Famed for its endless stretches of beach, legendary surf and family-friendly theme parks, the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s favorite holiday destinations. It centers around the high-rise hub of Surfers Paradise, stretching north from here to Southport and south to Coolangatta. An elaborate system of canals and waterways extends inland, lined with upmarket residential housing and private jetties.

Take in the views from the top of Surfers Paradise’s Q1, the tallest building in Australia, which boasts a 230-meter-high observation deck that offers panoramas north to Brisbane and south to Byron Bay. “Surfers” is renowned for both its shopping and an enviable stretch of sand, as well as it’s scantily dressed Meter Maids who were instituted to prevent parking fines.

The Gold Coast is scattered with theme parks, including the rides and attractions of Dreamworld, the marine life entertainment at Sea World, as well as the Hollywood-themed Warner Bros. Movie World. Wet’n’Wild boasts plenty of pools and slides to escape the Queensland heat or you can head to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to get up close to Australia’s native wildlife. If you want to learn more about the country’s rural culture, be sure to enjoy a dinner and show package at the Australian Outback Spectacular.

A short drive inland from the beaches takes you to the Gold Coast Hinterland, with magnificent wilderness areas such as Lamington National Park. Wander across the treetop walk, take in the views from Mount Tamborine and spend the night in one of the cozy hinterland lodges.