Just the name of Australia's Gold Coast conjures up images of beaches, boats and building-lined seashores. However, there's much more to this little slice of paradise than the present moment.

All over the region, there are museums, historical sites and other informational areas where you can learn a little bit about how the Gold Coast came to be the travel destination it is today, as well as everything it has to offer now.

The Gold Coast Wax Museum, for example, puts a funky spin on traditional learning experiences. Packed with more than 110 wax sculptures, which range from effigies of US presidents to full scenes from Australia's history, goers will enjoy a novel approach to education.

Whether you want to learn about the history of human cruelty throughout the middle ages in the Chamber of Horrors or admire the work of artists from all over the world, the wax museum has it all. It's no wonder it's listed as a Great Wax Museum of the World.

For something a little closer to home, you may want to check out Surf World Gold Coast – the only surfing museum in the state. Here you can find the history of surfboards and the sport as a whole, with products dating back to the early 20th century on display.

With photos and memorabilia lining the walls and videos illustrating top surfing talent, you'll get a never-before-seen look at how the Queensland beach culture came to be.

To round out your trip, you may want to head to the David Fleay Wildlife Park, where you can learn about the amazing work the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service does to keep threatened and endangered species safe.

Whether it's for a bit of fun, a history lesson or a look into Australia's native species, there's plenty to do and learn throughout the Gold Coast. So grab a rental car in the Gold Coast and check it out.