— words by Christine Retschlag

This is a tale about itsy bitsy bikinis and where surfers discovered their paradise.

It’s about a bloke who made a living spraying tourists with golden tans even before they braved the beach, and a gaggle of glittery gals who have been feeding parking meters for more than 50 years. The dearly departed Al the Suntan Man, who graced the white sands of Surfers Paradise beach for decades, would still burst into a sun-kissed smile if he could see the Gold Coast today. 

For this is a place in which the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sure, the white-shoe brigade, who turned the Goldie into a major mecca with their sky-high ambitions and developments to match are no longer walking the strip, but their spirit lives on.

This is also a destination of dichotomies and delights. From the salty-haired surfers who call these warm waters home, to first-class shopping, dining and accommodation options, this is a haven for every kind of traveller. Lovers of clean and green flock to the hinterland for its walks and waterfalls. Those who crave nostalgia head to the southern Gold Coast and beyond to Byron Bay for their retro fix. The only rule? Bikinis rule.

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