The 10 Best Suburbs to Live in GOLD COAST: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Finding the ideal suburb in the Gold Coast is a complex task, often riddled with nuances and personal preferences. Making the wrong choice can lead to issues such as lifestyle mismatches, financial burdens, or a lack of community ties. As an experienced residential real estate professional, I’ve extensively evaluated each suburb against 10 critical criteria to provide you with a reliable and comprehensive guide.

10. Palm Beach – Total Score: 68/100

Palm Beach, image by John McPerson

Palm Beach blends coastal charm with urban amenities, though it grapples with rapid development.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 6/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Spirit: 7/10
  • Access to Nature: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 8/10

Palm Beach is celebrated for its stunning beaches and local amenities, including trendy cafes and shops. It’s a haven for beach lovers and surfers, as highlighted by its popular annual surfing competitions. The suburb has a strong sense of community, as seen in its well-attended local markets and community events. Its schools are above average, offering a good mix of public and private options.

However, Palm Beach has become less affordable in recent years, with property prices soaring. Public transport is present but not as extensive or reliable as in other suburbs. The rapid development has led to some environmental concerns, impacting the suburb’s natural charm.

Palm Beach is ideal for those who love beachside living and a vibrant community, but it may not suit those looking for affordability or a quiet, undeveloped area.

9. Helensvale – Total Score: 70/100

Helensvale offers a harmonious blend of family-friendly living and commercial convenience, though it’s not without its suburban sprawl.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 7/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 7/10
  • Community Spirit: 7/10
  • Access to Nature: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 8/10

Helensvale is a standout for its educational facilities, with several high-ranking schools as noted in recent educational reports. The suburb boasts excellent public transport, including a train station and tram line, enhancing its connectivity. It’s rich in local amenities, from shopping centres to parks. The community spirit is vibrant, demonstrated by active local clubs and annual community events.

However, Helensvale’s rapid development has led to increased traffic and suburban sprawl. While it offers a good mix of housing options, affordability is becoming an issue, with property prices steadily climbing. Its access to natural environments is moderate but overshadowed by more urbanised areas.

Helensvale is perfect for families and professionals who value educational opportunities and good transport links. It’s less suited for those seeking a more affordable or nature-centric lifestyle.

8. Mermaid Beach – Total Score: 72/100

Mermaid Beach, image by Kgbo

Mermaid Beach, with its picturesque coastline and vibrant lifestyle, faces challenges with cost and space.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 8/10
  • Affordability: 4/10
  • Schools: 7/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 7/10
  • Access to Nature: 10/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 8/10

Mermaid Beach’s allure lies in its stunning beachfront, a paradise for swimmers and surfers alike. The suburb is known for its high-quality restaurants and cafes, contributing to a vibrant social scene. It hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, reflecting its diverse community. Additionally, it has a range of quality healthcare facilities catering to various needs.

The main drawback of Mermaid Beach is its high cost of living, particularly property prices, making it less accessible for average income earners. The suburb is densely populated, leading to limited space and privacy. Public transport options are available but not as comprehensive as in other areas.

Mermaid Beach is ideal for those seeking a dynamic, beachfront lifestyle and who are not constrained by budget. It may not be the best fit for families looking for affordability or extensive public transport options.

7. Robina – Total Score: 74/100

Robina’s Town Center, image by TravellerQLD

Robina combines modern living with expansive green spaces, balancing urban development with a touch of nature.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 8/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 9/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 8/10
  • Community Spirit: 7/10
  • Access to Nature: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 7/10

Robina is celebrated for its top-tier educational institutions, offering some of the best schooling options in the Gold Coast. The suburb features comprehensive healthcare facilities, including a major hospital. It boasts a variety of local amenities, such as the Robina Town Centre, and is well-connected through public transport. Green spaces and parks are abundant, providing a serene escape from urban life.

The cost of living in Robina, especially housing, is on the higher side, making it less affordable for some. While it offers nature access, it’s more urban-centric than other suburbs. The area is experiencing ongoing development, which can lead to construction disruptions.

Robina is an excellent choice for families and professionals seeking a balance of urban amenities and educational opportunities. It may not suit those looking for a more affordable or predominantly natural setting.

