Inspiration Destinations Australia Queensland Buckle Up With 5 Road Trips From the Gold Coast

Buckle Up With 5 Road Trips From the Gold Coast

Currumbin Beach is a stop along great Gold Coast road trips - Luxury Escapes

Pack the car – it's time to hit the open road! The Gold Coast is perfectly positioned for road trips up and down the Australian East Coast, with an unbeaten mix of white-sand beaches, tropical landscapes and foodie favourites.

From day trips to the Hinterland and Granite Belt to week-long odysseys to Cairns, each journey promises a raft of new experiences, just waiting to be made into new memories. Recruit friends or family for your next adventure – with so much to see, do, eat and drink, there will be something everyone loves along the way. Here are five of our favourite road trips from the Gold Coast.

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Day trips from the Gold Coast

Gold Coast Hinterland

Sitting just an hours’ drive from the Gold Coast, the Hinterland is a natural playground, with lush rainforest that’s just waiting to be explored. Aim for Springbrook National Park to visit the Natural Bridge, a waterfall that falls through the arches of a basalt cave or wind your way along Lamington National Park Road to reach Binna Burra, an accessible area that includes multiple walking tracks past creeks, greenery, huge trees and native flowers. Come lunch, stop by O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards to enjoy a gourmet picnic by Canungra Creek – don’t forget to save a snack for the alpacas at the on-site Mountview Alpaca Farm.

Granite Belt

Foodies will find treasures galore along the Granite Belt, located two and a half hours' drive from the Gold Coast’s sunny shores. Stop first in Toowoomba for specialty coffee and strolls down street-art-laden laneways, before continuing onto Stanthorpe, where the Big Apple is waiting to greet you, along with a slice of apple pie from Sutton’s Farm. Stock up on local cheeses, chutneys and other deli favourites for a DIY lunch, or pop into one of the neighbourhood restaurants for a taste of the region’s fresh produce. With some of the richest soils in Australia, the Granite Belt is also home to Queensland’s expanding wine scene; sip and swirl your way through the dozens of cellar doors, where recognised producers sit alongside smaller growers. The region’s elevation means you’ll find alternative drops that only flourish here – follow the Strange Bird Wine Trail to taste Australian expressions of fiano, alvarinho and marsanne.

Scenic Rim

Named one of Lonely Planet’s top travel destinations in 2022, the Scenic Rim is only growing in popularity as an easy road trip from the Gold Coast. The 240km round trip from Broadbeach includes stunning views, flourishing flower farms, regional markets and classic Queensland pubs, with something for the whole entourage. Beer buffs should beeline to Tambourine Mountain’s Fortitude Brewing Co or Scenic Rim Brewery, where you can taste Digga’s Pale Ale and Shazza’s Mid Strength. You’ll have to exercise a little restraint – the treasured tipples of Kooroomba Vineyards and Lavender Farm are also worth a taste test. The whole family will love the spectacle of Summer Land Camel Farm – Australia’s largest wild camel training centre and dairy operation. Feed the curious creatures and sample products made from their milk, including cheese, gelato and cakes. Come Sundays, regional markets are also full of local produce, the perfect souvenir from your road trip adventure.

Multi -day or -week road trips from the Gold Coast


An epic adventure awaits on the Pacific Coast Way, an 1800-kilometre stretch between the Gold Coast and Cairns. Cover most of the length of the Sunshine State across multiple days, stopping at beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, dramatic natural landscapes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Marvel as the Glasshouse Mountains rise from the flat plains between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast; keep a look out for humpback whales in Hervey Bay and swim with local turtles on Lady Elliot Island, near Bundaberg. Stop by Australia’s beef capital – Rockhampton – before making for Yeppoon, where you can venture into the Capricorn Caves. Spot platypuses in Eungella National Park near Mackay before hitting the road again to reach the iconic Whitsundays, where the sparkling sands of Whitehaven are worth the boat trip. Your final days are spent travelling from Townsville to Cairns, arriving at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest – a worthy destination in its own right!

Recommended journey time: 10-14 days

Byron Bay

Venture from one iconic beach town to another with a road trip across the QLD/NSW border to Byron Bay. Little ones will love a pit stop at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to meet new furry friends, while wannabe mermaids will find plenty to admire underwater at Kirra Reef, 300m off-shore at Coolangatta – keep an eye out for manta rays, octopus and colourful coral.

From here, stick to the coast and head south towards Kingscliff, or venture inland to go through the magical Currumbin Valley and up and over Tomewin Mountain, winding down scenic roads to meet Murwillumbah. Stop in this Northern Rivers town for specialty coffee craft beer and unique op shops before returning to the coast, stopping by Hastings Point and Brunswick Heads to discover sensational surf breaks, delicious dining and stunning vistas. As you approach Byron, pop into The Farm Byron Bay, an 80-acre culinary wonderland with a working farm, bakery and restaurant – the perfect introduction for what’s to come within Byron’s bounds.

Recommended journey time: 3 days

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Looking for more road trip inspiration? Explore our Ultimate Guide to Australian Road Trips.

About Emily Jacobs
Yet another Aussie in London, Emily spends her days dreaming and writing about food, while planning her next European adventure. If not eating, she can often be found at the gym, or exploring the latest and greatest in London.

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