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Gold Coast Explorer
Short Escape

Great DrivesQueensland’s famous Gold Coast offers glorious golden beaches and surf, theme parks, great dining, and plenty of after-dark entertainment. And, inland, there are tranquil highlands to explore.

If you’re driving from Brisbane, take the highway south to Beenleigh, where you can tour the local rum distillery, before reaching the first of the many Gold Coast theme parks, ideal for entertaining the kids. Dreamworld is located in Coomera, while Oxenford is home to Warner Bros Movie World and the exciting Wet ’n’ Wild Water World.

Beyond here lies Southport, the region’s commercial centre and second largest town, while Main Beach is the home of Sea World, with its dolphins and rides. The main settlement, however, is high-rise Surfers Paradise, where there are shops, restaurants and nightclubs galore, particularly along Cavill Avenue, and, of course, one of Australia’s best-known swimming and surfing beaches.

South of ‘Surfers’ the attractions include more wonderful beaches, Broadbeach’s Conrad Jupiters Casino, Fleay’s Wildlife Park at Burleigh Heads, and the famous wildlife sanctuary at Currumbin. Further south, Queensland’s most southerly town, Coolangatta, is linked to its twin settlement of Tweed Heads, just over the border in New South Wales. This area offers scenic flights, an interesting Aboriginal Cultural Centre, and Sunday craft markets.

For the most interesting route back to Brisbane - or merely for a meandering scenic drive - head to Nerang, the gateway to the Gold Coast hinterland. Here you will find mountains, forests, charming rural villages like Beechmont and Canungra (both of which are access points for the lush uplands of Lamington National Park), and the attractive Mount Tamborine area, set on a high volcanic plateau and featuring rainforested national parks and Sunday craft markets.

Where to Stay

Time required: 2-3 days minimum: more if you visit all of the theme parks!

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