The Gold Coast of Australia really packs a punch. Iconic sun-drenched beaches meet fine dining and luxury experiences, surrounded by spectacular rainforest and hinterland.
There’s plenty to see and do from eclectic beachside neighbourhoods to elevated hotels. And the ability to explore both beaches and hinterland within just a few days make this a must-visit Australian travel destination.
To help you plan the perfect trip, we’ve put together a 4 day Gold Coast Itinerary.
Day 1 – Rainforests and Waterfalls
Firstly we decided to experience the lush hinterland of the Gold Coast. We’ve always wanted to visit Lamington National Park and see some of the incredible rainforest waterfalls.
Only 90 mins drive from the Gold Coast beaches, we arrived into Lamington National Park by mid morning and checked in to O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat. O’Reillys is in an amazing location right near some of the best trails and boasts beautiful outlooks over the surrounding rainforest.
We dropped our bags and went straight on a hike to see the Elabana Falls. After a rewarding hike through the dense rainforest we emerged into a warm & sunny clearing to see the cascading falls. After a refreshing dip in the pools we just sat and took it all in. These falls were like something from a movie.
After refuelling back at O’Reillys with a late lunch, we then headed to see Morans Falls. These falls are honestly some of the most beautiful I have seen in Australia. And I’ve seen a few! At Morans Falls you hike to the top of the falls (which are an 80m drop) and there’s a short 15 min trail directly from the villas at O’Reillys. We sat by the stream all afternoon. It’s an incredible view as the water tumbles over the falls, with the valley below and the mountains beyond. The sun sets within view from here and makes for some stunning colours.
Back at O’Reillys we enjoyed the afterglow from the balcony of the bar with a hearty dinner and a glass of wine.
Day 2 – Gold Coast Hinterland
The next morning we were up very early for a very special experience. We were off for a private hot air balloon flight over the hinterland! This was another highlight of our Gold Coast itinerary.
We flew with Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast and the team was amazing. Because we had a private experience, we were able to watch from the ground as all the other balloons took off in the twilight. We then jumped into our basket and followed them into the sky as the sun started to rise. With just Chesh and I onboard, it was so quiet and calming floating over the rolling hinterland valley. Our amazing pilot was so interesting to chat to and he even had a bottle of Champagne for us to have mid-flight!
After landing in the beautiful countryside we headed to O’Reillys Vineyards for a picnic breakfast. We were seated down by the freshwater stream and had a full breakfast (including more Champagne). We were even joined by some extremely cute Alpacas from the Mountview Alpaca Farm next door. Not a bad way to start a day 😊
As we’d been up early for a magic morning, we decided to chill out for the rest of the day. We hit the pool and enjoyed the resort at O’Reillys. The hot tub on our deck was perfect for relaxing and listening to the rainforest.
Day 3 – Luxury on the Coastline
Having had the best few days in the hinterland, it was time to hit the coast.
Our first stop was the new Mare Restaurant at La Luna Beach Club. We got dressed up and enjoyed the delicious modern Mediterranean cuisine with a long lunch on the waterfront. Seafood and white wine in the sun within a European-styled restaurant was my idea of a perfect lunch.
We then jumped aboard a private catamaran sailing trip with Sailing in Paradise. The boat leaves right from the same waterfront precinct as La Luna, so we felt very luxe strolling from the restaurant to our yacht for the afternoon. We headed up to some clear blue waters to swim from the boat and sun lounge on the front deck. The crew made a huge platter for us to enjoy as we sailed home after an amazing few hours on the water.
Next we checked in to the award winning luxury hotel The Darling. We were in a Penthouse Suite with 180 degree views from the ocean to the mountains. We could see the sun setting over the hinterland as well as the lights of the cityscape come alive in a pink sky. Luxury comfort with a view!
Our perfect day ended with a cocktail at the rooftop bar Nineteen at The Star and a delicious Japanese dinner at Kiyomi.
Day 4 – Beaches and Oceanfront Dining
We started our last day early, heading to the clear blue waters of Tallebudgera Creek for paddle boarding with All Coast Board Hire. This was such a good way to get into nature while the day was so calm and peaceful. We then walked around the Burleigh Heads National Park. This is a beautiful walk around the headland that takes you to the beach at Burleigh Heads. You can take an ocean dip, then grab some breakfast and sit on the hill watching the surf. There’s such a good energy here in the morning.
A trip to the Gold Coast wouldn’t be complete with out some beach time, so we headed to Rainbow Bay for the day. The headlands and beaches around Southern Gold Coast are quintessential Australian and the perfect place to surf, swim and relax.
In the afternoon we checked in to the very cute Tessa’s on the Beach boutique hotel. With a retro motel vibe, mineral pool and access straight onto the ocean, this was the perfect spot for our last night on the Gold Coast. And for dinner we chose the iconic oceanfront restaurant The Tropic. Here you can sit on the terrace (make sure to book in advance) overlooking the famous surf spot of Burleigh Heads. Enjoy great food and cocktails while watching the waves and the Gold Coast skyline.
This was an epic way to end an amazing few days on the Gold Coast. Hope to see you here!
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