The Best Student-Friendly Suburbs on the Gold Coast

gold coast suburbs

If you’re thinking about Australia as your chosen study destination, one of the first things you’ll want to decide is where you’re going to live.

Keen to experience the famous beautiful beaches, relaxed lifestyle and natural beauty Australia is famous for? Well, you may want to consider living and studying on the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast is famous for its laidback, beachy vibe. While every suburb is close to the beach and offers proximity to the great outdoors, each one does bear its own unique characteristics. Before choosing which one to call home, it’s essential to consider important factors such as distance to universities and shops, rental costs, public transport access, entertainment and nightlife, safety, and more.

To get you started, we’ve rounded up the best suburbs on the Gold Coast for students.


gold coast suburbs

Southport is a busy inner suburb and a popular choice for international students attending Griffith University, CQUniversity, and TAFE. Here, you’ll find the Australia Fair Shopping Centre and trendy cafés tucked around every corner. For nightlife, Surfers Paradise is right next door.

Southport is also loved for its leafy parks. The biggest is the Broadwater Parklands, which is a recreational hub for young and old. Picnics, outdoor movies and special events frequently take place here, while its aquatic playground and the nearby aquatic centre offer endless water-themed fun.

Southport has a range of accommodation choices. Griffith University offers safe on-campus living in University Village, while there are also student villages in the quieter surrounding suburbs of Labrador, Ashmore and Parkwood. These suburbs also offer plenty of low-cost room rentals starting at around $150 per week for a room in a share house.

All of these areas have a well-connected public transport system with quick, easy access to various universities and shops.

Robina and Varsity Lakes

gold coast suburbs

These two neighbouring suburbs are popular with students studying at Bond University. As some of the newer suburbs on the Gold Coast, they offer modern living built around two man-made lakes, as well as close proximity to practically everything.

Robina Town Centre is a major shopping complex loaded with big brands, cinemas, and promenade dining. For sports fans, Robina is the centre of sports on the Gold Coast. The Cbus Super Stadium regularly holds close to 28,000 people at various sporting events, including rugby league, rugby union and football.

Public transport in the area is exceptional, with connections to practically anywhere on the Gold Coast. Robina Station will even take you on a direct train to Brisbane in less than 90 minutes.

Bond University offers on-campus accommodation in a secure environment. Additionally, there are student centres located in Varsity Lakes that are within short walking distance to the campus. Private room rentals are also popular in these suburbs, with rooms starting at around $150 per week.

Surfers Paradise

gold coast suburbs

If you crave being in the heart of the action, Surfers Paradise is the area for you. Known as the ‘Glitter Strip’ of the Gold Coast, Surfers offers high-rise buildings, retail stores, cafés, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, public transport, and the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach on your doorstep.

This suburb is a major tourist destination that never sleeps. You’ll find bargain and designer shopping down every street, including the famous Cavill Avenue, bustling night markets, and three kilometres of pristine sand, perfect for beach activities. Surfers Paradise has a pretty famous nightlife scene, with countless nightclubs and entertainment venues dotted along the strip.

Public transport options are plenty in Surfers Paradise, with trams and buses that can get you to your campus of choice in next to no time.

There are plenty of private room rentals in Surfers Paradise that can be as cheap as $130 per week. Any accommodation you pick is bound to be within walking distance of shops, entertainment, and nightlife.

Burleigh Heads

gold coast suburbs

South of the city centre, you can enjoy the village vibe of Burleigh Heads. A picturesque beach suburb, Burleigh Heads is quieter than Surfers Paradise and offers a thriving café culture, trendy restaurants, bars, unique boutiques, and fashion markets.

The unrivalled surf conditions and stunning ocean views make Burleigh Heads a surfers’ hangout with a chilled atmosphere. The area boasts walking trails, a national park, and plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic under the pine trees.

Burleigh Heads has buses running frequently through the area that can take you into the city centre and beyond. It takes about 30 minutes by bus to get to Bond University.

Burleigh Heads is a pricier option than most other suburbs, but this makes it perfect for shared accommodation. Private room rentals start from around $200 per week.

Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Waters and Burleigh Waters

gold coast suburbs

These waterside suburbs, set amongst the Gold Coast’s iconic canals, offer a much quieter lifestyle than the busy beach suburbs. Conveniently located close to Bond University, they offer the chance to experience a more tranquil side to the bustling Gold Coast.

You’ll be surrounded by a labyrinth of waterways and lakes while only a short distance away from Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and Robina Town Centre. Public transport in the area is pretty good, with buses that can take you to multiple locations around the Gold Coast.

Residential estates line the canals and create a friendly, close-knit community vibe. Nature-lovers will appreciate the many bike paths and scenic walks that weave through the area, kayak-friendly waterways, and the spacious parks and bushland brimming with wildlife.

Private room rentals in these suburbs start from around $170 per week.