Keen to keep summer going? ‘Course you are! Pack your bags and head off on a quick Gold Coast trip with a five day itinerary that’ll see you soaking up the experiences you didn’t even know the Goldie has to offer.

We acknowledge that this adventure is located in the Yugambeh Language Region, the traditional lands of the Yugambeh people who have occupied and cared for these lands for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

You’re Invited to Lap Up the Gold Coast’s Endless Summer

Remember the endless summers spent careening around the Gold Coast as a kid on summer break? Well, you’re invited to relive those epic memories and keep summertime rolling. The Goldie is a classic Aussie escape – endless surf, sand, and deliciously warm weather year-round – and you’re invited to get amongst it with this banging five day itinerary we’ve put together for ya. 

You’ll be kayaking at sunrise, hiking through the lush Lamington National Park, taking a hot air balloon ride over the hinterland, cycling the golden beaches on South Stradbroke Island and chowing down on some of the finest fare on Main Beach. All this and more in five days (with no roller coaster in sight). Don’t think, just book your flights and follow our lead. 

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Day 1: Surf at Snapper Rocks, Walkabout Tour & Beach Dinner

8:00AM – Arrive on the Gold Coast!

Hello, Gold Coast! How’s this weather, eh? Grab your bags, pick up a rental car, and head to The Pink Hotel in Coolangatta. Just a quick nine minute drive from the airport (gotta love a short commute). The Pink Hotel has the ultimate Goldie vibes. A retro hotel right on Coolangatta Beach, each room is uniquely designed with custom artwork and neon lighting, featuring comfortable beds, mid-century furnishings, and stylish Scandinavian-style bathrooms (plus Netflix access, yeew!) 



10:00AM – Surf & Snacks

Do a quick outfit change, get ya cossies on (sorry, togs), and drive three minutes to Snapper Rocks for a morning surf in the sun (hire your board from the Cooly Board Store).

After you’ve worked up an appetite, head back to the Pink Hotel for a bite to eat at Eddie’s Grub House, known for its delish burgers, wings and $19 fancy dranks. Try The Grizzler and wash it down with a negroni. 


1:00PM – Learn About Country

Then, hop back into the car and drive 25 minutes north to the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Here, you’ll take a Walkabout Tour of the Burleigh Headland to get your bearings learn about the Aboriginal history and culture of the Gold Coast (just make sure to call ahead as tours run on selected weekdays). 

3:30PM – Ice Cream & Swim

After a few hours of working up a sweat as you stroll the foreshore, cool down with a cheeky scoop of ice cream from Burleigh Gelato Co. and take a salty dip at Burleigh Beach, before driving back to your accom to get cleaned up for dinner!


6:30PM – Dinner

After a busy first day, it’s time to tuck into a relaxed but exceptional dinner at Bread and Butter in Kirra. Grab a few tapas meals to share, or tuck into the homemade gnocchi (and keep it all to yourself). 

Why not treat yourself to a cocktail or two as well? You’re in holiday mode now after all!

Day 2: Morning Kayak, Natural Bridge Visit, & Wild Swimming

8:00AM – Morning SUP or Kayak

Oh, what’s that? More blue skies and sun? Yes, please! Check out of your hotel and drive 15 minutes south to Currumbin Creek and do as the locals do by heading out on the water for a morning kayak or SUP (hire your boards from Currumbin Boat Shed).



10:00AM – Drive to Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park 

With your morning exercise out of the way, it’s time to head to the lush Gold Coast Hinterland. Less than an hour’s drive inland, you’ll reach Natural Bridge in the western part of Springbrook National Park, part of the Gondwana rainforests of this World Heritage area. 

Marvel at the rock formation created by the force of the waterfall flowing over a basalt cave, and walk the short 1.1km circuit through the ancient rainforest to the Natural Bridge rock arch. Keep an eye out for Paradise riflebirds, Green catbirds, and rare species like the Cascade tree frog.

1:00PM – Lunch & Wild Swimming

Tummy rumbling? Drive 30 minutes to Greenwood Farm & Co in Springbrook for tasty homemade food with a view, before stripping down into your togs for some wild swimming. You can’t swim at the Natural Bridge, but you can swim at Warringa Pool, a tranquil swimming hole tucked away in a rainforest gully ten minutes from the cafe. It features a small waterfall flowing into a deep pool and is the perfect spot for a wild swim, surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking views up and down the valley. 

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes


4:00PM – Drive to Canungra Cottages

Jump back behind the wheel and head to your Canungra, where all your cottage core fantasies are about to come true! Canungra Cottages B&B is the sweetest looking accom on this side of the Goldie. With white picket fences and old English roses lining the stunning gardens, and true country-style decor throughout, you’ll be in living in country luxury tonight!


5:30PM – Dinner in Canungra

For a quick and easy dinner that doesn’t skimp on flavour, head to Ginga Ninja Sushi Cafe and Bar in Canungra. Chow down on your choice of sushi rolls, or mix and match between the tapas plates. My hot tip is definitely the House Bowls, they’re scrumptious. However you dine, just make sure it’s not a late one! You’ve got an early start tomorrow.

Day 3: Hot Air-Balloon Ride, Hike Lamington National Park, & Camp Under the Stars

5:00AM* – Sunrise Hot Air Balloon & Breakfast

Feeling refreshed and calm, it’s time to elevate your heart rate again with a jaw-dropping hot air balloon ride. Take in the stunning views of the Gold Coast Hinterland while floating in a hot air balloon, complete with a hot breakfast and sparkling wine. Plus, there’s no need to stress about driving weary-eyed, you’ll be picked up from and dropped back off at your accommodation. For real, does it get any better? 

*Start time varies depending on pickup location and time of year. Your time will be confirmed upon booking.

