I have read several places that Surfers Paradise is called "Australias Miami". And even though I have never been to Miami myself, I think that it is a suitable statement. If you want to combine laying at the beach during the day, or persuade water activities in beautiful surroundings, and go out to party when night falls, this is the place for you...
Surfers Paradise has many high skyscrapers and hotels all over, it is very touristified. You are guaranteed to meet several backpackers, who are up for a night out. In fact, it took us three weeks to meet someone who were from Gold Coast.
It is a nice place to stay if you like beachlife, shopping and clubing. They say that if you want to learn surfing, Surfers is a great place to start, because the waves are just the right size for beginners. If you want a bigger challenge, you don't have to go far. There are beaches not long from Surfers who have more challenging waves.
If you want to visit different theme parks, they are located close to Surfers. You can choose between Seaworld, Dreamworld, Movieworld and Wet N` Wild, so there are plenty of parks to choose from.
If you want to experience some australian animals, Wildlife Currumbin Sanctuary is only a 40 minutes bus drive away. I really enjoyed my time there. I took pictures with koalas, baby crocodiles, and had also opportunity to take picture with a snake which I quickly passed on. (I'm not a big fan of snakes..) Even though the park is adjusted to children, there is no problem for adults to have a nice time as well. You can walk through an open place, where friendly kangaroos come over to you, and wonder if you have a snack for them. Even though you don't, there is no problem getting close enough to touch and cuddle them. We got so many beautiful pictures, so it was a really good experience. You can also see beautiful birds, dingos, different reptiles and much more.
Surfers Paradise is a nice place to stop for a while if you are travelling through the East-Coast, but perhaps one negative feeling I got when I came down here, was that I didn't feel like I had just travel across of the world, and didn't quite feel like I was in Australia in a way. But it often gets like that in places that experience a growth in tourism.
If you decide to stop in Surfers, the city has many backpackers hostel to choose from. We had a good experience at "Surf N` Sun" which is really close to the beach, and only a short walk from the centre of Surfers. The rooms were okay, you share with four other people, or you can order a room for two. It have a kitchen where you can cook and store your food and a common room where you can watch TV, (the rooms also have TVs). Friendly staff and you definitely meet other backpackers in this small, nice place. It's affordable, around $31 for one night.