Queensland’s spectacular Gold Coast is located about 80km south of Brisbane, hugging the New South Wales border. Famous for its stunning surf beaches, World Heritage-listed rainforests and action packed theme parks, you’ll be so busy enjoying yourself you’ll wonder where the time went!
The 30km coastal drive between Coolangatta and Southport is where all the beach action is happening and the ocean views are stunning. Surfers Paradise is in the heart of the Gold Coast, bustling with tourists and shoppers, cafes and restaurants line the streets…bikinis, board shorts, suits and ties… anything goes in this laid back paradise.
Burleigh Heads is a beautiful beach south of Surfers and a very popular surf spot. The lookout up on the headland is a great viewing point to watch the surfers below and relax on the grass in the shade. There’s a swimming beach just north of the headland with plenty of foreshore facilities.
The Spit is a good dog beach located at the end of Seaworld Drive. There is plenty of space for pets to roam and enjoy the water as well. Across the channel is a popular surf break and a surf taxi transfers surfers to and from for a reasonable fee.
The Q1 Observation Deck in the Q1 Tower in southern Surfers Paradise is the perfect place to enjoy a 360 degree view of the Gold Coast. On the 77th floor the glass enclosed deck offers panoramic views of the ocean, river, and hinterland in the distance. There’s even a licensed bar and café to indulge in while you take in the fantastic view.
are another huge attraction on the Gold Coast and there are plenty to choose from. If you’re planning to visit a few of the parks make sure you look into the combined entry passes which give a discount. Brave the water slides at Wet ‘n’ Wild
or White Water World
, see a live stunt show at Movie World
, cuddle a koala at Dream World
, enjoy the performing dolphins at Sea World
, get up close and personal with the farm animals at Paradise Country
and be entertained by cowboys and country music at the Australian Outback Spectacular
. They are all loads of fun and an integral part of the Gold Coast experience.
Within an hour’s drive from the beautiful coastline is a lush green oasis, the Gold Coast hinterland, where you can explore Tamborine, Lamington and Springbrook National Parks. Take note that the temperature is much cooler in the mountains and rain more frequent and unpredictable so be sure to go prepared with a raincoat or poncho and warm clothing.
Tamborine Mountain rises some 580m above the surrounding countryside and has some fantastic views of the Gold Coast in the distance. A small community lives on the mountain and there are plenty of eateries and retail outlets in the village. The country markets are held on the second Sunday of each month at the Tamborine Mountain Showground where you’ll find local produce, art and crafts, homemade treasures and plenty to eat. This lucky mountain community has the national park attractions at its fingertips…waterfalls, glow worm caves and a rainforest skywalk.
There are a number of walks within the park, all easy to moderate grade and the longest walk being 3km return. The Cedar Creek Falls track is a popular and easy 900m return walk (pram and wheelchair access) to the lookout with views of the falls and rock pools below. The track continues further to the rock pools for the adventurers. There is a green grassy picnic area and facilities at the start of this walk, a nice spot to relax and have lunch.
The Tamborine Mountain Visitor Centre is open daily from 10.30am – 3.30pm to assist you with any inquiries. Camping is available at Thunderbird Park on Tamborine Mountain Road and there are a variety of other accommodation options at Tamborine Mountain.
World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park is divided into two sections, Green Mountains and Binna Burra. Take care while driving into the park as the roads leading in to each section are narrow and winding and not suitable for caravans or anyone in a hurry.
The Green Mountains section is absolutely gorgeous with rolling hills and abundant rainforest. There are plenty of lookouts and walking tracks ranging between 1km and 22km for the intrepid explorers. We suggest calling in to the Information Centre to obtain a copy of the visitor guide so you can plan your time there. O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk is a spectacular, relaxing walk through the rainforest canopy and if you’re not afraid of heights you can climb up to a lookout right at the top of a towering tree for even better views. Beautiful botanical gardens are at the end of the walk with all sorts of rainforest greenery and some stunning flowers in amongst.
There are 3 reasonably short walks within Green Mountains being the Rainforest Return (1.4km return), Python Rock (3.2km return) and Morans Falls (4.4km return). A camp ground with facilities is located by the information centre at the end of Lamington National Park Road and advance bookings are suggested (Ph 131304), particularly on weekends and during school holidays.
The Binna Burra section is another subtropical rainforest delight. There are lookouts galore with fantastic views of the mountains and valleys and walking tracks ranging from 1.2km to 19km. The Caves Circuit is a great 5km return walk through the lush rainforest with views of the Coomera Valley, passing an enormous hollow Red Cedar and overhanging caves. You will eventually end up on the main bitumen road and have to walk a short way back to the car park, but the scenery is worth it.
Other relatively short walks in Binna Burra include Rainforest Circuit (1.2km return), Bellbird Lookout (2km return), Tullawallal Circuit (5km retun) and Gwongoorool Track (6km return). If you enjoy hiking then Lamington National Park really is the ideal scenic area to explore on foot as there are many longer walks in the park. Camping is available at Binna Burra Lodge at the southern end of Binna Burra Road.
World Heritage-listed Springbrook National Park is located along the New South Wales border in a very wet area of southern Queensland. The subtropical rainforest has many streams, waterfalls, gorges and valleys scattered throughout. Fantastic views can be seen of the Surfers Paradise skyscrapers from Wunburra Lookout and park waterfalls from Canyon Lookout.
As far as walking tracks go the 4km Twin Falls Circuit is a must. The track winds through rainforest and rocky outcrops and you actually walk behind the cascading Twin Falls and out the other side to stand back and admire the absolutely stunning falls.
Springbrook Homestead is a nice place to sit and relax outdoors amongst the Rainbow Lorikeets and enjoy some lunch or refreshments. If you’re lucky you might even have a feathered friend land on your arm.
The Natural Bridge
is another attraction at Springbrook. Water pours through the roof of a basalt cave and is quite a spectacular sight. This natural rock formation over Cave Creek is home to a glow worm colony and is frequented by bats. A small camp ground is located on Carricks Road. Toilets and drinking water are available but there are no showers.
The spectacular Gold Coast hinterland adds to the diversity of this popular region. You can experience the sun, surf, rainforest and waterfalls on your Gold Coast experience. It is a fabulous holiday destination for people of all ages with something to suit everyone.
Click here for climate statistics for Australian locations (provided by the Bureau of Meteorology)
Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Gold Coast to Queensland