3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary | Australia’s Crown Jewel

Queensland

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations – and for good reason! With its world-famous beaches, amazing surf, and diverse range of attractions, this region is a true Crown Jewel. Whether you’re looking to hit the waves or explore the rainforest, the Gold Coast has something for everyone.

In this 3 day itinerary, we’ll take a look at some of the best things to see and do on Australia’s Gold Coast.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

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Best Things to do in South East Queensland

Overview – 3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary

Here’s a brief summary of a great three days in Gold Coast, with my suggestions for where to go.

DAY ONE: EXPLORE THE CITY

Start your first day by exploring some of the Gold Coast’s most popular attractions. Begin with a visit to Sea World, one of Australia’s largest marine parks. After enjoying the park’s many rides and animal shows, head to Surfers Paradise for some shopping and lunch by the beach. In the afternoon, take a walk along the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach before heading back to your hotel for a dip in the pool or a nap in preparation for Day Two!

DAY TWO: VISIT A THEME PARK

On Day Two, it’s time to visit one of the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks. If you’re travelling with kids, I recommend spending the day at Dreamworld or Movie World. Both parks offer a wide variety of rides and attractions for all ages. If you’re not travelling with kids, then I recommend checking out Wet ‘n Wild Water World – it’s one of Australia’s largest water parks and is sure to be a blast!

DAY THREE: EXPLORE NATURE

On your final day, take some time to explore the Gold Coast’s natural beauty. Start by taking a walk or a hike through one of the Gold Coast’s many rainforests. I recommend visiting Springbrook National Park or Lamington National Park. After working up an appetite, head to one of the Gold Coast’s many wineries for a wine tasting and lunch. In the afternoon, relax at your hotel or take a dip in the pool before heading back home.

3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY | HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD COAST

The Gold Coast is located in southeastern Queensland, about an hour’s drive from Brisbane. The best way to get there is by car, but you can also take a bus or train from Brisbane. If you’re coming from further away, the Gold Coast Airport (OOL) is serviced by domestic and international flights.

There’s a local service called Airtrain that connects the Brisbane Airport to the Gold Coast every 15 minutes (or every 30 minutes during off-peak hours) and is quite convenient for public transport users.

GETTING AROUND THE GOLD COAST

Once you’re on the Gold Coast, getting around is quite easy. The Gold Coast is serviced by an extensive bus network, and there’s also a light rail system (the G:link) that runs from Broadbeach to Helensvale.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of exploring, I recommend renting a car. This will give you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and see some of the region’s more out-of-the-way attractions.

3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary | WHY GO TO THE GOLD COAST?

With its sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and exciting attractions, the Gold Coast is the perfect place to enjoy a fun-filled vacation. Here are some of the top reasons to visit this amazing region:

Soak up the sun: Gold Coast is blessed with gorgeous weather all year round, making it the perfect place to enjoy some sunny beach days.

3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary | Surfers Paradise

– Learn to surf: Gold Coast is famous for its surfing culture and is one of the best places in Australia to learn how to surf.

– Visit amazing theme parks: From Sea World to Movie World Gold Coast, the Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s best theme parks.

– To relax on the beach: With 57 kilometres (35 miles) of coastline, the Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s best beaches.

– To catch some waves: The Gold Coast is a mecca for surfers from all over the world. With its perfect waves and sunny weather, it’s no wonder that this region is a surfing paradise.

– To explore the rainforest: The Gold Coast is home to the world-famous Springbrook National Park, which is a must-visit for nature lovers.

– To eat your way around the city: From fresh seafood to delicious Asian cuisine, the Gold Coast has something for everyone.

3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY |  WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST

There are many different accommodation options on the Gold Coast, from camping and caravan parks to luxury hotels. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of hostels and Airbnbs available. For those looking for a bit more luxury, there are plenty of great hotels to choose from.

Luxury Hotels & Accommodation

On the Gold Coast, there are many luxurious accommodations to choose from, including luxury resorts, residences, and vacation houses.

The Ruby, a luxury billion-dollar complex that caters to families and groups on the Gold Coast, is one of several gems on the coast.
For luxury on a grand scale, book the opulent The Darling Star and settle in poolside, cocooning yourself in luxury and retreating from the rest of the world.

