Gold Coast Travel Guide

All the essentials for planning your trip to Queensland's Gold Coast.

Queensland’s Gold Coast is Australia’s playground, with sun, surf, adventure and entertainment within a stone’s throw of each other. Its most famous beach, Surfers Paradise, is a destination in its own right and is the kind of attractive vista that beach holiday postcards are made of.

Located along the state’s southeast coast, the Gold Coast covers a 52 kilometre strip of over 30 golden beaches and boasts an average of 245 days of sunshine every year. As its name suggests, its enviable waters attract the eye of surfers who travel across the world to ride its waves.

Planning your trip

While 10.3 million visitors flock to Gold Coast to bask in its sunshine every year, the beaches aren’t its only draw card. Behind the sands of Surfer’s Paradise sits a hub of restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities that beckon to both young and old when the sun has left the fun.

Off the beach, families and thrill seekers can spend days exploring the five amusement and theme parks (Warner Bros. Movieworld, Dreamworld, Seaworld, Wet “n” Wild and WhiteWater World), shoppers can splash their cash at the outlets in Harbour Town and high-rollers and lucky punters can take a gamble at Jupiters Hotel and Casino.

Travel away from the buzz and you’ll soon discover quieter beaches and the Gold Coast Hinterland, which includes Lamington and Springbrook National Parks, where you can embark on walks through lush subtropical rainforest and capture views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Gold Coast: What you need to know

Location: Southeast coast of Queensland, Australia (Paradise Point to Tweed Heads)
Closest airport: Gold Coast/Coolangatta Airport (OOL)
Closest train station/s: Varsity Lakes and Nerang
Weather: Averages of 245 days of sunshine, 1400mm of rain (most rainfall is from Jan-Mar), 20°C average throughout the year
Top 10 must see: Surfers Paradise Beach, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heights, Warner Bros. Movieworld, Dreamworld, Seaworld, Wet “N” Wild, WhiteWater World, Jupiters Hotel and Casino, Gold Coast Hinterland.
Stay safe: Are you covered? Insure yourself for your trip in case something goes wrong.

Getting there: What are the cheapest ways to get to the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast is easily accessed by plane, train or road. Two common entry points are through the state’s capital, Brisbane, or through Gold Coast/Coolangatta Airport. Costs vary depending on which mode of transport you choose to reach each major city, especially as flight prices fluctuate.

Flights to the Gold Coast can be cheaper than to Brisbane as it is a smaller airport, and it's a gateway into Asia for carriers including Jetstar and AirAsia.

If you’re travelling from Brisbane your cheapest form of transport to the Gold Coast is by train and bus using the area’s transport card (go card). Fares start from $9.65 one-way (in non-peak hours).

Alternatively, you can take an express Greyhound coach from Brisbane city centre from $14 or from Brisbane Airport from $30. Prices quoted are for adults, travelling one-way.

If you’re travelling from Gold Coast/Coolangatta Airport your cheapest form of transport is the 777 bus using a go card (which can be purchased from the airport) for $4.76/$5.96 (peak/off-peak). Prices quoted are for adults, travelling one-way.

If you're travelling from Asia. As mentioned above, Gold Coast Airport is a gateway into Asia and draws many tourists from China every year. Cheap airlines that provide flights to Gold Coast include Air Asia (ex Malaysia), Scoot (ex Singapore) and Scoot (ex Japan). If you are travelling from China, these routes and airlines tend to serve as stops to get to the Gold Coast.

Book cheap flights to the Gold Coast

Unlimited access to 4 Gold Coast theme parks for $89.99

Get unlimited access to Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet N' Wild Gold Coast and Paradise Country until 30 June 2017. That's the same as one day's admission to Movie World.

$85 & up flights within Australia

Valid on select flights until January. Sample fares include Sydney-Ballina/Byron for $85 each way, Brisbane-Newcastle/Port Stephens for $85 each way and Sydney-Gold Coast for $85 each way. Other destinations include Melbourne, Launceston, Hamilton Island, Cairns, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and more. See a full list of sale fares here.

Gold Coast stays from $92 per night

Find accommodation on the Gold Coast from $92 per night on

Click here to see more deals for flights to the Gold Coast

Book cheap package deals to the Gold Coast

Getting there: How to travel by plane, train and road

Here are further details on how to get to the Surfers Paradise via different modes of transport.


Travelling by plane

The closest airport to the Gold Coast is in Coolangatta and is known as Gold Coast/Coolangatta Airport (OOL). It is 29 kilometres south of Surfer’s Paradise and Broadbeach and is serviced daily by Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Tigerair, AirAsia and Air New Zealand. It is less often serviced by Scoot. OOL is not a 24-hour airport, so if you are making an overnight transfer you will need to organise accommodation.

