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Top Scenic Drives in the Gold Coast

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Gold Coast offers some of the best scenic drives in Australia. Among of these routes are the Great Ocean Road, the Snowy Mountains Highway, the Tasmanian West Coast and the Adelaide Hills that you can easily drive in your car hire. VroomVroomVroom would like to recommend the scenic routes below that can keep you occupied for an hour, half a day, or even the whole day. Depending on your mood or free time, you can choose which route to take in your Gold Coast  hire car.  If you don't have the whole day, you can skip some of the places listed here. But if you decide to sit behind the wheel the whole day, you will be greatly rewarded by the beauty and stunning scenery that these drives offer.

The best routes to take from Gold Coast

Gold Coast Scenic Drive

Highway heading to Surfers Paradise

Take the ultimate Gold Coast scenic drive in a round-trip. You can start anywhere you like. But we'll assume that your trip starts at Surfers Paradise because that's where most people are staying on holidays. From the Gold Coast Highway, head north and you'll be in awe with the enchanting Main Beach and along the edge of the marvelous Broadwater through Southport, Labrador and Runaway Bay.

You'll be able to see yachts cruising and seagulls gliding above the waters. If you leave on a Saturday morning, expect for a bit of traffic. After passing the Runaway Bay, you'll see signs to Sanctuary Cove, a prestige Golf Course development and a boutique shopping Village where you can have a look around the area.

After the Cove, you'll see signs to the Pacific Highway and Brisbane. If you're already on the Pacific Highway, look out for the left-hand exit to Mount Tamborine when you get past Dreamworld. Take the route and it will lead you out past an area of acreages and then up the mountain to Tamborine Village. Head over to North Tamborine and you'll see signs pointing to various bushwalks and National Parks. You can also take short strolls around the mountain and see stunning rainforests.

After the short stop, you can now head over to Eagle Heights and back down the mountain to Nerang.

Nerang to Murwillumbah via Springbrook and Natural Arch

Numinbah Valley

Once in Nerang, find the Pacific Highway and head south until you see the turn to Mudgeeraba. Drive through Mudgeeraba and follow the signs to Springbrook. Watch out for signs because the road has plenty of sharp corners, narrow curved wooden bridges, and hairpins.

The road up the mountain to Springbrook is safe, but there's nothing wrong if you'll take it slow. But if you're more of a daredevil, add a bit of horsepower under the bonnet and you will definitely think that you're in heaven.

There are plenty of lookouts and little shops in Springbrook that will surely interest you. But when you've looked out to your heart's content, you can head back the way you came. Go through the section where the road splits in two and then take the next left. In about five to ten minutes of curves, you'll end up at a T intersection. Turn left and head towards Numinbah Valley and Natural Arch where you can chill for a while and grab something to eat.

After a short rest, continue heading south through the valley and then take the right-hand turn to Natural Arch where you can take a short bushwalk and absorb the beauty of the surroundings.

After the short walk, head back to the road that goes through the valley, turn left, and follow the signs to Murwillumbah. You'll cross the NSW/Qld border at a mountain pass about five to ten minutes down the road. And I assure you that the view is magnificent. Continue to Murwillumbah and treat yourself to an amazing changing of scenery which begins in temperate rainforest and heads down through farmlands, pretty valleys, charming towns, and ends up in sugarcane fields. If you're into cold beverage, follow the signs to the center of Murwillumbah and find a pub.

Murwillumbah to Coolangatta

View of Coolangatta and Kirra

If you want to get back to the Gold Coast, you'll have two options. The first option: if you're out of time and can't bear another curve, follow the signs to the freeway and travel back to Coolangatta at 110km/hr along a new and fairly scenic motoway.

But if you still have plenty of time and ready to take another bracing drive, head back out the way you came into Murwillumbah, go across the bridge to where you have turned right after coming through from the Numinbah Valley and keep going straight ahead and follow the signs to Currumbim.

