Australia’s Gold Coast is one of the world’s premier travel destinations. The Gold Coast has beautiful beaches and surfing, charming neighborhoods, great restaurants and more. There are theme parks, waterfalls, nature, adventure—pretty much something for everyone. It’s a great family travel destination as well, as the Gold Coast is very kid-friendly.
If you’re planning a trip to the Gold Coast, you’ll likely fly into Brisbane Airport, and there are direct flights from many of the world’s biggest cities.
So, what else is there to know?
Visas for U.S. Travelers
If you’re traveling from the United States, you need the ETA for Australia. The ETA is an online electronic travel authority. It’s issued electronically,so you don’t have to complete a paper application. Most people with foreign passports do need to get some type ofvisa before they go, and you will need a passport from an eligible country for at least three months before entering Australia.
If you’re planning a trip to the Gold Coast, you’re likely pretty interested in the beautiful beaches. For example, there’s Surfer’s Paradise, and then 20 minutes by car from there is Main Beach. Surfing is obviously one of the big pastimes, and you can take surf lessons on any of these beaches. Along Main Beach is Tedder Avenue, with plenty of eateries and shops.
Other Gold Coast beaches are:
- Palm Beach: This beach is very clean and compared to many other Gold Coast beaches is also not very developed. There are natural areas, and there’s a boardwalk that goes to Burleigh Heads National Park. There are also parks and playgrounds along Palm Beach.
- Nobby Beach: This is a quiet and private beach with fishing and surfing.
- Kirra Beach: Kirra is often where Gold Coast surfing competitions are heldandit’s lined with greenery which makes for particularly nice scenery.
There are five separate theme parks that are located on the Gold Coast. Dreamworld is Australia’s largest theme park,and it features The Tower of Terror 2, which is one of the fastest, tallest rides in the world.
There’s White Water World and also the Wet’N’Wild Water World theme parks, and Warner Brothers Movie World with rides such as the Green Lantern Roller Coaster. Sea World is located on the Gold Coast as well,and there’s the Sea World Resort and Water Resort, which is the only theme park hotel in Australia.
Something you can do on the Gold Coast that everyone in the family is likely to enjoy is whale watching. There are a variety of whale watching tour companies available that will take you out, and many have guarantees you’ll see a whale. If you don’t see a while during your cruise, they will typically offer you a free cruise so you can come back and try again.
Whale watching occurs between June and October during the migration journey.
There are excellent day trips to take from the Gold Coast as well. Brisbane is one example. Brisbane is a beautiful, modern city and it’s about an hour north of the Gold Coast.
You can make your way south to Toowoomba, which is around two hours drive from the Gold Coast. There are art galleries and cafes and coffee shops. Also in the Southern Queensland area is the Granite Belt, which is a wine region.
The Gold Coast Hinterland is filled with rainforests, and it’s home to Lamington and Springbrook National Parks.
If you’re planning a trip to the Gold Coast, you should be aware it’s an expensive destination. It’s a popular tourist destination which is part of the reason you should expect high prices. There are a few hotels that might be considered budget-friendly but not many. Another option is to go with an apartment rental from a site like Airbnb.
The average cost of a meal is around $30 in most restaurants, and that doesn’t include alcohol. Even in the most basic restaurants, a very simple meal will likely be anywhere from $14 to $20.
Even in a middle-of-the-road budget of around $200 you’re not likely to cover everything you’re going to want to do. If you want a more high-end family vacation experience, you might want to budget at least USD 350 per day. That would allow you to stay at a higher-end hotel, eat out, and do tours. It could also cover the cost of a rental car, which is something you’re probably going to need.