant Rock lookout and enjoy kayaking, beach games, swimming, snorkelling and so much more.

For families travelling with kids, the calm and shallow estuary waters and rock pools are perfect for little adventurers. For those with older kids, stand up paddle boards can be hired from the boat shed next to Thrower Drive Bridge. Capture stunning photos from Elephant Rock and Vikings, with panoramic views and spectacular sunsets on offer.

Be sure to check out the wildlife sanctuary, where 27 hectares play home to both endangered and native animals. Enjoy kangaroo feeding, performances, rainbow lorikeet feeding and the treetop challenge high ropes course. Perfect for all age groups, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect end to a day at the beach.

fishing currumbin beach

Hinterland

Found in south east Queensland, the Gold Coast Hinterland serves up some of the most stunning scenic views in the country. Composed of mountain ranges, valleys and lush rainforests, discover a laid-back lifestyle full of diverse wildlife, amazing experiences and enjoyable activities that offer a change of pace to the glitzy coastal strip.

Explore more than 160 km of well-maintained bush walking trails in the hinterland region. Take to the skies in a hinterland hot air balloon experience and soar above pristine forests, ancient trees and glistening waterways. Or perhaps take part in a guided horse riding tour that guides you through the heart of the Numinbah valley.

When you're looking to explore more than just the Gold Coast beaches, and escape to the tranquility of the hinterland makes for a perfect day trip. Taking less than 30 minutes to reach from Dorsett Gold Coast, enter a world of tropical rainforests, calming sounds and postcard-perfect scenery at every turn.

picturesque mountains hinterland

Book a Stay

Whether you want to explore the best beaches, spend time discovering the hinterland, or shop, dine and drink the day away - Dorsett Gold Coast places you in the heart of Broadbeach within easy reach of the best things to see and do on the Gold Coast.

Take advantage of stylish and comfortable rooms with all of the facilities and amenities you need for a truly memorable stay, with direct access to The Star Gold Coast's world-class entertainment and leisure destination.

Book your stay.