Welcome to the Gold Coast, where every day is an adventure waiting to happen! Cue sparkling oceans, sun-soaked sands, glamorous shopping malls, and ultra-indulgent dining.

Whether you're a local looking for a new experience, a Dorsett Gold Coast guest in search of the best local gems, or a visitor from Brisbane seeking the perfect day trip destination, we've got you covered with our comprehensive guide to the best day trips the Gold Coast has to offer.

Get ready to explore stunning beaches, lush hinterland vistas, and exciting activities that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Discover the Best Beaches on the Gold Coast

Embark on a beach-hopping adventure and explore the Gold Coast's most iconic stretches of coastline.

Each beach offers its own unique atmosphere and activities, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Pack your surf towel, don’t forget the SPF, and dive into the GC’s most iconic (and stunning) natural attractions.

Related: Your Guide to Australia’s Best Beaches


Two women relaxing at Broadbeach

Dive into the vibrant energy of Broadbeach, where golden sands meet bustling promenades. Perfect for families and couples alike, this beach boasts crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming and surfing.

Just a 7-minute walk from Dorsett Gold Coast and on the best beaches the GC has to offer, Broadbeach is the ultimate place to relax on the sand or take a sun-kissed ocean dip.

Stay fuelled for your beach trip at one of the many to-die-for coffee and brekkie spots in Broadbeach. You won’t want to miss these scrumptious and Insta-worthy dining hotspots!

Burleigh Heads

Discover the laid-back yet boujee charm of Burleigh Heads, a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Surrounded by lush greenery and rolling waves, this beach offers the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation.

Explore the scenic walking trails along the headland or simply unwind on the sandy shores as you watch the surfers carve through the waves.

Main Beach

Experience the glitz and glamour of Main Beach, where luxury meets natural beauty. This pristine stretch of sand is perfect for those seeking a sophisticated beach experience.

Take a dip in the sparkling ocean waters, indulge in some beachside dining at one of the nearby cafés, or simply bask in the sunshine as you admire the stunning skyline views.

Mermaid Beach

Sink into the laid-back vibes of Mermaid Beach, a hidden gem tucked away from the crowds. Known for its pristine sands and clear waters, this beach is a favourite among locals looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Whether you're swimming, sunbathing, or simply enjoying a chilled stroll along the shoreline, Mermaid Beach offers a tranquil retreat for all.

Nobby Beach

Nobby Beach has to be one of the most picturesque beaches on the GC. Not quite as heavily-frequented as Broadbeach or Main Beach, you’ll also get to enjoy a slice of relaxed privacy combined with a vibrant café culture.

Surfers flock to this beach to catch some waves, while beachgoers can relax on the soft sands and soak up the sun.

After a morning of fun in the water, explore the nearby cafés and shops or take a leisurely bike ride along the scenic coastal pathway.

Must-Do Broadbeach Activities

A couple clinking cocktail glasses in Jin Café & Bar

After soaking up the sun and surf, head back into Broadbeach for a day filled with shopping, dining, and entertainment.

This bustling precinct offers a diverse range of activities to suit every taste and interest, making it the perfect place to holiday in the Gold Coast Australia.

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre

Explore the vast array of shops at Pacific Fair, one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere and a veritable feast of glamorous retail therapy.

From high-end boutiques to popular chain stores, this shopping mecca has something for everyone. Browse the latest fashion trends, pick up souvenirs, or indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

Jin Café and Bar

Located inside our walls at Dorsett Gold Coast, Jin Café & Bar is an idyllic sip spot and chameleon café perfect for your morning coffee and pastry, or nighttime cocktail and charcuterie board.

Sink into plush golden couches while you sip your coffee and fuel up for the most fabulous of Gold Coast day trips. Return in the evening to share a grazing board of cured meats and fine cheeses, perfectly paired with the Dorsett Blue signature special.

The Star Gold Coast

Catch a show or try your luck at The Star Gold Coast, a premier entertainment destination located in the heart of Broadbeach.

From world-class concerts and live performances to thrilling casino games and VIP experiences, there's never a dull moment at The Star.

Soak up the glitz and glamour of this iconic venue and make memories that will last a lifetime. Plus, if you’re staying with us at Dorsett Gold Coast, you can enjoy easy direct access to The Star from within our hotel!

