If you’re struggling to decide which coast to venture to during your next summer vacation or you’re on the hunt for the perfect Australian beach town to move to, keep reading to see whether the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast is the best fit for you!
The daily way of life is by far the most recognisable difference between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. While the Gold Coast is known for its lively social scene and action-packed nightlife, the Sunshine Coast is characterised by a laidback, easy-going lifestyle. Both these regions are largely driven by tourism, which adds an ever-present holiday feel to life along the two coasts. With that in mind, your preferred holiday style will instantly help you decide between the two.
The Gold Coast has a charismatic stay-out-late kind of energy — a dream destination for those who are looking for a bit of glitz and glam in their everyday life. The Sunshine Coast, on the other hand, is typically favoured by people who are looking for a peaceful escape from the noise. If you want excitement, the golden Gold Coast is the place for you. If you want silence, the serene Sunshine Coast will win you over in no time!
The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are both relatively young. In terms of culture and history, there is a different kind of charm to these regions than what you might find in Australia’s capital cities. With its major selection of nightclubs, bars and restaurants, the Gold Coast’s culture is embedded in its social and entertainment scene in addition to its buzzing surfing community. The Gold Coast also has plenty to offer in terms of major shopping centres and entertainment facilities.
Fitting to the Sunshine Coast’s slower pace of life, this coastal area has a slightly wider selection of cultural establishments to visit such as the Eumundi Heritage & Visitor Centre and the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery Trail, which combines a showcase of public and private art galleries, open studios, and exhibitions and events. The social scene is significantly quieter in this area, although suburbs such as Mooloolaba and Noosa offer a fine selection of eateries and laid-back bars to hang out at. Noosa, in particular, is known and loved for its amazing restaurants with world-class chefs and memorable dining experiences. The contrast between the cultural and social life in the two coastal regions is what makes them so unique!
With an average of 250 days of sunshine per year, the Gold Coast is Australia’s crown prince of great weather. The region’s climate is mostly consistent throughout the year with temperatures ranging between 20-30°C during summer and mildly dropping to 10-20°C during winter. Rainfall is at its highest around the end of summer, although this rarely impacts outdoor activities since it mostly rains at night. The Sunshine Coast has equally enviable warm weather with similar temperatures and rainfall conditions. A small and hardly noticeable change between the two towns is that the Sunshine Coast receives slightly more wind than the Gold Coast due to the lower humidity levels.
With pleasant weather year-round and pristine beaches stretching for kilometres on end, it comes as no surprise that outdoor activities are a big part of both coasts’ appeal. The Gold Coast, for one, impresses with a coastline of around 70km divided into several beaches where you can spend your days. Along with its prized beaches, the Gold Coast also boasts one of the most extensive canal systems in the country with a range of water activities to enjoy when you’re not riding the waves with the local surf gang. For a change of scenery, the nearby Springbrook National Park has beautiful nature walks while wine lovers will have a blast exploring the vineyards and wineries of the Gold Coast Hinterland.
The Sunshine Coast’s natural surroundings are fairly similar, although this area’s beaches and hiking trails are often quieter and more family-friendly. The Sunshine Coast’s beaches are among the best in Australia, famous for their sought-after surfing conditions and the whale-watching season from July to October. In addition to the 20km-long uninterrupted stretches of beaches, the Sunshine Coast region has multiple large rivers along with five major national parks. Although the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast both have incredible outdoor sites, the latter usually wins the vote in the nature category thanks to its rich biodiversity, extensive protected areas and uncrowded natural sanctuaries.
As a result of the quick expansion in the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast over the past couple of years, transport has proven to be somewhat of a logistical challenge in both towns. Since the public transport system in the Gold Coast is limited, renting or buying a car is the most convenient way to get around here. Although still more manageable than what you will find in the city, the Gold Coast also experiences its fair share of traffic jams — especially over busy tourism periods.
The Sunshine Coast has a better transport structure in place. With fewer cars on the road, traffic is significantly lighter while the public transport system also performs more efficiently. The bus and train routes will get you to most places you need to be around town while also linking to Brisbane and beyond. Having a car is likely still the best option for ultimate convenience, although the Sunshine Coast’s public transport is more than sufficient to get around.
The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are known as holiday destinations, yet both these towns have increasing populations of permanent residents. The Gold Coast, in particular, has a flourishing property market as relocation to this region is busier than ever in 2021. Similarly, the Sunshine Coast is one of the most populous districts of Queensland with a steadily growing community of full-time residents. The serenity of the nature-centred Sunshine Coast with its abundance of free activities to enjoy and an overall safe environment to live in, present the ideal conditions for families with kids.
The coastal tourism industry creates plenty of business opportunities in both towns while several high-quality schools and tertiary education institutes are available to children and students. The proximity to Brisbane with its strong business sector, world-class educational facilities and diverse international community adds to the long list of reasons why people are flocking to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Further to this, the growing trend of remote work is allowing more and more people to move away from cities and benefit from lower living costs without compromising career opportunities. With Australia’s international borders set to open soon, international relocation is also on track to recommence.