The Gold Coast is such a stunning region with plenty of incredible experiences to keep you busy. From its famous coastline to lush rainforests and waterfalls, this 5-day Gold Coast itinerary is the perfect way to spend your time exploring this popular Australian travel destination. 

How long to visit Gold Coast

We think that 5 days is the perfect amount of time to experience everything that the Gold Coast has to offer. This will give you enough time to see the stunning beaches as well as visit the hinterland and different national parks to go chase waterfalls.

Best time to visit Gold Coast

The Gold Coast boasts an average of 300 sunny days a year, making it a great destination to visit year-round. Summer (December - February) can get particularly hot and humid, with a higher chance of rainfall, making the best time to visit the Gold Coast between May and October. 

During this period, the weather is a little cooler, but still ideal for enjoying sunny days by the beach and long hikes through the rainforest.

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, blue island with view of gold coast5-Day Gold Coast Itinerary

Day 1 - Sunset By The Coast

Begin your time on the Gold Coast by heading straight to the ocean to experience the laid-back beachside lifestyle. Just a 5-minute drive from the Gold Coast airport, you'll find yourself on the sand in no time.

We opted for a hire car from AVIS, which made getting around much easier, and drove straight to our accommodation at Tessa's on the Beach. The coastline is full of so many incredible beaches, all located next to a seaside pathway. This pathway is perfect for taking the bikes out for a leisurely stroll. 

In the afternoon, we chose to watch the sunset over Currumbin Rock from the Elephant Rock viewpoint. A short set of steps behind the surf life-saving club led us up to a beautiful vantage point overlooking the coastline.

5 day gold coast itinerary, Currumbin rock sunsetThis became one of our absolute favourite spots to watch the sunset on the Gold Coast. The unique city skyline in the distance was covered by a soft golden glow, creating a truly magical evening. 

For accommodation in the Gold Coast, we ended up staying at Tessa's on the Beach. It's a very cute boutique hotel that is right along Bilinga Beach. They also have free bikes that guests can use to cycle along the scenic beachfront walkway.

tessas on the beach accommodation on the gold coast

Day 2 - Beach Hop The Southern Beaches

The second day of the Gold Coast itinerary involves checking out some of the popular beaches on the southern end. Start the morning off with a swim in the idyllic Tallebudgera Creek. Here you'll find crystal clear water that is calm and protected, making it ideal for swimming. Along the creek is also the perfect spot to bring a rug and set up a picnic. Be sure to check out Custard Canteen nearby for their delicious cafe food. The Portuguese tarts are not to be missed!

5 day Gold Coast itinerary and things to do, tallebudgera creekNext, make your way to the famous Burleigh Hill for an amazing view overlooking the beach. You can actually walk there from the north side of Tallebudgera Creek. Follow the Oceanview Track around Burleigh Headland and through the small national park. While you're in the area, definitely check out the iconic Burleigh Pavilion for lunch. The delicious food and beachfront views are pretty hard to beat.

Finish off the afternoon by heading down to Coolangatta to watch the sunset from one of many beaches in the area. Rainbow Bay and Greenmount Beach are two of our favourites. You'll be sure to see plenty of surfers, riding their last waves of the day against a beautiful pink sky.

girl watching sunset at snapper rocks on the gold coast, 5 day itinerary

Day 3 - Chase Waterfalls In Springbrook National Park

Start the morning nice and early and make your way towards Springbrook National Park where you'll be chasing waterfalls for the day. It's roughly a 60 minute drive from the Gold Coast to the first waterfall. Purling Brook Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the area so it can get quite busy, especially on weekends. It's a 4km return hike which will take about 2 hours but we promise it's worth it! The waterfall itself is massive and the walk through the lush rainforest is so beautiful. Once you reach the bottom, you'll be surrounded by countless palm trees and boulders, ready for you to explore. 