You can get to and from the airport by public transport (buses and trains), shuttles, coaches, hire car, taxi or uber. Instructions for taking each to Surfers Paradise Beach are below.

Getting to and from the airport by public transport

Bus routes Gold Coast/Coolangatta Airport does not have a train station, but can be accessed publicly by these bus routes:

  • 777. This is an express bus to Broadbeach South. From here you can connect to the Gold Coast’s public transport network, TransLink, to Surfers Paradise and Southport. The 777 departs every 15 minutes and operates from 7am-7pm, daily. Transport time is 30 minutes to Broadbeach station then 10 minutes by bus to Surfers Paradise. Cost: $8.60 (single paper ticket, adult), $4.76-$5.96 (go card, peak, non-peak)
  • 760. This is a local service to Robina Town Centre via Elanora and Tugun (north) or Tweed Heads via Coolangatta (south). To get to Surfers Paradise, take the 760 to Golden Four Dr at Johnston S, Bilinga (4 mins, this is also walkable in 10 mins) and catch the 700 to Broadbeach South. At Broadbeach South, transfer to a tram to Surfers Paradise. Broadbeach South can be used to access Varsity Lakes train station, which can connect you to Brisbane CBD. This bus departs every 30 minutes. Cost: $8.60 (single paper ticket, adult), $4.76/$5.96 (go card, one way, peak/non-peak)

Go card

A go card allows you to access southeast Queensland’s public transport system. It can be purchased from the airport or a number of vendors throughout the area. Adult go cards incur a $10 refundable deposit.

If you are planning to use public transport frequently around the Gold Coast, it might be worth purchasing a go explore card, which is a one-day, reloadable pass that gives you unlimited travel throughout the Gold Coast via bus or tram (not trains) for $10 per day (adult) or $5 per day (child). It can be used on buses to and from the airport. The go explore doesn’t require a deposit.

Getting to and from the airport by coach

Airline operated shuttles

Scoot and AirAsia both offer ground transfers from the airport to Brisbane or the Gold Coast so long as you flew in with them. Scoot’s ground transfer operator is mytransfer. AirAsia uses Link Transfers. You can book directly with each operator.

Private shuttles and coaches

If you're not flying either Scoot or AirAsia, there are private coaches and shuttles available to get you to the Gold Coast.

Viator offers a Gold Coast shuttle service with Con-x-ion from the airport to various zones in the Gold Coast including Surfers Paradise, Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach. This must be booked online. Cost is $21 one way, adult. Viator also offers an Airport and Theme Park Travel Pass for $60. The Gold Coast Shuttle also offers airport and theme park travel and sells passes for its service at the airport. You can also purchase passes for local public transport with the company for $21 (one way, adult) or $41 (return, adult).

Other airport transfer companies from Gold Coast Airport are Airlink Express, Anytrans, Gold Coast Pacific Tours and Link Transfers.


Looking for a fun way to get to Surfer's Paradise and back? A firetruck is exactly what you need. Fire4Hire offers transfers to and from the airport in a firetruck that can seat up to 10 and can accommodate for large luggage like surfboards.

Getting to and from the airport by road

Taxis and Ubers

Gold Coast Airport is service by Gold Coast cabs. The taxi rank can be found outside the arrivals terminal. Gold Coast Airport advertises a $49 flat fee for a one-way trip from the airport to Broadbeach hotels and $59 for Surfers Paradise hotels. See its website for full details.

An alternative to taxi is Uber, which you can book online here. Depending on which type of Uber car you order (UberX or UberSELECT), the fare from the airport to Surfers can vary from $41 to $77. Surge pricing might also apply during busy events.

Car hire

Gold Coast Airport is not short of car hire options. Car rental hire desks are located opposite the arrivals area at the airport and includes the following car rental companies. You can choose to pre-book online by clicking on the links below or talk to and choose your car rental company upon arrival.

To save you time, you can visit their sites direct or look at the below booking agents to see what car options and prices are available to suit you.

  • Apex Car Rentals
  • Cut Price Car Rentals
  • Sun Coast Rentals
  • Alpha Car Hire
  • East Coast Car Rentals
You might also like to explore your options with aggregators that search for the best car rental prices across a multitude of car rental companies in the Gold Coast:

Airport parking

Gold Coast Airport offers five areas of airport parking with the following features and costs. GoldCoast Airport Parking

Short TermLong Term Premium CoveredCovered Long Term 1Covered Long Term 2Long Term Uncovered
Parking lengthUp to 10 hours (free for less than 10 minutes)Overnight and longerOvernight and longerOvernight and longerOvernight and longer
Terminal accessDirectly across from Terminal 1Directly across from Terminal 1Short, covered walk, to Terminal 1Short, covered walk, to Terminal 1Short, covered walk, to Terminal 1
CostFrom $5$30 per day$23 per day, $18 per day after the fourth day$22 per day, $17 per day after the fourth day$16 per day, $12 per day after the fifth day
Booking requiredNoYes, online, up to 3 hours prior to arrivalNoNoNo

You can book airport parking here.

