Three Days In Gold Coast

Escape to the Gold Coast, Australia

How to spend three days in the Gold Coast?

I remember visiting the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia as a kid and being amazed by just how magical this land of sandy beaches, coastal beauty and theme parks was. The good news? It’s still super fun – even in your *cough* thirties.

The Gold Coast is where Aussie families spend many a school holiday break and a visit to one of the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks is a total rite of passage for most kids at some point in their youth. Lazy poolside days and beach explorations abound in the Gold Coast, so much so that after a hectic two months of my solo travels to Nice and Miami my boyfriend, and I needed to spend some quality time together and recharge. Three days in the Gold Coast was just what we needed to relax and revitalise. 

Getting to the Gold Coast, Australia

From my home in Sydney, the Gold Coast is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, hour long flight away or around 10 hours drive. Domestic Australian airlines at both ends of the scale fly this route, so with low-cost options and premium options available depending on your preference, it’s easy to take a little mini-break at the beach. 

From Gold Coast airport to Surfers Paradise there aren’t a heap of transport options and I’d seriously suggest thinking about car hire, which can sometimes work out more economical. For context, it was cheaper for us to hire a car for four days and only drive it three times than to get an Uber or Taxi from the airport and back.

If you’re heading in from another country, the Gold Coast airport only services a handful of international flights, so you might find yourself flying into nearby Brisbane International airport and catching the airport train across to the coast.

Where to stay in the Gold Coast

First things, first. Where to stay in the Gold Coast can totally shape the kind of holiday you have. I choose to stay in Surfers Paradise in order to be close to a heap of cafes, restaurants, bars as well as the beach.

Surfers Paradise is probably the busiest area in the Gold Coast – for a quieter stay, there are smaller, sleepier coastal areas along the sea that might serve better. If you choose to stay in Surfers Paradise, though, I can’t recommend the QT hotel enough.

These guys looked after me so well and their pool comes with a swim up bar, which had me sold. 

An amazing view from my balcony at the QT Hotel

The QT is also a block away from the beach and a ten minute walk into the hustle of the heart of Surfers Paradise. The buffet breakfast was one of the best spreads I’ve ever encountered at a hotel with western options, asian fusion (hello pork buns) and a whole section for those with a sweet tooth including waffles, pancakes and doughnuts.

Families may also enjoy the lovely Mantra Circle on Cavill who have apartments available for those needing a couple of bedrooms. Alternatively, there’s also the Q1 Hotel and Spa which is located in the tallest building in the Gold Coast.

Things to do in the Gold Coast

Visit a theme park

It might sound completely touristy, but honestly have you even been to the Gold Coast if you haven’t had a panic attack in line for an enormously scary rollercoaster? Whether you re-visit your favourite theme park from your childhood or experience the Gold Coast parks for the first time, it’s always a fun day out. Make sure you book online so that you don’t miss out on tickets.

Families obviously flock to these attractions – I can remember them always being a staple of my family holidays when I was growing up, but the good news is that they are still hugely enjoyable as an adult. Matt and I decided on Warner Bros. Movie World as I’m a bit of a rollercoaster fiend and at the moment Movie World seems to have the best selection of thrill rides.

Sure enough, there were a few nervous moments when we ended up in the front seats on the tallest hypercoaster in the southern hemisphere, but we lived to survive another day (and go on it again).

Three Days In Gold Coast
Two of the terrifyingly fun rollercoasters at Movie World

Hang out on the beach

I mean, that’s what we’re here for, right? The beaches at the Gold Coast are famous because they are spectacular. White sand, crashing waves and turquoise water and the quintessential Australian lifesaving teams on hand to assist anyone who gets into trouble in our surf.

Take a book down, set up your towel and alternate between a bit of baking and a bit of cooling off in the water. Just remember, the Australian sun can be punishing, so get out that 50+ sunscreen and constantly re-apply to avoid some painful burns.

Three Days In Gold Coast
Mornings done right in Surfers Paradise.

Play Mini Golf

A quintessential Australian beach holiday is never complete without a spot of putt putt. Surfers Paradise is home to a broad range of options, including the super fun and designed for adults Holey Moley Golf Club where mini golf meets a bar.

I love Holey Moley, and would totally recommend playing a round there with drinks in hand, but I’d also suggest going a little off the beaten path and experiencing the quirkiness of a locally run business like King Tutt’s Putt Putt where you can opt to play a traditional course, a Jurassic Park themed course (complete with dinosaurs) or an Egyptian course.

Three Days In Gold Coast
King Tutt’s Putt Putt – A Gold Coast institution!

Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock is located in the Currumbin area of the Gold Coast, between Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta. This enormous rock got its name because it looked like an elephant staring out to see. Though slightly eroded over time by the elements, this spot still makes for a great beach walk and photo.

Three Days In Gold Coast
Elephant Rock in Currumbin

Explore the Spit

The Spit is found just outside of Surfers Paradise and is a lovely place for a surf or swim. The huge length of the sand bypass system jetty extends 500 metres into the ocean and whilst it looks great in photos, it is also a huge feat of engineering – the world’s first sand bypass system.

Three Days In Gold Coast
The Southport Spit

The Surfers Paradise Sign

This silver sign marks the entrance to the beach at Surfers Paradise. It’s the perfect spot for a Gold Coast selfie before you hit the waves for a day of sun and sand. It is located at the beach end of Cavill Avenue, right in the heart of town.

The iconic Surfers Paradise sign

Where to eat in the Gold Coast

  • Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. (great burgers; cheap and cheerful)
  • Chiang Mai Thai (located inside the Mantra Crown Towers)
  • House of Brews (we made it here when it was $1 wing night!)
  • Misono Japanese Steakhouse (for entertaining Teppanyaki)
  • Goldie’s (for the best cocktails)
  • QT (for the buffet)
  • Coolangatta Surf Club (beer with an amazing view)
Three Days In Gold Coast
The view from Coolangatta Surf Club

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Three Days in the Gold Coast - Emma Jane Explores
Three Days in the Gold Coast - Emma Jane Explores

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