Known for its long stretches of sandy coastline, prime surf locations, inland canals and fun-filled theme parks, Gold Coast is the perfect place for a retreat. Even if you only have a weekend in Gold Coast, take a look at this itinerary and ideas for spending 2 or 3 days in Gold Coast to see how you can enjoy all the region has to offer.

Beachgoers relax in the sunshine on a wide strip of Kurrawa Beach with a yellow lifeguard station in the background

Kurrawa Beach

Friday Evening

Friday evening starts your 72 hours in Gold Coast. After you settle in to your hotel, visit the Fish House in Burleigh Heads for a south European and Australian fusion menu. The modest restaurant offers gorgeous views of Surfers Paradise as you dine on unique foods like lemony fish soup and steamed coral trout.

If you want a night on the town to experience all of the excitement of Gold Coast, you have plenty to choose from. The glamorous Gold Coast has many fun night spots, such as Elsewhere, Platinum Nightclub and Melba’s on the Park for live music, drinks and entertainment.

Gold Coast also has gondola rides down the canals, which give you a chance to see the beautiful lights of the city while you sip your own cocktails or wine. You could also visit the Star Gold Coast casino, a luxurious gaming destination with excellent stage shows, restaurants and bars.

Saturday Morning

On Saturday morning, you’ll have 48 hours to explore Gold Coast. Begin with a hearty breakfast at Barefoot Barista in Palm Beach, a stylish restaurant with delicious breakfast options like zucchini haloumi fritters, coconut porridge and poached eggs with porcini mushrooms and goat cheese.

If you have the kids with you, there are plenty of fun amusement and theme parks to choose from in Gold Coast. You can visit Sea World for aquatic-themed events and adorable animals, or enjoy thrilling rides and coasters at Dreamworld, a vast amusement park and wildlife centre. You could also visit Warner Bros. Movie World, a movie-themed family fun park with thrilling rides and games that celebrate beloved cinema characters.

For lunch, enjoy savoury dishes like buttermilk fried chicken and waffles with jalapeno maple syrup at Elk Espresso, a quirky brunch restaurant near Broadbeach. Elk Espresso is also known for its wide selection of gourmet coffee drinks, which will give you the fuel for the rest of your day.

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, take a few hours away from the coast to visit the Gold Coast hinterland. The vast area is filled with lush rainforests with waterfalls, wildlife and hiking trails, as well as excellent wineries and cellar doors for wine tours and tastings. Several national parks are found in the hinterland, such as Lamington National Park, Tamborine National Park and Springbrook National Park.

Saturday night in Gold Coast is when things get really exciting. Start with dinner at Kiyomi in Broadbeach, a Japanese restaurant with artful dishes like lamb chops with wine and eggplant or grilled octopus with green sauce and watermelon.

Before you leave, be sure to visit some of Gold Coast’s spectacular night markets to pick up unique gifts to bring home. You can visit places like Miami Marketta, Nightquarter Markets and Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets for delicious food, speciality produce, special events, local artwork, live entertainment and local handicrafts like jewellery, soap, homewares and accessories.

A rocky trail runs through the tropical rainforest of the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk in the Gold Coast

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Sunday Morning

On Sunday morning in Gold Coast, you’ll have 24 hours left for sightseeing. Start with breakfast at the Milkman’s Daughter, a vegetarian cafe in Mermaid Beach with dishes like avocado smash on sourdough. You could also try Pasture & Co., a brunch restaurant with speciality dietary recipes and local produce that caters to paleo, allergy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian diners.

The Infinity Attraction is a must-see on the Gold Coast. This fascinating fun house has unique special effects and optical illusions that are fun for all ages for a memorable experience. You could also visit Snapper Rocks, an interesting rock formation with rock pools for relaxing in the water and beautiful beach views.

For lunch, you may enjoy Café Dbar in Coolangatta for coastal views, local artwork and delicious all-day breakfast and brunch options. You can enjoy dishes like a green bowl with poached eggs, kale, avocado and shallots while looking out over the sea or perusing local artwork.

An aerial view of Snapper Rocks with its rocky outcrop and famous surf

Snapper Rocks

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

After lunch, take the kids and cool off with a trip to WhiteWater World, a fun water park with slides, rides and a wave pool, or Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast, a massive water park with endless water rides and pools. If you’d rather enjoy a low-key afternoon, visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to get up close with local wildlife.

On Sunday night in Gold Coast, you’ll have a chance to get in any of the sights and experiences you may have missed. Begin with a high-end dinner at Ristorante Fellini, an Italian restaurant with Neopolitan and Tuscan specialties in Marina Mirage.

If you want to get more sightseeing in before you leave, Sunday night is a good time for a visit to Dracula’s Cabaret, a horror-themed comedy show with dinner and drinks, or Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, an oddities museum that’s always showing something new. You could also test your courage with Climb Q1, an external building climb that you can try at night.

A fantastic hallway with silver spiral decor leading to exhibitions in Ripley's Believe It or Not

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Ready for the Perfect Weekend Getaway?

Whether you’re looking for a trip with the kids, a romantic getaway or a quick break on your own, Gold Coast is an excellent option. If you’re planning a break for a long weekend, visit Expedia to check out Gold Coast holidays and get ready for the time of your life!