How can I get airport parking for less?

The official parking stations have fixed prices, but if you’re willing to park further at other airport parking stations, you could save a decent amount. Most offer a free shuttle service to the airport. Airport Parking is partnered with Tiger Airways has locations around Australia, Ezyparking is three minutes from the airport and has prices starting from $5 a day, Ready Airport Parking claims to offer the cheapest daily rate available though you have to visit its website for a quote and Alpha Airport Parking has locations in the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne and offers $7 a day open air parking.

Travelling by train

Surfers Paradise does not have an interstate train station. Its closest interstate station is Brisbane (Roma St). If you’re travelling from Sydney, you can either transfer in Casino onto a coach service or at Brisbane onto a connecting train service.

  • Sydney to Surfers via Casino: Trains from Sydney to Casino depart twice daily at 7:11am and 2:21pm. From Casino, connect onto coach services CLK175 or CLK163 respectively which will take you up to Surfers Paradise. Non-refundable economy tickets for both start from $63 on way. The total trip time is around 15 hours.
  • Sydney to Surfers via Brisbane: A direct train from Sydney to Brisbane operates daily and takes just over 14 hours. Non-refundable economy tickets start from $63. This train departs at 2:41pm daily and arrives in Brisbane (Roma Street) at 3:53am the following day. From Brisbane, you can connect to the Gold Coast, with the direct AirTrain heading to the Gold Coast (Varsity Lakes station) every 30 minutes. This takes just shy of 2 hours and is a good option if you’re coming from Brisbane Airport, but a more costly one if you’re going through Brisbane purely to get to the Gold Coast. Fares start from $32.22 but become higher during peak commuter hours.
  • A cheaper alternative from Brisbane is to take a local train from Brisbane’s Central station to Nerang and then connect to a bus to Surfers for $17.50 (one-way, adult), $9.65/$12.07 (go card, one way, adult, peak/non-peak). Buses from Nerang to Surfers depart every 30 minutes and operate from 7am-7pm daily. A car pickup from Nerang to Brisbane can also be booked for around $22 using UberX depending on where your hotel destination is. Both options will take approximately 2 hours to Surfers Paradise beach. A coach from Brisbane Central station can also be booked (see below).

Travelling by road

The Gold Coast can be reached from north or south via the Pacific Highway (M1). If travelling by coach, Greyhound offers coaches several times a day from Brisbane (Roma Street) to Surfers Paradise for $14-18 one-way while Premier offers coaches twice per day from the same bus stations for $17-$19 (one way).

Greyhound, Premier and Surfside also offer coach journeys from further cities. If you’re planning further coach trips around Australia, it might be worthwhile investing in a Greyhound Bus Pass.

Getting around: Transport around the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is public-transport friendly with an extensive bus, tram, ferry and train network to connect you to all the major hotspots. The transport network is called TransLink and timetables and journey planners can be found here to organise your transport around. You can access the public transport system by purchasing a paper ticket at the station or stop, a go card, explore card or a seeQ card.

Go cards are electronic transport cards that can be topped up at the station and various other locations. When you tap them at the beginning and end of your journey, your fare will automatically be deducted and means you don’t have to continuously purchase single tickets every time you journey. (These cards work throughout South-East Queensland.)

go explore cards are electronic tickets for the Gold Coast area only. They provide you with unlimited access the Gold Coast’s tram and bus networks, but not its train network, for $10 per day.

seeQ cards are electronic transport cards that can be used in South East Queensland. This area includes  Gympie on the Sunshine Coast to Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and west to Helidon near Ipswich. You can use this card on trains, trams, buses and ferries. Use the maps below to determine if you require a seeQ card.

Gold Coast transport maps

Gold Coast bus and tram network

This map outlines the most convenient and frequent bus and tram services on the Gold Coast. 151101-gold-coast-turn-up-and-go_small

Full Gold Coast Network

View the full Gold Coast network map here.

Gold Coast train network

If you’d like to venture further out to Brisbane or the Hinterland, Queensland’s train network can be used to get you there. You can view the full Gold Coast train network here.

South East Queensland transport map

Planning a trip around South East Queensland? Where the go card is limited to the Gold Coast, a seeQ cards can take you further through South East Queensland. This area includes  Gympie on the Sunshine Coast to Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and west to Helidon near Ipswich as outlined in the maps below.