More to Explore in the Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads Walks and Lookout

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to Burleigh Heads is a must. Take an Instagram-worthy walk along the Burleigh Headland and soak in breathtaking views of the coastline.

Don't forget to explore the lush rainforest trails and keep an eye out for native wildlife along the way. With its stunning scenery and tranquil ambience, Burleigh Heads is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Dorsett Gold Coast hot tip: For a seriously magical experience, pack a picnic and choose a spot on the iconic Burleigh Hill lookout to cosy up and watch the sunset.

This spot is an absolute must for every Brisbane to Gold Coast day trip – just make sure you get there a bit early to secure a prime position on the grass.

Relax at Broadwater Parklands

Looking for a family-friendly day out? Look no further than Broadwater Parklands. This waterfront oasis offers a range of recreational activities including playgrounds, BBQ areas, and water sports.

Pack a picnic and spend the day enjoying the sunshine while the kids splash around in the water or burn off energy on the playground equipment.

Explore the Hinterland

Waterfall and greenery in the Gold Coast Hinterland

Credit: Secret Gold Coast via Eddie HUI BON HOA at Shutterstock

Escape the crowds and explore the natural beauty of the Gold Coast hinterland. Take a day trip to Tamborine Mountain and discover charming villages, stunning waterfalls, and lush rainforest walks.

Or venture to Springbrook National Park and marvel at ancient rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

With its rugged beauty and tranquil atmosphere, the GC hinterland is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored.

Related: Top 10 Instagrammable Locations on the Gold Coast

Encounter Wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Get up close and personal with Australia's native wildlife at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Home to koalas, kangaroos, and crocodiles, this iconic attraction offers a range of animal encounters, wildlife shows, and educational experiences.

Spend the day exploring the sanctuary's lush grounds and learning about the importance of conservation and wildlife preservation.

Indulge in Gold Coast Wine Country

Indulge your senses with a day trip to Gold Coast Wine Country. Explore picturesque vineyards, sample award-winning wines, and enjoy gourmet food and wine pairing experiences.

With its rolling hills and stunning vistas, Gold Coast Wine Country offers a taste of luxury and relaxation just a short drive from the city.

Travelling from Brisbane to the Gold Coast

A man and woman in their car

Driving from Brisbane to the Gold Coast is an easy, quick 1-hour journey via the Pacific Motorway (M1). Unless you’re in the mood for a little sightseeing on the way.

Transform your road trip into a scenic adventure via the Scenic Rim route and be sure to stop at some of these gorgeous destinations along the way to create an unforgettable Brisbane to Gold Coast day trip!

Route Options and Duration

The distance from Brisbane to the Gold Coast is approximately 80km, taking around 55 minutes via the Pacific Motorway.

If you prefer a scenic drive, consider the Scenic Rim route, which covers around 170km and takes approximately 2 and a half hours.

Both routes are well-maintained and offer clear signage for easy navigation. Once you've made your route choice, all that's left to do is roll down the windows, crank the music, and enjoy the drive.

Scenic Rim: Top Places to Discover Along the Way

As you travel from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, take advantage of the opportunity to explore some stunning attractions along the route. Here are a few must-visit places:

  • Lamington National Park: If you're taking the Scenic Rim route, make a short detour to the beautiful Lamington National Park.

  • Mt Tamborine Glow Worm Caves: Another highlight along the Scenic Rim route is the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves filled with thousands of flickering glow worms!

  • Daisy Hill Conservation Park: Just 2km from Brisbane City and 50km from the Gold Coast, Daisy Hill Conservation Park is a hidden paradise dedicated to preserving the habitat of koalas and other wildlife species.

Elevate Your Experience at Dorsett Gold Coast

Dorsett Gold Coast building in an aerial shot

From breathtaking beaches to lush hinterland vistas, the Gold Coast offers endless opportunities for unforgettable day trips. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

Want to elevate your GC experience? Turn your day trip into a full weekend of fun at Dorsett Gold Coast and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Book your stay in our stylish hotel and enjoy a bliss-filled stay in the Sunshine State.

Further reading: Exploring further afield? Check out our comprehensive Queensland travel guide and add these gorgeous destinations to your bucket list.