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The skyline of Surfers Paradise is clearly visible when looking north across the sea from Coolangatta Beach. The iconic Q1 Building is the most recognizable as it pierces the sky high above the shoreline.
After spending a week in Cooly, it was high time we took a day trip from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise to check out the oceanfront skyscrapers that give a big city feel to the Gold Coast of Australia.
As travelers without a car, to plan our trip from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, we had to figure out how to get there and back, in addition to deciding what to do in Surfers
Getting from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise
Although Surfers Paradise looks like it is right there, getting from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise on a day trip (or even from the airport) takes time. As budget-conscious travelers not averse to public transportation, we decided to take a bus to Surfers Paradise…only to find we needed to take a bus and a tram.
Not the quickest route, the fastest journey takes about an hour. First, we hopped on one of the Gold Coast buses from Coolangatta to Broadbeach that took 45 minutes. Then, we transferred to the G:link Surfers Paradise tram for a 10-minute ride to the center of the action in Surfers. We share specifics about Gold Coast Transportation at the end of the article.
Things To Do in Surfers Paradise, Australia
The long, broad beach of powdery sand is the main attraction in Surfers Paradise. However, the city of Surfers Paradise is rivaling for tourists’ attention, as well. Catering to vacationers and appealing to a spectrum of budgets, Surfers Paradise boasts an array or restaurants, shops and hotels.
Shopping in Surfers
There are endless opportunities for Surfers Paradise shopping sprees. High-end stores that sell up-market shoes sit just around the corner from discount dollar stores dealing souvenir trinkets. Cavill Mall, Paradise Center, Circle On Cavill and Chevron Renaissance are the best places to shop in the center of Surfers.
Surfers Paradise Restaurants
Classy restaurants are concealed along quiet streets while pub patios spill onto the sidewalks. Worldwide tourist chains found in every big city are in Surfers, too – like Hard Rock Café and Hogs Breath Cafe.
However, the premier beachfront restaurant is Hurricane’s Grill, where they specialize in steak and ribs. Costa D’oro Italian Restaurant makes the city’s best pizza, along with other Italian favorites and oysters.
Surfers Paradise offers heaps of entertainment! Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Wax Museum have long been top attractions – but the newer Infinity Attraction is an illusion museum that provides hours of fun.
Duck boat tours – which are fun for kids and adults – are an excellent way to tour Surfers by road and on the Nerang River.
Beach Activities in Surfers
Of course, most visitors take a vacation to Surfers Paradise for the stunning sandy shoreline – and it was the main reason for our trip, too.
On our day trip to Surfers Paradise from Coolangatta, the sun was high in the cloudless sky, but a cold wind blew across the beach. It didn’t seem to discourage vacationers from spending time in the sand.
After a walk along the water’s edge, dipping my toes into the chilly water, we retreated to the boardwalk to let the sun warm us and to witness the fascinating parade of people and street performers.
Still, fellow travelers were eager to engage in the top things to do on Surfers Paradise Beach – like surfing, sunbathing and splashing in the waves.
In fact, Surfers is a destination for adrenaline-fueled water activities – like jet skiing, parasailing and flyboarding. Travelers who want to learn how to surf can take surf lessons on the beach – and there are surf board rentals available, too.
Getting from Surfers Paradise to Coolangatta
As the sun started its fall toward the horizon, the skyscraper shadows spread long across the sand. The setting sun signaled the time to make our way back to Cooly.
On our return trip, we chose to save ourselves the cost of Gold Coast tram tickets and skipped the ride on the G:link light rail. Instead, we walked back to Broadbeach through several neighborhoods (full of both swanky and slightly rundown weekly holiday rentals) until we made our way back to the bus stop.
Public Transport: Gold Coast Train, Tram and Bus
There are multiple methods of public transport on the Gold Coast – just none that directly connect Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise.
For travelers that don’t have a car rental in Surfers Paradise or are reluctant to pay exorbitant Gold Coast taxi fares, there are public transportation options to get around. All of the networks use the Go Card, which offer discounted fares over paper tickets.
Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise Route
To get from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, take Bus 700 north to Broadbeach Station South. Transfer to the Gold Coast Tram and take the Broadbeach to Helensvale line to Surfers Paradise Station or Cavill Avenue. The complete ride should take a little over an hour.
Top Tip: Those who want to take a beach stroll can walk the remaining two miles from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise rather than taking the tram.
Plan your route and find current times and prices on the official TransLink Website.
Gold Coast Line Train
The Gold Coast train runs inland and is not a good option for travel from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise. However, if traveling from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise, the Gold Coast Train is a viable way to get between the two cities.
The closest Gold Coast train station to Surfers Paradise is Nerang, however it’s better to alight at Helensvale and switch to the tram. See the current Gold Coast Train Schedule for more information.
Gold Coast Tram
The Gold Coast Tram – also called the Light Rail, the G Link or just The G – is a good way to get around Surfers Paradise, but unfortunately it doesn’t run south of Broadbeach. The southern end of the Gold Coast tram route can be used in conjunction with a local bus to connect Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, like we did for our day trip.
Gold Coast Tram Cost, Map and Timetable
Gold Coast tram prices are calculated based on zones and fares are discounted with the Go Card. Consult a current G link Tram Map and check Gold Coast Tram Times to plan your day trip to Surfers from Cooly.
Gold Coast Buses
Gold Coast bus service is extensive in the region and a good way to get around without a car…just not for getting directly into Surfers Paradise from Coolangatta. The 700 follows the coastline from Coolangatta (Tweed Mall is the first stop) to Broadbeach South station (which is the closest Surfers Paradise tram station). The ride will take about 45 minutes and you can check this Gold Coast Bus 700 Schedule for the stop nearest to your accommodation.
Gold Coast Bus Tickets
Bus fares are also calculated based on zones traveled. When taking the bus from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, the route travels in zones 5 and 6, making it a 2-zone journey. Discounts will apply for riders with the Go Card.
Gold Coast Airport To Surfers Paradise
The closest airport to Surfers Paradise is the Gold Coast Airport (OOL), located near Coolangatta. There are multiple methods of transport available from the Coolangatta airport to Surfers Paradise.
Gold Coast Airport Shuttle
You can book a Gold Coast tourist shuttle from the airport to your accommodations. Fares start around $30 AUD and it’s best to book your Gold Coast Airport Shuttle in advance.
Taxi to Surfers Paradise
There is a taxi rank at the airport for travelers who want direct, private transportation from the Gold Coast Airport to Surfers Paradise. For a pre-arranged ride, we suggest booking your airport transfer ahead of time with Viator.
Top Tip: Uber provides private transport for a fraction of the cost of a traditional taxi. There is an Uber pick up point at the north end of the Coolangatta Airport terminal, outside of the departures area.
Public Transport at Gold Coast Airport
The Gold Coast Airport Bus is an inexpensive way to travel to your regional Queensland destination. To get from the Coolangatta airport to Surfers Paradise, take bus route 777 to Broadbeach South Station and transfer to the Gold Coast Tram. For more information about taking the bus to the Gold Coast Airport, see the TransLink Website.
More Australia and Coolangatta Travel Tips
We have highlighted the best way to plan a day trip from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, but we have a more travel tips for Coolangatta travelers.
- Best Things To Do in Coolangatta
- Gold Coast Day Trip to Springbrook National Park
- 3 Days in Sydney
- Blue Mountains Day Trip
- What To Do in Melbourne
- Great Ocean Road Day Trip
- Best Brisbane Activities
- Top Things To Do in Cairns
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