South East Queensland areas covered by the seeQ


South East Queensland network coverage and railway line


Uber and taxis

Taxis and uber cars can be used for ground transport. The Gold Coast is service by Gold Coast Cabs and UberX and UberSELECT.

Gold Coast Cabs charges the following rates:

Tariff 1 (7am-7pm weekdays): Flagfall $2.90, Booking $1.50, Distance $2.17/km, Waiting time $0.82/min
Tariff 2 (All other times, inc public holidays): Flagfall $4.30, Booking $1.50, Distance $2.17/km, waiting time $0.82/min
Tariff 3 (Midnight to 5am): Late night surcharge $2, Flagfall $6.30, Booking $1.50, Distance $2.17/km, waiting time $0.82/min

Uber charges the following rates:

UberX/UberASSIST: Base fare $2.50, Distance $1.30/km, Time $0.40p/m. (Both distance and time charges are calculated to create the total. Min fare of $6, cancellation charges apply).
UberSELECT: Base fare $4, Distance $1.80/km, Time $0.55/m. (Both distance and time charges are calculated to create the total. Min fare of $10, cancellation charges apply).

Both offer websites that will calculate an estimate cost for your journey.

$20 off your first ride

Get $20 off your first Uber ride.

Show code & visit site20****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

Where should I stay? Gold Coast accommodation


The Gold Coast offers a wealth of accommodation options. To make your search easier, determine which area you’d like to stay in (e.g. Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heights) and search for accommodation in those areas.

Generally tourist areas like Surfers Paradise will be more expensive than quieter areas such as Burleigh Heights during peak season. Below we’ve included booking sites that offer accommodations for different budgets. Most are quite competitive, so it’s worth comparing them to see which is offering the best deal at the time.

Where to book hotels online in Australia

Price (from)What to expectTop picks



$26pp p/nA shared dorm with
4-20 people.
Private and double
rooms available



$110p/n3-4 star hotels within
1km of the CBD
Ocean view rooms and
standard rooms available



High and low-end apartments available
High-rise and
low-rise apartments



Prices vary by room and rating
4-5 star accommodation
Standard rooms to
apartments available



$200-$800p/n5-star luxury hotels
and retreats

Top 5 things to do: The Gold Coast’s best attractions

Gold Coast attractions are far and varied and include theme and amusement parks, beach attractions and sports, safaris and bushwalks. Attraction cards such as iVenture can provide you with access to a number of these attractions at affordable prices. As to what you MUST see when you’re on the Gold Coast? Here are our top 5:

1. Gold Coast Theme Parks

There are five major theme parks in the Gold Coast worth a visit. Warner Bros., Sea World and Wet’n’Wild are all part of the same company so it’s possible to purchase a combo pass to access to all three. The same goes for Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.


Image: Dreamworld

Warner Bros. Movie World: This is a movie studio lot theme park featuring the sets and inspired rides of Warner Bros. films and properties such as Superman, Batman and Looney Tunes.
Sea World: Featuring animals, rides and entertainment, Sea World is a marine animal park where you can meet and learn about marine life and enjoy water-based rides and activities. Animals include sharks, dolphins and polar bears.
Wet’n’Wild: The Gold Coast waterpark, filled with extreme h2O rides for the brave and pools and springs for young and old.
Dreamworld: This is animal park-cross-theme park lets you meet Australian wildlife and unleash your inner adrenaline junkie at one of its 9 thrilling rides. Family and children’s rides are also available.
WhiteWater World: Down the road from Dreamworld, WhiteWater World is another waterpark featuring pools and slides for the family.

How can I get cheap theme park tickets?

Buying a combo or family pass is a good way to save money on theme park passes.

Cheap Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet’n’Wild passes

As a standard, a 7-day 3-park pass will set an adult back $99 and is what the official site and My fun offer. Viator however offers this same 7-day pass for $94 and is currently offering a 21-day 3-park pass for $89.

Bupa members receive 15% off passes, while RACV, RACQ and NRMA receive up to 10% off.

Cheap Dreamworld and WhiteWater world passes

As a standard, a 3-park pass to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint Observation Deck will set an adult back $99 for a 7-day pass or $105 for a 21-day pass through the official website. Viator sells them for slightly cheaper, charging $94.99 for the 3-day pass or $99 for the 21-day pass.

Similar to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet’n’Wild, Bupa members receive 15% off passes, while NRMA members receive up to 10% off. RACQ and RACV members pay $89.10 for a 7-day pass and $94.50 for a 21-day pass)

At times, deals websites like Groupon, Scoopon and OurDeal will offer discounted passes.

Unlimited access to 4 Gold Coast theme parks for $89.99

Get unlimited access to Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet N' Wild Gold Coast and Paradise Country until 30 June 2017. That's the same as one day's admission to Movie World.

