Best day trips from the Gold Coast
Distance from the Gold Coast: an hour by car
Byron Bay has become an international travel destination for everyone from celebrities through to backpackers. If you want to experience the beauty and tranquillity of Byron Bay before it became famous, visit the neighbouring Brunswick Heads.
The town still has the charm of a seaside hamlet, despite being only a short drive from Byron Bay itself. A day out in Brunswick Heads letssyou explore numerous specialty stores (including vintage shops), dine at any number of cute cafes and restaurants (with vegetarian and gluten-free options available at many venues) and delight in the region’s natural beauty.
Located at the intersection of the Brunswick River and Simpsons Creek, Brunswick Heads has plenty of beaches for swimming, surfing or just relaxing in the sun. Torakina Beach is popular for its sheltered, pristine waters while Brunswick Heads Main Beach has stronger currents making it a favourite for surfers (it is only patrolled during certain times of the year). The beach also features a dog beach at its southern end.
Head to the town break wall for the chance to spot a dolphin or visit on the first Saturday of the month to explore the town markets. Brunswick Heads is also a favoured spot among anglers.
Distance from the Gold Coast: 50 minutes by car
Known as the green behind the gold, Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast Hinterlands is the day-trip destination for when you want to immerse yourself in nature. Think ancient green rainforest, a cooler climate, an abundance of wildlife and showstopping views - just 50 minutes down the road.
Choose a walk or hike throughout Tamborine National Park or check out the 11 hectares of lush greenery at the Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens. Adults will enjoy the selection of breweries and distilleries on the mountain while kids will be delighted by the glow worm caves and ThunderBird Park; an adventure and nature park where you can enjoy high ropes courses, ziplines, mini golf and bird feeding.
If you can stick around until sunset, Hang Glider Lookout is the prime position to salute the end of the day while taking in the sweeping views of the Scenic Rim and Great Dividing Ranges. During optimal weather conditions (dry, with winds between 8 and 32ph) you might even see hang or paragliders launching from the site!