Top tips for getting to the Gold Coast

by | Mar 12, 2021 | 0 comments

Top Tips for Getting to the Gold Coast

If you have decided to travel to the Gold Coast, but are not sure how to get here, then you are in the right place. Below we have put together all you need to know about the different transport options available and will help you choose with our top tips. Whether you are thinking of flying, taking the train, coach or driving yourself, we have you covered.


Finding Airport parking

If you plan to fly to the Gold Coast and are thinking of driving to the airport, don’t forget to book your airport parking ahead. This can easily save you up to 60% compared to making a last-minute booking on the day.

There is an easy way to ensure you find the biggest savings – booking airport parking through a comparison website. These websites allow you to compare all the available options by price, facilities and location to find the one that best fits your needs. Flyparks is a good example. It has a simple to use comparison tool that allows you to find and book a car park in under 5 minutes. Let’s say you were looking for parking near Sydney Airport. You just need to choose the airport from the drop-down menu, enter your travel dates and hit search. In seconds the website will show you the available parking services ranked from the cheapest to the most expensive. You can choose which one works for your trip and complete the booking in no time. Flyparks makes it simple to save not just money, but time too!

Flying to the Gold Coast

There are two main airports when you are headed to the Gold Coast. Coolangatta Airport is located just outside Gold Coast city, while Brisbane Airport is around 90 minutes away. Each offers great connections to the most popular spots along the Gold Coast.

Coolangatta/Gold Coast Airport

Gold Coast Airport is a small airport located 27kms from Surfers Paradise. It is the most convenient airport for visiting the region, but due to its size, does not offer as broad a choice of flights as nearby Brisbane. From this airport you can take domestic flights to Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Cairns, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Newcastle and a few international flights to South East Asia, New Zealand, the US and Europe.

Bus transfers

It is straightforward to get to and from Gold Coast Airport with a fantastic network of buses connecting it to the main destinations in the region.

The SkyBus Airport Shuttle operates 7 days a week providing transfers for all flights from Tugun to Main Beach. They also provide a fast daily Byron Bay service. These buses depart from just outside the main terminal building, tickets can be purchased online and they all have free WiFi. Tickets cost around $15 one-way.

Alternatively, you can take a public bus directly from the airport.

Bus 777 will take you to the Broadbeach South Tram Station where you can catch a G:Link service (light rail service) onwards to destinations, such as Surfers Paradise. It runs every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm and to Surfers Paradise costs around $5.70 one-way.

Bus 760 will take you to the Varsity Lakes station where you can catch the Brisbane train. This bus runs every 30 minutes and costs around $4.70.


Taxi and car hire

If you would like to take a taxi instead, there is a taxi rank outside the terminal building served by GC Cabs. It takes around 40 minutes to travel from the airport to Surfers Paradise and will cost around $52.00. To Broadbeach it takes around 30 minutes and will cost around £45.00.

You also have the option of hiring a car with car hire desks located at the exit to the domestic terminal. Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, and Europcar are available at Gold Coast Airport. For the best prices and best variety of vehicles, make sure you book in advance. You can also hire a car in Surfers Paradise.

Gold Coast Airport

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane is a major international airport and flying here means you have a great range of both domestic and international connections. Even though the airport is further away from most of the popular destinations on the Gold Coast, its greater choice of destinations and frequency of flights often make it a convenient choice. There are great public transport connections to most of the Gold Coast’s top attractions.

Train transfers

Taking the train from the airport to the Gold Coast is an easy way to travel. The Airtrain service connects the airport directly to all the major stations along the coast, including Ormeau, Coomera, Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes. At Helensvale you can catch the G:Link service to Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. The journey takes at least 90 minutes.

Trains run every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes in the off-peak periods. You will find tickets starting at $10 with special tickets combining the Airtrain and G:Link services also available. A standard adult fare to Surfers Paradise from Brisbane Airport costs $40. For accurate prices and the best deals, you should book your tickets online in advance at the Airtrain website.

Private transfers and car hire

If you want to reach the Gold Coast a bit quicker you can arrange a private transfer or hire a car from the airport. By car it takes about 80 minutes to reach the Gold Coast.

There are car hire desks in both the domestic and international terminals with the following companies available: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise Holdings and Thrifty.

Taking the train to the Gold Coast

If you want to avoid flying and enjoy a more relaxed form of transport, then taking the train is a great choice. Simply sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery go by. You will even be helping reduce your impact on the environment!

Unfortunately, due to differences in rail gauges between Queensland and New South Wales, it is only possible to take a direct train to Gold Coast from Brisbane. That said, there are good connections from Sydney and northern Queensland, you just need to change lines a couple of times along the way.

From Brisbane you can catch the Airtrain which serves all the main stations along the Gold Coast, such as Ormeau, Coomera, Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes. If you are headed to the beach you can hop on the G:Link at Helensvale for access to Surfers Paradise or meet connecting bus and shuttle services at Nerang or Robina. From Brisbane the train takes around 90 minutes to reach the Gold Coast.


Travelling by bus to the Gold Coast

Those looking for a budget option should consider taking a long-distance coach to the Gold Coast. You will find a variety of routes available through Greyhound, Premier and Murrays coach services. There are frequent services between Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with stops at Surfers Paradise and other Gold Coast destinations. Keep in mind that there are discounts for students and seniors and that prices will vary depending on how far in advance you book your trip.


Driving to the Gold Coast

Driving to the Gold Coast can be a great option if you are looking for flexibility in your journey. It gives you the chance to stop off and explore other destinations and means you are not tied to one location for the duration of your trip. Make sure to plan your journey ahead, checking for road works and delays on the Pacific Highway (undergoing development) and make time for frequent stops at least every 2 hours.

Below you can see the distance and driving time from major cities to the Gold Coast.

  • Brisbane – 80kms – 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Sydney – 850kms – 10 hours
  • Canberra – 1251kms – 15 hours
  • Melbourne – 1840kms – 21 hours
  • Adelaide – 2100 – 24 hours
  • Darwin – 3500kms – 41 hours
  • Perth – 4600- 48 hours


We hope that these tips will help you plan your trip to join us on the Gold Coast for an unforgettable adventure on one of our Scuba diving and snorkelling experiences. You can also find further inspiration on our Blog page!

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