2. Gold Coast Beaches

As mentioned above, the Gold Coast is home to over 30 beaches. Popular beaches well worth basking on include:


Surfers Paradise: “Surfers” is a hub of activity and the Gold Coast’s most renowned beach. With an exceptionally wide sand and enviable surf conditions, walk the boardwalk to experience Surfers’ skate culture, shop the markets for unique treats and trinkets and wine and dine the sun away at one of its sumptuous waterfront restaurants.
Broadbeach: Smaller but no less picturesque than Surfers, Broadbeach welcomes with its wealth of entertainment which includes buskers, music festivals and cultural events. It is home to Jupiters Hotel & Casino and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Visit between June and November to witness the whale migration off its pristine beach.
Main Beach: A more affluent and less frequented beach that Surfers, Main Beach is located at the mouth of the Nerang River.

Kirra Beach: One of the closest beaches to Coolangatta Airport, if you’re planning a quick stopover, Kirra can offer a quiet, sandy beach to rest your laurels on.
North Burleigh / Burleigh Heads: Halfway between Coolangatta Airport and Surfers, Burleigh shies away from the hustle and bustle to offer a quieter beachfront with a surfing route that wraps around its headland. Landlubbers can enjoy the picturesque views of north and south from on top of the headland and explore Burleigh Head National Park.

Where are these beaches in relation to each other?

This map will give you an idea of where each beach is placed along the Queensland coast. Beachmap Image:

3. Gold Coast Casino


Jupiters Hotel and Casino is the Gold Coast’s only casino, offering punters the chance to roll a dice or shake their hand with lady luck. Jupiters is connected to the Convention and Exhibition Centre by skywalk and features a hotel, award-winning restaurants, bars and stage entertainment. Jupiters overlooks Broadbeach and is open 24 hours.

Address: Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach 4218

4. Gold Coast Arts Centre


The Arts Centre offers culture and entertainment under one roof and is a hop and a skip from Surfers Paradise Beach. It’s a space for art exhibitions, dance performances, concerts, musicals and children’s workshops. A cinema is included in the centre and shows current and feature movies.

Address: 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Website: The Arts Centre

5. Gold Coast Golf (and other popular Gold Coast sports)

The Gold Coast offers a handful of golfing ranges, that allow visitors to putt on their greens. These are the most conveniently located clubs within the Gold Coast area:


Image: RACV Royal Pines Resort

  • RACV Royal Pines Resort
    Part of the RACV Resorts group, Royal Pines featured perfectly manicured greens and three 18-hole courses including the championship course which hosts the 27-hole course PGA Championships and the RACV Australian Ladies Masters. Members of the public must book to play the course.
    Address: Ross St, Benowa QLD 4217
    Stay:The RACV Royal Pines Resort
  • Emerald Lakes Golf Club
    Boasting the Gold Coast’s biggest driving range, Emerald Lakes is a luxurious golfing destination. Pristine lakes and verdant greens feature in this championship 18 hole golf course. It is a par 72 course and the only par 36 golf course on the Gold Coast to offer night golfing until 9:30pm. Emerald Lakes it open 7 days a week and has a driving range, coaching centre, pro shop and mini golf facility.
    Address: Corner of Nerang Broadbeach Road and Alabaster Drive, Carrara QLD 4211
    Stay: RACV Royal Pines Resort is the closest resort to Emerald Lakes Golf Club
  • Palm Meadows Golf Course
    A course with a 20 year history to flaunt, Palm Meadows is a social golf course that welcomes all to its greens. The course is an all-weather, 11 kilometre challenge with water featured around 14 holes and 82 sand bunkers ready and raring to be overcome. Its first hole has been referred to as one of the world’s most challenging opening holes, with water running the length of the hole to its left side.
    Address: Palm Meadows Drive, Carrara, Gold Coast 4211
    Stay: The Mercure Gold Coast Resort is 200m from Palm Meadows Gold Course
  • Southport Golf Club
    Southport is a members club with restricted outside access, but it does welcome members of interstate and international clubs with specific handicaps on certain dates of the year. Contact them direct for full details.
    Address: Slatyer Ave Southport Gold Coast 4215
  • Lakelands Golf Course
    Designed by The Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, Lakelands Golf Course is an 18 hole 72 par international standard championship course featuring five target greens for practice. Visitors may play 9 or 18 holes on the course.
    Address: 100 Lakelands Drive (off Gooding Drive), Merrimac  Gold Coast 4226
    Stay: The Signature Waterfront Apartments faces Lakelands Golf Course
  • Surfers Paradise Golf Course
    Proclaiming itself a “a golf club for everyone”, Surfers Paradise Golf Course is found in the heart of the Gold Coast and featuring dining and live entertainment on top of its 18-hole championship course. It boasts a par and ACR of 71 and is available to the public 7 days a week. The course is home to the Surfers Paradise Men’s Open Championship and The South Pacific Ladies Open Classic.
    Address: 1 Fairway Drive, Clear Island Waters, Queensland 4226 Australia
    Stay: Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa (15 minute drive)
  • Palmer Colonial
    Host of the Pan Pacific Masters Games, Palmer Colonial was designed by Mitsuaki Kobayashi and boasts a distinctive colonial-style clubhouse. The course itself screams Australiana, with eucalyptus and flowering natives paving the par 72 championship course from start to finish. Contact the club direct for visitor rates and bookings.
    Address: 57 Paradise Springs Ave, Robina QLD 4226
    Stay: Chancellor Executive Apartments are 3.2 km from the golf course.

