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Gold Coast Australia
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5 things you didn't know about the Gold Coast and why you should go

There's more to the sunshine coast than beaches and theme parks

Cheryl Sekkappan
Written by
Cheryl Sekkappan

Gold Coast, Australia has a nostalgic charm for Singaporeans who are likely to remember it for its miles of coastline and thrilling theme parks. That's reason enough to return to the city, but trust us, there's way more to explore on the famous sunshine coast. 

Beyond Surfers Paradise and Gold Coast's many stunning beaches are the lush rainforests of the hinterlands – and all the nature and wildlife experiences it has to offer. Winding waterways offer endless opportunities for adventure sports and wet activities. Gold Coast's unique, coastal lifestyle offerings have also matured, presenting an array of contemporary bars, restaurants, and cultural pursuits for the sophisticated traveller. 

Surprised yet? Read on for more reasons why the Gold Coast should be back on your travel bucketlist. 

RECOMMENDED: The best road trip destinations from Melbourne 

Surprising reasons to visit the Gold Coast

It's a short drive to the largest subtropical rainforest in the world

The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia are the most extensive area of subtropical rainforests in the world. Just an hour's drive from the golden beaches of Gold Coast is Lamington National Park, which is part of this ecosystem of ancient trees, gorgeous walking trails, and stunning waterfalls.

DO An easy way for first-timers to experience the national park is with O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. Serious bushwalkers are within striking distance of 320 km of hiking trails. Otherwise, you can experience the national park from high up at O'Reilly's famous Treetop Walk or get taken on a four-wheel drive to visit picturesque lookout points and mesmerising waterfalls like the Moran Falls. They also run sunset experiences at the gorgeous Moonlight Point – complete with cheeseboard and bubbly. Want some adrenaline? Sign up for a unique zipline experience that'll bring you skimming across the tops of trees.  

The city has more waterways than Venice

Hinterlands, beaches, and waterways – Gold Coast does seem to have it all. Besides frolicking on its famous golden sands, you can also take part in thrilling water sports on the city's 260km of navigable waterways. For something more sedate, tour the Gold Coast via the HOPO water taxi, which takes you to attractions like Sea World Theme Park and the Home of the Arts cluster of galleries and markets. 

DO Book a thrilling jetboat experience with Paradise Jet Boating. The premium ride takes you speeding across Gold Coast Broadwater at approximately 35 kilometres per hour. The wonderful guides provide interesting nuggets about landmarks and houses you pass along the way – if you can focus in between the thrilling 360-degree turns, that is. In short, come dressed to get drenched. 


It's home to the best coffee in Australia

Melbourne is well-known as the coffee mecca of Australia, but Gold Coast has something to be proud of in this domain too. Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation is the reigning champion of the Golden Bean Award for Australian-grown coffee, which they won in 2019 before the pandemic put a halt to the awards. At its micro-lot plantation on Mount Tamborine, you can try its award-winning brew at the restaurant, alongside mains and cocktails, or learn all about what it takes to take their coffee from crop to cup via regular plantation tours.

DO Visit Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation for an intimate tour of its grounds. Running at noon on Thursdays and Saturdays, these tours will give you an insider look at the coffee production process. Learn how the folks at Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation grow, roast, blend and brew their own coffee – plus a chance to try a fresh cup of its premium brew. 

A local distillery makes the best coffee liqueur in the world

Grandad Jack's Craft Distillery is located on an unassuming stretch just a two-minute walk from North Burleigh beach. Visit on any given evening and you'll find it packed with locals sipping on its craft gin, vodka, whiskey, and coffee liqueur to the crooning of a live musician. The spirits at Grandad Jack's are all made from age-old family recipes inspired by the life of – who else – Grandad Jack, and have won over 60 international and national awards, including the title of 'Best Coffee Liqueur in the World' at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards.

DO Sign yourself up for the Distillery Tour & Tasting. This will take you on an intimate tour of the Gold Coast distillery, complete with well-worn and beloved stories of Grandad Jack and the family's efforts to keep his love for whiskey alive. Then see what all the hype's about at a complimentary tasting – the gin and tonic pairings are particularly divine. 


