The Gold Coast is indeed the definition of PARADISE! (I promise I’m not just saying that because I was born here ?).
From the mountains to the ocean, there are so many epic things to do and beautiful places to see that you don’t want to miss on your Gold Coast itinerary!
You could easily spend a couple of months on the Gold Coast and not run out of things to do, but most travelers only have a few days up their sleeve to explore.
Furthermore, I have put together this3 Days in Gold Coast itinerary with my recommendations of the best beaches to swim, fun-fuelled activities to try, panoramic viewpoints to see, raging waterfalls to visit, and much more!
Also in this itinerary for Gold Coast, I have included some useful information on where to stay, how to get around, and the best time to visit.
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OVERVIEW – GOLD COAST ITINERARY
Here’s a quick overview of an ideal 3 Days in Gold Coast with my recommendations of places to visit including beaches, viewpoints, activities, and waterfalls.
DAY 1: (GOLD COAST NORTH)
- Burleigh Hill & Cock Rock Viewpoint
- Miami Beach & Lookout
- Surfers Paradise
- Paradise Jet Boating
- The Spit
DAY 2: (GOLD COAST SOUTH)
- Tallebudgera Creek
- Currumbin Rock Pools & Cougal Cascades
- Currumbin Beach & Elephant Rock
- Kirra Beach & Viewpoint
- Greenmount Coastal Walk
- Rainbow Bay & Snapper Rocks
- Point Danger Lookout
DAY 3: (GOLD COAST HINTERLAND)
- Springbrook National Park Waterfalls
- Draculas Cabaret Dinner & Show
WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
The Gold Coast is a thriving tourist hub with no shortage of accommodation options and most people want to be by the beach as often as possible – I don’t blame them!
RELATED ARTICLE → WHERE TO STAY IN GOLD COAST
I recommend basing yourself in Burleigh Heads which is pretty much the halfway point between the north and south points of the Gold Coast.
See below for the best places to stay in Burleigh Heads with options suited for small families, budget backpackers, and luxury travelers:
Luxury: Luxury Beachfront Sky Home
Centrally located in Burleigh Heads and a stone’s throw from the beach. This 5-star accommodation features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, fitness center, and free wifi. The apartments are spacious and include a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, hot tub, flat-screen tv, and ocean views. Perfect for families and couples.
Mid Range: Outrigger Burleigh
The best and most affordable hotel in Burleigh Heads. The Outrigger is a two-minute walk from Burleigh Beach featuring an outdoor pool, hot tub, and ocean views! The rooms are spacious, air-conditioned, equipped kitchenette, living room, private bathroom, and balcony. Close to supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars and public transport. Perfect for couples and families.
Budget: Komune Resort & Backpackers
Komune Resort is located south of Burleigh Heads in Coolangatta and it’s one of the cheapest and best backpackers on the Gold Coast! Located a stone’s throw from the beach, Komune Resort features a beach club, outdoor pool, table tennis, hammocks, pool bar, and nightclub. There are dorm rooms and private apartments available, perfect for friends and solo travelers.
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY, SEE MY COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
GETTING AROUND THE GOLD COAST
The Gold Coast is quite a large destination boasting 57 km of white sand beaches, vast hinterland areas, and everything in between.
There are a few transportation options on the Gold Coast which include renting a car, public transport, and Uber.
RENT A CAR:
In my opinion, renting a car is by far going to be your best option to reach all of the spots on the Gold Coast.
Driving a car on the Gold Coast is very safe and the road rules are very straight forward. If you’re an American or European, do note that we drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia so this might take a few hours to get used to.
I always use Rentalcars.com to search and book car rentals in Gold Coast as they offer the best rates.
Public buses and trams run frequently along the Gold Coast Highway which is another good option for getting around if you decide to not rent a car.
I recommend purchasing a Go Card from the ‘Hub convenience store’ at the Gold Coast Airport when you arrive or from any 7 Eleven stores on the Gold Coast.
It costs $10 AUD to purchase a Go Card and you will also need to top it up with around $20 – $30 which should be enough to cover your transport for 3 days on the Gold Coast.