Other courses and resorts worth visiting

Championship dates

Those hoping to witness or participate in a championship game while holidaying on the Gold Coast can keep these dates in mind for 2016:

Gold Coast Senior Amateur20 July - 22 July 2016Royal Pines Resort and Glades Golf Club
South Pacific Ladies Classic9 October - 11 October 2016Surfers Paradise Golf Club
South Pacific Ladies Senior Classic10 October - 12 October 2016Surfers Paradise Golf Club

Book tickets to golf championships

Book tickets with Viagogo to golf and other sporting events.

Gold Coast Sports Teams

Thinking of attending a game while in town? An AFL or NRL game will set you right. The official AFL team of the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast Suns. AFL season runs from March to August. See here for fixture details.

The official NRL team of the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast Titans. Similarly, NRL season runs from March to July. See here for the latest draw information.

Book tickets to see the Gold Coast Suns

Book tickets with Viagogo to see the Gold Coast Suns play.

Book tickets to see the Gold Coast Titans

Book tickets with Viagogo to see the Gold Coast Titans play


Term 2: school holiday events

The holidays are knocking on your door and those planning a trip to the Gold Coast can tuck into these top activities.

  • Disney Movie Stars Film Festival: Hit up your local Event Cinemas for a Disney bonanza of films including Cinderella, Enchanted and Maleficent30 June until 21 August.
  • Watch the Gold Coast SunsGold Coast Suns will play St Kilda and Brisbane during the school holidays. Click here to buy tickets. 26 March and 9 April. Metricon Stadium, Nerang-Broadbeach Road, Carrara
  • Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets: Spend a day out browsing the market stalls along the foreshore. Wednesdays, Friday and Saturdays from 4pm. The Foreshore, Surfers Paradise
  • Once Upon a Time Workshop: Head to the Arts Centre for theatre and drama games, art activities and more. 4-5 July. The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Our guide on things to do on the Gold Coast during the winter school holidays

Top Gold Coast tours and day-trips you can book now

Grand Brisbane Tour from Gold Coast
City Discovery
Croc Express and Australia Zoo
City Discovery
Wave Break Island Kayak and Snorkeling Tour from ...
Gold Coast Sightseeing Cruise
Gold Coast, Canal Cruise and Springbrook National...
Tandem Skydive...
Southport Cemetery Paranormal Activity Ghost Tour...
Old Surfers Paradise Ghost Tour + Optional Dinner...
High Speed Jet Boat Ride...

What's happening on the Gold Coast this year?

These festivals and events are worth making a special trip to the Gold Coast to catch:

  • Gold Coast Film Festival: Held late March/early April, the Gold Coast Film Festival is a 10-day celebration of international and local films and filmmakers. As part of the festival is mini-festival/competition SIPFEST (Shorts in Paradise Festival). It features 10-minute Australian shorts from emerging filmmakers and is played on the sands of Paradise Beach.
  • Gold Coast Marathon: Officially called the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, this event offers a variety of running courses to suit different ages and abilities. Held the first weekend of July, it attracts 27,000 participants and is known as one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world.
  • Bleach* FestivalHeld during March annually, Bleach* is a signature multi-arts festival for the area. It breathes of contemporary and artistic programming and is held at various iconic natural landscapes.
  • Surfers Paradise LiveMay is for the musical lovers with Surfers Paradise live being held over three days and showcasing well-known Australian artists.
  • GLOWAfter the sun has set, the Gold Coast will be illuminated by light for its annual GLOW Festival. Expect light-based interactive installations amidst live music, glow-in-the-dark yoga and stargazing. It's held during April.

Where to eat on the Gold Coast


Image: Verve Fine Dining

Expect a variety of dining options to be available to you at the Gold Coast. From nook laneway cafes and food trucks to surf RSL clubs and waterfront restaurants, there’s something for every budget and lifestyle.

