The Gold Coast is quite simply one of the finest beach destinations in the world. The water is pristine, the sand is white, and the amusement parks and rides are thrilling. It’s a spot filled with boutiques, cafes, nightlife, and shopping. There’s something for just about everyone on the Gold Coast, and if you’ve only got a short time to spend then you need to make sure you hit all the important spots and get a good sense of what the area’s like. So for those who don’t have much time to spend, here’s a handy guide to getting to know the Gold Coast in just 48 hours.
Grab breakfast at one of the endless cafes around the area. Perhaps most famous is Black Coffee Lyrics, and no trip to the Gold Coast should end without a visit there. The breakfast menu is varied and high-end, with tasty delights like poached eggs and black rice pudding.
After sufficiently waking yourself up with a cup of coffee and a meal, take a stroll or bike ride along a section of the Gold Coast Oceanway. There you’ll get to enjoy not only views of the ocean, but also sealife and birds in their natural habitat.
Since it’s only your first morning and you’ve probably just had a hard day of travelling, why not spend the rest of the morning enjoying what the Gold Coast is most famous for – the beach. Grab a towel and your swimmers and sit by the water while soaking up the sun. There are several beaches to choose from, and most are family-friendly with facilities like bathrooms and food kiosks. Start your visit off right by forgetting about any travel stresses you may have had, or may be upcoming. Located throughout most of the beaches are surf clubs where you can grab lunch and enjoy the ocean view from the window.
Head on over to the Q1 building, which is the tallest residential building in Australia. On the 77th level, 230m from the ground is the Skypoint Observation Deck. From there you can see a panoramic view from the beaches to all the way inland. If the view from that level isn’t enough for you, for an extra fee you can get harnessed and climb outside the building to the top, where an even more breathtaking view awaits.
If you’re visiting on a Friday or a Saturday, you can spend the rest of your first day at the Miami Marketta, which is a favourite of the locals and not as touristy as some others places tend to be. The Marketta features street food, vendors, communal tables, live music, and craft beers galore. There’s international cuisine from anywhere you might imagine, and the place bills itself as being like the back streets of Thailand, Barcelona, or New York.
For the second day, you’ve got choices. After getting ready and picking up breakfast there are more than enough things to do, depending on your tastes. There are several amazing theme parks that could take up your entire day, should you wish. Warner Bros. Movie World is a movie-themed amusement park, with roller coasters and thrill rides. The highlights are the Superman Escape and the Green Lantern rollercoaster, as well as Diagon Alley. You can also enjoy meeting your favourite superhero and take part in a parade or a show. There is also plenty to do for any little ones you might be travelling with, with a special kiddie section for those who are too small to go on the big rides.
Dream World is another amusement park, featuring the famous Tower or Terror ride, along with coasters and log rides. You can also meet cute animals like koalas and wombats, or check out Bengal and Sumatran tigers on Tiger Island.
There’s also Sea World, a marine park where you can see live sealife shows and swim with dolphins. Besides the sealife, make sure to check out the Jet Stunt Extreme show and enjoy one of the many water rides.
Lastly, there’s Wet ‘N’ Wild, a water park with all the watery thrills and attractions you can imagine. You can race down the speedy slides or relax on the lazy river. There’s plenty to see and do at all these parks, and you can easily spend a whole day at any of them.
If theme parks aren’t your thing, you can spend the morning at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. There you can enjoy the day with several of Australia’s native species, like koalas and kangaroos. One of the main attractions at the Sanctuary is the chance to feed hundreds of wild lorikeets. If you hold out a cup of sweet honey nectar, some of the hundreds that come swooping out of the foliage to feed will take a lick.
Trek to Tamborine Mountain, and make sure to grab lunch at the award winning Songbirds Rainforest Retreat. Then after you’re nice and full, head out to one of the many adventures available at Tamborine. You can do a rainforest skywalk, which is a stunning walk through the rainforest with observation posts throughout the take in the incredible views of the ocean. There’s also the stunning glow worm caves, a distillery, and the Treetop Challenge. The Treetop Challenge involves going through courses made up of ropes, and suspension bridges that give you a bird’s eye view of the forest below.
For dinner, enjoy a meal at the Bazaar restaurant in the Gold Coast QT hotel. It’s set up as a marketplace with dining options from all over the world. You can then head over to the Stingray bar, which offers an enormous selection of cocktails and tequilas, and even tequila mixing classes.
There is so much to see and do on the Gold Coast that 48 hours won’t be enough to get to everything We haven’t even touched on the vineyards and scenic waterfalls. Plus, there’s Wallaby Ridge, where you can observe wallabies (surprisingly) and trek through the bush. Even more, there are all-day hot air balloon ride packages where you can enjoy the sites from the highest vantage point imaginable. The Gold Coast truly is a world-class destination for not just beaches, but for all the other amazing attractions it has to offer too.