G'day mate and welcome to my Gold Coast blog or as the Sydneysiders call it, "the rich version of Miami" and I'd have to say, they're not far off. I visited in March, which is nearing the end of their summer but don't get me wrong, it was still hot. The main reason for making this trek was to visit a friend who we had met back in Thailand and of course to see Australia's finest animals, the kangaroos and koalas.
Transportation: Airport to City Center
Airport Bus 777
Cost: 5 AUD
If not renting a car, the most affordable way to get from the airport to city center is by taking the airport bus to Broadbeach, which you'll then connect to the tram. While visiting Sydney, I was able to tap and go everywhere with my debit card. Learned the hard way, the shuttle bus from the airport is the only transportation that does not have a tap and go service and needed to purchase a ticket before getting on. Luckily, the driver allowed me to pay in cash.
Tram transfer from Broadbeach to City Center
Cost: Varies depending on point of destination but will be between 1.45 AUD - 4 AUD
Once you get to Broadbeach, you can purchase a reloadable tram card and top it off as you go.
Cost: $58 USD per day
Company: Enterprise in Surfers Paradise
I recommend renting a car for 1-2 days to get outside of town.
Where I Stayed: Club Wyndham Crown Towers (Tram Stop - Cypress Ave)
Cost: I used my Timeshare points.
This hotel is a ~5 min walk to the beach and ~10 min walk to city center. There's a pool bar and restaurant on site.
Day 1: Broadbeach and City Center Exploring
There wasn't much to Day 1. I spent most of the day tootling around Broadbeach and the City Center, which consisted mostly of shops and restaurants. If you want less of the "touristy" feel, then I would recommend Broadbeach.
Where I ate: Little Bali Street Food
I got the Bali Special which was $24.50 AUD ($16.69 USD)
Day 2: Coombaabah Nature Reserve
If you want to get up close and personal with nature, then Coombabah is the place. Coombabah is located 30-40 minutes outside of the Gold Coast, which I ended up getting a rental car for. There are several hiking trails to explore, so bring some good walking shoes and plenty of water.
Helpful Tip: There are no restrooms on site, so be sure to go before you arrive.
Day 3: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Duration: All day
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily
Drive Time: 40 min from hotel
Cost: General Admission $49.95 AUD ($34.05 USD)
Be sure to check out the encounter section. I chose to do Brekkie with the Koalas for $99 AUD ($67.48 USD), which includes the cost of general admission. This was an hour long experience, which the trainers walk around with the koalas, provide a brief description and allow for a few pats while you're having breakfast. They were also allowing tables to take turns going into their enclosure at take pictures. This experience also included a photo with a koala.
The Tasmanian Devils were one of my favorite to watch
Where I ate: Mr. Hizolas in Burleigh Heads (Local Recommendation)
I went with their lunch of the day for $20 AUD ($13.60 USD) This place was really good and would definitely eat here again.
Great meat pies. (I punctured a hole in mine before I took the photo. Face slap!)
Day 4: Natural Bridge and Tamborine Mountain
Natural Bridge (Local Recommendation)
Duration: 1-2 hrs
Drive Time: ~40 min
Helpful Tip: I recommend visiting at dusk or closer to dark so that you can see the glow worms
Duration: 2-3 hours
This is a cute mountain town and had I known about it earlier, I would have booked my accommodation here. The main visit for visiting, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a platypus but sadly no luck.
*Special thanks to our good mate, Cameron, who provided us with his local recommendations and hospitality.