It’s as easy as tapping on and tapping off with your Go Card when riding on the buses or trams on the Gold Coast. A handy tool to use when traveling on public transport is the Translink Journey Planner.
If you don’t have a Go Card, it’s possible to purchase paper tickets on board public transport, however, you will end up paying around 30% more for each journey.
There are quite literally thousands of Uber drivers on the Gold Coast and at any time of the day you are able to search and book an Uber online using the app and within a matter of minutes, you can easily find a ride to get from A to B.
Uber’s are a lot cheaper than taxis on the Gold Coast and if it’s your first time using Uber, you’ll get your first ride for free!
ITINERARY GOLD COAST – DAY 1:
(GOLD COAST NORTH)
BURLEIGH HILL & COCK ROCK VIEWPOINT
Burleigh Hill is an iconic landmark and not to be missed on your itinerary for Gold Coast.
There are 27 hectares of the national park that makes up Burleigh Hill and awaits to be explored. You can discover dense rainforest, coastal pandanus groves, rocky foreshores, amazing beaches, tidal sandbars, and panoramic viewpoints.
Start the first day bright and early to explore Burleigh Hill by taking the 2.3 km walking track that leads you in and around the beauty of Burleigh Heads National Park.
Click Here for your own personal Burleigh Heads National Park Map which has the walking tracks and entrances clearly marked.
On the Rainforest Circuit, you can find the Tumgun Viewpoint which overlooks the southern Gold Coast beaches, and Cock Rock which is an infamous viewpoint perched on the cliffside at the very top of Burleigh Hill.
Full Blog Post → Burleigh Hill Gold Coast
Cock Rock viewpoint
MIAMI BEACH & LOOKOUT
Heading north of Burleigh Heads along the beach road, the next location on this itinerary is Miami Beach.
Miami Beach is most popular for surfing, beach bumming, laid back cafe’s, coastal walks, and panoramic viewpoints.
It’s no more than 10 minutes drive from Burleigh to reach Miami and there are plenty of free parking spaces along the beachfront.
You can head straight to the beach for a swim or take the walking track along the shoreline and up the Miami Stairs to the Mick Schamburg Park Lookout.
This particular lookout is up there with one of my favorites! Boasting extensive views of the beaches to the south and the incredible Gold Coast City skyline can be seen clearly to the north.
Miami Beach is a worthy addition to your list of places to see and you only need around 30 – 45 minutes to visit this beautiful location.
Miami Beach Gold Coast
Miami Beach Lookout
Aerial shot of Miami Beach
Next up on this Gold Coast itinerary is Surfers Paradise which is the beating heart of the Gold Coast, boasting a high-rise metropolis right on the very shores of Surfers Paradise Beach.
Surfers Paradise is one of the most iconic and most popular places to visit on the Gold Coast featuring not only white sand beaches and high-rises but also restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers, market stalls, night clubs, arcades, indoor skydiving, and many more fun-fuelled activities to keep you entertained for hours!
One of the must-see attractions in Surfers Paradise is the SkyPoint Observation Deck in the Q1 building which is the tallest tower in Australia standing 322 meters above sea level.
Ride one of the world’s fastest elevators to the top of the Q1 building taking only 42 seconds and enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the entire Gold Coast City, its beaches, and hinterland areas.
Get Your Ticket → SkyPoint Observation Deck
Surfers Paradise Gold Coast
Surfers Paradise esplanade
PARADISE JET BOATING
Once you’ve seen away a few hours in Surfers Paradise, continue driving north along the beach road for 15 minutes to Marina Mirage and to where you will find the one and only Paradise Jet Boating.
Paradise Jet Boating is rated Australia’s #1 Jet Boat Ride which is an adrenaline-pumping activity not to be missed on your Gold Coast itinerary!
Book a 30 minute or 55-minute jet boat ride and experience full 360-degree spins, high-speed drifting, and other buzzing maneuvers, all the while exploring and sightseeing around the Gold Coast’s unique waterways.
Book Now → Paradise Jet Boating Experience
Adrenalin-pumping jet boat ride
Paradise Jet Boating
The Spit is the most northern beach on the Gold Coast featuring a sugary shoreline with mellow waves, a rock wall with a viewpoint that overlooks South Stradbroke Island, and a long jetty that stretches out into the ocean.
