Gold Coast Photography, Australia

Exposed tree roots, photographed under dappled light, make for a graphic nature based image in Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular tourism destinations. Boasting pristine sandy beaches, fantastic surfing and picturesque inland canals and waterways the Gold Coast is home to theme parks such as Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild.

In addition to a myriad of Gold Coast photography opportunities easy access to Lamington National Park and Mount Tamborine puts the Gold Coast Hinterland at your doorstep.

Located 78 km south of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city.

Situated along the Pacific Highway, on the East coast of Australia, the last section of the drive links the coastal suburbs of the Gold Coast and has been renamed the Gold Coast Highway.

Surfers Paradise is the primary tourist hub on the Gold Coast. I’ve visited Surfers on two occasions, each time for a seminar. Fortunately my schedule allowed a little time, on each visit, to begin to explore this fascinating part of the world.

The above photo was made in a small park near the Surfers Paradise River at sunset.

The exposed tree roots made for great subject matter and the texture, color and repetition of the tree’s branches encouraged a closer exploration.

It’s a straightforward image of interesting subject matter that’s been brought to life by light, color and composition.

Bridge at Sunset, Surface Paradise River, Gold Coast, Australia

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There’s Photo Gold on the Gold Coast

My advice for enthusiastic photographers visiting the Gold Coast is to be on the look for beauty where ever you can find it, no matter its guise.

On Australia’s Gold Coast there’s opportunities for photo gold around ever corner.

And that’s just as true when visiting one of the regions fabulous national parks or undertaking a photo walk on the beach or around the streets of Surfers Paradise where high rise hotels and apartments reign.

It’s my experience that distilling the beauty of the world around you, via a detailed exploration of important elements within a scene, can be just as rewarding whether you’re photographing an urban or natural landscape.

An example of the kind of photo gold to which I’m referring is the bridge over the Surfers Paradise River at sunset. It’s a simple yet dramatic image where the warm colors of the bridge and its wooden support structure balance the cool blue color of the sky.

The notion of a frame within a frame is explored in this image of an overhead street light framing the iconic Q1 Resort and Spa at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

Gold Coast Accommodation

This photo of the iconic Q1 Resort and Spa involved incorporating an overhead street light into the picture to produce the final composition.

The idea was to explore the notion of a frame within a frame.

At 78 stories and 322.5 meters in height the Q1 is clearly much taller than the street light.

However, the street light was much closer to the camera and, by photographing from a worms eye point of view, I was able to make a very simple, yet visually dynamic image.

Street level view outside the Q1 Resort and Spa in Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast.

I had the good fortune to stay at the Q1 Resort and Spa during my first trip to the Gold Coast.

I enjoyed a large and spacious apartment, which was very nicely appointed and included a balcony with fantastic views over Main Beach in Surfers Paradise.

The expansive view out towards the Coral Sea was really stunning encompassing miles and miles of blue sky, blue water and the famous Gold Coast surf.

Local housing along canals in Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast.

I also had a view out from the other side of the hotel that featured some of the inland canal system around Surfers Paradise. Cruises along the waterways are very popular.

During my most recent stay I intended a seminar program at the QT Gold Coast. As the two day event included an evening soiree it made sense to book accommodation at the same hotel at which the event was staged.

The QT Gold Coast is a large, high rise hotel with a typically Surfers Paradise vibe. The hip, contemporary feel at the QT Gold Coast is quite different from what’s on offer at the Q1.

Where the Q1 Resort and Spa is well suited to families the QT has a more upbeat and vibrant feel.

A warm tone black and white view of the swimming pool and surrounding high-rise buildings at the Q1 Resort and Spa in Surfers Paradise on Australia's Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Weather

The Gold Coast has a sub-tropical climate. With around 300 days of sunshine per year it’s a great destination for those seeking sunshine and warm beach weather.

December is most definitely the time to be out and about with 9 hours of daily sunshine hours.

Humidity on the Gold Coast is usually between 65 and 75 percent, depending upon the time of year.

Gold Coast Temperature Guide

Here’s a guide to average Gold Coast temperatures throughout the year.

Be aware that, while it’s usually dry and sunny on the Gold Coast, heavy rains do occur and it’s always good to keep an eye on the weather forecast just before your holiday begins.

Just to be safe I recommend packing a warm top, long pants, solid shoes and a light weight raincoat. It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Summer (December to February)

With summer temperatures between 21 and 28C (70 to 83F) the Gold Coast is a popular destination at that time of year.

February is the wettest month with short, tropical rain storms common in the late afternoon and early evening.

On average 184 mm or 7 inches of rain falls during the month of February. Still, the days are long and warm at this time of year so there’s plenty of opportunities to be on the beach.

Autumn (March to May)

With temperatures between 18C and 26C (64 to 78F) Autumn on the Gold Coast is a great time to be active.

During autumn you’ll find the ocean temperature is still warm enough for swimming and there’s plenty of opportunities for a variety of water sports at this time of year.

Winter (June to August)

Winter on the Gold Coast is usually sunny and dry with average temperatures in the range of around 12 and 22C (54 to 71F) degrees celsius.

July is the coldest month with average daily temperatures at 15C (59F). Still, as the thermometer can reach as high as 21C during July it can feel quite balmy for folks escaping winter in Victoria or Tasmania at that time of year.

Though the days are relatively short at this time of year it’s ideal weather for sightseeing and bush walking.

Be aware that the Gold Coast Hinterland is generally cooler with maximum temperatures around 16 C (81F) during the month of July.