There are 24 Hatted restaurants on the Gold Coast

Talk to the locals and they'll proudly share that Gold Coast's food and beverage scene is on the up and up. World-class restaurants have sprung up alongside trendy bars, and the city now has 24 Hatted restaurants to its name. That's according to the Australian Good Food Guide Chef Hat Award 2023, the country's answer to the coveted Michelin Guide.

DO Make an advance booking at Rick Shores. The single-hatted restaurant may not be rated the highest on the list, but wins out thanks to a fantastic location on Burleigh beach. If you're lucky, you'll score a spot right on the edge of the pavilion – giving you front-row seats to blue, rolling waves along the coast. That's not to mention the fantastic Pan-Asian fare bursting with the freshness of locally-sourced produce. For a special night out, try the double-hatted Kiyomi in The Star Gold Coast for sophisticated Japanese fare. 

Where to stay on the Gold Coast

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

As a cherry on top, O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat also consists of a gorgeous property featuring fully-equipped lodges and villas set into the mountainside. Accommodations range from single-bed studios with stunning mountain vistas to three-bedroom villas with sprawling valley views. These villas have an outdoor deck with heated spa tubs – perfectly situated to watch the sunset from. Elsewhere at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is the Lost World Spa (with an infinity pool) where you can ease any post-hike aches. 

QT Gold Coast

For a hotel with charm and personality, look no further than QT Gold Coast. This hotel in Surfers Paradise has a distinctive pop art bent – which you'll see in the cheeky wall art in the hotel's lobby and shared spaces, down to its boldly designed sea-view rooms and suites.

Want something cosier? Check yourself into the newly-launched qtQT cabins. Inspired by the trend of 'tiny homes', these rooftop cabins – there are only six – are the ultimate urban oasis. You can tell that special thought went into these – the spacious double bed is decked out in luxe linens, the bathroom is stocked with lush skincare products, and the room comes with locally-sourced bakes and snacks. Bliss out on your private deck or head to the communal firepit to swap stories with fellow travellers. 


Dorsett Gold Coast

One of the best things about Dorsett Gold Coast is its proximity to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, a behemoth of a mall that has over 400 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues to choose from. A wise choice for the shopaholics amongst us. The hotel itself has 313 stylish rooms outfitted with all the modern amenities you can ask for. For days when you just want to kick back and relax, take a 10-minute jaunt to the beach, or head up to Isoletto Pool Club for a cocktail by the beach-inspired pool overlooking Broadbeach. 

The Langham Gold Coast

For the ultimate luxury beachfront living, do yourself a favour and book some nights at The Langham Gold Coast. Rooms with hinterland views are available at this five-star hotel, but it'd be a waste not to go for the stunning ocean-view rooms when the hotel is situated right on the coast of Broadbeach. Dining options are aplenty, including the impressive breakfast spread at Akoya and The Langham Afternoon Tea at Palm Court. Also don't miss out on Chuan Spa, a rejuvenating spa retreat guided by principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

How to get to the Gold Coast


A comfortable and affordable option is Scoot, which currently flies direct to Gold Coast. It takes about seven to eight hours to make the trip, so to make things comfortable, we recommend forking out for ScootPlus. It's Scoot's premium experience with double the legroom, 30kg of check-in baggage, two pieces of cabin baggage, priority check-in and other perks. Taking an overnight flight and want to hit the ground running in Gold Coast the next morning? Scoot in Silence is the way to go – this puts you in a child-free zone in Economy class. 

The Singapore-Gold Coast direct route will operate four times a week from now till February 27 and three times a week from February 28 to July 17. Sadly, Scoot will be ceasing its Singapore-Gold Coast route after this date. It'll continue to fly into Sydney, Perth and Melbourne though – you could hop over into Brisbane or Gold Coast via another domestic airline if you're planning a long trip Down Under. 

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines doesn't operate flights into Gold Coast, but the next best option is Brisbane. The city is a mere one hour drive to the sunshine coast, making it a perfect option for those keen to explore both cities within the same trip. A round-trip economy flight from Singapore to Brisbane via SQ starts at around $770. 

Satisfy your wanderlust

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