The Gold Coast is a coastal city situated in Queensland and part of 4000km long Australia East Coast. It has gorgeous sandy beaches, amazing canals, theme parks, and some of the lushest world-heritage nature reserves. You can travel Solo to the Gold Coast from Sydney, which will take 9 hours by car or Melbourne journeying for 17 hours. It is also accessible by flight from most Australian cities and by a one-hour train ride from Brisbane.
The best time to take a trip down to the Gold Coast, Australia, is from May to October when the climate is perfect for hitting all the best spot.
4 Best Places To Visit on the Gold Coast
You must take a trip down to Surfers Paradise, which is the most touristy seaside resort. It is within walking distance from all of the main accommodations, restaurants, and shopping centres. You can visit the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets that are held there several evenings a week. Don’t forget to try out the fascinating indoor skydiving attraction, which is one of the best things to do alone in Surfers Paradise.
Your next destination on the Gold Coast has to be Broadbeach. It is one of the best places to visit and less touristy, full of gorgeous beaches, weekend markets, and gourmet dining locations. Start at the bustling Broadbeach Mall that is full of roving street artists. Treat yourself to some great food at the bistros you’ll find along the way. Your next stop should be the lovely cascade gardens. It is the best picnic spot you will see, and it is located just near the Nerang River.
There is a Liberty Swing in the garden designed for children in wheelchairs to experience the joy of a swing. When the day is over, you will find a wide range of night entertainment options. Broadbeach is also the best place to stay overnight, from top hotels to budget apartments to make your stay on the Gold Coast comfortable.
Along the magnificent beaches, you will come across the coastal suburb of Burleigh Heads. It is well known for its incredible scenic lookouts, beaches, and attractive fresh markets. Head to the beach and relax on the sand or take a dip in the protected waters of Tallebudgera Creek. In Burleigh Heads, you will also find great campgrounds at the Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park. It has luxurious waterfront villas or budget accommodations depending upon your needs.
At the end of Queensland’s Gold Coast, you will find the marvellous Coolangatta and her neighbouring Greenmount Beach. You can get there by bus from Broadbeach. Once there, enjoy a stroll along the impressive promenade and look back at Surfers Paradise’s silhouette in the distance. Off the coast of Coolangatta Beach, you find that the surf is spectacular to watch at Kirra Beach.
On its southern end, you can also visit Rainbow Bay Beach, the gateway to Snapper Rocks, another excellent surfing place. If you are looking for shady swimming spots, you will find one amidst the lush greenery of Greenmount. Lastly, you must check out some of the beautiful festivals held here or even choose from the day trips from Coolangatta. Indeed a great place for solo travellers and truly a funky spot on the Gold Coast.
Why you should visit the Gold Coast Hinterland
On my 6-weeks solo trip to the Gold Coast, I went on short day-trips from Mermaid Beach. Here are some of the Gold Coast Hinterland Attractions that you can visit solo on a road trip or a guided tour.
Take a hinterland tour through the Gondwana Rainforests, an Australian World Heritage site full of ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diverse species.
Mount Tamborine is a place where you have to spend a weekend to experience the hinterland café culture. It is also well known for its epic waterfalls like the Curtis Falls, surrounded by lush rainforest, ferns, and strangler figs. When at Mount Tamborine, you must see the sprawling Mount Tamborine Botanic Gardens. This tropical garden is well manicured and has a lake complete with lilies, ducks, and a lovely quaint bridge. It is a place that you cannot miss. To get there, you need a rental car or join an organised day tour. I went on a self-drive trip to the region and loved it.
Lamington National Park
Take a Gold Coast sightseeing tour of Lamington National Park. It is located on the western side of the Lamington Plateau. It has some densely forested ranges and valleys that conceal the area’s ancient volcanic origins. This destination also allows camping in the Green Mountain camping area. Take your pick of half-day or full-day walks to explore the park entirely. You will get to see towering waterfalls, the wild rainforest and immerse yourself in nature.
Springbrook National Park
The Springbrook National Park is one of the protected national parks situated in Queensland. It is a great spot to set down your camp amidst the breath-taking natural beauty. Don’t forget to take in the impressive waterfalls and intense rainforest all around.
Free or Cheap Gold Coast Activities
There are surprisingly many things that you can do on a budget on the Gold Coast. There are not only Theme Parks and Casino and expensive clubs. On the contrary, it’s a place for all budgets and type of travellers. As a solo traveller, you will find it amazing if you love to get active and enjoy your time in its beautiful places; here below my picks with the best activities and fun things to do in the outdoors.
Walking Trails And Cycling Paths
Start your day at the gorgeous Surfers Paradise Beach and soak up the sun. It is a great spot to set up a picnic or to surf in the clear waters. After the beach, you can head to the corner of Burleigh Heads. The Burleigh Heads National park will welcome you with open arms as you delight in its walking trails and incredible wildlife. One of the great things to do around the Gold Coast is to make use of the 2400 kilometres of bikeways that link neighbourhoods, schools, and parks. Take the cycling trails from Surfer Paradise or Southport to Coolangatta and explore the key attractions along the way.
