To ensure that your trip to the Gold Coast is comfortable, we’ve provided you with some useful, practical information below.
Here on the Gold Coast, how we dress is dependent on the weather. The Coast is rather warm all year round, so shorts and t-shirts are a must, as well as a pair of bathers, as the water remains quite warm throughout the year. If you’re visiting us between late May and August, you’ll be joining us during winter. While it doesn’t get all that cold, we do suggest you bring a pair of jeans and a jumper, as well as some winter pyjamas as it can cool down quite drastically during the night.
During the evenings, if you’re eating out, the dress code is a little less casual than it is during the day. While the dress code isn’t strict, singlets, thongs and boardshorts are generally frowned upon. Some venues, however, do have a set dress code, such as slacks and ties for men.
If you’re hitting the night clubs, once again singlets, thongs and boardshorts generally aren’t accepted. Guys, you won’t be allowed into most clubs without enclosed shoes, and singlets are a big no-no. For girls, there are no apparent rules, though they do expect you to be covered. Anything too raunchy may be turned away. That being said, it’s only in extreme circumstances, and pretty much anything is suitable.
A hat, a pair of sunglasses and some sunscreen are the three big must haves on the Gold Coast, especially if you’re visiting us during the summer. Skin cancer is a big threat in Queensland, and it’s very easy to get sunburned. Remember, the sun reflects off the water and the sand, so even if you’re under some shade, you may still be at risk. You wouldn’t want your lovely day at the beach spoilt by a nasty sunburn.
So Slip, Slop, Slap, as the locals say. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat.
Local Business Hours and Shopping Information
Most business are open from 9-5. Banks are open 9-4, except for Fridays when they close at 5.
Thursday nights are nicknamed Late Night, as most of the major shopping centres are open until 9pm, as well as various locations where there are a cluster of outlets. If you’re deciding on somewhere to have dinner, remember that there will be a lot of extra people around on Late Night, so perhaps avoid restaurants and cafes that are part of a major shopping centre.
Tuesdays are known as Cheap Tuesday. The theme is most common throughout cinemas and fast food pizzerias, where discounts are available.
The Gold Coast’s major shopping centres are: Robina Town Centre, Pacific Fair, Harbour Town, Australia Fair, Marina Mirage and the Oasis Shopping Centre.
Fresh Water Availability
The Gold Coast tap water has been deemed as safe drinking water. Bottled water is also available from corner stores, petrol stations, supermarkets, and sometimes chemists (drug store) and news agencies.
Phone and Internet Accessibility
Depending on where you’re staying, internet services may be provided. However, such services often come at a high cost. If you’re after a cheaper internet access, there are various internet cafes scattered across the Coast. Some shopping centres also have available terminals.
For phone calls, there are phone booths (Telstra) around but they’re becoming increasingly harder to find now that everyone is reliant on their mobiles. Reception is rather strong throughout the Coast. Once you hit the Hinterland, however, you may find that you lose all reception.
Post Offices (Australia Post) on the Gold Coast are usually located at shopping centres. Opening hours are 9−5 on weekdays, and 9 until around lunch time on Saturdays.
ATMs and Credit Cards
Credit cards are accepted at nearly all venues, with markets being one of the sole exceptions. Some venues, however, may not accept American Express.
ATMs are open for 24 hours and are in abundance in Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Main Beach. They can also be located in main shopping strips and shopping centres. Some ATMs have a surcharge.
Tipping on the Coast is neither compulsory nor expected. In most places, it is acceptable if you just pay the amount specified in the bill. However, a tip or around 5% to 15% can be given for good service in bars and restaurants, although it is almost never necessary.
Whilst Queensland doesn't have daylight savings during the months of summer, our neighbouring state, New South Wales, does, and at times this can cause for some confusion. During summer, New South Wales wind their clocks forward an hour, so if you're flying into Sydney before joining us here on the Coast, remember that we are an hour behind.
If you're staying in Coolangatta or Kirra, you may find that your phone automatically switches to the New South Wales local time instead of Gold Coast local time as Coolangatta and Kirra are both located close to the border.
Public and School Holidays
Queensland has a variety of public holidays, including such ones as Easter, Christmas, New Years Day and Australia Day. For a list of Queenland's public holidays see here.
Queensland schools have four terms per year. School holidays are usually around Easter (though if Easter is early, students are given the Easter weekend off and holidays are not until April), mid-June to mid-July, end-September to early-October, and summer holidays are over December and January. You can find the specific dates here.
Driving and Bikes (Including bicycles)
- Make sure to drive on the left side of the road.
- It is compusory for all occupants in the vehicle to wear seatbelts at all times. Heavy fines apply if seat belts are not worn.
- Don’t drive faster than the maximum speed limit. Police use fixed and mobile speed cameras and radar.
- Follow parking and no-parking rules without fail
- If you are riding a motorbike, scooter or moped, make sure that you wear a crash helmet that is Australian-approved. It is also compulsory to wear bicycle helmets.
- You are not permitted to use your hand held mobile phone whilst driving.
- Queensland has strict drug and alcohol drink-driving laws – avoid consuming alcohol if you have plans of driving soon after. Random breath testing of drivers is common.
- Unmarked Police cars are used in QLD.
- Information on bicycles, motorised bicycles and pedestrians can be found here.
- Drink driving laws apply to bicycles as well.
Alcohol Consumption (Liquor)
The minimum legal 'drinking' age in Australia is 18. Heavy fines apply if dtinking alcohol (liquor) under 18.
It is recommended that you carry identification if you are going to a licensed (somewhere that sells alcohol) venue, bar or nightclub.
If you cannot prove that you are 18 years or older, you may be refused entry. Liquor stores may also ask for identification prior to purchase.
Please note that it is illegal for anyone to provide liquor to any person under the age of 18 (a minor). You could face court charges and be fined. This includes consumption of liquor in a private place.
It is also illegal to be served alcohol if drunk or disorderly. If asked to leave a premises and you refuse then you ar liable to a heavy fine. You may also be given an "on the spot fine" by management if you refuse their request to,leave.
There are strict laws concerning the responsible serving of alcohol that apply to all restaurants, clubs, bars and liquor outlets. Heavy fines apply to customers, staff and owners of businesses if the laws are broken.
Tourist Refund Scheme
Australia also operates a Tourist Refund Scheme for some purchases. Details can be found here.