With about 300 sunny days a year and long stretches of sandy beach, anytime is the best time to visit the Gold Coast. You’ll rarely need to pack a jumper for a stay in this sub-tropical stretch of southern Queensland but hats, sunnies, cossies and thongs are essential year-round.
Temperatures reach a glorious 29℃ in summer and drop to a still pleasant 21℃ in winter. “High season” on the Gold Coast coincides with Christmas school holidays (December and January), when the streets and venues are crowded and the spike in accommodation prices is offset by the attractions: there’s plenty for kids to do and surfing and fishing are at their peak.
Thanks to the Goldie’s crown as Australia’s theme-park capital, school holidays throughout the year are when families head there. The states have different school-holiday schedules so it’s worth timing your visit for when Queensland kids, at least, are back in the classroom.
And just because a season’s “low” doesn’t mean there’s no reason to go. Spring, winter and autumn, outside of school holidays, are considered the shoulder and low seasons but there’s still plenty going on – such as the Groundwater Country Music Festival in November and the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in May – with the added bonus of better deals at some of the best accommodation the Gold Coast has to offer.
Autumn’s also prime time as the ocean swells subside after summer and calm seas make for great swimming at one of the GC's stunning beaches, especially when sea temperatures sit at an inviting 25℃.
In winter there’s lower humidity and the steamy days and nights of summer give way to cooler evenings, especially in the hinterland. And winter and spring are for wildlife: June to October is the best time for whale watching. Any of the dozens of lookouts up and down the coast are the place for spotting humpbacks making their annual migration.
Still not sure when to go? Here's our round-up of the best events happening in the Gold Coast...
Kids will love exploring the towering, colourful artworks created by local and international artists that are scattered along Currumbin Beach for the annual Swell Sculpture Festival – Queensland’s largest – on 10 to 19 September.
A day of sampling cider and craft-beer flights beside the sea is peak Gold Coast in springtime. Chat to brewers, snack on burgers and arancini and enjoy live music in a beachside park in Broadbeach as part of the Crafted Beer & Cider Festival on 11 September.
The second-largest horseracing event in the country after the Melbourne Cup, the Magic Millions Carnival draws punters, thoroughbred dealers and fashionistas to the Gold Coast Turf Club for socialising and all things equine at the height of the Goldie summer in January.
Groundwater Country Music Festival is a three-day celebration of Akubras, banjos and bootscooting that takes over the streets of Broadbeach on 12 to 14 November. This year’s line-up includes Adam Harvey and Gina Jeffreys.
The inaugural 2021 Rosé Coast festival saw fans of the pink stuff gather in Broadbeach to sip varieties from all over the world, matched with eats and tunes. In May next year it returns with a “Sparkling” theme, focusing on bubbles from 20 Australian regions.
Blues on Broadbeach is a free three-day festival, 19 to 22 May, that takes place all over Broadbeach, with the main stage at Kurrawa Park. Previous headliners have included Wolfmother, Christine Anu and Memphis jazz legend Robert Cray.
The Gold Coast’s premier arts and culture event, the Bleach Festival,, in August, aims to push boundaries and challenge perceptions right across the region from Burleigh Heads to Surfers Paradise. Events include dance, performance and community feasts.
Snow isn’t exactly something you see a lot of in Queensland but in June and July, Winterfest at Dreamworld sees the park transformed into a family-focused wonderland with skating rinks, tobogganing and cosy hot chocs and warming snacks.