6. Broadbeach – Total Score: 76/100

BroadBeach, image by Kgbo

Broadbeach is a hub of activity and culture, offering a lively beachside experience but struggling with space constraints.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 8/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Schools: 6/10
  • Public Transport: 8/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Access to Nature: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Broadbeach is renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. It has a rich array of dining and shopping options, contributing to its lively atmosphere. The suburb is well-served by public transport, including a light rail system. It’s also a cultural hotspot, hosting numerous festivals and events throughout the year.

However, Broadbeach’s popularity has led to higher living costs and a crowded housing market. The area can be noisy, especially during peak tourist seasons. While it offers some educational options, they are not as diverse or highly rated as in other suburbs.

Broadbeach is perfect for those who enjoy a dynamic, cosmopolitan lifestyle close to the beach. It’s less suited for families seeking quiet, affordable living, or a wide range of educational choices.

5. Currumbin – Total Score: 78/100

Currumbin is known for its stunning natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle, but it’s not without its challenges in terms of development and amenities.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 9/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 7/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Access to Nature: 10/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 8/10

Currumbin stands out for its exceptional natural environments, including the famous Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and pristine beaches, ideal for nature enthusiasts and families. The suburb maintains a strong sense of community, evident in its local markets and events. It offers a peaceful, laid-back lifestyle, away from the hustle and bustle of more urbanised areas. The healthcare facilities in the area are reliable and cater well to the community’s needs.

However, Currumbin’s public transport options are limited, making commuting a challenge for residents without personal transport. While it has a range of local amenities, they are not as extensive as in more developed suburbs. The increasing popularity of the area has led to a rise in property prices, impacting affordability.

Currumbin is ideal for those seeking a tranquil, nature-centric lifestyle and strong community bonds. It may not suit those who prioritise extensive amenities or rely heavily on public transport.

4. Coolangatta – Total Score: 80/100

Coolangatta Beach, image by Kgbo

Coolangatta combines a relaxed beach atmosphere with a rich cultural scene, though it grapples with the balance between tourism and local living.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 9/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 6/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Access to Nature: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Coolangatta is celebrated for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe. It has a strong cultural presence, reflected in its annual music and arts festivals. The suburb offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, catering to both locals and visitors. It also boasts a diverse community, bringing together people from various backgrounds and cultures.

The suburb’s popularity with tourists can sometimes overshadow the needs of local residents, particularly during peak holiday seasons. Property prices have been rising, partly due to its desirability as a tourist destination. Public transport is available but could be improved to better serve the local community.

Coolangatta is perfect for those who appreciate a beach lifestyle combined with a rich cultural tapestry. It’s less ideal for those seeking a quiet, non-touristic environment or a suburb with extensive public transport options.

3. Burleigh Heads – Total Score: 82/100

Burleigh Heads, image by John Mcpherson

Burleigh Heads is a blend of natural beauty and vibrant community life, though it faces challenges with growing popularity and density.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 9/10
  • Affordability: 5/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Access to Nature: 10/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Burleigh Heads is renowned for its stunning beach and headland, offering excellent surfing and outdoor activities. The suburb boasts a strong community spirit, evident in its regular markets and local festivals. It’s rich in amenities, with a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants that cater to a diverse range of tastes. The educational facilities here are well-regarded, making it a great option for families.

However, its popularity has led to increased property prices, making it less affordable for some. The suburb can get quite crowded, especially during summer and on weekends. While public transport services the area, it is not as comprehensive as in more central locations.

Burleigh Heads is ideal for those seeking a dynamic community-oriented lifestyle with a strong connection to nature. It’s less suited for those on a tight budget or in need of extensive public transport options.

2. Hope Island – Total Score: 84/100

Hope Island offers a luxurious and tranquil lifestyle but comes with a higher price tag and limited cultural diversity.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 10/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 7/10
  • Local Amenities: 9/10
  • Community Spirit: 9/10
  • Access to Nature: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10

Hope Island is known for its exclusive residential communities and golf courses, offering a high standard of living. The area is safe and well-maintained, with top-notch healthcare facilities. It’s surrounded by waterways, making it a paradise for boating enthusiasts. The suburb also has quality educational institutions and a range of local amenities, including shopping centres and dining options.

