Recommended 1 week itinerary for Gold Coast, Australia

Australia is on everyone’s bucket-list. It is a vast country and a very beautiful, diverse one. Backpackers spend months exploring Australia but still feel they’ve not explored enough. However, most of us can’t really afford months of travel- due to our jobs and leave concerns, due to budget constraints or other reasons. Recently I explored Queensland, the sunshine state for a week. Here’s a highly recommended itinerary on how you can explore Gold Coast, Brisbane and nearby areas best in a week’s time. While Australia is relatively expensive to visit, worry not- end of the post I have also detailed how to fund your trip with ease using PaySense, which provides short-term loans of up to Rs. 2 lakh. 


Here’s a Quick summary of the plan
Day
Key agenda
Stay at
01
Arrive at Gold Coast
Drive to Bryon Bay
Cape Byron light house
Byron Bay
02
Macadamia  Castle or Mount Warning
Gold Coast
03
Springbrook National Park
Lamington National Park
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
04
Mount Tamborine
Brisbane
Brisbane
05
Brisbane Local-city hall, Lone Pine etc
Brisbane
06
Sunshine coast or Moreton Island
Gold Coast Surfer’s Paradise
07
Surfer’s Paradise Local activities
Return flight


Detailed Itinerary and tips below

Day 01- Gold Coast-Byron Bay
Arrive in Gold Coast Airport, pickup rental car (you can drive in Australia with Indian license, self drive is cheapest and best way to explore Australia than spending lots of money on taxi or tour buses)- Assumption is that you’d be arriving in morning half with half a day at your disposal.

Drive down to Byron Bay on the M3 highway- some 80 kms from Gold Coast-

Optional: If you’ve time and interest, divert to Minyon Falls Lookout and Crystal Castle (a garden with various creative artefacts made of crystals)

Visit Cape Byron Lighthouse, walk on the scenic trails, enjoy beach time and stay in Keeper’s House (if you can get reservation) Or overnight in Byron Bay. Check this post for more details on Byron Bay

Day 02: Relaxed Family time in a castle or adventure climbing a tough mountain
Option 1: Visit Macadamia Castle- recommended for family with kids- you can spend full day indulging in various activities at the castle- playing with farm animals, feeding birds and so on.

Option 2- Visit Mount Warning (trek to Summit will take half day, reaching very early recommended, good fitness level required)

If not planning a full trek, you can return early and spend more time in Gold Coast

Head towards Gold Coast, stay in Coolangatta area. Enroute, try walk on the water trail at Ukerebagh Nature Reserve.

At Coolangatta, park somewhere, explore snappers rock, Danger point and other scenic spots. (Do this next day early morning if getting late)

Overnight at Coolangatta, rest.

Day 03: Leave early, visit Springbrook National Park & Lamington National Park
  • Fill up fuel, no fuel stations in Springbrook/Lamington national park area
  • Springbrook National Park area has multiple attractions- Best of all lookout, Canyon and waterfalls view trail at Purling Brook falls, Rainbow falls and so on.
  • Enroute a quick diversion to Hinze Dam will also be worth it.
  • Next Reach Lamington National Park
  • Check-in for overnight stay at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Explore various attractions in the area- treetop walks, bird feeding, waterfalls view and other attractions
  • Overnight at Lamington National Park
Check this detailed post on Lamington National Park Day 04: Mount Tamborine and Brisbane
  • Check out at leisure after breakfast, drive to Mount Tamborine
  • Try the treetop walk if interested, explore the town, parks
  • Drive further onwards to Brisbane
  • Reach Brisbane by evening. 

Day 05: Brisbane local
  • Visit city hall (10 AM to 5 PM)- guided tour, tower visit etc
  • Visit Lone Pine National Park and Koala Sanctuary (9 AM to 5PM)
  • Visit South Bank for parks, beach, giant wheel, art gallery etc
  • Visit Story Bridge, try adventure climb if interested (costs 130 to 170 AUD per person)
  • Overnight in Brisbane
Above: The wheel of Brisbane
Below: Story Bridge
Day 06: Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast

Option 1: Drive to sunshine coast
Option 2: Day trip to Moreton Island or any other islands/day tours from Brisbane

Return to Gold Coast Surfer’s Paradise by evening/night

Day 07: Surfer’s Paradise and back home

Explore places around Surfer’s Paradise- The Slit, Burleigh Head National Park

Any adventure/fun activities as per interest- iFly indoor skydiving or high speed jet boat tours, sea plane rides, aquaduck tours, beach time

Evening, reach airport, return car, fly back home. You can reach Gold Coast Airport using tram (to Broadbeach South) and Bus (No.777) for about 5.7 AUD per person. No need to spend 21 AUD for Skybus or even more for taxi.

Additional tips:
  • If you’ve less days, I suggest skipping Mount Warning, Mount Tamborine.
  • If you have even less days or want to do something else, skip visiting Brisbane,  that will save 2-3 days that you can spend on something else
  • If you have more time of course you can spend more time at above destinations or explore more places around.
Now, a flight ticket to Australia typically costs about 50000 per person, a day’s hotel stay and food would cost INR 5000-6000 per person easily. Expenditures on Visa, rentals, adventure activities extra.  Thus a one week trip would mean a spending of over a lakh rupees per person, or couple of lakhs for a family. Postponing a trip doesn’t help- rupee continues to depreciate, things will get more n more expensive over time, inflation ensures prices keep going up, so same trip few years later would cost a lot more. It is better to fulfil your dreams now, than keep pushing it for later. If money has been a concern, worry not. There’s an easy way to fund your travel dreams- PaySense.

PaySense is a friendly personal finance tool using which you can avail short term loans. Some of the key highlights of PaySense are as below:
  1. Nearly 16 lakh app installs in last 6 months 
  2. More than Rs. 250 Crore disbursed so far
  3. Over 4.1 rating on Google Play Store for the app
  4. PaySense serves people with zero or low credit score as well. So, even if a bank sends you away, you don't need to get trapped by loan sharks  or a credit card debt cycle. 
Thus I suggest check out Paysense App and never postpone your travel dreams - Australia or elsewhere.

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