Every year as the winter chill grips the southern states of Australia, a migration takes place to the warmer climates in the north. Located just south of Brisbane, the Gold Coast is a popular destination for families and people of all ages. The coast plays host to a number of major events like the infamous Schoolies, the Super GP and the Big Day Out.
In winter however, the area has a more intimate feel with the disappearance of the large summer hordes. The beach is less crowded and the area is more relaxed, thus it is a great time to visit. VroomVroomVroom has put together a quick guide and some recommended itineraries to help you fully explore and enjoy the Gold Coast.
Sydney to the Gold Coast
Only four and a half to five hours north of Sydney, Port Macquarie is an amazing place to stop. There are plenty of nice beaches and a lot of accommodation here. Other must-see stops include Foster and Byron Bay. Lots of shopping as well as stunning beaches can also be found here.
Enjoy the wonderful weather in Port Macquarie, which is said to have “the best climate in Australia,” according to the meteorologists at the CSIRO — not too cold in winter and and not too hot during summer. People say no visit to visit to Port Macquarie is complete without a stroll along the breakwall from the Town Green to Town Beach located along the mouth of the Hastings River.
Foster is another popular destination. Must-see attractions in and around Foster include the Great Lakes Winery, National Motorcycle Museum, Big Buzz Fun Park, Timbertown and Little Darlings Doll Museum and Coffee Shop.
There are load of things to do in Byron Bay aside from surfing. You can visit and see the Lighthouse or take a drive out into to the hinterland. Bangalow and Mullumbimby are also well worth a visit. The Byron Bay to Gold Coast drive is around 75 minutes long.
Travel time from Sydney: 9 h 32 min (844) km via Pacific Hwy/A1 and M1
Melbourne to the Gold Coast
There are many ways to drive from Melbourne to the Gold Coast. If you want a more scenic route then you can take the coastal route via the M31/M1 through Sydney, however, if you like the easier drive, taking the inland Newell Highway is faster and more straightforward. If you’re planning a road trip to the Gold Coast from Melbourne, some top places worth stopping along the way are Benalla, Coffs Harbour and Lennox Head.
When you visit Benalla, make sure to try and discover some amazing food. Some of Benalla’s restaurants and cafes produce truly mouth watering flavours. Must-see attractions include the Benalla Aviation Museum, Benalla Street, the Glenrowan Wine Region and the Tallis Wine Cellar Door, which is just a 30 minute drive from Benalla.
In Forbes, you can get your motor running at McFeeters Motor Museum, have a walk around the stunning Lake Forbes, sample some local wines from some of the surrounding wineries, enjoy a coffee at a local cafe or dine in at one of the many excellent restaurants in Forbes.
Travel time from Adelaide: 22 h 31 min (2,073 km) via Newell Hwy/A39
Arriving in the Gold Coast
If you are arriving into Gold Coast Airport (formerly Coolangatta Airport), it makes sense to collect a hire car as some of the Gold Coast’s attractions are spread out over a large distance. Home to a number of famous theme parks, fantastic beaches and great shopping opportunities, there is never a dull moment in the Gold Coast.
Mt Tambourine is a stunning area with breathtaking views of the coast. Find time to visit the markets on a weekend and sample some delicious treats while you are there.
Another popular inland location is Springbrook, which is great for people who enjoy hiking. Located on the rim of a dormant volcano is the “Best of All Lookout.” The short hike to the platform is stunning and leads you through beautiful rainforest.
A drive to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads makes for a great day out. Fish and chips on Kira beach are a must. Travel a little further north to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to see native animals and birds up close. Finish with dinner at one of the many great restaurants in Burleigh Heads.