There’s no arguing that the Gold Coast is one of the most popular holiday destinations. In 2015, the beachside city attracted more than 4 Million domestic and international visitors with an average stay of 5 nights. Amazingly, 288,000 visitors were from Melbourne alone!
So what is it about the Gold Coast that puts it on the bucket list for so many holidaymakers? And what is it that keeps them coming back?
We asked ourselves these questions, and put together the ultimate 5 day Gold Coast travel guide. So get packing. The sunny Gold Coast is calling you!
Gold Coast Theme Parks
A major tourist attraction, the Gold Coast’s ever-popular theme parks offer tourists something that you just can’t get anywhere else.
With a plethora of theme parks to choose from, each offering a unique experience, you can fill your 5 days by going to a different theme park every day, or do as the wise people do and squeeze in just one action packed day.
The theme parks are especially fun for the kids, with the biggest bonus for the adults being a guaranteed restful night at the end of the big adventure.
Dreamworld is Australia’s biggest theme park with a broad selection of rides, attractions, wildlife exhibits and entertainment. Made up of several themed lands, including Ocean Parade, DreamWorks Experience, Wiggles World, Gold Rush Country, Rocky Hollow, Tiger Island and the Dreamworld Corroboree, plus WhiteWaterWorld water park, Dreamworld can suit everyone from thrill seekers to toddlers.
A marine mammal park, oceanarium, and theme park located in Main Beach, Sea World is a great opportunity for up-close encounters with dolphins, sharks and seals, as well as penguins, sea birds, stingrays, and more. Learn about the animals’ natural habitats and conservation, experience a range of thrill rides, from adrenaline pumping roller coasters to kid-sized rides, and be entertained by the theme park’s many amazing shows.
A movie themed fun park owned by Village Roadshow, Movie World on the Gold Coast offers a plethora of rides and attractions, as well as costumed characters, street shows and parades. You’ll feel like you stepped onto the set of a Hollywood blockbuster as you take in all the amazing sets and special effects. Grab the opportunity to have your photo taken with your favourite movie star or super-hero. This is where movies come to life.
Wet ‘n Wild
Your opportunity to make a splash, Wet ‘n Wild is located in Oxenford on the Gold Coast. A huge range of water related rides and slides, Wet ‘n Wild is a great way to make the most of the sunny weather. From the most extreme, jaw-dropping rides to family fun in the wave pool, there’s something to keep everyone busy and wet for a day.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to cuddle a koala, pat a dingo and feed the wild lorikeets. Even the emus are free to roam at Currumbin Sanctuary!
With a strong focus on Australian fauna, the sanctuary offers a great program of events, shows and attractions. Starting as a scheme to stop lorikeets destroying flower plantations, it has developed into an amazing tourist attraction. Today flocks of lorikeets visit the sanctuary twice a day to be fed by visitors.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary also houses one of the largest collections of Australian native species in the world with exhibits including Tasmanian Devils, a reptile house and the largest walk-through aviary in the Southern Hemisphere.
Behind the scenes, sick and injured animals are rehabilitated every day, and visitors can see the vets in action at the Wildlife Hospital.
Gold Coast Beaches
The theme parks may be popular, but the beaches are the main attraction. Pristine, white sands stretch all the way from Main Beach to Tugun, offering some of the best beaches in the World. And with experienced lifeguards keeping swimmers safe, you are sure to enjoy a safe and refreshing swim at any of the Gold Coast’s famous beaches. Just make sure you swim between the flags!
Stop and watch the surfers at Kirra and Greenmount Beaches in Coolangatta, renowned for the best surf on the Gold Coast, these beaches are the spot to catch a wave or observe the action.
Broadbeach and Burleigh are perfect for a picnic or beachside barbeque. With a strip of grassy parkland and plenty of public BBQ’s and rotundas, these beaches are great spots to enjoy dinner outdoors.
A secluded, quiet beach, Nobby’s has become a popular spot for fishing bream, dart and whiting all year round. Also a great spot for a walk along the beach at sunrise.
The most famous beach on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is the busiest spot of sand on the Coast. Just 100 metres from all the action, Surfers Paradise is a hive of activity, day through to night. With excellent swimming conditions and a team of Surf Life Saving volunteers, it’s perfect for soaking up the rays and cleansing in the ocean.
Sky Point Observation Deck
Located on Levels 77 and 78 of the towering Q1 building on the Gold Coast, the Sky Point Observation Deck offers breathtaking views. Taking the ocean to the Hinterland, Sky Point is Australia’s only beach side observation deck. It features a museum, weather station, theatrette, lounge bar and café.
For the more adventurous, the Sky Point Climb, Australia’s highest external building climb, offers 360-degree views from the top of Q1. Lasting 90 minutes, climbers are harnessed before walking up and around the top of the tower.
Sky Point is magic on a clear, sunny day.
With so many rivers and canals, plus of course the ocean, the Gold Coast is literally surrounded by water. So as you’d expect, this sunshine city also offers a huge selection of boat cruises, from sunset sailing to day trips out to Stradbroke Island to dolphin and whale watching tours. Sailing the seas is an amazing way to take in another aspect of this aquatic paradise.
Gold Coast Hinterland
Springbrook National Park
Springbrook National Park is a world heritage rainforest located approximately 45 minutes from the Gold Coast. From spectacular waterfalls to wildlife galore, its cool forests are the perfect place to get back to nature.
The lush rainforest, covering 6,725 hectares, is divided in four main eco-quadrants – Springbrook Plateau and Mount Cougal to the south, and Natural Bridge and Numinbah to the west. Visit Natural Bridge by day to see a unique cave waterfall, or after dark, discover the park’s amazing glow-worms.
Mt Tamborine is the perfect day trip for lunch or a bush walk. The third oldest National Park in the world, the rainforest offers 12 walking tracks and a variety of lookouts with impressive views, including Skywalk Bridge, Witches Falls and Cedar Creek.
Stop for lunch at one of several wineries, or visit the local brewery or distillery on the way to an award-winning restaurant. Tamborine is famous for local fresh produce, as well as award-winning cheeses and wine.
Lamington National Park
Part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, Lamington National Park is renowned for its wonderous waterfalls and walking trails. Most famously, its 21.4 kilometre Border track was built in the late 1930’s, giving the area a sense of history.
Walk 15 metres above the ground through the canopy of vine-covered trees. O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk takes in the rare wildlife and wild flowers that inhabit the treetops of this lush rainforest. Made up of nine suspension bridges, the walk includes two observation decks, the highest one being 30 metres off the ground. An enchanting experience suitable for all ages.
Where to stay
Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise is perfectly located between Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. With your choice of ocean view or hinterland view rooms, studios and suites, you can take in whatever perspective of the Gold Coast excites you. Just minutes from the beach, you’ll be tempted to start every day with a walk along the sand or refreshing dip in the ocean.