The Spit is a great place to visit if you would like to go swimming at the beach, have a picnic in the park, go fishing off the jetty, or take a boating tour in the seaway.
Also down near The Spit, you will find Seaworld theme park, half a dozen 5-star resorts, Marina Mirage shopping center, and a popular restaurant called Fisherman’s Wharf which is renowned for its delicious fish and chips!
If you want to try your hand at surfing, you can book a Beginner Surf Experience and ride your very first wave at The Spit!
FULL BLOG POST → GOLD COAST SPIT
The Spit Gold Coast
Aerial shot of The Spit
GOLD COAST ITINERARY – DAY 2:
(GOLD COAST SOUTH)
To kick things off on day 2 of your Gold Coast itinerary, head to the beautiful Tallebudgera Creek which is situated on the south side of Burleigh Hill.
Tallebudgera Creek, also known as Talley Creek, boasts some of the clearest turquoise water in the entire Gold Coast. On low tide there are several sand bars that appear, creating little islands to go and enjoy while they last.
Another popular spot is Echo Beach, a cute little cove tucked away on the south side of Burleigh Hill. There is access to this beach along the Burleigh headland coastal walk.
If you love bridge jumping, there is a deeper section of Tallebudgera Creek where you can launch yourself off of the five-meter high bridge and into the creek below.
There can be strong currents and boats zipping around so just be mindful of these conditions when swimming in Tallebudgera Creek. To be on the safe side, it’s best to swim in the lifeguard patrolled area in between the red and yellow flags.
Be sure to take a stroll along the pathway on the southern side of Talley Creek which leads out to a rock wall sitting in the ocean. From here you can enjoy epic views of Burleigh Hill and Tallebudgera Beach.
Also at Tallebudgera Creek, there are some facilities such as change rooms, toilets, showers, and a nearby cafe.
Tallebudgera Creek – Itinerary Gold Coast
Beautiful scenes at Talley Creek
Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Talley Creek
CURRUMBIN ROCKPOOLS & COUGAL CASCADES
Currumbin Rock Pools and Cougal Cascades is the perfect place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a few hours swimming, adventuring, and relaxing in nature with your friends and family!
Currumbin Rock Pools and Cougal Cascades are located in Currumbin Valley at the southern end of the Gold Coast, approximately 25 minutes drive from Tallebudgera Creek.
Currumbin Rock Pools features a large natural swimming hole that is fed by a running stream known as Currumbin Creek. The large pool is surrounded by boulders and rocks which is great for exploring and rock jumping.
FULL BLOG POST → CURRUMBIN ROCKPOOLS
A short 10-minute drive up the road from Currumbin Rock Pools I highly recommend checking out another epic attraction known as Cougal Cascades.
Cougal Cascades features a lush rainforest walk that leads upstream through Currumbin Valley, passing by multiple waterfalls, cascading swimming holes, and epic viewpoints along the way.
The best thing about Cougal Cascades is that there is not just one attraction to see when venturing here. There are lots of things to see and do during your visit which is suitable for people of all sorts and all ages!
THINGS TO DO AT COUGAL CASCADES:
- Enjoy a rainforest bushwalk
- Visit the old Sawmill
- Go swimming in the cascades
- Cliff jumping for the thrill-seekers
- Discover several epic waterfalls
- Slide down the natural rock slide
- Take a million photos of Cougal Cascades
FULL BLOG POST → COUGAL CASCADES
Swimming hole at Currumbin Rockpools
Picnic area at Currumbin Rock Pools
Cliff jumping at Cougal Cascades
CURRUMBIN BEACH & ELEPHANT ROCK
Currumbin Beach is one of my favorite places to visit which is why I couldn’t resist adding it to this itinerary for Gold Coast.
Currumbin Beach, also known as Currumbin Alley, is approximately 15 minutes drive back to the coastline from Currumbin Rockpools. When you arrive, you can park your car in the beachfront parking lot and set off on foot to explore.
