Gold Coast: One week itinerary

Gold Coast Insider
(Photo: David Wall / Lonely Planet Images)
Planning a week on the Gold Coast? Our Insider has prepared an excellent itinerary full of both classic and unique experiences.

Day one

Tacky, maybe, but theme-park it today. Choose from Sea World, Dreamworld or Movieworld. All very good!

Day two

Beach day. Bring your bling caftan (at last, somewhere legit to wear it!), a book and sunscreen. Spend the afternoon indulging in a snooze/massage/pedicure/manicure, or combination of the four. Chill on your balcony with a bottle of wine and a pizza from Marie's.

Day three

Head to Byron Bay via brekkie at Twisted Sista (4 Lawson St, ph: (07) 6685 6810). Check out the Cape Gallery and the Byron Bay Green House. Then go up to the Lighthouse after a detour to Wattegos's Beach. Lighthouse parking can be iffy, so be prepared to walk.

The Bryon Bay Farmer's Markets are on Thursdays and Saturdays — make sure your visit coincides. Your stomach will be thankful!

Have lunch at the Bangalow Hotel in Bangalow, then roam around the boutiques, antique shops and to-die-for bookstores in this quaint town before heading home.

Day four

Repeat your beach day. You came for sunshine, didn't you?!

Day five

Wineries, pubs on cliffs, gallery walks, four-wheel driving tours, rainforests, hang-gliding and more await you in the mountains. Have lunch at the famous Songbirds of the Forest, or the equally famous (yet low-key) St Bernard's Hotel. Check out the hang-gliders taking off various cliffs, or have a go yourself!

Bushwalking is also a great idea, especially in summer. Check out Lamington National Park, Binna Burra or O'Reilly's Rainforest Guest House to find the right bushwalking option for you and yours.

Day six

Today is the day to properly experience Bris Vegas. Take the Vulture Street exit and follow it to Boundary Street, West End. Here, make a pit stop at The Avid Reader bookstore for coffee and cakes (the lemon tea cake is amazing). Just try to resist a literary purchase!

Next on the list is GOMA, The Queensland Art Gallery. While on the educational kick, visit the State Library and the Queensland Museum as well. The various gift shops are all fabulous if you're looking for a keep-sake.

The entire Brisbane loop can be done on the City Cat; this is included in your ticket cost if you took the train here from the Gold Coast.

Come lunchtime, head to Paddington where you will be surrounded by restored Queenslanders, funky shopping and so many good lunch spots that it'll be hard to go wrong. Montrechet is a great up-market option.

Finish up at Mt Coot-tha Lookout for a late coffee and awesome city views. Bail Brissy before peak hour, unless you want to jaunt on over to New Farm's James Street for a bit of window shopping and dinner at any number of the neighbourhood's groovy restaurants.

Day seven

Have breakfast at The Beach Shack café (818 Pacific Parade, Currumbin, ph: (07) 5598 2000). Head south past the famous surf spots of Kirra, Greenmount and Snapper Rocks, and up the hill to Duranbah. Grab a patch of grass and a latte, and watch the surfers at Duranbah Beach. Then take lunch at Omeros Bros at Marina Mirage, Main Beach.

The Art Gallery Schubert and a coffee next door at the Versace Hotel is next on the cards. Act like you own the joints!

Post-posing, walk off lunch at the Seaway Rock Wall. The sea breeze will perk you up and the views back to Surfers and Main Beach are both stunning.

Have dinner at GCI's Yamagen Restaurant — the sashimi platter is to die for. Or maybe have a stroll around the Surfers Paradise shops. On Friday or Wednesday nights, the beachfront markets are worthwhile spots.

Have your last drink at the Irish pub above McDonald's on the beachfront, and toast a golden Gold Coast holiday (near the Golden Arches — sorry, I couldn't resist).

Have you tried any of the places on this itinerary? Got any ideas we haven't thought of? Have your say using the comments form below.

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User comments
Yep the geography was definately a bit off! The coast pretty much starts from the Coomera at the north end where Dreamworld is, and finishes at Coolangatta at the NSW border. A great day out is at the Southport Spit - you go past Seaworld and then on the left there is the beautiful Broadwater (still water and easy swimming) with lots of boating action and on the right is the ocean. At the end is the Seaway where you can watch all the big boats going out to sea and you can take a walk out onto the sandpumping jetty.
Danielle next time you are on the coast give me a call, you kinda covered the obvious and left out the essential obvious! You got a couple of things right, Song Birds in the Forrest is truly world class and yes love it or hate it Byron is a must see even if it is to laugh at the hypocritical hippies! Also if you had of ventured upstairs from Omeros you would have wondered into the coasts most astonishing eatery, Fellini!
I was on the Gold Coast last week and went to Draculas at Broadbeach, opposite Pacific Fair, and had the best night out ever!!! If you have a sense of humour and want something a little different Dracula's is the place to go. With great food, drinks and service (which is entertainment in itself), you almost forget that there is a show to follow.
Thank you for the plug regarding The Beach Shack Cafe as a great venue here in Currumbin on the southern end of the gold coast. It is a fantatstic place for brekkie & lunnch and the views of Currumbin Beach are nothing short of spectacular. Please come and see us! Dean Olarenshaw - Owner
I agree with deb from the Gold Coast....Maybe they have moved Byron Bay from N.S.W and shifted Brisbane down here without anyone realising?! This was the lamest guide I have ever read....made ME want to go somewhere else, and I have lived here for 30 odd years. Next time, do a bit of research and realise that the Gold Coast isn't all about the beaches and Versace. I don't know any local who actually steps foot into Surfers or Main Beach and wouldn't know the Versace if someone showed them a picture of it. Lame.
To the authour Danielle Dunismore... I've lived on the Gold Coast for over 20 years now and never realized Byron Bay or Brisbane were on the Gold Coast!... Well done.
I was on the Gold Coast last week and had a great night at Q1 Bar! (q1 Building) It's not crowded or tacky and has the most spectacular views of 'the strip'. Perched 77 levels up and only being $10 entry fee it's well worth the elevator ride up for the beautiful night views or the fresh cocktails.