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A Gold Coast Travel Guide for Solo Travellers

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The Gold Coast is a coastal city in Queensland and part of the 4000 km long Australia East Coast. It has gorgeous sandy beaches, canals, theme parks, and world-heritage nature reserves. You can travel Solo to the Gold Coast from Sydney, which will take 9 hours by car or Melbourne 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 visit the Gold Coast, Australia, is from May to October when the climate is perfect for hitting all the best spots. It’s a great place for solo travellers, as there are many things you can do by yourself there.

Here is a complete Solo Travel Guide To The Gold Coast. If you haven’t booked your stay yet, click the link below.

Check our Guide To The Best Areas & Hotels In The Gold Coast

View of the Gold Coast from Burleigh Heads
The View from Burleigh Heads Gold Coast

4 Best Places On the Gold Coast For Solo Travellers

Surfers Paradise

You must take a trip to Surfers Paradise, the most touristy seaside resort. It is within walking distance of all the main accommodations, restaurants, and shopping centres. You can visit the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, which are held there several evenings a week. Don’t forget to try out the fascinating indoor skydiving attraction, one of the best things to do alone in Surfers Paradise.

I recommend these accommodations 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, full of roving street artists. Treat yourself to some great food at the cafes you’ll find in the area. Your next stop should be the lovely cascade gardens. It is the best picnic spot you will see, located just near the Nerang River.

Check out these accommodations in Broadbeach

There is a Liberty Swing in the garden designed for children in wheelchairs to experience the joy of a swing. You will find a wide range of night entertainment options when the day is over. Broadbeach is also the best place to stay overnight, from top hotels to budget apartments to make your stay on the Gold Coast comfortable.

Burleigh Heads

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 dip in the protected waters of Tallebudgera Creek. You will also find great campgrounds at the Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park in Burleigh Heads. It has luxurious waterfront villas or budget accommodations, depending on your needs.

For your stay, check out these accommodations in Burleigh Heads.


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 or anywhere on the highway. Once there, stroll along the impressive promenade and look back at Surfers Paradise’s silhouette in the distance. Off the coast of Coolangatta Beach, enjoy watching spectacular surf 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 place on the Gold Coast.

For your stay, I recommend these accommodations in Coolangatta

Coolangatta Beach
The View of the Gold Coast City from Coolongatta

Day Trips from The Gold Coast

On my six-week solo trip to the Gold Coast, I went on short day trips from Mermaid Beach. Here, you can check all the things to do on a Road Trip to the Gold Coast Hinterland, which you can visit on a self-drive or a guided tour.

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Gondwana Rainforests

Take a hinterland tour through the Gondwana Rainforests, an Australian World Heritage site with ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diverse species.

Mount Tamborine

Mount Tamborine is where you must spend a weekend experiencing 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 with lilies, ducks, and a lovely quaint bridge. It is a place that you cannot miss. I went on a self-drive trip, and I loved it.

Lamington National Park

Go on a trip to Lamington National Park 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 see towering waterfalls and the wild rainforest and immerse yourself in nature.

Springbrook National Park

Springbrook National Park is a protected national park in Queensland. It is a great spot to camp amidst the breathtaking natural beauty. Don’t forget to take in the impressive Natural Bridge waterfall and intense rainforest.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is not part of the Gold Coast, but it’s a fabulous destination for a day trip from Coolongatta at the south end of the Gold Coast. You will love the Byron Bay beaches, surfing, and coastal walking. For a body, mind, and spirit holistic experience, this is the place.

Outdoor Activities On The Gold Gold

Surprisingly, there are many things that you can do on a budget on the Gold Coast. There are not only Theme Parks, Casinos, and expensive clubs. On the contrary, it’s a place for all budgets and types of travellers. As a solo traveller, you will find it unique if you love to get active and enjoy your time in its beautiful places; here are my picks for the best activities and fun things to do in the outdoors.

Gold Coast View from the inlets
The beautiful view from the Gold Coast waterways near Mermaid Beach

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 use 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.

Gold Coast Markets

One of the cheap things to do on the Gold Coast is visit all its incredible markets. You must visit to see what is available, from art to fashion, fresh produce, and knickknacks. Some markets are held weekly, while others are just once or twice a month. Visit the Gold Coast farmers markets, which provide fresh produce weekly from Wednesday to Sunday. On Sundays, car boot sales with household items, clothes, and much more.

The Parklands

The world-class Broadwater Parklands is among Australia’s Gold Coast’s best places. It offers a wide range of facilities for different occasions. It has plenty of shady spots for picnics, accessible barbecue facilities, and free wellness and training areas. You can also enjoy yourself atop the Pier and the Rooftop, giving you a spectacular view of the Surfers Paradise skyline.

Gold Coast Wildlife Parks

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the best wildlife 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 accessible for those in wheelchairs or prams. It has lovely walking trails, like the Tallebudgera Creek mangrove boardwalk. This natural habitat differs from Currumbin Park, which is more touristy and has many entertainment activities.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Gold Coast
Feeding lorikeets in Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Gold Coast Beaches

Have you heard about the Gold Coast beaches? They are one of the best ways to spend lazy days and cool in the water. There are also impressive lakes, public pools, and aquatic centres to make your time spent in the outdoors a fun adventure.

The Main Beach

This beach is located close to Broadwater and has plenty of lush vegetation and parkland for 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

Visit this lagoon as it is sheltered from the crowds and offers a magical swimming experience. On Sundays, you can check out the nearby Bundall Farmers Markets.

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.

Best Gold Coast Festivals

The Blues Festival in Broadbeach

Australia’s Gold Coast has many great events and festivals that run 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 worldwide 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 on. You will get to admire these incredible vintage cars and enjoy music and dancing all day—another great festival not to miss out on if you plan to travel to the Gold Coast in June.

The Blues Festival Broadbeach Gold Coast
The Blues Festival in Broadbeach Gold Coast

Gold Coast Shopping Malls

You will find things to do near the Gold Coast, like visit Harbour Town, the largest shopping centre for outlet shopping. 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 in an air-conditioned environment. This is the best activity you can do on a rainy day, and you can even take in a movie at the theatre conveniently located inside, where you can take shelter on a warm day, too.

A Road Trip To The Gold Coast Hinterland

A road trip through the Gold Coast hinterland 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 many bushwalks and national park areas where you can 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 where you can stop and rest. In the late afternoon, take the coastal highway to Surfers Paradise. You will need to hire a car to visit these places.

Click the button below to compare deals and book rental cars in Australia.

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Where To Stay On the Gold Coast

Here is 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 for a short term, I will choose a good hotel or apartment in Broadbeach.

Check our Guide To The Best Areas & Hotels In The Gold Coast

Gold Coast Guided Day Tours

When heading to Australia’s Gold Coast, you can take many day tours. Head to the Scenic Rim, full of country charm and gorgeous natural beauty. Nearby, you will find Tamborine Mountain and the town of Aratula, which you can explore.

North Stradbroke Island is also a beautiful place for adventurous solo travellers. It has gorgeous sand-blown cliffs and excellent surf to enjoy. Another great thing I did on my solo adventures was a Gold Coast hot-air balloon ride.

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A Solo Travel Guide to the Gold Coast Australia

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First published in Oct 2019, last updated in March 2024

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