The Gold Coast is the quintessential Aussie beach destination – and one of our favourite holiday playgrounds. Our ‘Been there, haven’t done that yet?!’ guide to 48 hours on the Gold Coast proves that this destination still has quite a few surprises up its sleeve.
DAY ONE: FROM REEFS TO ART TO ROOFTOP CABINS
MORNING | ART & COCKTAILS AT HOTA.
9 am: Surrounded by parklands and canals, HOTA Home of the Arts is a tall, brightly coloured, building that houses Australia’s largest regional art gallery – home to a vast collection of contemporary art that includes Indigenous art, ceramics, photography and even a children’s gallery.
It’s well worth returning in the evening to gallery’s The Exhibitionist Bar – its geodesic windows, which protrude from high on the gallery’s patterned walls, offer epic cocktails and sweeping views towards the Hinterland.
AFTERNOON | WONDER REEF & BEYOND.
12 pm: A ten-minute boat trip will transport you to the world’s first floating reef: the aptly named Wonder Reef. A cluster of nine conical, spiralled steel structures are anchored to the ocean floor at differing depths and move with the energy of the ocean to create a living marine ecosystem. Cook Island, Lady Elliot Island and Wave Break Island all offer fabulous snorkelling, plus the Gold Coast has the longest whale watching season in Australia.
EVENING | LUXURY STAY & FINE DINING.
5 pm: The Gold Coast offers all manner of fabulous accommodation, ranging from retro-cool hotels to five-star stays. QT Gold Coast is renowned for its quirky, design-focused take on luxury; it now offers the truly unique QT Cabins. Their rooftop setting is eclectically styled and comes with curated experiences such as cocktail making and rooftop yoga classes.
8 pm: You could stay on the Gold Coast for weeks and enjoy Chef’s Hat-awarded dining every night: some of our fine-dining favourites include Vanita’s at Main Beach, Palette in Surfers Paradise and Kiyomi in Broadbeach.
A half- or full-day tour that’s designed specifically for foodies is a great way to let your taste buds a chance to truly run riot, and it’s hard to beat fresh seafood, straight off the trawler at Main Beach.
DAY TWO: FROM ALPACA WALKS TO GLOW WORM CAVES.
MORNING | ALPACA WALKING & WINE TASTING.
9 am: A visit to the Hinterland is well worth the drive. Australia has more than its share of cute and cuddly wildlife, but it’s hard to beat an alpaca as a cuddly walking companion. With names like Peanut, Teddy and… Ed Sheeran, Mountview Alpaca Farm’s walking experiences are certain to leave you with the warm fuzzies.
And did we mention the farm is located within the grounds of O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard: the perfect spot for a picnic or pizza lunch!
AFTERNOON | TREETOPS & HINTERLAND RETREATS.
1pm: The Hinterland’s ancient rainforests are even more magical when viewed from above. Thrill seekers can navigate the high ropes course at Treetop Challenge, while Tambourine Forest Skywalk offers a more sedate version that still allows you to enjoy the views from 30 metres up.
3pm: Whether you opt for cabins on a country estate or a creek-side campsite, a night in the Hinterland is sure to be memorable. Beechmont Estate’s peaceful setting amidst rolling green hills comes with all the creature comforts you could hope for, including its fine dining Paddock Restaurant.
EVENING | A MAGICAL NIGHT ADVENTURE.
8 pm: As night falls, grab your torches and head for Mount Tambourine, where a ten-minute walk will transport you to a wonderland created by a galaxy of glow worms – truly a magical way to end your stay.
DAY THREE: END YOUR TRIP WITH HYDRO-FOILING.
9am: Before you wave farewell to the GC, you may want to try its newest water sport. Hydro-foiling has been compared with taking a magic carpet ride over water – once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re sure to be hooked.
For these and more amazing Gold Coast experiences, talk to your local House of Travel.