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For generations, the Gold Coast has been Australia’s capital of fun, embracing and entertaining travelers with a spectacle of golden beaches, legendary theme parks, iconic rain-forests and lively attractions. Though with opportunities for adventure on land, air, and sea, the most difficult question is actually how to fit it all in! Best things to do on the Gold Coast.

To help you out, the following is a 4 day Gold Coast itinerary suited to the luxury adventurer; a terrific combination of adrenalin pumping thrills set on one of Australia’s most spectacular natural stages.

Modeled on our recent trip, follow this guide for rainforest glamping, horse back riding, transparent kayaking over sunken shipwrecks, skydiving over the southern beaches, and suiting up in a harness for Australia’s largest and longest zipline. Best adventure activities on the Gold Coast.

Your days will be full on, though this is the best way to embrace your inner adventurer and let loose! It’s highly likely that you may need a vacation after this vacation. Though that’s the way we roll!

You can hover over these (or any image) to quickly pin it!

Day One: Water Adventure

Catch an early flight to arrive on the Gold Coast before 10am. Having booked a 4 day car rental, collect your hire car from the airport. Your first stop on this adventure tour will be Paradise Jetboating. Gold Coast itinerary.

Jet boating is similar to that of a theme park rollercoaster ride, though on the water. And you should expect to get soaked!

Experience full 360° spins, high speed drifting, incredible beach buzzing and other exciting manoeuvres in as little as 10cms of water…while you explore the Gold Coast’s unique waterways. Spend 4 days in Queensland

Address: Mariners Cove Marina, 60 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach. Free car parking is available right outside the “adventure terminal”. The drive from Gold Coast Airport will take approx 40 minutes. 

Have lunch at the pier – there are many waterfront restaurants and cafes to choose from. It’s then time to start the drive to your accommodation.

Rainforest Glamping

Glamping on the Gold Coast is a fantastic way to step back from the excess’ and complications of modern life. And immersing yourself in nature and sleeping under the stars no longer means having to sacrifice on comfort.

Book for two nights at Nightfall Wilderness Camp; this is a glamping site in a relatively untouched pocket of paradise, perched delicately beside the crystal-clear tumbling headwaters of Christmas Creek and Queensland’s ancient Lamington National Park rainforests. Glamping in Queensland.

Offering luxury safari tents with designer fireplaces, vintage tin baths, hand basins carved from rock, and generous king size beds with organic linen, Nightfall is redefining the concept of luxury camping.

Book to include delicious fire-cooked organic meals. Their food options are mouth watering. You can spend the afternoon hiking into the tangled forest and Lamington National Park, though the camp is set in a dramatic gorge high in a rugged mountain wilderness itself, so relaxing onsite with a glass of champagne is an equally good choice. Queensland glamping.

Address:  3009 Christmas Creek Rd, Lamington QLD 4285. The drive will take 2 hours from the Gold Coast.

Day 2: Land Adventure

Book for a Hinterland Trail Ride with Gold Coast Equestrian Centre in the morning. There are many World Heritage Listed rainforest trails throughout the hinterland for bushwalking, though it’s a little more unique to explore by horse.

Splash through rivers, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the hinterland along the river’s edge. This is a more leisurely activity. The center is an hour and a half from Nightfall. What to do on the Gold Coast for four days.

Location: 212 Stewart Rd, Guanaba QLD, 4210.

Ziplining

Drive 30 minutes to Thunderbird Park where you will find “Treetop Challenge” and Australia’s largest and longest zipline.

The Canyon Flyer is the newest adventure attraction on the Gold Coast, and easily one of the most extreme! Australia’s best zipline.

This is Australia’s largest and longest guided zipline canopy tour; 7 huge zip lines that cross Cedar Creek Canyon multiple times and fly through the unspoiled rainforest at up to speeds of 70km’s per hour, 60 m off the ground!

The Zipline tour takes about 2.5 – 3 hours, and also includes a fun 4WD experience as they take you from reception to the start of the adventure.

Location: Cedar Creek Falls Rd, QLD, 4272.

At this point you have two options. You’re heading to Moreton Island to explore the Tangalooma Shipwrecks in transparent kayaks the next day. This means a 5.30am pick up from the Gold Coast. 

If you have chosen to stay two nights at Nightfall, drive back to camp. Spending a second night on this amazing property is well worth the 3am wake up on the third day (two hour drive to the Gold Coast).

Or you can book to spend one night at Nightfall, and then two nights at Q1 Resort and Spa in Surfers Paradise – Australian Sunset Safaris will pick you up from the Q1 hotel lobby for your Moreton Island tour on the third day.