The cost of living in Hope Island is higher than in many other Gold Coast suburbs, reflecting its luxury status. Public transport options are limited, making personal transport almost a necessity. The suburb has less cultural diversity compared to more central areas of the Gold Coast.

Hope Island is perfect for those seeking a high-end, peaceful lifestyle with a focus on luxury and privacy. It may not be suitable for those looking for a more culturally diverse environment or reliant on public transport.

1. Surfers Paradise – Total Score: 85/100

Surfers Paradise Beach, image by Kgbo

Surfers Paradise, the iconic heart of the Gold Coast, offers an unbeatable mix of beach, entertainment, and lifestyle, albeit with the bustle of a tourist hotspot.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Safety: 8/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Schools: 8/10
  • Public Transport: 9/10
  • Local Amenities: 10/10
  • Community Spirit: 8/10
  • Access to Nature: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Cultural Diversity: 10/10

Surfers Paradise is a vibrant and dynamic suburb, famous for its stunning beach and lively nightlife. It has an abundance of amenities, including world-class shopping and dining options. The suburb is well-connected by public transport, making it easy to navigate without a car. It’s culturally diverse, hosting numerous events and festivals that celebrate this diversity.

However, Surfers Paradise can be quite crowded, particularly during peak tourist seasons and events. The cost of living is higher due to its popularity and centrality. The bustling atmosphere may not be suited for those seeking a quieter, more laid-back lifestyle.

Surfers Paradise is ideal for those who love being at the centre of action and enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle. It’s less recommended for families seeking a quiet suburb or those sensitive to the hustle and bustle of a tourist destination.

How I Scored Each Suburb

In this section, I’ll explain the criteria used to score each suburb, offering insights into the important aspects that make a suburb stand out or fall behind in the Gold Coast.

Safety

Safety is a measure of a suburb’s crime rate, the effectiveness of local law enforcement, and the general sense of security felt by residents. It’s important because it directly impacts the quality of life and peace of mind. A suburb scoring 1 in safety, such as Southport, might have high crime rates and frequent reports of disturbances. Conversely, a suburb scoring 10, like Tallebudgera, would have exceptionally low crime rates and a strong sense of community safety, making it a haven for residents.

Affordability

Affordability assesses the cost of living in the suburb, including housing prices, utilities, and daily expenses. It’s crucial because it determines whether a suburb is financially accessible to a wide range of people. A suburb scoring 1 on affordability, like Main Beach, would have high housing costs and overall expensive living conditions. In contrast, a suburb like Nerang, scoring a 10, offers affordable living with reasonable housing prices and daily expenses.

Schools

The quality of schools in a suburb, including academic performance, facilities, and extracurricular opportunities, is vital for families with children. A suburb with a score of 1, like Bilinga, might have limited educational facilities or lower-performing schools. A suburb scoring 10, such as Varsity Lakes, would have a range of high-quality educational institutions, offering excellent academic and extracurricular options.

Public Transport

Public transport accessibility is key for connectivity and convenience, enabling residents to commute easily without personal vehicles. A suburb scoring 1, like Gilston, might have limited or unreliable public transport options. A suburb scoring 10, such as Southport, would boast excellent public transport networks, including efficient bus and tram services.

Local Amenities

Local amenities like shops, restaurants, and recreational facilities contribute to the suburb’s liveability and convenience. A suburb like Guanaba, scoring a 1, would have very few amenities, requiring residents to travel out for most needs. A suburb scoring 10, like Coomera, would be rich in amenities, offering a wide variety of shopping, dining, and recreational options.

Community Spirit

Community spirit reflects the level of social engagement, neighbourliness, and community events in a suburb. It’s important for fostering a sense of belonging and support among residents. A low score of 1, as seen in Oxenford, might indicate minimal community activities and a lack of neighbourly interaction. A high score of 10, characteristic of a suburb like Mudgeeraba, would reflect a strong, active community with frequent social events and a welcoming atmosphere.

Access to Nature

Access to natural environments such as parks, beaches, and trails is crucial for recreational and aesthetic value. A suburb scoring 1 in this area, like Upper Coomera, would have limited natural spaces and recreational areas. A suburb scoring 10, as seen in Tallebudgera Valley, would offer abundant natural beauty and a variety of outdoor activities.

