We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip to Gold Coast..

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
134 posts
61 reviews
Save Topic
Trip to Gold Coast..


I'm planning a trip to Gold Coast with my wife and 1 year old son arriving on 30 April in afternoon and departure on 3 May in the evening. This will be our first visit and we are really looking forward to visiting at lease 2 of the best theme parks.

I would appreciate if you guys can share experience and assist us with our travel plans.

I would like to know:

1. Should we hire a car to get around? Pro’s and cons of hiring a car i.e. is it difficult o find parking. Alternative ways to get around & how good is the public transport.

2. Recommended accommodation/location of stay.

3. What are the best 2 theme parks and what else can we fit in this duration. We enjoy activities.

4. Nice places to visit in the evening or late night for coffee.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Level Contributor
1,651 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..

(1) Most people will say yes to a car. As long as you're comfortable with driving, this is definitely a worthy option to consider. Compare prices for different rental companies to ensure you're getting the best deal (Alpha and Apex are non-major rental companies that have gotten good reviews around here - Please note that are off-site companies, so, they'll come and pick you up and take you to their office). Plenty of parking most areas like the theme parks, shopping centres, etc.

The only alternative way to get around is by public transport (the buses), which are pretty good, I find, and definitely an okay option, if driving is out. Please note that there are certain places you can't go via public transport. For example, no public transport runs after the Outback Spectacular show at night, so, you'll either need a taxi or private transfer via a company like Con-X-ion back to your hotel. Also, no public transport run to the national parks like Springbrook National Park or Mount Tamborine, so, if these are of interest, then, you'll need to join a day tour, if you're not driving.

(2) What's your budget range per night? I would recommend Broadbeach or Burleigh Heads for family-friendly areas to stay. If, however, you want to be in the touristy place, then, Surfers Paradise is the way to go.

In SP, you might want to check out Moorings on Cavill (rated #1 here on TA) - They offer a toddlers pool, next to the normal pool.

In Broadbeach, and if budget is no problem, you can't beat Peppers Broadbeach (#1 here on TA - you should still check them out in case they're offering any special deals within your budget range). Having said that, less expensive options include Meriton Broadbeach (#3 here on TA - they have an indoor and outdoor pool) and Ocean Pacific Resort (#1 here on TA as well - they also offer a kid's wading pool).

In Burleigh Heads, you could check out Solnamara Apartments (rated #1 here on TA - the children's playground is directly opposite them),

Of course, there are plenty other great apartments/hotels out there. Regardless of which one you look at, make sure to read up on reviews, so, you get what you want. Check out www.wotif.com/ as a good starting point on what's available within your budget range during your stay.

(3) I would consider Seaworld and Dreamworld. I know Dreamworld has a lot of the major thrill rides, but they also have animals, and a kid's section (your son may be too young for the rides though - not sure). Seaworld is good because of all the animals.

What kind of activities that you enjoy are you referring to? If you're big on animals, you could consider Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Also, the national parks like Springbrook National Park and Mount Tamborine are good options to include too.

(4) Plenty of good restaurants to check out - Definitely easier with a car though!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
Level Contributor
30,711 posts
1,661 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..


Excellent advice from arisanosila ... IMO; hiring a car is the best way to get around in the Gold Coast. Driving is pretty easy & parking has never been a problem when we visit the GC.

We have stayed numerous times at Broadbeach & also at Main Beach at the Sheraton Mirage. Broadbeach has many quality family apartments which would suit you.

Another vote for visiting Dreamworld & SeaWorld for Theme Parks & the Currumbin Wildlife Park as your son would love them all.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
614 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..


Having travelled with kids, I would suggest hiring a car. I assume you will have a stroller/pram for your little one, but at the end of the day if he is tired & cranky, you can just pack everything into the car & go back to you accommodation. Much easier than waiting around at bus stops & waiting for buses. Gold Coast is quite easy to get around.

I would suggest visiting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Dreamorld or SeaWorld. Our family enjoy staying at Surfers Paradise, but Broadbeach is also a nice place to stay.



Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
134 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..

Thanks guys..this is great info..

I'm definitely going to hire a car and seriously considering Alpha as suggested by arisanonsila.

Has anyone else hired from them or can provide an opinion.

I'm sold on surfer’s paradise and will start looking for the best deal around the recommended properties.

Around surfers paradise do they have place to eat open till late? Do they have any good Asian vegetarian places (for my wife)??

For the recommended parks - Dream World, Seaworld & Currumbin Wildlife Park how much time we need to cover these? Do they have any pass which will cover the entry for all three?

Thanks once again for the assistance..

Level Contributor
1,651 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..

Yes, my friends have hired with Alpha - No problems at all (just note the off-site location though!) and a lot cheaper than when we hired with Hertz. Some comments here on Alpha: tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g255337-i929-k5… Regardless of which company you look at, make sure you read the terms and conditions very carefully! You definitely don't want any nasty surprises!

SP has plenty of places that open late. The good thing about SP is that shops open until later than anywhere else on the GC. Not sure how late is late for you, as some will close around 9/9:30PM/or later, but, there are quite a few vegetarian places around (and more, if you look outside SP).

If you want Asian vegetarian, look at Govindas [Indian and non-Asian] in Burleigh Heads and SP, Tian Ran [Chinese] in Mermaid Beach, Easy House [Chinese] in Mermaid Beach, Kuan Yin Tea House [Taiwanese/Chinese] in Southport.

There are plenty of non-Asian vegetarian places including Cardamom Pod in Broadbeach, Mandalay in Mermaid Beach, etc.

Of course, you can also just visit any Asian/non-Asian restaurant, and you're always bound to find a selection of vegetarian dishes, so, there's no need to limit yourself either.

Unfortunately, there are no passes that cover all three. For Dreamworld, you need to take a look at their site for tickets/passes information. For Seaworld, there is a pass, but the VIP Pass includes unlimited entry until June 2014 for Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet 'n' Wild (as Dreamworld is owned by a separate company, you can't get a pass to cover Dreamworld together with the other theme parks). The VIP Pass is a good to consider, especially, if Movieworld and/or Wet 'n' Wild are of interest to you. For Currumbin Wildlife Park, take a look online, as there are often specials around including some like this one included in the 'attractions' section here: http://hellogoldcoast.com.au/couponDisplay

Your child might like the Aquaduck (perhaps, less so for you and your wife), which is essentially a bus that turns into a boat. It's a basically land and water tour about the GC.

6. Re: Trip to Gold Coast..

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 22 January 2015, 05:17
Follow this conversation!
Get notified when a new reply comes in.
Follow now