Cuisine is likewise, no different, ranging from Australian to international cuisines.

Due to its oceanside location, seafood is a fare that must be tried while here and a dine at a surf club is an experience that must be had. Other popular cuisines include Italian, steak and buffets.

Here is our list of recommendations to get you started.

Top Gold Coast restaurants

  • Le Cafe Gourmand: A favourite among the TripAdvisor crowd, Le Cafe Gourmand sits on Mermaid Beach and offers Australian-French cuisine for breakfast or lunch. 2545 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland 4218
  • Misono Japanese Steakhouse: Steak is the name of the game at Misono. It might be chain, but it’s well worth tucking into for its Japanese food theatrics and high-quality cuisine. Surfers Paradise, 3/158 Ferny Ave, Gold Coast QLD 4217
  • BMD Northcliff Surf Club: A nice, reasonably priced venue that overlooks the beachfront. Open for lunch and dinner, fare typically involves pizzas and burgers. Cnr Garfield Terrace & Thornton Street, Surfers Paradise, 4217
  • Allure on Currumbin: An award winning French restaurant worthy of its accolades. As much thought and care has gone into its dishes as into its service, only volumes may be spoken of this establishment. 136 Duringan St, Gold Coast QLD 4223
  • The Fish House: Living up to its namesake, The Fish House prides itself in its fresh seafood dishes and even fresher ocean views. 50 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
  • Hank Dining and Bar: For a modern dining affair, Hank can take care of you. Modern Australian fare is coupled with quirky cocktails in this food den inside Broadbeach Mall. Victoria Square, 12/15 Victoria Ave, Broadbeach QLD 4218
  • room81: Youthful and suave, room81 breathes of European delicacies. It offers degustations of two, five, seven or nine courses and will surprise with each and every one. In the very best way. 81 Surf Parade, Broadbeach QLD 4218
  • Verve Fine Dining: Having just released a new menu for 2016, Verve is about as new to you as it is to us. It’s an award winning restaurant with modern Australian on the plate. 3/1 Sunshine Blvd, Gold Coast QLD 4218
  • Glass Dining & Lounge Bar: For spectacular views without the fine dining price tag, head to Glass, order up a glass of vino (or a cocktail) and watch the sun set. 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach Qld 4217
  • Justin Lane: Just want a good place to chow down? Justin Lane specialises in gourmet pizzas that won’t cost the earth but taste a million bucks. It’s also minutes away from the beachfront. 1708-1710 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220

Top Gold Coast buffets

  • Food Fantasy: Located inside Jupiters Hotel and Casino, Food Fantasy offers high quality seafood and decadent desserts. Broadbeach Island, Gold Coast
  • Frenzy Food Court: A local favourite, this family friendly buffet serves buffet breakfasts on weekends and dinners daily at bang-on value. Kids eat free on Mondays with a full-paying adult (booking required). Cnr Musgrave & Olsen Aves, Southport, Qld 4215
  • Waves Buffet Restaurant: A seasonal buffet keeps Waves fresh each and every visit. Waves specialises in Asian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. 3032 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
  • Fables: A hotel bistro with fresh seafood as its main buffet event. 25 Laycock Street, Ground Floor, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
  • Bazaar, QT Hotel: A favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, Bazaar’s buffet offers global cuisine amongst a modern and classy backdrop. 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
  • Terraces Restaurant: One of the Gold Coast’s most famous seafood buffets, Terraces is a five-star affair with a view to suit. 71 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217
  • Citrique: Live cooking stations and a seafood buffet are the highlights at Citrique. Located inside the Marriott, expect atmosphere and pomp here. 158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
  • Il Barocco: Italians and buffets go hand-in-hand at Il Barocco. Venetian decor is coupled with Australian seafood to create a feast fit for a Roman. 94 Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217
  • The Shoreline: If you’re heading to Sea World, you might consider a dine at The Shoreline. Breakfast and dinner buffets are available, with cuisines varying daily for the dinner buffet. Seafood buffets available on Friday to Sunday nights. Seaworld QLD
  • Four Winds: Add a touch of novelty to your dining experience at Four Winds. This revolving restaurant offers 360° ocean views and a buffet featuring seafood and Asian delights. 2807 Gold Coast Hwy, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Visiting the Gold Coast - When’s the best time to go?

The Gold Coast experiences around 250 days of sunshine every year, that being said there are more ideal times to visit. Heavier and more consistent rainfall occurs during the summer months of December to February and the hinterland tends to feel cooler during the winter months (June to August) so be sure to wear appropriate clothing if you’re planning to visit the area then.

