With more than 15 miles (40 kilometers) of sandy beaches and year-round sunshine, the Gold Coast is the perfect destination for a beach break. Whether you want to learn to surf, hike the Hinterlands, or cruise along the coast—here are some ideas for how to spend three days on the Gold Coast.
Day 1: Sun, Sea, and Surf
With three days on the Gold Coast, there’s plenty of time to hit the beach. While Surfers Paradise and Main Beach draw the biggest crowds, Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, and Coolangatta are all local favorites. Perhaps take a surf class; try water sports such as jet-skiing, kayaking, or flyboarding; or opt for a half-day cruise to Stradbroke Island or Wave Break Island where you can go snorkeling and spot whales along the coast.
Adventurous types may want to bike or ride a Segway along the seafront Gold Coast Oceanway or go hiking in the Burleigh Heads National Park. In the evening, head to one of the oceanfront bars in Burleigh Heads or Surfers Paradise, where you can sip cocktails as you watch the sunset, and then enjoy a delicious seafood dinner.
Day 2: Head into the Hinterlands
Many of Queensland’s top attractions can be visited on a day trip from the Gold Coast. You can spend a day sightseeing in Brisbane or Byron Bay, or visit Australia Zoo, home of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. One of the most popular day trip tours is to the Gold Coast Hinterlands; its mountainous landscapes offer plenty of options for hiking, wildlife-watching, and outdoor activities.
Perhaps visit Mt. Tamborine National Park, including a tour of the glowworm caves or a walk along the Rainforest Skywalk, or admire natural wonders such as Purling Brook Falls, Numinbah Valley, and the Natural Bridge in the Springbrook National Park. Alternatively, head a little further to the Lamington National Park, where you can hike through the rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and look out for rare birds such as Albert’s lyrebird. Guided tours typically include transportation and take the worry out of navigating.
Day 3: Get an Adrenaline Fix
The Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s top theme parks with spectacular rides, shows, and attractions for all ages. For the best value, look for combo packages that include access to multiple parks and transport from Gold Coast hotels.
Adrenaline seekers find plenty of big thrill rides at Dreamworld, and entrance can be combined with the neighboring Whitewater World water park. Warner Brothers Movie World is another big hit, with movie-themed rides, parades, and 4D movies. Right next door is Wet ‘n’ Wild Waterworld, Australia’s largest water park. Animal lovers will want to head to Sea World, where you can see dolphins, penguins, and polar bears.