Customs and etiquette
The Gold Coast is one of the most laid-back places there is and you are unlikely going to upset anybody. The locals are friendly and welcoming to visitors and it is easy to strike up a conversation.
Australia is one of the few places where tipping is generally not expected, although those frequenting classy hotels and restaurants may feel some pressure to tip. Service charges are usually added to the bill in the flashier restaurants.
The Australian dollar (AUD) has notes from AUD5 to AUD100 and can be bought and sold anywhere in the world, as well as at the airport. Banks have better rates than hotels and can also exchange traveler's checks.
Australia is a plastic-happy nation and ATMs will accept major debit and credit cards, although having a combination of cash and cards is advised. The Gold Coast is one of the more expensive areas in the country, on par with downtown Sydney for hotels and eating. It is, however, cheaper than most places in the US and Europe.
The Gold Coast's subtropical climate has sunny days almost year round, with temperatures in the 90s (°F) in the summer (November through March), dropping to no less than 50°F in the winter (June through August). Unfortunately, it is wettest in the summer, although rainfall is usually not prolonged.
Getting between the various towns and beaches of the Gold Coast region, such as between Surfers Paradise, Southport, and Coolangatta, is best done by bus or taxi. Surfside Buslines run 24 hours every few minutes or so and there is also a reliable shuttle service.
The Gold Coast Aquabus is perhaps the best bet for tours and daytrips around the region and is based in the Surfers Paradise Bus Transit Centre, Beach Road. The area is also served by train, although this is only really of use for getting to and from Brisbane. Those who plan on exploring extensively should consider hiring a car.
Although the Gold Coast Airport (OOL) in Coolangatta (south Gold Coast) receives a fair number of flights, Brisbane Airport (BNE) in the Queensland capital is the main point of entry from outside. Airlink Express is an airport shuttle that runs between Brisbane Airport and hotels and bus stations in the region, plus there is also a 24-hour taxi service.
Population: three million
Spoken languages: English
Electrical: 240 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +61 7
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