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Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

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Singapore, Singapore
posts: 11
Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

My fren and I are planning a 7D6N trip to Gold Coast in early August (our first trip).

Our planned Itinerary goes like this:


1) Arrive in AM – Dreamworld (do we need to book the tickets in advance?)

2) 4WD (any tour recommendation?)

3) Whale watching and Sea World (any tour recommendation?)

4) Hot Air Balloon/ Could 9 Jet Plane/ Glow Worm (optional) ( any tour recommendation?)

5) Australia outback spectacular/ Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary (Is there time to go two places or I have to sacrifice one?)

6) Shopping F&E

7) Go home

Is there any good and safe tour packages around. I seen reviews like Sea world Whale watch and Gold coast whale adventure which offers hot air balloon tours. I could not find tours that offer 4WD and Jet plane.

Pls help!

We are not sure if we have to hire a car for our trip. We were thinking if it’s good enough to use public transport. Is there any hotel recommendation as well?

With Itinerary like this, is it good to stay in surfer’s paradise?

This is our first trip to Gold Coast, being 2 girls, safety is our concern as well. Hence would hope to get a centralize location for our hotel. We do not mind apartments.

Also, what is the estimated weather then? What is the temperature range?

Appreciate all your valuable suggestions!

Thanks so much!!

Ballina, Australia
posts: 939
reviews: 27
1. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Hullo, you won't need to pre-book Dreamworld, Currumbin in the day, Outback spectacular in the evening. Surfers is central to your needs. August is windy and therefore will be cool

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 11
2. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Thanks a lot!!

Would you advise taking public transport or hire a car there? Not sure if its safe for us to drive there.

Grateful for your reply. We are in dilemma.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 107
reviews: 53
3. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

I recommend you hire a car as it will save lot of time as public transport though efficient it is not the quickest option in Gold Coast.If you buy theme park tickets online than they will be much cheaper compared to buying them in person at parks.Driving car in Gold Coast is no different compared to Singapore, it's very safe to drive here in Australia.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 11
4. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Oooooo. Thanks So much.

Is it possible if we can book whale watching tour/ hot air balloon tours/ 4WD tours, etc at the hotel or apartment lobby?

Usually these tours do not pick us up at hotels right? I dun read that they do....

Any good hotel recommendations in surfers paradise?


Ballina, Australia
posts: 939
reviews: 27
5. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

I'd be very surprised if your hotel could'nt organise these tours for you

Gold Coast
posts: 130
reviews: 11
6. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Surfers is safe as anywhere else , I let my teenage daughters walk there at night as it is well lit and busy.

Soul is right in the centre and on the beach, really new and beautiful.

I don't know of any great 4wd tours and would spend one day at Seaworld it is great fun. Driving is even easier than Singapore as there is less traffic. Rent a car and drive to Byron Bay for the day, my favourite spot in the world!

The best shopping is at Harbourtown which is outlet shops with great choices and quality brands.

Have fun!

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 11
7. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Many thanks for all your replies. I need as much info I can get. Hahaha. First time driving overseas and I dun really drive in Singapore too. @_@. Kinda concern. Really very thankful!

posts: 1,651
8. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

If you don't feel comfortable with driving, then, taking the public bus is perfectly fine. We've taken public buses for a few of our trips, and it was no problems at all. Be aware that public buses won't take you to all places - e.g. There is no public transport running after Outback Spectacular finishes, so, you'll need to either book private transfer via a company like Con-X-ion or take a taxi. Also, no public buses run to the national parks, so, you'd need to join a day tour, if you choose not to drive.

(1) What time will you be arriving on the GC? Are you sure you want to go straight to Dreamworld after such a long flight (although, I can't think of a better way to get rid of jet lag than to jump on some of Dreamworld's major thrill rides! :P). Are you planning to return to the Gold Coast any time soon? If you are, you might want to look at passes, but, it really depends on your plans. See Dreamworld's website here: http://www.dreamworld.com.au/ By the way, just a tip: When you enter Dreamworld, make sure to get a map and inside the map, you should have a small piece of paper that tells you the show times. If you don't get that paper with the show times (the same applies with Seaworld), make sure to ask staff at the entrance, so, you can plan your day around the shows you want to see. For example, there is the short tiger show. Make sure to get there early because there are no seats. You will just be standing around a barrier/fence, so, if you don't get there early, you will need to stand behind other people.

(2) Look at Southern Cross 4WD Tours: http://sc4wd.com.au/ Since you have time, I'd go for the full day tour option instead of the half-day one. They are not the cheapest tour company around, but they do get quite good reviews here on TA.

3) If you're planning to combine Seaworld + whale watching, you can't go past Sea World Whale Watch, as they offer a deal for both: http://www.seaworldwhalewatch.com.au/ Keep in mind that there are other whale watching companies out there, but, they most likely don't offer Sea World tickets.

