9 Of The Best Day Trips From The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is a city with a lot to offer. Home to incredible food, a world-class art scene, picturesque parks, incredible beaches, great craft beers and an endless summer, it’s easy to see why more than half a million people call it home.
When a place is this good, it can be tempting to never leave – but the Gold Coast is in close proximity to some incredible sights that you simply must see. Whether you’re visiting or live permanently in the area, you should definitely consider heading off and enjoying these sights with a fun-filled day trip.
Here’s a few ideas to start you on your journey…
Mt Tamborine (45 minutes northwest of the Gold Coast) is completely opposite to the bustling city landscape, offering spectacular rainforest, beautiful bush walks, cosy weekend cottages, charming tea rooms, country pubs with views, and a whole host of great wineries. With so many things to do, think about making your day trip into a weekend stay.
Must sees while you’re there include Palm Grove Rainforest Circuit, the views (and food) from The Polish Place, and Gallery Walk for its quirky array of boutique shops, galleries, tea rooms and more. If you don’t mind heights, be sure to check out The Sky Walk; a suspended hour walk that takes in waterfalls, rainforest canopy and giant red cedar remnants.
Bribie Island (2 hour drive from the Gold Coast) is a spectacular piece of paradise. A stunning sand island that shelters the northern parts of Moreton Bay, it boasts stretches of undisturbed white sand, lush green bush and crystal blue waters. If you have a 4WD, be sure to get a permit and hit Ocean Beach, where you’ll find not only amazing swimming spots, but see a whole host of wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and dingoes.
The town of Maleny (2 hours and 15 minutes from the Gold Coast) is home to some of Queensland’s most creative and innovative artists and craftspeople. The town is always abuzz with some sort of artistic show or creative endeavor, and every Sunday visitors can join the locals at the huge undercover market.
While Maleny is best known for its shopping, it also has an abundance of restaurants and cafes, and is a town rich in natural beauty and wonder. Set amongst the rolling green hills of several dairy farms, the views are spectacular – and if you can tear yourself away from the shopping, the Mary Cairncross Reserve Conservation Park is an absolute must.
Just 1 hour and 15 minutes north of of the Gold Coast, Sandgate is one of the area’s most picturesque seaside villages. When the railway opened in 1882 this quickly became Brisbane’s go-to seaside resort, and as a result it’s developed into a place with a unique history and plenty of stories to tell. Today visitors can enjoy visiting heritage parks and the town square, see the grand, sprawling Victorian villas and boarding houses, wander around the 150-year-old Shorncliffe Pier, and check out the iconic Richard Gailey white gothic church.
Want to spend the day wallowing in a secluded rock pool, surrounded by lush vegetation and chirping birds? This Currumbin Valley Rock Pools are the perfect destination for anyone wanting to diverge from the classic, beach-orientated Gold Coast lifestyle, and is well suited for anyone looking for a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. There’s plenty of ropes and ledges the kids can swing or jump off into the deep pools, and there are plenty shady spots which make for the perfect place to have a picnic. There are also several barbeques set up, so you can take along some snags and chops for the ultimate Sunday lunch. Only a 40 minute drive from the Gold Coast, this is a great day trip destination during the summer.
If animals are your thing, then a day trip to Australia Zoo is perfect for you. Located in Beerwah (2 hours from the Gold Coast), this zoo is home to over 1,200 animals, including Aussie favourites and those found in the African Savannah and South East Asia. Also home to the iconic Irwin family, this zoo was created with the vision to become the biggest and best wildlife conservation site in the world – and there’s no other zoo quite like it!
For any automotive enthusiasts, the drive out to The Barn and Scotty’s Garage is well worth it. Located in the Lockyer Valley hamlet of Flagstone Creek (2 hours from the Gold Coast), it’s loved for its old-fashioned country hospitality, homestyle cooking, and interesting automotive museum.
Every weekend, husband and wife team Scott and Sarah open the doors to their rustic cafe, filled to the brim with bric a brac. Diners can eat inside or outside on the big deck (a must-try is the Barn Burger), and kids can enjoy the small playground. Once you’ve finished your meal, it’s time to check out Scotty’s Garage, which is packed to the rafters with automotive memorabilia from the 50s and 60s.
Who say’s a day trip out of the city has to be during sunlight hours? Glow worms are rare and fascinating creatures only found in Australia and New Zealand, and you can see them for yourself during a visit to Springbrook National Park (1 hour from the Gold Coast). Join a specialised tour or pack your own torches, and head for Natural Bridge as the sun goes down. Experience the otherworldly atmosphere, become part of a forest that has remained unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, and sit and marvel at Australia’s largest population of glow worms as they illuminate the ceiling of the magical Natural Bridge Cave.
Nicknamed ‘The Golden Mile’, the flat walkway along Gympie Terrace in beautiful Noosa lies alongside a stretch of fine golden sand and the magnificent Noosa River. With plenty of grassy areas and shady trees to sit under, as well as and tons of safe swimming spots, this is a popular destination for young families.
As well as offering picturesque views, Noosaville is home to a whole host of cafes, galleries, bookshops, gelaterias and restaurants serving international and gourmet cuisine. Or if it’s adventure you’re after, hit the water and make a splash with a jet ski, SUP board, kayak, or BBQ boat. If you plan to head to this amazing destination anytime soon, just make note that it’s a 2.5 hour drive from the Gold Coast – so ensure you get up early, and make the most of your day out!