The Gold Coast is Australia’s answer to Miami. Well, as close as it can get, at least. Boasting some of the country’s best surf breaks, stunning sunsets, lush hinterland, perfect weather, and a 52-kilometre-long strip of pristine beaches, it is no wonder vacationers flock to this city in Queensland.

Although the mention of Gold Coast may immediately conjure up images of the glitzy Surfers Paradise strip and its iconic beach, there are far better beaches where you get to enjoy some of the best surf breaks on the coast. These beaches are favoured by locals, but remain relatively unknown to tourists.

On a recent vacation to Gold Coast, we explored everything the beautiful coastal city has to offer, as well as consulted a few locals to find out their favourite surf and swim spots. Unsurprisingly, Surfers Paradise didn’t make the list. A general tip we found was that the further south you venture, the more serene and laid-back the beaches are — and the concept of “selfie sticks” become almost non-existent.

From the beach where world-renowned surf legends are trained to one where you get to swim with pods of dolphins, here are 5 underrated, lesser-known beaches to check out the next time you’re on the Gold Coast. You can thank us later.