Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, particularly when working out the best advice to offer new international students coming to the Gold Coast!
With expert insights from Bond University students, Charlotte Gibbs and Iris Pham, these are the top 10 things you’ll wish you knew before moving to the Gold Coast.
1. Bring a hat!
Gold Coast is located in the state of Queensland – known as the Sunshine State – and for good reason! The Gold Coast enjoys around 300 sunny days per year and in summer temperatures can reach well over 30 degrees.
Because of its subtropical climate, winter months don’t get very cold compared to other parts of Australia, meaning you can be outside all year round!
Charlotte Gibbs, a Biomedical Science student at Bond University says you can even swim at the beach in winter – but you might not see any locals doing it.
“I still swim most days in winter here, and I am more often than not the only one in the ocean in the mornings!”
So, make sure you pack your swimsuit (or cossies/togs, as they’re known in Queensland!), a hat, polarised sunglasses, and stock up on sunscreen when you arrive.
2. Get active
The Gold Coast’s great weather means locals love to be outside and enjoy the outdoors. From swimming, surfing, cycling and hiking, you are spoilt for choice with options to exercise in the sunshine.
Iris Pham, a Master of Clinical Psychology student at Bond University, said when she moved to the Gold Coast she was surprised by the amount of people exercising.
“I noticed that a lot of the locals wake up at 6 a.m. to run when the sun rises and enjoy their day with a cup of coffee. I was shocked by this lifestyle shift, and strive to cultivate this practice in my daily life!”
Want to start your day the Gold Coast way? Anywhere along the Gold Coast Oceanway is perfect.
3. Be prepared to swim
The Gold Coast is home to more than 70 km of pristine beaches, so you’ll want to make the most of them.
When she first moved to the Gold Coast, Iris was hesitant to swim in the ocean.
“I wish I was brave enough to go for a swim in the ocean when I first moved here! I was initially very afraid of the waves and refused to swim for the first few years. But overall, it’s extremely safe and fun to swim in the sea.”
As well as swimming, you can enjoy a range of watersports on the Gold Coast, including snorkelling and surfing. If you’ve never experienced Australian beaches before, make sure you understand how to stay safe, and enrol in an adult swim class, if you want to improve your water skills.
4. Make the most of nature and meet some local wildlife
Not only does the Gold Coast have picturesque beaches, but it’s also home to beautiful rainforests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
On Mt Tamborine, you can walk amongst the trees on the Tamborine Forest Skywalk. You can visit waterfalls, camp and hike through the Burleigh Head National Park or Springbrook National Park. For wildlife lovers, you can cuddle koalas at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
5. Embrace the diverse and welcoming community
Did you know that nearly one in three residents of the Gold Coast were born overseas? With such a wonderfully diverse community, you’ll find plenty of multicultural events and activities happening throughout the year, including the Gold Coast Multicultural Festival in September and Multicultural Queensland Month in August.
Charlotte wants new students to know just how welcoming the community is.
“The student community is such a vibrant and valuable aspect of the Gold Coast and as students we have to look out for each other – the friendly Gold Coast community makes this easy to do.”
6. There are free social clubs
Thanks to the inclusive community, you can find almost any club or society on the Gold Coast – whatever your interest!
As well as clubs and societies offered by your education provider, look out for free social clubs like the Gold Coast Run Co. They can be a great way to make friends when you first arrive.
7. Explore the north and the south
The Gold Coast is a collection of small suburbs stretching from Coomera in the north to Tweed Heads in the south. Along this coastline (about a 45-minute drive) you’ll find different suburbs with their own unique vibes, communities and lifestyles.
Iris says she wishes she explored more when she arrived.
“The northern and southern end of the Coast have such different vibes!”
8. There are music festivals all year round
The Gold Coast hosts world-class musical acts throughout the year at a range of festivals and events.
South of the Gold Coast in Byron Bay, Australia’s biggest music festival, Splendour in the Grass, is held every year.
9. You’ll want to support the local sports teams
As the host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast is now home to incredible sporting venues you can visit.
10. Transport is super easy (and discounted for students!)
The Gold Coast is well connected by an efficient public transport system. As an international student, it’s essential to know before you arrive that you are able to access discounted fares. Make sure to get your student card as soon as you can upon arrival so you can take advantage of cheaper ticket prices (and many other exclusive student discounts!).