Along the Gold Coast, summer temperatures (December to February) average between 20-28°C (68-83°F) with autumn temperatures (March to May) dropping down to a still favourable 16-26°C (61-77°F). Spring temperatures (September to November) are much the same as autumn’s. The winter months can still be sunny and comfortable at 11-21°C (52-70°F) and do not see much rainfall. Autumn and spring are the ideal months to visit the Gold Coast as the temperatures are still high and there’s less chance of rainfall.

Peak months occur during the school holiday periods (Christmas, Easter, early July and early October). There is also a heightened period of visitors between November and December when Schoolies Week occurs. This sees many high school graduates flock to the Gold Coast’s shores for sun, surf and partying. If you are heading to the Gold Coast during this time you might like to consider staying further away from Surfers (e.g. Broadbeach) to avoid the crowds.

Where to go next?


Day trips from the Gold Coast

A popular trip from Surfers is to the Gold Coast Hinterland; a scenic area that includes Lamington and Springbrook National Parks.

The Hinterland offers numerous bushwalks and hikes with varying degrees of difficulty and lengths. Highlights of the Hinterland include Mount Tamborine, O’Reilly’s Guesthouse, the Natural Bridge, Binna Burra and the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk which is a moderately difficult 54km trail that connects Lamington and Springbrook plateaus.

The Hinterland also offers wine tasting, bird-watching, >glow worm tours and eco-tourism. Other day trips from the Gold Coast include Byron Bay, Fraser Island and Stradbroke Island.

Mt Tamborine Day Trip from Gold Coast
Half-Day Gold Coast Hinterland 4WD Tour
Moreton Bay Marine Park Dolphin Cruise Including ...

Longer trips from the Gold Coast

Spending longer in Australia but not quite sure where your next destination should be? Some popular destinations include:

Byron Bay: South of the Gold Coast, this beach town is loved for its surf culture, beautiful beaches and alternative lifestyle. While it can get crowded during the holiday and festival seasons, it’s still a world away from the crowds of the Gold Coast.

Certain companies like Viator offers day-trips to Byron from the Gold Coast. Flights from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay are quite expensive ($100+ one way, whereas the above day trip will set you back $110), so you’re better off travelling either by coach or train. Greyhound can get you there for as little as $24 and will take just over an hour.

Browse hotels in Byron Bay

Brisbane: Around an hour’s drive north of the Gold Coast is Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane. It’s a cosmopolitan affair with a budding arts and nightlife scene. Spend the days escaping into its myriad of museums and spend your nights at the club or bar.

Flights from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay are quite expensive ($100+), so you’re better off travelling either by coach or train. The TransLink can connect you from Varsity Lakes station to Brisbane in less than 90 minutes and costs $20.40 (adult, single paper ticket) or $14.10/$11.28 with a go card (peak/non-peak). Greyhound can also get you there for as little as $15 in just over an hour. Browse hotels in Brisbane

Sydney: A city that needs no introduction, Sydney is Australia’s bustling mecca for commercial and tourist activities. Visit attractions such as the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and The Rocks and venture out for day trips to the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley.

Flights from the Gold Coast to Sydney are generally affordable on low-cost carriers like JetStar and Tiger Air with prices as low as $50 and is your best option. Travelling by ground can see you drive a 9 hour distance, take a 22 hour train ride costing over $100 or a 15 hour bus ride (Greyhound) from $99.

Browse flights from the Gold Coast to Sydney and hotels in Sydney

Top Gold Coast deals

Unlimited access to 4 Gold Coast theme parks for $89.99

Get unlimited access to Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet N' Wild Gold Coast and Paradise Country until 30 June 2017. That's the same as one day's admission to Movie World.

$85 & up flights within Australia

Valid on select flights until January. Sample fares include Sydney-Ballina/Byron for $85 each way, Brisbane-Newcastle/Port Stephens for $85 each way and Sydney-Gold Coast for $85 each way. Other destinations include Melbourne, Launceston, Hamilton Island, Cairns, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and more. See a full list of sale fares here.

Gold Coast stays from $92 per night

Find accommodation on the Gold Coast from $92 per night on

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

2 Responses to Gold Coast Travel Guide

  1. Default Gravatar
    FONG | March 9, 2016

    Hi, I have some questions want to ask you.
    1. May I know the public bus will reach at bus stop on time?
    2. Are there many people take the public bus? Because we are a group of 10 people and I scare there is no more seat at the bus.

    • Staff
      Stephanie | March 10, 2016

      Hi Fong,
      Thanks for your question.
      Buses tend to follow quite a strict schedule unless traffic causes them to be delayed. You can plan your bus trips with the Translink website.
      Buses and trams are popular forms of public transport in and around the Gold Coast so the best advice for larger groups is to travel on them out of peak hours, which tend to be between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 6pm.
      I hope that helps,

Ask a question