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, purlingbrook falls, things to do gold coast

Twin Falls is the next waterfall and it's just a short 5 minute drive away. We didn't have any expectations, but it quickly became one of our favourite stops. It's not as high but we love that you can walk behind the falls and experience a curtain of water flowing in front of you. Twin Falls is also a 4km return hike which will take you another 2 hours roughly.

twin falls in springbrook national park, 5 day gold coast itinerary

After a big day of chasing waterfalls, drive back into the heart of the Gold Coast where you'll be staying for the next 2 nights. We checked into the stunning Dorsett Gold Coast Hotel in Broadbeach. It's conveniently located in central Gold Coast, being walking distance to plenty of entertainment options and restaurants. We highly recommend checking out Mamasan Kitchen & Bar for dinner. This popular Asian fusion restaurant that serves delicious meals jam packed with flavour is not to be missed. 

Day 4 - Whale Watching & Northern Beaches

Day 4 of the Gold Coast itinerary will leave you speechless as you embark on a whale watching cruise. We went on a tour with Kokomo Cruises and can't recommend them enough. The crew were super lovely and informative and the boat was comfortable. Another great thing about Kokomo Cruises is their small group size, making the tour feel a lot more special and immersive. The whale watching tour leaves from Marina Mirage and takes 2.5 hours. 

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, whale watching cruise

We had the most incredible morning on the tour as we were lucky enough to experience a pod of whales breaching just metres from the boat. We continued to see whales playing, splashing their massive tales on the surface and getting up close to the boat. It really was a magical morning and an experience we definitely recommend adding to your 5 day Gold Coast itinerary.

The Gold Coast is home to a variety of different tours and activities where you can experience more of what the region has to offer in a unique way. You can click here to check out some of the exciting tours on offer. 

Before heading back to your accommodation, be sure to explore the nearby northern beaches. Some of the most popular beaches are Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. The Spit Beach also has a great view of the Gold Coast coastline looking south. 

Two of our favourite photo spots in the area are the beautiful palm trees on the beach and the island sandbank. The sandbank surrounded by turquoise waters is located at the end of picnic area at Doug Jennings Park. Sunset is the perfect time to take a photo underneath the palm trees located just outside the Sheraton Resort. The sunset glow over the ocean really adds to the tropical island feel.

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, girl walking down beach with palm trees at sunset

Day 5 - Lamington National Park Waterfalls & Retreat

We've saved the best for last on this 5 day Gold Coast itinerary as you'll be making your way to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park. The retreat is roughly a 1.5 hour drive from the city. Take it slow as you make your way up the mountain in the national park. The roads are very narrow and windy, but the views certainly make up for it.

There are two main hikes in the area that we would recommend checking out. Both can be done straight from the resort, making it the perfect place to base yourself. The first is Elabana Falls which involves a 2.5 hour return hike through the dense rainforest. You'll be rewarded at the end with a magical view of the cascading waterfall. Start the hike from the Border Track just past O'Reilly's Guesthouse and follow the signs for Elabana Falls. The track actually continues on as a circuit but if you just want to see the falls, you can head back the way you came.

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, elabana falls in lamington national park

After a short rest back at the resort, it's time to head out one last time to what is arguably the most magical view you'll come across on the Gold Coast. Morans Falls is our favourite place to watch the sunset, and trust us, you'll want to visit this viewpoint at sunset! There's a short 15-20 minute walk directly from the resort to the top of Morans Falls. The view is breathtaking and the sunset colours compliment the waterfall and distant mountain ranges so well. We spent almost an hour here, soaking up the unforgettable views and reflecting on our past couple days on the Gold Coast. 

5 day Gold Coast itinerary, sunset from morans falls, things to do gold coast

From stunning beaches with turquoise waters to the lush hinterland where you'll find countless waterfalls, the Gold Coast truly has it all! We hope this 5 day Gold Coast itinerary has given you a taste of everything this beautiful region has to offer. 

Want to find more inspiration for Australia travel destinations?

We have plenty of other blogs on the best travel destinations in Australia or check out our instagram @lolahubner for daily Australia travel content. 

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June 26, 2024 — Lola Hubner

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