Most famous for its right-hand surf break, Currumbin attracts surfers from far and near to experience a long-riding wave that breaks off the point in front of Currumbin Rock.
If you are wanting to take a surf lesson during your visit to the Gold Coast then Currumbin Alley Surf School is the place to do it! Book a 1.5-hour surfing lesson from as little as $40 AUD and ride your very first wave. Suitable for people of all ages, sizes, and ability levels.
Other than surfing, Currumbin is a great spot for beach bumming, swimming in the clear waters in the alley, exploring the rocky headland around Currumbin Rock, and having a coffee at one of the beachfront cafes.
At the very southern end of Currumbin Beach lies Elephant Rock which boasts a panoramic viewpoint at the summit. It’s a steep climb up the concrete stairs to the top but the view of the coastline is 100% worth it!
Glistening white sand at Currumbin Beach
Another perspective of Currumbin Beach
Elephant Rock viewpoint
View of Currumbin Beach
KIRRA BEACH & VIEWPOINT
Next up on this 3-day Gold Coast itinerary is Kirra Beach and viewpoint. Located just 15-minutes south of Currumbin Beach, you can drive the coastal road that runs parallel with the ocean and you can find plenty of parking spaces when you arrive in Kirra.
Kirra Beach is widely known across the globe in the surfing community as one of the best surf breaks in Australia, and the entire world. Only occasionally does Kirra show its true potential, but when it does, you’ll be in for a show!
In the very corner of Kirra Beach, you can find the Surf Club situated right on the sand overlooking the long stretch of white sand coastline and turquoise ocean waters. Pop in for lunch and a cold beer on a hot summer day!
Kirra also has an awesome viewpoint located on top of the grassy headland. There is a huge statue of an eagle with its wings spread, so it’s very hard to miss.
There is a set of stairs leading up to the viewpoint and at the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Kirra Beach facing north and to the south, you can see Greenmount, Rainbow Bay, and Snapper Rocks.
GREENMOUNT COASTAL WALK
Once you’ve spent some time enjoying Kirra Beach, drive a few minutes south and find a car park along the beach. From here you can set off on foot along the Greenmount coastal boardwalk.
Greenmount is yet another spectacular beach that is great for swimming, sun tanning, and surfing. There are lifeguards on duty 7 days a week between 8 am to 5 pm, so if swimming isn’t your strong point just be sure to swim between the red and yellow flags.
After a dip in the ocean, take the boardwalk around Greenmount headland and over to Rainbow Bay. There are a number of great photo opportunities along this walk so have your camera at the ready.
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Greenmount coastal walk
Beautiful Greenmount Beach
RAINBOW BAY & SNAPPER ROCKS
If you are still on foot, continue along the Greenmount coastal walk to the beautiful Rainbow Bay and Snapper Rocks.
I used to live in an apartment in Rainbow Bay for a year or so and ultimately it became my favorite beach on the Gold Coast! Boasting a beautiful cove, white sands, crystal clear water, and amazing surf, Rainbow Bay is not to be missed on your itinerary for Gold Coast.
At the end of Rainbow Bay, there is a rocky headland known as Snapper Rocks, which is a world-famous surf break here in Australia. Every year the World Surf League event is held at Snapper Rocks which draws in hundreds of spectators to watch professional surfers from around the world competing for the win.
I can also recommend heading up to the restaurant and bar at Rainbow Bay Surf Club for a meal or a drink. The view from the top deck overlooks the entire Gold Coast and it’s a sight you just have to see with your own eyes!
Find All → Hotels / Resorts / Hostels in Gold Coast
Rainbow Bay – What to do in Gold Coast
POINT DANGER LOOKOUT
Last but not least on day 2 is Point Danger Lookout which is located at the top of the hill, near Snapper Rocks.
Point Danger features a clifftop pathway with stunning views of the Gold Coast beaches to the north and in the opposite direction, you can see right across the river to Fingal Heads in Northern NSW.
There is a large monument at Point Danger that marks the border of Queensland and New South Wales which is worthy of checking out and taking some happy snaps.
Another popular surf break that lies below the cliffs at Point Danger is Duranbah Beach, featuring white sands, big waves, and a grassy area with undercover seating and BBQs. Not a bad spot to perch up for the afternoon.