You'll drive through cane fields for about ten minutes and then you'll head back up into and over the mountains on the border through banana plantations and rainforest, with incredible views across the Tweed Valley all the way to Mount Warning. 

Keep following the winding road for about 15-25 minutes until you arrive at Currumbim Creek road. Then, turn right and follow the creek all the way back to the traffic lights at the Pacific Highway. Turn right and follow the signs to the airport and Coolangatta.

Coolangatta back to Surfers Paradise

Coolangatta shares the state border with Tweed Heads and is a great place for an afternoon ice cream. Follow the road along the coastline and you'll pass and see for 15 minutes, some of the most famous surf breaks in the world including Kirra Beach, Snapper Rocks, Greenmount and Duranbah.

O'Reilly's and Lamington National Park

Enjoying the view from Mount Tamborine

If you're after a shorter drive yet still up for beautiful sceneries, take the route through O'Reilly's and Lamington National Park via Canungra. The whole round-trip will only take 3 hours if you don't stop, but I'm sure you'll want to stop.

You can have a shorter drive yet still witness some historic areas of the Gold Coast. Lamington National Park is waiting for you. There are some bushy mountain corners for 40 kilometers, but it's a good road so you can take is as fast or slow as you like as long as it doesn't exceed the speed limits. 

Once again, our starting point is in Surfers Paradise. Follow the signs to Nerang and then Hinze Dam. 5 minutes out of Nerang, and before you see a turn to Mt. Tamborine, on the right side you'll see a route to Canungara, take it.

The road is quite boring for a bit until you get to a historic river mill on your right-hand side and then the turn to Henri Roberts Drive which leads up Mount Tamborine on your right. If you want to go up the mountain, take the turn. If not, then just follow the road and keep going southwest to Canungra.

The road will lead you alongside hills and dales and past a few rivers and wineries all of which are quite scenic. After a few minutes, you'll be driving through a more rugged hilly section which makes up the Canungra Army Base Military Training Area. You'll see big signs everywhere saying that you shouldn't go bushwalking off the road or you might get shot. Remember to follow signs.

Waterfall in Lamington National Park

After about 10 minutes and passing the Canungra Army Barracks, which are at an intersection, turn right and keep following the signs to Canungra, which is now only a few kilometers west. Before arriving at the town, you'll see signs for a historic tunnel, which looks like a hole in a hill and is not really worth getting out of the car with.

Once in town, take a look around for some cute cafés, a small park and a large tudor style pub which is popular with bikers and people who like winding roads. Not the gang people who likes to shoot at people.

After looking around, follow the road that the pub is on. You'll see signs to “O'Reilly's” which is a guesthouse at the top of the mountains in Lamington National Park. After about 15 minutes of heading through a pleasant little valley, you'll start driving over cattle grids and you'll quickly find yourself on one of the best drivers' roads in Queensland, a 50-kilometre road, winding, smooth, full of single-lane hairpin bend and blind corners with splendid views in all sides. You might think that the road is a little intimidating. But guess what, in this road, you'll only face danger if you're driving with your eyes closed.

Once you get to the top, you'll be in a totally different climate and landscape to the rest of Gold Coast. The area is greener and the trees are totally taller.

Eagleby Wetland Reserve

Are you an avi-tourist? Visit Gold Coast's Eagleby Wetland Reserve. Eagleby Wetland Reserve is a reclaimed wetland around a water treatment plant on the Albert River. It's located between the Logan and Albert Rivers.

The Wetlands feature varied bird habitats such as melaleuca and brackish swamps, freshwater lakes, woodlands, cane fields and open grassland. In the Reserve, you can also see about 203 Australian native bird species, including 17 of the 24 Australian Raptors, and almost half of the bird species found in Queensland.

We hope that these scenic routes will help make your next road trip more memorable. If you know other beautiful drives from Gold Coast, please share them in the comment box below.