It’s impossible to escape fun and fantastic memories on a holiday to the Gold Coast. While this sunny Queensland hotspot is famous for its golden sweeping beaches, there’s no denying that’s not the only reason travellers flock here in droves. Home to some of Australia’s best theme parks, a vibrant line-up of entertainment and a whole host of adventures in the lush hinterland, it’s clear that the Gold Coast extends far beyond its sultry shores. From surfing to roller coasters, this is Australia’s capital of fun! Here are four ways to do the Gold Coast in four fun-filled days.
Day 1: Soak up the Beaches
Every traveller’s first stop at the Gold Coast should be the beach. With over 70km of gorgeous beaches touting warm blue waters and golden sands, there’s certainly no shortage of shores to choose from. The best thing about the Gold Coast is that they stretch for as far as the eye can see – so they’re perfect for long walks on the beach, games of beach cricket and finding a peaceful patch of sand away from everybody else. Surfers Paradise is the obvious hotspot. Here it’s easy to book a surf lesson, snorkelling tour and all kinds of fun beach activities, from diving and jet boating to parasailing and kayaking. Other popular hotspots are Coolangatta, Main Beach and The Spit, as well as beautiful Burleigh. Unpack a picnic on the grassy hill at Burleigh Head and watch the surfers catching waves down below.
Day 2: Explore the Theme Parks
After a day of sun and sand, it’s time to ramp up the holiday excitement factor. Home to some of the world’s best theme parks, the Gold Coast has no shortage of thrills and spills. Check out the tigers and rides that range from fun to scary at Dreamworld, meet your favourite characters and movie-themed rides at Movie World, or have incredible encounters with majestic sea creatures at Sea World. From swimming with dolphins to exploring the Big Brother house, there’s something for every adult and child. Prefer your spills with water? Head to Wet’n’Wild or WhiteWater World with your favourite swimmers to test out the massive water slides.
Day 3: Lap up the Local Entertainment
The Gold Coast has a bustling yet laidback atmosphere that’s hard to resist. With the main tourist centre revolving around Surfers Paradise, this is where it’s most lively and social – full of shops, eateries, bars, colourful souvenir shops, tourist booking services and plenty of entertainment. Wander the streets and see what you find! The Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! are always a hit, as are the beachfront markets that play out along the foreshore three nights a week. Outside of Surfers Paradise, you could catch a show at the brilliant Draculas Cabaret Restaurant or the Australian Outback Spectacular, shop your heart out at Pacific Fair or Harbour Town, or try your luck at Jupiters Casino.
Day 4: Head into the Hinterland
You’ve done the beaches, the local sights and a theme park... now it’s time to flee for the hills! Just a quick drive away, the Gold Coast Hinterland is the perfect place to escape the bustle and wind down in beautiful surrounds. Rolling hills and green, leafy rainforest make the drive here scenic. Take on the bushwalking trails to discover valleys, canyons and waterfalls, or stick to driving so you can explore the quaint towns brimming with art galleries, craft stores and cute cafes. Some unique highlights in the area include the Tamborine Mountain Rainforest Skywalk, where you can walk through the rainforest canopy, and a string of great wineries to taste.
Looking for more great Gold Coast holiday ideas? Check out our Family Guide to the Gold Coast for a rundown of the most popular spots to visit.