Day 3 – Moreton Island

Day trip to Moreton Island: The third largest sand island in the world, this is a unique paradise of golden beaches, massive sand dunes and beautiful fresh water lakes. Best adventure activities from the Gold Coast.

Book with Sunset Safaris for their “Get Wrecked” 1 day tour. You will be picked up from the Gold Coast at 5.30 and bused to Brisbane for the ferry to Moreton Island. What to do on the Gold Coast. Gold Coast Adventure itinerary.

The day will consist of sand tobogganing, snorkeling, swimming, 4WDing along the beach and sand tracks, as well as exploring the stunning Tangalooma Shipwrecks on transparent kayaks. See fish and coral like never before without having to go under the water! Moreton Island from the Gold Coast.

You will get back to the Gold Coast around 6pm that evening. If you have the time, consider booking a 2 day tour to space the activities out and enjoy the transparent kayaks at night. This is the opportunity to navigate eerie sunken shipwrecks with brilliant underwater lights.

Check into Q1 Resort and Spa; Ideally positioned, just a short stroll from the energy and excitement of Surfers Paradise and metres away from the beach, Q1 offers breathtaking ocean and hinterland views, and world-class facilities. The day tour will drop you directly at the hotel.

Location: 9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise

Day 4: Air Adventure

Check out of Q1 Resort & Spa – there are many cafes for breakfast located along the Gold Coast strip. Enjoy a relaxing stroll of the beach in the morning before making the 40 minute drive to the airport.

But you’re not heading home yet. Take a scenic flight over the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches; however you’ll be taking the quickest route down to the ground! Free falling at 200 kph after having jumped mid flight.

Gold Coast Skydive is the only Skydive center on the Gold Coast and offers tandem skydivers the unique experience of landing on the beautiful and iconic sandy Kirra Beach. What to do in four days on the Gold Coast.

Pro Tip: Pay the extra for video and photos. Preserving this memory is absolutely worthwhile. How to spend four days on the Gold Coast.

Location: 78 Musgrave Street, Coolangatta. This is a shopfront above a cafe – street parking in the area is free.

You’re right next to the airport, so head over to check in your bags and catch your flight home. Ideas for luxury adventure on the Gold Coast.

Practical Info

The Official Gold Coast Visitor Guide contains some great information for you to make the most out of your visit. Accommodation and dining options, fun things to do both day and night, treating yourself to some luxury, insider shopping tips, safety and climate details and local travel information will all help you discover that the Gold Coast truly is ‘Famous for Fun’.

For more information: VisitGoldCoast.com

Dress:

  • It is recommended to bring a hat, sunglasses and water resistant sunscreen.
  • Casual, lightweight clothing is suitable for most of the year, however if you are visiting during the winter months of June to August, bring along a light jacket or cardigan.
  • If travelling to the Hinterland bring warmer clothes as the temperatures are lower than on the coast.
  • Comfortable walking shoes or boots are a must in National Parks.
  • Smart casual clothing is required in restaurants, hotels and bars.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Gold Coast Skyline/Landscape used in feature photo by Aristocrats-hat. Jet boating by Paradise Jetboating. Skydiving by Gold Coast Skydive. All other photos by Travel Ling and Mapping Megan. 

Disclosure: For this itinerary we were guests of Visit Gold Coast.

    32 Comments

  1. That is a great itinerary and a nice variation from all the theme parks and drinking activities often associated with the Gold Coast.

    I must admit that when I first visited I saw Surfers Paradise and didn’t feel a strong connection with the place at all. Instead I fell in love with the Sunshine Coast with places like Noosa and Bribie Island the more relaxed atmosphere in tropical beauty really caught me.

    Yet in recent times I’ve explored the likes of Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta and can see there is lots more appeal to the Gold Coast.

    Your tips are great Megan and with all that luxury I’d be highly attracted to that glamping.
    The Guy Who Flies recently posted…Coolangatta Beach And The Best Accommodation Coolangatta OffersMy Profile

    • Glad you enjoyed the itinerary – I agree that it’s nice to showcase a little more of the Gold Coast than the theme parks and the beach. So much more to do, especially for those who love the great outdoors!

      I’m yet to explore much north of the Gold Coast, though I have heard wonderful things about the Sunshine Coast from almost everyone I’ve spoken too. There are some truly fantastic regions of the Gold Coast though just waiting to be explored and Burleigh Heads and Coolangatta are definitely two of them!