Gold Coast Markets
One of the cheap things to do on the Gold coast is to visit all of its incredible markets. You must take a trip to see what is available, from art to fashion, fresh produce, and knick-knacks. Some of the markets are held every week, while others are just one or two times a month. Do visit the Gold Coast farmers market that provides fresh produce weekly from Wednesday to Sunday. On Sundays, there are car boot sales with household items, clothes, and much more.
The world-class Broadwater Parklands is one of the best places to visit on Australia’s Gold Coast. It offers a wide range of facilities for different occasions. It has plenty of shady spots for picnics, a host of free barbecue facilities, free wellness and training areas too. You will also be able to enjoy yourself atop the Pier and the Rooftop, which will give you a spectacular view of the Surfers Paradise skyline.
Outdoor Activities on the Gold Coast
Ever heard about the Gold Coast beaches. It is one of the best ways to spend your lazy days and cool down in the water. There are also impressive lakes, public pools, aquatic centres to make your time spent in the outdoors a fun adventure.
- Margaret Avenue
This is a quaint beach that is accessible by light rail and fun cycle paths.
- The Main Beach
This beach is located close to Broadwater and has plenty of lush vegetation and parkland to picnics and barbeque.
- Rainbow Bay
It is located at the southern end of the Gold coast. It is a beautiful protected bay with a grassy expanse for enjoying picnics.
- Evandale Lagoon
Do visit this lagoon as it is sheltered from the crowds and offers a magical swimming experience. On Sundays, you can check out the Bundall Farmers Markets that are nearby.
- Burleigh Head National Park
This beautiful national park has a walking path that connects the famous Tallebudgera Creek and Burleigh Head. Here you can go hiking, find lovely walking trails in the magnificent rainforest.
The Best Gold Coast Festivals
The Blues Festival in Broadbeach
Australia’s Gold Coast is the home to many great events and festivals that run all year round. One of the best festivals held there is the Blues Festival in Broadbeach. Held in May, this festival allows you to enjoy the most amazing blues music from all around the world while indulging in great food or enjoying yourself at some of Broadbeach’s scenic streets, bars and parks. It is just one of the incredible free activities of the Gold Coast. I have been to this festival on my own and loved it.
Coolys Rocks Festival in Coolangatta
Another grand event is the Coolys Rocks in Coolangatta. Held on the Gold Coast in June, this festival showcases hundreds of custom and classic cars for you to feast your eyes. Not only will you get to admire these incredible vintage cars, but you will also get to enjoy music and dancing all day long—another great festival not to miss out on if you plan to travel to the Gold Coast in June.
Gold Coast Wildlife Parks
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the most fantastic park to feed wild lorikeets and witness entertaining Aboriginal performances. It is well known for the Free-Flight bird show, where the audience can see the incredible birds flying freely against the sanctuary’s natural environment. It also has a host of adventurous activities like the TreeTops Challenge High Ropes Course. This wildlife park on the Gold Coast gets very busy, and I recommend going there early in the morning to avoid long queues.
The David Fleay Wildlife Park
The David Fleay Wildlife Park is a heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary. It is a beautiful place that is accessible for those in wheelchairs or the use of prams. It has lovely walking trails like the Tallebudgera Creek mangrove boardwalk. This is a natural habitat, and it is different from Currumbin Park, which is more touristy with lots of entertainment activities.
Gold Coast Shopping Malls
You will surely find things to do near the Gold Coast like visit Harbour Town, the largest outlet shopping centre. It has over 240 stores with the best brands and incredible discounts. Another place to visit is the Shopping Centre at Pacific Fair, a short stroll from the Broad Beach station. If you love shopping, you will find premium luxury brands and a short stroll from the Broad Beach station.
You can head to the Australia Fair Shopping Centre, which overlooks the beautiful Southport Broadwater. It has over 200 speciality stores and fancy supermarkets all located in an air-conditioned environment. This is the best activity you can do on a rainy day and even take in a movie at the theatre conveniently located inside, where you can take shelter on a warm day too.
Gold Coast Tours
When heading out to Australia’s Gold Coast, there are many day tours you can take. Head to the Scenic Rim, which is full of country charm and gorgeous natural beauty. Nearby you will find the Tamborine Mountain and the town of Aratula that you can go and explore.
North Stradbroke Island is also a beautiful place for adventurous solo travellers. It has gorgeous sand-blown cliffs and amazing surf to enjoy. Another great thing I did on my solo adventures is a Gold Coast hot-air balloon ride.
A Gold Coast Itinerary
Taking a road trip through the Gold Coast is the best way to explore its fantastic hinterland. Begin your Gold Coast adventure by taking the Coast Highway through Main Beach. On the way, you can stop by some boutiques and go shopping. You can head to Mount Tamborine and Tamborine Village, where you will find lovely cafes. There are lots of bushwalks and national park areas for you to stretch your legs.
In the afternoon, drive along the Pacific Highway and head to Springbrook. It has plenty of lookouts and small shops to browse in. After that, the Numinbah Valley has quaint little tea houses scattered through it where you can stop and rest. In the late afternoon, take the coastal highway to Surfers Paradise.
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Where to stay in the Gold Coast Solo?
Here below a list of travel resources to help you plan your trip. I house-sat for six weeks in Mermaid Beach and loved cycling to Broadbeach. If you are looking for a great place to stay as a solo traveller, I have no doubt; I would choose a good hotel or apartment in Broadbeach.
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First published in Oct 2019, last updated in Jan 2021
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