4) If you plan to do all three activities, it'll be quite an expensive day, I think! For hot air balloon, you can look at Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast: http://www.hotair.com.au/goldcoast/ They have different kind of packages including breakfast or other sightseeing packages. Since you mentioned Cloud 9 Sea Plane, I assume you'll be going with them. For the glow worms, there are a few companies including Southern Cross 4WD: sc4wd.com.au/gold-coast-glow-worm-night-tour/ or Scenic Hinterland Tours: www.hinterlandtours.com.au/tour-09.html (Southern Cross 4WD's glow worm tour is cheaper though) or others.

5) You will need to sacrifice Australia Zoo, which is on the Sunshine Coast, as it'll take you several hours to get there and back. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is much easier to get too.

6) You can check out places like Robina Town Centre, Habour Town (if you want to shop at discount factory outlets), etc.

What is your budget range for accommodation? Surfers Paradise has tons of places to stay at, but it is very difficult to recommend any without knowing your budget range, as you have the five star Hilton Hotel all the way down to backpacker hostels. To get an idea of prices, you can look at www.wotif.com/ to get a long list of hotels and apartments. Even if you do not book through Wotif, it is useful as a guide to prices and then, you can contact hotels/apartments directly for their rates, and also read reviews too.

You can certainly book tours through your hotel, but, if you already know exactly which company you want to use, there is no reason why you would need to wait until you arrive, as you can just contact them directly and make reservations yourself. Most tours will pick you up at your hotel (I would be very surprised if they did not do so), however, because of certain restrictions, some tour buses will need to pick you up somewhere nearby and not exactly at your hotel's doorstep (just depends which hotel you're staying at).

Edited: 5:46 am, May 16, 2013
Singapore, Singapore
posts: 11
9. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

Wow!! Thanks a lot!! That's really very helpful!! I need time to digest and replan my schedule.

I was wondering if its worth to hire a car if we are traveling by tour. This I will decide after I planned out everything. :).

1) we are arriving at GC in the morning. Yep I agree with you. Maybe I will do glow worm tours on the first day instead. - thanks for pointing that out. I dun think we will be coming back soon. So I will just get normal tickets.

2) I visited the website before and thinking of just taking their glow worms package. I will have to replan again depending on the activities.

3) I am thinking of getting their whale watching package with sea world tickets. Just wondering if its gonna be crowded.

4) yeah I reckon this is going to be expensive. We might sacrifice. Either jet plane or balloon. I've looked at the website of hot air Gold Coast. They really have a lot of packages to offer!! I need time to digest. :)

5) how do we get to currumbin wild life sanctuary? Is there any public transport?

6) great! Thanks! Will check them out.

Hotels: we hope to get a cheaper hotel - lesser than $120 per night. I dun think we are going be outside most of the time so thinking of getting a cheaper hotel. :) any recommendation?

Oh yes!!! How is the night life in GC? Any fun places to recommend?

Thanks soooo much!!

posts: 1,651
10. Re: Itinerary for GC (1st trip)

(1) Don't forget that the glow worms are only visible at night time. So, you need to plan something during your first day, or else, you'll have nothing to do until night when the glow worms are there. You might want to keep your eye out on Dreamworld's website and their Facebook page in case any special deals come up for ticket prices. Basically, there is no need to pre-book, but it is normally cheaper online than in-person.

(3) It might be, but I guess it just depends on luck - You might go on a day where there's less people, or you might go on a day when a lot of people go. Hard to say! By the way, Sea World Whale Watch limits the boat to a maximum of 125 people on the boat. If you want a smaller group, then, look at Whales in Paradise who only allow a maximum of 65 people on the boat. The good thing too about Whales in Paradise: http://www.whalesinparadise.com.au/ is that they depart from Surfers Paradise, but Main Beach is literally only the suburb after Surfers Paradise, so, it is not far to get to Sea World Whale Watch's departure area.

(5) It is very easy to get to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. You can catch a bus like #700, which will drop you off close by and you just walk straight in to CWS. Take a look at the show times on their website, so, that you can plan your day around the things you want to see.

If you are okay with a basic hotel (nothing fancy), then, you might want to consider the Vibe Hotel, which should be under your budget range (you won't get ocean views though, just river views instead). The main bus stop in Surfers Paradise is right outside the hotel (just a bit to the left of the hotel), which makes it very easy for you to get around by public transport. Surfers Paradise is not very big, so, you will find it easy to walk around too. If you want an apartment instead, I know that rental agencies like www.gchr.com.au have apartments around (or a little bit more) your budget range at Towers of Chevron Renaissance (opposite the Vibe Hotel), but make sure to read all terms and conditions, if you decide to go with a rental agency.

Surfers Paradise has the nightclubs, bars, etc., so, you should be okay for nightlife. Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in nightlife options, so, can't tell you what's best.

By the way, best website to work out which buses to catch, which bus stop to catch the bus from or get off, etc. is: http://jp.translink.com.au Just input in your hotel's address (use your hotel's actual street address and not the name of your hotel) and your destination like Dreamworld, and it'll give you all the details!

Edited: 11:57 pm, May 16, 2013