      As well as the Hinterlands too of course. Nature at it’s best! If you’re attracted to tropical beauty you’ll absolutely love the glamping at Nightfall. I hope you have the chance to visit soon :)

    • It was one of the highlights of our trip! Highly recommend staying over night and doing their two day tour though if you have the time. The day trip was phenomenal but it was sad when we had to leave!!

    • Hope you have the chance to visit us soon :)

  2. What a comprehensive list! It look like a completely glamorous, filled to the brim itinerary, and I would love to experience all of it! Thank you for sharing the post!

    • You’re welcome Carmen – you’ll definitely get the most out of your time following the above guide :D!

    • Absolutely – everything on this list works just as well for a family adventure as it does for a romantic one :) You and your daughter will have a blast!

    • I agree – I think the Skydive probably takes the #1 spot of highlights during the trip. That was insane! Though definitely some top contenders in there for the spot!

  3. This is such an ideal itinerary! You show how possible it is to fit so much into just 4 days, which can be overwhelming with planning a trip to Australia. The skydiving, sea kayaking, and horseback riding would top my list for sure!
    Jackie recently posted…100 Things You Need to See and Do in New York CityMy Profile

    • Absolutely – it can be so overwhelming trying to figure everything out when there’s so much to do. Glad we could help with some inspiration for an adventurous 4 days :)

  4. What an awesome way to spend 4 days! I would love to do all of this, especially the Rainforest Glamping, the transparent kayaking and skydiving! Perfect mix of luxury and adventure!

    • It really was a blast! Was really nice to have luxury accommodation to retreat back to after a full on day of adventure too, so I’m loving the balance a luxury trip provides!

    • Excellent! Inspiration to travel to the Gold Coast was the plan! Hope you have the chance to get there soon – it really is one of the most fun destinations to visit, and perfect for spending time in the great outdoors! Some of Australia’s finest natural settings on display :)

      And yes, highly recommend the safari tents at Nightfall – was an amazing way to unwind after a full on day of adrenaline!

  5. Wow, that’s a lot to pack into 4 days! I’d definitely need a vacation from that vacation lol! I think the glamping is what interests me the most. I best sleeping out there must be so peaceful.
    Vicky and Buddy recently posted…Food Truck Tuesdays At Haulover ParkMy Profile

    • It was a full on trip, but it was so much fun! Definitely a lot to pack in, but absolutely achievable :) And we figured we could just catch up on sleep on the flight home lol.

      The glamping was amazing, was the perfect balance for this sort of trip as you were instantly relaxed in that kind of a setting. So peaceful and tranquil!

    • Thanks Joe! This would be a pretty fabulous introduction to Aus – you can sample something from land, water and air in some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes!

      Hope you have the chance to visit soon :)

    • Where are you flying from? I just posted a blog review of this fabulous company called Flystein who will find you the cheapest flights, and most of the time beat the prices you had already found. They’re basically a team of flight hackers who know how to scour the airlines and online search aggregates for the best deals :)

      Definitely check them out … blog post here.

  6. What a fabulous taste of South East Queensland, there’s definitely something for everyone in this beautiful state. The Morton Island trip looks perfect, we’ve still not been there Straddie keeps winning out but you have me convinced.
    Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers recently posted…Exploring the Sapporo Snow FestivalMy Profile

    • Highly recommend Moreton – I haven’t managed to get to Straddie myself, so can’t really compare the two, but I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

  7. Those are some great activities! Fire-cooked organic meals are also a healthy and wonderful activity to partake in while traveling.

    • We had so much energy to get through each day, so the Nightfall staff were doing something right with the food!!

  8. Great job on this post Megan! I really enjoyed reading your adventures. I myself have been planning to visit Australia but don’t really have the time, but hopefully soon! You should definitely try diving in the great barrier reef when you’re back, right? Totally worth the trouble.
    Marcus Williams recently posted…6 Best Tactical Flashlight Brands You Will Love To UseMy Profile

    • Thanks Marcus! I hope you do manage to organize a trip to Aus soon – I’m a little bias, but best country on earth haha 😀 We’re hoping to plan another trip to QLD for September to travel to Cairns and experience the reef. Agree – totally worth the trouble! And the reef especially is starting to disappear in parts, so no better time like the present!

  9. Having booked a 4 day car rental, collect your hire car from the airport. Your first stop on this adventure tour will be Paradise Jetboating . Where such information?

    • Hi Contporee – all of the information you need to book this adventure is here in this blog post. I have the address for Paradise Jetboating there for you in a box in that section, and you can click on the link through to their website to make the booking.

      Hope that helps!

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