Day Trips From the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is one of the top family holiday destinations in Australia. With its miles of gorgeous beaches, safe sea, warm temperatures, and endless sunshine, it's easy to see why. However, if you are visiting the Gold Coast for a couple of weeks, you may like a change from the beach. The good news is there are plenty of day trips you can take that involve less than an hour's travelling time.
For a complete change of pace from the beach, take a trip to Brisbane, Queensland's capital. It takes about an hour in a car if you don't hit traffic, but an easier and quicker alternative is to take the train. There's an excellent public transport system making it easy to get around.
One thing not to miss out on while in Brisbane is climbing to the top of the Storey Bridge. 1136 steps take you 80m above sea level, but it's a slow and steady climb with frequent rests. You can either listen to your guide or listen to a pre-recorded commentary. The views are amazing.
If you are looking for a bit of culture, Brisbane has lots of free museums with fun interactive exhibits and events. The Museum of Brisbane showcases the city's history and can include a trip up the Clock Tower. Queensland Museum focuses on the area's natural history, and you can also book a session in the fun SparkLab.
If you are adrenaline junkies, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to theme parks on the Gold Coast. There's every kind of park you can imagine. Three of the biggest and best are Dreamworld, Sea World and Warner Bros Movie World.
Dreamworld is Australia's biggest theme park with over 40 rides and attractions. It has rides, shows, a water park and a zoo. Rides include Hot Wheels SideWinder, Cyclone Rollercoaster, Wipeout, Tower of Terror 2, WipeOut, Mad Jungle Jam, Rocky Hollow Log Ride, Mich Doohan's Motocoaster and The Giant Drop, the tallest free-fall ride in Australia. As well as lots of native Australian animals, there are tigers that you can book to see closer.
At Warner Bros Movie World, you will find rides and shows linked to movies. Rides include the Superman Escapes rollercoaster, Arkham Asylum, the Green Lantern, the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster and the DC Rivals HyperCoaster, the tallest, longest and fastest HyperCoaster in the Southern Hemisphere. There's a Main Street Parade featuring characters such as Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Marilyn Monroe, The Joker and an excellent stuntman show.
A visit to Sea World is essential for shows and exhibits on marine conservation mixed with fun rides. The marine life you can see includes dolphins, penguins, seals, polar bears, sharks and Australia's only Polar Bear exhibit. Rides include the Storm Coaster, Jet Rescue roller coaster and Battle Boats.
Take a trip inland to visit the beautiful area known as Scenic Rim, named by the Lonely Planet as one of the top ten destinations in the world for 2022. The area was formed by volcanic activity, and its dramatic landscape includes the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest, the largest subtropical rainforest in the entire world. On top of the spectacular landscape, you will also find vibrant art galleries, craft breweries and boutique wineries. It’s a spectacular region to take a road trip through but if you have a small car you might want to pick up a hire car from Gold Coast airport that is bigger, more comfortable and powerful enough to manage the ups and downs of the terrain.
There are six Scenic Rim National Parks, all of which have hiking and biking trails of various lengths and for a range of fitness levels. Lamington National Park has the well-known O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, where a treetop walk made of 9 suspension bridges, 15 metres above the ground, takes you through the canopy.
Visit Springbrook Natural Park after dark, and you can see glow worms in their natural habitat in the Natural Bridge cave. Technically they are not worms but the larvae of a primitive fly of the fungus gnat, but when you see them scattered across the ceilings and walls of the cave like a starry night, you won't care; you just enjoy the magical sight. Also worth a visit is the stunning Purling Brook Falls, which is over 109 metres.
Tamborine National Park has rock pools a few hundred metres walk from the car park at Cedar Creek Falls. Also, in Tamborine National Park, you will find the TreeTop Australia's largest TreeTop Adventure Park with more than 120 activities, including ten ziplines up to 60m high and going as fast as 70 km/hr! Thunderbird Park also offers high ropes courses, ziplines, thunderegg fossicking, mini golf and great views of Cedar Creeks Falls.
If you are looking for peace and quiet, take the short trip to the Hinze Dam. This massive construction holds back the primary water source for the Gold Coast. As well as gorgeous views, you can enjoy the four picnic and barbecue areas with nearby playgrounds plus a state-of-the-art information centre on the dam. There are plenty of trails for walking or mountain biking, including one along the top of the dam wall that was part of the official Commonwealth Games 2018 race route. When you have finished enjoying the serenity of the stunning scenery, spare time for a visit to the highly-rated café perched over the water.
It takes about 2 hours to drive to the Australia Zoo from the Gold Coast, but it is well worth the trip. Made famous by the TV series 'The Crocodile Hunter', the Australia Zoo has been owned and run by the Irwin family for three generations. You can see over one hundred different species, including crocodiles, snakes, giraffes, zebras, meerkats, tigers and cheetahs. There are many opportunities to feed the animals, and there are shows and talks throughout the day. The zoo places a high emphasis on the conservation and protection of wildlife, and the site includes the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, which you can book to have a sneak peek inside.
As you can see, there are many options for fun day outs on the Gold Coast.
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