If you didn’t pop into either of the surf clubs along the way, there is a popular spot for food and drinks at Point Danger at a place called D’bah Cafe. They also have an art gallery inside which is definitely worth a look.
I recommend sticking around for sunset here at Point Danger as it’s one of the best locations to be able to watch the last rays of the sun setting over the mountains!
View of Snapper Rocks
GOLD COAST ITINERARY – DAY 3:
(GOLD COAST HINTERLAND)
SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK & WATERFALLS
Springbrook National Park is one of the most popular hinterland areas on the Gold Coast which plays home to an array of iconic Australian wildlife and beautiful nature.
From the coast, it’s approximately a 1-hour drive to reach Springbrook Mountain and you will need your own vehicle as there are no public transport options.
There are many viewpoints, nature walks, and waterfalls to visit in Springbrook National Park and I recommend spending an entire day out here to see it all.
Must-see attractions in Springbrook National Park:
Best Of All Lookout Springbrook
Twin Falls Springbrook National Park
DRACULA’S CABARET DINNER & SHOW
Draculas Cabaret is, in my opinion, one of the best attractions on the Gold Coast and an unforgettable experience not to be missed during your visit.
Located in Broadbeach across the road from Pacific Fair Shopping Center, Draculas is open 5 nights a week from Tuesdays to Saturdays and it’s recommended to book in advance to secure a ticket.
Without giving too much of the experience away, Dracula’s Cabaret Gold Coast is a comedy cabaret show that will have you laughing until your head falls off. There is plenty of dancing, singing, aerial performances, and much more to keep you entertained.
When you step inside you will get to take a ride on the Ghost Train to the theater waiting room where you will then be given a glass of complimentary champagne and some finger food before taking your seats. The ticket also includes a 3-course dinner!
Book Now → Draculas Cabaret Gold Coast
Draculas Gold Coast
Spooky scenes inside Draculas
MAP OF GOLD COAST
BEST TIME TO VISIT GOLD COAST
The Gold Coast is one of the only places on the East Coast of Australia that sees glorious sunshine almost all year round.
If you want the best of the best conditions weatherwise, I recommend visiting between May and October (Autumn – Spring) which is most ideal for beach bumming, nature walks, and water sports.
Summer on the Gold Coast is between December and February which sees hot temperatures and a lot of rainfall.
AIRBNB GOLD COAST
Another option for accommodation is to stay in an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
Use the search box below to search for all available Airbnb’s in Gold Coast.
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OTHER GOLD COAST ATTRACTIONS
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many things to do on the Gold Coast you could spend months here and not run out of things to do.
This Gold Coast itinerary is a list of my personal recommendations, but I understand that you might like to see some other attractions which I have not included in this guide.
See the list below for some other Gold Coast tourist spots that you may want to add to your itinerary of Gold Coast:
- Gold Coast Theme Parks
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
- Aquaduck Safari
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Tamborine Mountain
- Indoor Skydiving
Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast
BEST GOLD COAST TOURS
MORE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES
The east coast of Australia boasts awesome beaches, lakes, waterfalls, hikes, and many more fun-fuelled adventures waiting to be had!
This is what Australia is all about and what I aim to share with you in my destination guides.
Click on the links below to see more related posts:
- Hamilton Island: 10 Things To Do In Hamilton Island
- Agnes Water: 17 Things To Do In Agnes Water
- Yeppoon: 10 Best Beaches In Yeppoon
- Brisbane: Things To Do In Brisbane
- Gold Coast: 3 Day Gold Coast Itinerary
- Fraser Island: Fraser Island Day Trip
- Byron Bay: Things To Do In Byron Bay
- Crescent Head: 9 Things To Do In Crescent Head
- Forster: 7 Things To Do In Forster
- Port Macquarie: 7 Best Beaches In Port Macquarie
- Sydney: Things To Do In Sydney
- Kiama NSW: 3 Awesome Things To Do In Kiama
- Melbourne: Things To Do In Melbourne
LONELY PLANET AUSTRALIA
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Australia Guide!
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about this Gold Coast Itinerary, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.