Employment Opportunities

Availability and diversity of job opportunities within the suburb are important for its economic vibrancy and attractiveness to residents. A score of 1, typical for an area like Willow Vale, reflects limited employment options within the suburb. A suburb like Bundall, scoring a 10, would have a thriving job market with a variety of employment opportunities across different sectors.

Healthcare Facilities

The availability and quality of healthcare services in a suburb are essential for the well-being of its residents. A suburb scoring 1 in this area, such as Ormeau, might have scarce healthcare facilities. In contrast, a suburb scoring 10, like Robina, would have a range of high-quality healthcare services, including hospitals and specialised clinics.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity enriches a suburb’s social fabric and provides a range of cultural experiences and perspectives. It’s important for fostering inclusivity and broadening residents’ horizons. A low score of 1, as in Advancetown, might reflect minimal cultural diversity and limited cultural activities. A high score of 10, characteristic of a suburb like Labrador, would indicate a vibrant, multicultural community with diverse cultural events and activities

My Research: A Blend of Data and Local Insights

In crafting this list of top suburbs on the Gold Coast, my approach was a mix of thorough data analysis and deep local insights. The data was meticulously gathered from a variety of reliable sources, ensuring a comprehensive and accurate representation of each suburb.

The primary source of my data was the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which provided crucial information on demographics, employment rates, and housing prices. Additionally, local council reports, particularly from the City of Gold Coast, were invaluable in understanding the nuances of safety, public amenities, and infrastructure developments. This quantitative data formed the backbone of my analysis, ensuring an objective basis for the rankings.

However, data alone doesn’t capture the essence of a suburb. To add colour and context, I tapped into local news outlets and community forums. Publications like the Gold Coast Bulletin and MyGC gave insights into recent developments, community events, and local issues that might affect the living experience in each suburb. These sources were critical in assessing aspects like community spirit and cultural diversity.

Moreover, I personally visited various cafes, restaurants, and public spaces across these suburbs to get a real feel for their atmosphere and amenities. For instance, the bustling vibe of Elk Espresso in Broadbeach, with its innovative brunch menu, contrasted with the laid-back, family-friendly environment of Dune Cafe in Palm Beach. Such on-the-ground experiences provided a tangible sense of what it’s like to live, work, and relax in these areas.

This blend of hard data and experiential insights formed the foundation of my suburb evaluations, ensuring that the recommendations are not only based on statistics but also on the real, lived experiences of Gold Coast residents.

In Conclusion

My top Gold Coast suburbs offer a diverse array of attributes, each with its unique strengths and challenges. Here’s a recap of the top ten suburbs, along with their total scores:

  1. Surfers Paradise (Total Score – 85/100)
  2. Hope Island (Total Score – 84/100)
  3. Burleigh Heads (Total Score – 82/100)
  4. Coolangatta (Total Score – 80/100)
  5. Currumbin (Total Score – 78/100)
  6. Broadbeach (Total Score – 76/100)
  7. Robina (Total Score – 74/100)
  8. Mermaid Beach (Total Score – 72/100)
  9. Helensvale (Total Score – 70/100)
  10. Palm Beach (Total Score – 68/100)


Each suburb on the Gold Coast presents its own unique appeal, catering to a wide spectrum of preferences and lifestyles. Whether you are drawn to the energetic pulse of a beachside city like Surfers Paradise, with its vibrant nightlife and bustling streets, or you prefer the serene luxury of Hope Island, where tranquility and opulence blend seamlessly, there’s a place for everyone. For those who cherish community spirit and a balanced lifestyle, suburbs like Burleigh Heads offer a perfect blend of beautiful beaches and a friendly, engaging community. For families and professionals, Robina provides a harmonious balance of modern amenities and green spaces, making it a practical yet picturesque place to live.

Finally, for those considering a move to the Gold Coast and needing assistance in finding a property that suits their needs, a residential buyer’s agent can be an invaluable resource. They can provide expert advice, local knowledge, and support throughout the property buying process, ensuring you find the perfect home in your ideal suburb.


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