Gold Coast Magazine

The Student's Guide To Living On The Gold Coast

The Student's Guide To Living On The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a world-renowned city located on Queensland’s eastern coast. Aside from being famous for its skyscrapers, golden beaches and incredible waves, the Gold Coast is also one of the best places to study in Australia. Whether you’re interested in signing up for a short digital marketing course or a degree in nursing, there is certainly no shortage of tertiary education options to choose from on the Gold Coast. When it’s time to let your hair down post-exams, this vibrant city also offers students an electric entertainment scene, amazing shopping strips and world famous theme parks.

If you have chosen the Gold Coast as your international study location (or are considering it), then this quick guide will help you get a stronger sense of what to expect.

Today, we share everything you need to know about living in the Gold Coast as a student, including the best suburbs to find student accommodation, how to get around, and much more.

Best Suburbs For Student Accommodation

Before choosing student accommodation in Gold Coast, it is essential to consider important factors such as rental costs, and your proximity to local amenities like shops or public transport To get you started, we’ve rounded up the 5 best suburbs to suit student budgets and other requirements on the Gold Coast.

Robina — The closest suburb to Bond University and a perfect mix of suburban living and exhilarating entertainment, Robina is a popular choice amongst students looking for variety. Public transport in the area is exceptional, with connections to practically anywhere on the Gold Coast. Robina Town Centre is a major shopping complex loaded with big brands, cinemas, and promenade dining. If you are an active person, Robina also offers a variety of different parks and golf courses to enjoy on your downtime. Room rentals start at $150 per week, while a lease on an apartment can cost anywhere between $200-$650 per week.

Southport — Southport is a busy inner-city suburb and a popular choice for international students attending Griffith University, CQUniversity, and TAFE or those completing courses online but are still looking to live centrally. Famous for its cafes, restaurants and leafy parks, Southport is the ideal suburb for students looking to stay close to the hustle and bustle of city life whilst still maintaining access to plenty of green spaces and community living. Public transport in the area is also fantastic, with quick, easy access in all directions. Thanks to Southport’s proximity to the freeway, trekking into the Brisbane CBD is also a piece of cake. And  for nightlife, Surfers Paradise is right next door, so you’ll never run out of things to do.

Surfers Paradise — If you’re all about embracing everything the Gold Coast has to offer, nothing beats living in Surfers Paradise. Known as the ‘Glitter Strip’ of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise offers a variety of high-rise apartments, cafés, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach on your doorstep. Public transport options are top notch in Surfers Paradise, with numerous trams and buses that can get you across the Gold Coast in a matter of minutes. Room rentals start at a low $130 per week in a shared house, and any accommodation you pick is bound to be within walking distance of amenities, shops, entertainment, and nightlife.

Labrador — Labrador is an affordable suburb to live in as a student, and located just a stone’s throw away from Southport, and also very close to both Griffith University and the Australia Fair Shopping Centre. Labrador is also a short drive from the famous Movie World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Dreamworld, and White Water World theme parks. A primarily suburban area, Labrador offers numerous affordable apartments, townhouses and beach homes available for rent. Private room rentals are popular amongst students in this suburb, with rooms starting at around $150 per week.

Burleigh Heads — If you’re looking for a quieter suburb that is away from the hustle and bustle, look no further than Burleigh Heads. Just south of the city centre, this peaceful suburb offers a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and the iconic Sunday Village Markets. The average price for a rental unit is $450 per week, making it one of the cheaper suburbs to live in. There are also plenty of shared accommodation options available to make the cost of living cheaper.

Public Transport In Gold Coast

Gold Coast’s public transport options include bus, taxi and ferry services, and light and heavy rail. The city is well-serviced with an extensive bus, train and tram network, with an ever-growing list of routes that span the entire region. Most universities are easily accessible by these public transport options, making it easier than ever to get to and from your accommodation and school on a daily basis.

To utilise these services, you will need to purchase a ‘go card’ which you can purchase online or selected retailers where you see the ‘buy’ symbol. When you purchase your go card you’ll pay a refundable deposit of $10 (adult) or $5 (child, concession, senior). Use your go card on all Translink bus, train (including Airtrain), ferry and tram services in greater Brisbane, Ipswich, Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast regions. The best part about the go card is that it’s cheaper than a paper ticket and much easier to manage or top up on the go.

Student Budget In Gold Coast

One of the major perks of studying on the Gold Coast is its relatively affordable lifestyle, compared to other major cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. As an international student living in Gold Coast, you can expect to pay between AUD 500 and AUD 1,100 a week depending on your lifestyle. This estimate includes costs associated with rent, utilities, food, transportation, and most other living costs.

To further supplement your lifestyle, there are plenty of opportunities available for students looking to work part time, in any of the numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and retail outlets peppered all over the city. For those looking to work, it is vital that you thoroughly examine your visa conditions to ascertain if you are eligible to work in Australia. Generally, student visas allow individuals to work up to 20 hours per week, though this has temporarily changed to 40 hours recently ????to address workforce shortages. Find out more about working on a student visa here.

What Are The Attractions In Gold Coast?

As mentioned throughout this article, Gold Coast is home to dozens, if not hundreds, of world-class attractions, with no shortage of entertainment options for students. During the day, treat yourself to an afternoon at a local market, brunch spot, designer boutique, or a beachfront bar to relax and soak up some sun. At night, there is an endless variety of clubs, restaurants, cafes and bars available for you to explore, meet and socialise with other international students and visitors.

For a full day of iconically Gold Coast adventure, top attractions include Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet n Wild, Sea World, Surfers Paradise and Dreamworld.


And there you have it — everything you need to know about living on the Gold Coast as a student. With plenty of activities, attractions and universities to choose from, you are guaranteed to make precious memories that last a lifetime on Australia’s iconic glitter strip. This is just the beginning, and we wish you a successful year ahead at university!

Gold Coast Magazine
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