10:30AM – Drive to Lamington National Park & Hike

Safely back on the ground and checked out of Canungra Cottages, drive an hour to Lamington National Park to explore the ranges and rainforest you’ve spent the morning taking in from above.  

Begin your adventure with an easy stroll on the Python Rock and Moran Falls trail (4.4km), a sealed track that opened in 2015 to mark the park’s centenary. Ascend through subtropical and hoop pine forests to the Green Mountains car park, admiring the bright fruit of the Southern satin ash and Lemon aspen and observing birdlife like Yellow robins, Bowerbirds, and Lyrebirds.

1:30PM – Lunch & Treetop Walk O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

After exploring the park, drive two minutes to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for a yummy toastie at O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe. Refuelled and ready to rock and roll, take a short drive to the Treetop Walkway for towering views 18m above the rainforest floor. 


4:00PM – Settle in For The Night

With tired legs, it’s time to set up camp for your two night stay at O’Reilly’s Campground. For the ultimate luxury camping experience try out the Safari Tent, complete with roomy queen beds and everything you need for a comfy night under the stars (it’s BYO linen but you can hire bedding on arrival). 



With an open space communal camp kitchen, stunning views overlooking the McPherson Range, a firepit, and a gathering area, there’s no better way to experience the Gold Coast Hinterlands. Grab yourself an aperitif and pizza at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Bar if you don’t feel like a camp cookout. 


Day 4: Tackle the Stinson Trek

4:00AM – Guided Stinson Trek

Forget setting an alarm, wake to the sounds of one of the 245 species of birds in Lamington National Park. Actually, maybe you should set an alarm because today you’re tackling the 37km Stinson Trek – a challenging but highly rewarding 12 hour hike. This guided hike only happens a handful of times a year and you’ve been lucky enough to score yourself a spot on the May 2023 hike. Let’s go!

With a 4am start, you’ll travel through rugged mountainous terrain to the site of the 1937 Airlines of Australia Stinson crash. There’s plenty of clambering around through storm-damaged areas, fallen trees, and prickly Lawyer vine, and regular steep rocky slopes to negotiate. Obviously, a high level of fitness and endurance is required, but if you can, you must. 

OR 8:00AM – Hike the Box Forest Circuit

If you’re not keen on a 12 hour hike (fair), but still want a challenging walk, check out the 10.9km Box Forest circuit. Wander through stands of pink-barked Brush box and on to Darragumai Falls, Picnic Rock, and picturesque Elabana Falls on this grade four hike that’ll take you about four hours to complete. 


8:00PM – Hit the hay!

After a full day of exploring and walking, it’s time to settle in for another night at O’Reilly’s, whether that’s back in your Safari Tent or upgrading to a mountain view room villa (go on, you earned it).

Day 5: Adventure Across South Stradbroke Island or SCUBA Down Under

5:00AM – Drive to Marina Mirage at Main Beach

Say goodbye to Lamington National Park and drive 90 minutes east to Marina Mirage at Main Beach to start your day of diving, or catch the ferry to Minjerribah / South Stradbroke Island (South Straddie if you wanna sound like a local).


6:30AM – SCUBA Dive Wonder Reef

Back on the mainland, if you’re a keen underwater Explorer, we’d definitely recommend booking a Wonder Reef tour with Gold Coast Dive Adventures or Queensland Scuba Diving Company.

With 11 different dive spots along the coast, this region is loved by divers for its warm waters (18-26°C), epic shipwrecks, and boulder-filled rocky reefs teeming with corals, sharks, rays, and turtles. Dive as deep as 70m or as shallow as 5m – there’s something for all diving levels.

Please note! This adventure is for certified SCUBA divers only!


9:00AM – Ferry to South Stradbroke Island

Ready for a sandy adventure? You can’t plan a Gold Coast trip without visiting South Stradbroke Island.

While Stradbroke Island was once whole, it was split in two by storms and a shipwreck explosion in the late 1800s. A secluded paradise with untouched beaches, dunes, rainforests, and marshlands, South Straddie is just a 30 minute boat road from the mainland. It’s also a mostly car-free island, so the best way to explore is on foot. 

9:30AM – Tour Around South Stradbroke Island on Foot

With 30km of white sand beaches, including a 22km surf beach, it’s a haven for surfers and swimmers, but you can also bushwalk, jet ski, and fish if that tickles ya fancy. 

Don’t forget you’re in a conservation park and it’s super important you adhere to the restrictions in place to protect the local environment and its flora and fauna.


1:00PM – Lunch at Tipplers

By now you’ll be well peckish! Head over to Tipplers Campground where you’ll find a perfectly placed kiosk with delicious meals to keep you fuelled for adventure all afternoon. 


4:30PM – Ferry Back to the Mainland

Book your late afternoon transfer well in advance so you can get back to the mainland and put your feet up in time for sunset. 



6:30PM – Head to Your Last Night of Accom

After a sun-filled day packed with exploration, find your zen at qtQT Cabins, an urban rooftop oasis with six luxury cabins above Main Beach. Relax in your very own slice of open-air luxury before hitting up Surfer’s Paradise. 

7:30PM – Your Last Gold Coast Supper

For a relaxed and mouth-watering meal, (and right by the water) check out the beloved Surfers Pavillion. Or for something a little more swish on your final night, head to COAST Beach Bar & Kitchen for a modern share-style menu celebrating the best of Australian seasonal produce and centred around flavours of land and sea.

Day 6: Head Home

With your adventure cup well and truly filled, it’s time to head home and start planning your next Goldie getaway – one trip is never enough. It’s undoubtedly a destination that leaves you hankering for more. And considering how easy peasy it is to reach the Gold Coast from Sydney or Melbourne, there’s no reason you can’t escape to the Goldie every chance you get.