The Gold Coast is the starting point for some of Australia’s best scenic drives. Surrounded by magnificent beaches, lush rainforest, and waterfalls, there is plenty to explore in the region. When you’ve finished exploring Surfers Paradise’s sights and the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks, check out VroomVroomVroom’s recommended destinations to explore further afield.
Top Attractions: Burleigh Heads Beach, Snapper Rocks, Point Danger, Coolongatta Beach.
A journey south across the border to New South Wales can yield more beautiful beaches. On the way, make the time to stop in at Burleigh Heads. From the foreshore and Burleigh Head National Park you can enjoy a great view of the Gold Coast’s skyline in the distance.
Marking the southernmost point of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta is a popular place for surfers, and for good reason. From the headland at Greenmount Beach you can see some of the most impressive waves along this coast. Be sure to visit Snapper Rocks to enjoy the view over some great surfing action.
Travel Time: 40 minutes
Directions: From Surfers Paradise, head south on State Route Three toward Burleigh Heads. The road will merge with the Pacific Motorway, from where you continue south, following the signs for Coolangatta.
Top Attractions: Best of All Lookout, Purling Brook Falls, Natural Bridge, Goomoolahra Falls.
Even if just for the impressive view of the Gold Coast skyline in the distance, Springbrook National Park is a must-see. The rainforest is home a number of scenic waterfalls, including Goomoolahra and Purling Brook waterfalls.
Nearby, visitors can head to the stunning Natural Bridge — a waterfall cut through the rocks — or go on a bush walk to explore the rainforest. The glow worm tunnel is another popular stop along the route, and there are plenty of scenic lookouts in the area that offer different and enjoyable views over Springbrook.
Travel Time: One hour
Directions: From Nerang, head west to the Nerang Murwillumbah Road. Turn off at the Gold Coast Springbrook Road and follow it south into Springbrook National Park.
Top Attractions: Gallery of Modern Art, South Bank Parklands, Story Bridge, Queen Street Mall, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
There is plenty to see in Queensland’s capital city. Whether it is culture, art, wildlife, scenery or even a beach in the middle of the city, Brisbane has what you’re looking for. Explore the South Bank Parklands, or stop in at the Gallery of Modern Art to enjoy a their impressive collection of artwork.
For a culinary adventure, head to the Eat Street Markets which feature a selection of street foods from around the world. If you prefer world-class restaurants, Brisbane features plenty to choose from. You can also find cafes and restaurants offering international cuisine along South Bank.
Travel Time: One hour
Directions: It is easy to reach central Brisbane from the Gold Coast. Simply head north on the Pacific Motorway. If you are heading for the CBD, take the exit onto Elizabeth Street.
Lamington National Park
Top Attractions: O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Kamarun Lookout, Mount Bithongabel and Border Track.
Only 90 minutes from the Gold Coast, Lamington National Park offers a wealth of incredible scenery. The access road to the park is very windy, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the view along the way.
Follow signs to O’Reilly’s, a guesthouse at the top of the mountains. Here you can enjoy a walk through the treetops and see the rainforest from an unusual perspective.
Aside from the tree-top walk, you can also enjoy other short walks including the Wishing Tree Track and the track leading to Morans Falls Lookout. The area is home to plenty of Australian wildlife, so keep an eye out and see what mammals you can spot.
Travel Time: One hour and 30 minutes
Directions: Head west to the Beaudesert-Nerang Road. When you reach Canungra, take the Lamington National Park Road. Another route is via Beehcmont Road. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Binna Burra Road to reach the park.