B&B’s and Apartments

The Gold Coast has a wide range of holiday homes available, ranging from budget lodgings to the ultra-luxurious with high-rise buildings lining the glitter strip.

If you’re searching for a more boutique-style accommodation but don’t want to spend too much, I’d recommend Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences with full kitchens and spaces to unwind.

Another great option that comes with a rooftop entertaining area that’s exclusive to in-house guests is the Rhapsody Resort in Surfers Paradise. This resort is ideal for a fun night out with friends.

Best Hotels in Gold Coast

JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
QT Gold Coast
FV by Peppers
Rhapsody Resort
Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences
The Darling Star
Arise Ruby Gold Coast
JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa
Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise
QT Gold Coast
FV by Peppers
Rhapsody Resort
Avani Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences
The Darling Star
Arise Ruby Gold Coast

When is the Best time to go to the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast is a great place to visit all year round. However, the best time to go depends on what you’re looking to do while you’re there. If you’re planning on spending most of your time at the beach, then the best time to visit is during the summer months (December-February). This is when the weather is at its warmest and the beaches are at their busiest.

If you’re more interested in exploring the Gold Coast’s theme parks, then I recommend visiting during the shoulder season (March-May and September-November). During these months, the weather is still quite nice and you won’t have to deal with large crowds at the parks.

3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary, Day 1: Explore the City

Start your first day by exploring some of the Gold Coast’s most popular attractions. Begin with a visit to Sea World, one of Australia’s largest marine parks. After enjoying the park’s many rides and animal shows, head to Surfers Paradise for some shopping and lunch by the beach. In the afternoon, take a walk along the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach before heading back to your hotel for a dip in the pool or a nap in preparation for Day Two!

Sea World Gold Coast

The park features a variety of aquatic animal shows and educational lectures, as well as thrill rides and marine wildlife. The park’s features appeal to people of all ages, with animal and avian exhibits being my favourite. If you’re visiting with the kids, the shows are both entertaining and instructive, as well as include theme park attractions that are suitable for the whole family.

There are all sorts of marine birds and animals resident at Sea World Australia and they are always our main reason for spending a day here, I’m certain I could spend the whole day just watching the dolphins on their own, as they are so mischievous and amusing.

The park is also home to Polar Bears, Sharks, Seals, Sea Lions and many more incredible animals.

Sea World Australia is active in marine rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts. Sea World collaborates with a range of rescued animals that may be healed or released back into the ocean, while others are too injured by entanglement in fishing line to survive outside the park and must be forever be homed there.

Sea World Gold Coast
Address: Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217
Phone: (07) 5519 3000
Opening Hours: Open daily from 09:30 am-05:00 pm

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is a vibrant, exciting, and diverse community! Since the days of the original Surfers Paradise Hotel, Surfers has been an entertainment playground renowned for its world-class nightlife spots, international events, and a bustling atmosphere.

The new foreshore is busy all day with people walking, cycling, and skateboarding whilst taking advantage of this beachfront vista over the surf and sand. Beachside shopping, dining, bars and clubs provide the whole holiday experience in one convenient location package, much as they did back in the day at Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise is, and always will be, the fun-filled heart of the Gold Coast.

Things To Do In Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, with both locals and visitors alike frequenting it. Despite the fact that Surfers Paradise has a population of only 20,000 people, many individuals consider it to be the capital of the surrounding Gold Coast suburbs. Surfers Paradise Australia is an entertainment and cultural mecca teeming with nightlife.

Take A Surf Lesson

If you’re visiting Surfers Paradise for the first time, a surf lesson should be on your list of things to do. Although Surfers isn’t the finest surfing beach on the Gold Coast, it’s a wonderful place to start for any beginner.

Check Out The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets

On a Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday evening, take a walk along the Esplanade to discover a unique shopping and cultural experience at the Beachfront Markets. There are more than 100 market stalls offering jewellery, fashion, accessories, artwork, photography, and other items. To keep customers entertained throughout the market area, there is live music!

Relax On A Surfers Paradise River Cruise

Take a River Cruise from Surfers Paradise to see the metropolis from the Gold Coast’s waterways, canals, and rivers. There are several various excursions and packages to select from. Sailing by Surfers Paradise is enjoyable in the morning, afternoon tea or a refreshing cocktail while sailing by.

Take On The SkyPoint Climb

If you’re feeling energetic, a SkyPoint climb is essential. It is Australia’s highest external building ascent at 270 meters. To manage all the stairs, you’ll need to be in excellent shape, but the reward is unbeatable 360° views of the entire Gold Coast and beyond.

3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary, Day 2: Visit a theme park

On Day Two, it’s time to visit one of the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks. If you’re travelling with kids, I recommend spending the day at Dreamworld or Movie World. Both parks offer a wide variety of rides and attractions for all ages. If you’re not travelling with kids, then I recommend checking out Wet ‘n Wild Water World – it’s one of Australia’s largest water parks and is sure to be a blast!

Dreamworld

With so much to see and do, you’ll be hard-pressed to see or do everything that Dreamworld on the Gold Coast has to offer during a single visit. The onsite wildlife park welcomes a variety of Australian animals, including koalas, crocodiles, dingoes, kangaroos, and others. You may spend hours observing native Australian fauna in the exhibits, taking part in shows and interacting one-on-one with individual animal encounters.

The thrilling adrenaline-pumping rides and rollercoasters will delight the entire family, with guests able to cool off at White Water World in the wave pool, hurtling down the waterslides, or relaxing while youngsters splash in Wiggle Bay.

There are several thrilling situations to be had with all of your favourite Madagascar, Shrek, ADC Kids, and other characters!

Warner Bros. Movie World

Step into the world of a Warner Bros. film and adventure with your favourite heroes and villains.

Watch in amazement as Batman drives around the city in his Batmobile. Meet Marilyn Monroe, Wonderwoman, and many more characters. There are a plethora of thrilling rides to try, ranging from the DC Rivals Hypercoaster to the Batwing Spaceshot and Superman Escape.

Wet’n wild Water World

Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast is Australia’s most popular water park. It first opened its doors in 1984 and has continued to expand over the years into the magnificent facility it is now. To set the tone for a fun day in the sun, it features expanses of parklands with a beach-themed throughout to provide a backdrop for a day in the sun.

Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast is located in Oxenford, neighbouring Movieworld, Paradise Country, and Australian Outback Spectacular. In one easy spot, it’s basically a big family fun area!

And best of all, it’s great for all ages!

3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary, Day 3: Explore nature

On your final day, take some time to explore the Gold Coast’s natural beauty. Start by taking a walk or a hike through one of the Gold Coast’s many rainforests. I recommend visiting Springbrook National Park or Lamington National Park. After working up an appetite, head to one of the Gold Coast’s many wineries for a wine tasting and lunch. In the afternoon, relax at your hotel or take a dip in the pool before heading back home.

Springbrook National Park

The Gold Coast’s best-known landmark, Springbrook National Park, completely dominates the west skyline and is a wonderful place for visitors seeking a taste of Australia’s Gondwana Rainforest World Heritage Area.

Springbrook National Park is a little park just off the Gold Coast and Brisbane (100 kilometres) and the Gold Coast (30 kilometres), making it a convenient getaway for nature enthusiasts on a tight schedule.

There’s no lack of things to do in Springbrook National Park; all you have to do is decide where you’ll begin. Springbrook National Park is made up of four sections: the Springbrook plateau, Mount Cougal, Natural Bridge, and Numinbah.

Springbrook Plateau

This area of the park is ideal for short strolls and stunning views of the surrounding countryside! From Wunburra Lookout, Canyon Lookout, Goomoolahra Falls lookout, and Best of All Lookout, you will be rewarded with incredible views.

The Twin Falls are a spectacular sight, and they’re well worth seeing. The view is fantastic, and the rocks in front of the falls offer a beautiful spot to take a break and enjoy Springbrook National Park’s beauty.

A naturally formed arch over Cave Creek, the Natural Bridge Springbrook Section, is about 5 kilometres from the end of Lamington Road. It runs between Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd and Blackbutt National Park’s Westgate Station. And is worth checking out.

Springbrook Glow Worms

The Springbrook glow worms are a fly species native to Australia and New Zealand that must live in dense rainforest vegetation with lots of rain to survive. The glow-worm species in Australia were formerly common, but they are now exclusive to rainforests and permanently damp caves, thus a Springbrook day trip is an excellent opportunity to view them. These amazing creatures can only be seen after dark, although the greatest displays generally occur between December and March, when it’s warmer and wetter.

Lamington National Park

Wander around this area and you’ll be visiting a region with a geological history dating back more than 225 million years. In fact, its age, beauty, flora and fauna earned Lamington National Park (along with its siblings Springbrook, Mount Barney, and the Main Range) a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

But it’s not just ancient trees that make this national park stand out. It’s the spectacular vistas, the species of wildlife you won’t find anywhere else, and the possibilities to explore from densely forested mountains, roaring waterfalls, and walking trails that connect them all.

 The trails of Lamington National Park

If you’re a novice hiker, Lamington National Park is the place to go. Walking through the dense forest is when you’ll truly feel the magic of this location. The moments spent here will give you a deeper appreciation of this area’s grandeur.

There are over 160 kilometres of tracks accessible up here, ranging from class 1 to 5 depending on your level of hiking experience.

The Centenary Track takes 30 minutes to walk and is completely paved, but it’s not so short that you’ll question why you bothered putting your walking shoes on. If you’re in a rush and want to go a little farther, it joins with the Python Rock and Morans Falls tracks from the Green Mountains carpark.

Looking for a photo opportunity? Climb into the canopy of O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk to get a new perspective or take the 4.6-kilometre return walk from Lamington National Park Road to Morans Falls, a waterfall with the sort of framing photographers seek out in the early hours of the morning to capture at its best.

Take the Box Forest Circuit, which starts at the Green Mountains day-use area and travels 10.9 kilometres back, to raise the action. This will need four hours of your time.

The Border Track, which links the Binna Burra and Green Mountains sections of the park with trailheads in each day-use area, is a more difficult walk. It’s 21.4 kilometres long one way, so you’ll want to make sure someone will be waiting for you at the other end.

If waterfalls are your thing, you’re in luck: There are 500 of them at Lamington National Park. Prepare your hiking boots and mental endurance for the main event, Chalahn Falls (17.4 km via the Toolona Creek Circuit). You won’t just see one waterfall along the journey, so leave plenty of time to stop and update your Instagram stories along your hike.

Gold Coast’s wineries

The Gold Coast may be most well-known for its beaches, but that isn’t all it has to offer. There’s plenty of drinking to be done in these parts, especially around the Gold Coast Hinterland and Scenic Rim. This is where you’ll discover the region’s vineyards and wine suppliers. The gold coast wineries and wine tours are among them that you can’t afford to miss out on.

Underneath are some of the best wineries to visit in this region.

O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards

Make your way through the Gold Coast Hinterland’s rainforest to the historic homestead of Killowen, home to O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, where you may taste local produce at its award-winning cellar door and classic eatery.

If you’d rather relax with friends and family away from it all, consider a gourmet picnic or BBQ hamper for a delicious meal by the creek, or a private 3-course lunch with Pterodactyl Helicopters that includes a beautiful view.

Albert River Wines

Albert River Wines is a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing a slice of Queensland history. The former Auchenflower House Billiards Room at Albert River Wines, formerly the residence of three Queensland premiers, is now the wine sampling room.

Sarabah Estate Vineyard

To get to Sarabah Estate Vineyard, follow the winding pathways and rolling hills of cattle ranches. This private estate is on the verge of Lamington National Park and is one of Australia’s most picturesque homes, complete with a white chalet surrounded by vines and a much-loved farm-to-table restaurant.

The Grandstand is a popular wedding venue in the region – not only because it’s home to the best sparkling wine, but also because it’s one of its most beautiful settings. Make your own way or join Pterodactyl Helicopters for their Scenic Rim winery tour, which also visits Mount Cotton’s Sirromet Winery.

I hope this guide has inspired you to visit Australia’s Gold Coast! With its beautiful beaches, stunning rainforests, and thrilling theme parks, it’s easy to see why this region is such a popular vacation destination. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Gold Coast getaway today!

Feeling inspired? Start exploring Gold Coast hotel options. 

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