Discover the best breaks or learn to surf in our surfing paradise before exploring the lush hinterland.
Roll with the vibrant energy of the Gold Coast, where there are beaches, rainforests, restaurants, theme parks and shopping strips to visit. Swim, surf or dine alfresco in relaxed, glamourous Main Beach and shop up a storm beneath the towering Surfers Paradise skyline. Learn to surf here or in Burleigh Heads, where afterwards you can explore the national park. Enjoy thrills, spills and animal interactions in any of the many huge theme parks. Then get back to nature in the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the national parks, including Lamington, Border Ranges, Main Range and Nightcap.
At a glance:
Kick start your day with a swim or surf off Main Beach, followed by breakfast in one of the stylish, alfresco cafes. Wander past the luxury yachts and waterfront mansions, take a surfing lesson and ride the waves of The Spit or snorkel or dive the wreck of the Scottish Prince. From Main Beach, it’s a short walk to the beachfront sky-rises of Surfers Paradise. Heading south, you’ll get another view of the Surfers skyline from the headland of Burleigh Heads. Relax on the beachfront grass, beneath rows of pines and palms, or follow one of the walking trails through Burleigh Heads National Park. When retail cravings hit, trawl the designer stores or evening markets in Surfers Paradise. Dine in Broadbeach or Mermaid Beach next door, before heading back to Surfers Paradise where you can experience the energetic, neon-lit nightlife.
Buy a theme park pass – your ticket for a day of wildlife interaction and hair-raising excitement. Visit Dreamworld, where you can watch the Wiggles perform and meet koalas, wombats and kangaroos in the huge native wildlife park. Ride through the rapids on a hollowed log, take a scenic helicopter flight or try the first Australian motorbike rollercoaster. Alternatively, head to Sea World, where you can swim with dolphins and get up close to seals. Get your thrills on huge, movie-themed rides at Movie World or hit the giant wave pool in Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park. Shear a sheep, pat a koala and taste bush tucker at an Aussie farm theme park. You can even see the dust fly in an action-packed outback extravaganza, featuring camels, horses, sheep, dogs and cattle. Depending on your energy levels in the evening, jump on a cabaret cruise from Main Beach Marina or have a quiet meal in Coolangatta.
Join a four-wheel-drive eco tour to the World Heritage-listed rainforests of the Gold Coast hinterland. Walk through the rainforest canopy or along part of the Border Track in the ecological haven of Lamington National Park. You’ll pass ancient Antarctic beech trees, thundering waterfalls and a wild array of native animals and birds. Listen for the popping call of the masked mountain frog and see the rufous scrub-bird, a species that was alive with the dinosaurs. Spot echidnas, bandicoots, platypus, possums and flying-foxes in Border Ranges National Park, home to Australia’s highest concentration of marsupial species. Take in the expansive wilderness from Goomburra in Main Range National Park or hike past sparkling creeks to Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. In the evening, return to the Gold Coast or head north for a night in the rural idyll of Mount Tamborine. Jump out to see the famous cascades of Mount Tamborine National Park along the way.