The essential intro to Southport on the Gold Coast – including the very best of local attractions, restaurants, things to do, and where to stay.
The longtime business district of the Gold Coast is one of the city’s larger suburbs featuring a mix of business, residential, recreation, and tourist attractions. The most well-known street in the suburb is Scarborough St. which features the popular Australia Fair shopping center with the surrounding streets featuring cafes, restaurants, and shopping.
Australia Fair is one of the Gold Coast’s largest malls featuring many of Australia’s top retailers, plus cafes, restaurants, and entertainment. It has hundreds of stores and two large food courts. Mostly targetting the value-seeking shopper with major stores including Jay Jays, Cotton On, Just Jeans, Roger David, K Mart, Sportsgirl, Sussan, and many more. There’s also a wide range of good value beauty services.
You’ll also find lots of shops surrounding the mall along Scarborough St and along Nerang St, which include variety stores and more eateries.
Across from Australia Fair is the Broadwater Parklands which is a newly developed park featuring loads of attractions and things to do for families including BBQ facilities, Bouncy Pillow and Rock Pools for kids, plus much more. Best of all, it’s free to go there and explore, plus there is also free wi-fi available in the park.
Right next to Broadwater Parklands is Aquatic Park which features Olympic standard swimming pools, children’s splash pool, creche, cafe, and fully equipped gymnasium. The fees are quite reasonable and anyone can get a membership or just pay for a single visit, you can see the schedule of fees here
The area also features mangrove wetlands, sculptures, boat ramp, beach volleyball court, fishing area, swimming enclosure, adventure playground and parking. During holiday periods you’ll find the ‘Big Wedgie’ at the northern end of the park offering super water slides.
At the southern end of the parkland is the Gold Coast Tourist Park which features caravan spaces and cabin accommodation in quite an enviable location by the waterside. Along the Gold Coast HWY/Marine Parade at Southport, there are also several other accommodation places which overlook the parkland and Broadwater.
Southport has long been a popular base for Chinese and centering on the intersection of Young and Davenport Streets you’ll find Chinatown, it’s still growing and more restaurants are opening up all the time and there are normally live shows at night on weekends.
Top Attractions in Southport
Southport offers up several attractions and I will list some highlights below and go here for a full list of things to do in Southport and all things to do, sights, and attractions in the region.
- Broadwater Parklands
- Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
- Boomerang Art – Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery
- The Escape Hunt Experience
Shopping in Southport
Southport has a diverse range of shopping mostly targetted to local residents and a lot less touristy than Surfers or Broadbeach.
Restaurants in Southport
There are a lot of dining out options in Southport and the area is renowned for high-quality Asian offerings. Here, I offer up my picks for the best restaurants in Southport
- Carmody’s – modern Australian cuisine – Southport Sharks Musgrave Ave
- Jasmine Room – Chinese Cuisine and Yum Cha – Sundale Level 1-2 Como Cres
- De Vito Waterfront Restaurant – Mediterranean – 2 Barney Street
- JFX Noodle & Tapas Bar – Tapas/Japanese – Shop 2A 82 Marine Parad
- Ramen Danbo – Casual Asian/Japanese – Shop 24, 73 Meron Street
- The Cardamom Pod – Vegetarian cafe – The Brickworks Centre
- CSi – Club Southport – classic pub meals
- RSL Southport – great value meals and regular specials
Bars and Nightlife in Southport
- CSi – Club Southport – sports bar, gaming, and regular live music
- Last Night On Earth – new and popular dive bar
- The Railway Hotel – bar and gaming
- The Cecil Hotel – bar and gaming
- Anglers Arms Hotel – sports bar and gaming
- Ferry Road Tavern – sports bar and gaming
- Hotel Pacific – bar and gaming
Hotels in Southport
A central location, facilities include fitness centre, indoor and outdoor resort-style pools, hot tub and sauna. There is a Woolworths Supermarket here and the G:Link light rail stop is at the front of the building.
Located near Woodroffe Park, it’s a short walk from the shopping areas of Southport and the G:link station. It has free wifi, an onsite cafe offering breakfast and lunch.
Southport is serviced by public buses and the G:Link light rail with the main stops being
- Southport South G:Link station – Scarborough St near to Park Lane
- Southport Station G:Link station – Scarborough St near to Nerang St
- Broadwater Parklands G:Link station – Queens St
- Southport bus station – Scarborough St near to Nerang St
- Scarborough St at White Street bus station
- Broadwater Parklands bus station – Ada Bell Way