Spring (September to November)

Spring is usually dry with temperatures ranging from 17 to 25C (62 to 78F). The Gold Coast can get quite windy during Spring, particularly during September.

Gold Coast Sunshine

The time zone in Queensland follows Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) UTC +10.

Daylight Savings time is not observed on the Gold Coast or in any other part of Queensland.

During December sunrise occurs around 4:45am and sunset at around 6:40pm.

In June sunrise occurs around 6:30am and sunset at around 5pm.

An idylillic life for local residents on one of the tranquil waterways in Surfers Paradise, Queensland.

Gold Coast Holidays | What Clothes to Bring

As a general rule, given the dominance of warm and dry weather, you won’t need to take much clothing on a holiday to the Gold Coast.

Naturally during the winter months you’ll need a warm top, jeans and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.

The following list should provide a simple guide for the kind of clothing you’ll likely need for a short holiday to the Gold Coast. Needless to say one or two of the items listed might be considered optional.

  • 2 pairs of jeans

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • 1 light fleece top

  • 1 winter fleece, if visiting the Hinterland during the colder months

  • 1 cap or hat

  • 2 dresses or skirts

  • 2 short sleeve shirts

  • 1 pair of sandals or thongs (i.e., flip flops)

  • 1 pair of strong and comfortable walking shoes

  • 2 pairs of swimwear

  • 1 beach towel

  • 1 light raincoat and, possibly, an umbrella

A    surfer    throws a    long shadow    as he approaches the Sand Pumping Jetty at The Spit along    Main Beach    on the    Gold Coast   .

A surfer throws a long shadow as he approaches the Sand Pumping Jetty at The Spit along Main Beach on the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Beaches

The annual Quicksurf Pro surfing competition is held on the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast region boasts a range of great surfing locations, some that are ideal for beginners and others only suited to experienced surfers.

If you’re a keen surfer or, alternatively, a photographer looking for opportunities to make great action photos you’ll want to check out the following iconic Gold Coast surf locations.

  • Snapper Rocks

  • Rainbow Bay

  • Currumbin Beach

  • Duranbah Beach

  • Burleigh Heads

Lights on the Sand Pumping Jetty signal the transition from day to night at The Spit on Australia's Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Spit Sand Pumping Jetty

The Southport Spit, commonly referred to as The Spit, is on the north end of Australia’s Gold Coast. My research indicated it was a great spot for sunrise and sunset photography.

It’s easy to see why as the Southport Split is a narrow piece of land with large bodies of water, and very little to block the light, on either side.

I’d seen photos of the Sand Pumping Jetty at the Spit and, as high tide was occurring around dusk, I planned to photograph it either side of sunset.

Unfortunately for me a photographer and their swimsuit clad subject took position under the bridge just as I arrived.

I didn’t know whether she was the photographer’s model, girlfriend or customer. Either way I felt uncomfortable being there.

I could easily have hung back and waited my turn, but I didn’t want to get in the way, nor be hanging around with a camera while she was messing around with her swimsuit.

It seemed like a good idea to move on and explore the beach and the wider area, which was a really good decision.

The first thing I did was to walk along the Sand Pumping Jetty. It was fun and I was surprised both by the number of fisherman up there and also at the length of the jetty.

It’s an 800 metre walk to the end.

Just as I was about to come back another photographer and model arrived. Within about 30 minutes this scenario was repeated on four occasions, by which stage I decided it was best to photograph the jetty from a distance.

I walked a considerable distance away from the Gold Coast Sand Pumping Jetty and found lots of interesting ways to incorporate it into photos made either side of sunset.

A photographer and swimsuit model under the Sand Pumping Jetty at The Spit on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Gold Coast Sand Pumping Jetty

Eventually my patience and positive attitude were rewarded.

In the end I decided to make a photo, from a respectful distance, while that day’s last photographer and model worked underneath the Gold Coast Sand Pumping Jetty.

After all they’d helped to determine the photos I ended up making.

To better tell the story my photo incorporated the jetty with a distant view of Surfers Paradise in the background.

You can see it’s a perfect Gold Coast photography location.

Notice how I’ve used the structure of the Sand Pumping Jetty to frame our dynamic duo and the distant high rise towers of Surfers Paradise.

Once again the composition explores the notion of a frame within a frame.

Walking along the dog friendly beach at The Spit on Australia's Gold Coast.

5 Great Dog Friendly Beaches on the Gold Coast

It’s a beautiful sight to see owners exercising their dogs on wide, open beaches. It’s great exercise for all involved and it’s obvious the dogs love it.

The Gold Coast Spit is a wonderful area to explore. It’s a popular place for fisherman and families and I saw quite a few locals out walking their dogs during my visit.

The surf beach at the Spit is actually part of Main Beach, a great stretch of sand with views down to Surfers Paradise and beyond to Coolangatta at the southern end of the Gold Coast.

While very popular with families, couples and dog walkers alike, particularly at weekends, there’s plenty of car parking, decent toilets and a kiosk at The Spit.

As you can see Main Beach is long and wide and you’ll enjoy the fresh air and the meditative benefits of the light, particularly around the edges of the day, so close to the excitement of Surfers Paradise.

Other great dog friendly beaches on the Gold Coast include the following:

  • Biggera Waters Surf Beach

  • Main Beach at Seaworld Drive

  • Tallebudgera Dog Beach

  • Currumbin Dog Beach

I’m really looking forward to returning to the Gold Coast. There’s so much more to see and photograph and next time I’II make sure I spend more than a few days there.

And I recommend that’s exactly what you do.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru