OVERVIEW

The Gold Coast is well connected to the rest of Australia through it's own airport, and also by being relatively close to Brisbane's airport. Taking the train, coach or driving are all viable options too.

This is a tourist city so there are lots of accommodation options all down the coastline, especially hotels and apartments in high rises and with swimming pools. More unique accommodation can be found in the hinterland in rainforest retreats.

Take a look below for all the details on how to get to the Gold Coast and where to stay.

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How To Get To The Gold Coast

 

Flights To The Gold Coast

 

Every major city in Australia has flights to the Gold Coast with plenty more available into Brisbane Airport, so you should have no problem finding an option to suit your schedule.

 

There is one airport on the Gold Coast itself, simply named 'Gold Coast Airport', which is located at the southern end of the city. Unusually, the runway actually crosses the border into New South Wales. It's a small but tidy airport that is easy to get through.

Brisbane's airport is further away but it does have a dedicated link through the Airtrain to the Gold Coast, so it's an option worth considering. See our Brisbane guide for the flight details.

Domestic Airlines flying into Gold Coast Airport include Qantas, Virgin, Rex, and Jetstar.

Note: The following is an indication of flights at the time of writing. Due to snap border restrictions, this information may be incorrect. Similarly, if restrictions are eased, expect the number of flights to increase.

From Sydney

Jetstar have 11 direct flights per day, Virgin have around 10, Qantas 4 and Rex have 3.

1hr20min flight time.

From Melbourne

10 flights per day arrive through Jetstar and 11 with Virgin. Rex have a couple of flights and Qantas another 4.

2hr5min flight time.

From Adelaide

2 Virgin flights and 1 Qantas flight arrive alongside a further direct flight from Jetstar.

2hr20min flight time.

From Perth

There are no flights scheduled at present due to border closures. 4hr 30min flight time.

From Hobart

1 direct flight per day from Jetstar and 1 from Virgin are scheduled per day.

2hr30min flight time.

From Darwin

There are no direct flights from Darwin to Coolangatta Airport. Try looking at flights to Brisbane instead.

From Canberra

Virgin have a couple of direct flights and Qantas 1 flight. 1hr35min flight time.

From Regional Towns

Flights are often scheduled from the following regional centres through Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin and Airnorth: -

Cairns, Launceston, Newcastle, Townsville.

Ready to check Flight rates and availability?

Virgin Australia are up there with Qantas in terms of quality of service and they have an extensive number of routes across Australia. Click the image to see what options they have for you to experience an exemplary start to your trip.

If you want to check up on Jetstar, it is best to book through their site directly at jetstar.com as this gives you the best price and full availability. Just remember that checked luggage costs extra.

For flights with Qantas, try looking at auntbetty.com which is operated by Flight Centre. It's an easy to use flight search website that gives you the true price (unlike others, that show dodgy prices) and back-up support from your local Flight Centre store.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Getting from the Airport to the city

The public transport option from Gold Coast Airport is via a bus that travels along the whole coastline, going through every beachside suburb, and taking around 1hr20min to get to Surfers Paradise. They depart every 15min during the day.

Taxi's and Uber's take around 40 minutes to make the drive to Surfers Paradise in off peak times and cost around $60 to $70 for the vehicle.

Shuttle Buses can be booked too with prices starting from $15 per person.

More information at: -

https://www.goldcoastairport.com.au/parking-transport/transport

Sustainability Tip

Avoid flying at all costs and take the train or a coach instead. If there is more than one of you, driving is lower in carbon emissions too.

If you have no choice but to fly, at least offset your carbon emissions.

Read our 'How to travel sustainably' guide for more tips and information.

Train at Central Station, Sydney

Train at Central Station, Sydney © Luke White

Trains To The Gold Coast

 

From Brisbane

A regular train service runs between Brisbane and the Gold Coast with trains every 30min and a journey time of just over an hour. This then connects to the Gold Coast tram at the Helensvale station. The tram can get you close to any accommodation in the main coastal suburbs like Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach.

From Sydney

There are two "trains" arriving daily from Sydney, each taking around 15 hours total to get there. The trains is in inverted commas because unfortunately the train currently only reaches Casino Station, in northern NSW, and then connects with the Gold Coast via a connected coach service.

Seats cost around $110.

More info and booking available here.

From Northern Queensland

Queensland Rail operates a service to Brisbane from Cairns and Rockhampton and various other coastal towns all along the route. There are also two inland routes from outback Queensland - Longreach and Charleville - with a third route connecting at Townsville from Mt Isa.

The modern Tilt Train runs the route from Rockhampton in a time of 7hr45min.

The route from Cairns is called the Spirit of Queensland and takes around 25 hours with sleeper beds available.

From Brisbane, transfer onto a train to the Gold Coast.

From Other Cities

The Gold Coast can be reached by traveling via Sydney from Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne. Gold Coast can also be reached from Perth or Darwin via Adelaide.

For information on train travel throughout Australia, try Seat61.

Coach To The Gold Coast

 

Regular coach services are run by the below companies to the Gold Coast from Sydney with the rest of Queensland connected via Brisbane.

Greyhound

From Sydney and running overnight in around 14.5hours, arriving around lunchtime.

They also have routes from Cairns, Longreach and Miles to Brisbane.

Premier Motor Service

From Sydney, the route to Brisbane runs overnight and stops on the way in the Gold Coast the following morning.

 

Bus Queensland

Have a route from Mt Isa and another from Charleville, each with stops along the way, that goes to Brisbane. From there, it's an easy train ride to the Gold Coast.

Drive To The Gold Coast

 

There is a direct and scenic drive from Sydney to the Gold Coast with several worthwhile stops along the way. Gold Coast is also well connected with the rest of Queensland. Other states are connected via less direct outback routes.

From Sydney

It takes at least 9hr of pure driving time, so you will likely want an overnight stop. On the way you will pass through popular tourist centres like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, so it's easy to make a nice trip of it.

From Melbourne or Adelaide

Two or three days of driving will get you there via country and outback NSW. From Melbourne, you can go inland via Dubbo or via Sydney and the coast in the same time, so you can take each route there and back to make a loop.

Adelaide offers a loop too, going via Dubbo one way and back via Broken Hill.

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads on the Gold Coast, but there are some in Brisbane to be aware of if you are travelling through there - see our Brisbane travel guide.

Parking

As the Gold Coast is spread out along the coastline and it being without a definitive CBD, the parking opportunities are not that bad, especially compared to Brisbane. You should be able to find an accommodation option with parking included. When traveling around, there are plenty of short term on-street metered parking options, plus free parking at lots of the attractions too.

Cruise Ship

 

There is no cruise ship terminal in the Gold Coast, but you can look to our Brisbane guide for the details of their terminal, which is a relatively close option.

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Where To Stay In The Gold Coast

Hotels On The Gold Coast

 

In terms of location, Surfers Paradise, and to a lesser extent, Broadbeach, is the central part of the City of Gold Coast and where many of the attractions are located. Therefore, choosing to stay in this area is a good option, especially if you want to have plenty of quick and easy 'things to do' on your doorstep, alongside lots of shopping and dining options.

The Gold Coast is very spread out. There are a series of centres along the coastline and many of them are linked by the Gold Coast tram which covers the coastal areas from Main Beach to Broadbeach South, so anywhere along this route is really easy to access Surfers or Broadbeach's tourist centres.

With a lot of the big attractions located outside the main coastal strip, such as the theme parks or hinterland, you may find yourself needing to hire a car or rely on public transport or tours a lot. If this is the case, you may feel the need to stay centrally is less important.

There are a multitude of accommodation types, including high rise apartment rentals and luxurious or child focused resorts with incredible pools and loads of facilities. This guide gives you a good introduction to Gold Coast accommodation styles.

The hinterland is another option, especially if you want an eco retreat or relaxing atmosphere, where resorts and boutique accommodation are nestled in the rainforest or perched high up so you can take in incredible views.

The most sustainable hotels we could find at the time of writing were located in the hinterland, with O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat and Nightfall Camp being exceptional options.

For options in the city, the only large hotel we could find was Voco Gold Coast, which has taken steps to reduce plastic, limit water use, reduce food waste, and they have bee hives on the roof. In Palm Beach, the Mysa Motel is a cool, retro, instaworthy, 7 room hotel which runs on solar power and harvests rainwater.

Gold Coast Hotel.jpg

Crystalbrook Vincent Hotel in Brisbane © Tourism and Events Queensland

Ready to check Hotel rates and availability?

Booking.com is one of the most popular hotel booking websites, they have a wide range of accommodation types and they often have free cancellation, so you can always book and lock in your room with the option to cancel it later. Click the image to see what amazing hotel you could be staying at soon.

We also like Hotels.com who offer an excellent user friendly website, good service, and a good loyalty program where you get a free night for every 10 nights you book through them.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Air BnB

 

This option can be a particularly good option if you are looking for a self contained apartment, with lots of types and locations available. They also have a few options up in the hinterland too.

Backpackers

 

There are several hostel and backpackers accommodation options in the Gold Coast, with at least seven of them located within the Surfers Paradise area, a couple down in Coolangatta, and all located within walking distance of the beach. Check out this page for an introductory guide for backpackers.

Caravan Parks On The Gold Coast

 

The spread out and easy to drive nature of the Gold Coast makes bringing your car and caravan or motorhome a great option. There are several wonderful tourist parks, many of them enjoying a great location close to the beach.

If you want to stay within a stones throw of the beach, try checking out the following: Main Beach Tourist Park; Ocean Beach Tourist Park; Burleigh Beach Tourist Park; Nobby Beach Holiday Village; Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park; or Kirra Beach Tourist Park.

If you want to stay inland, near to the theme parks, and in a more resort style park, try either the Big 4 or NRMA Treasure Island park.

Other options include Ashmore Palms Holiday Village and Broadwater Tourist Park, or the many parks just over the NSW border in Tweed Heads.

Need more travel information and tips? Go to the third page of our guide for all the 'Essential info' like getting around, food, shopping, and much more.

Or go back to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.

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AUTHORED BY

Christopher Jubb, Founder of Travel Unpacked

More information available on our About page

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