Gold Coast: Local Travel Info

Surfer's paradise

Gold Coast Local Travel Info

Internal Flights and Major International Airports in the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast region is serviced by the Gold Coast International Airport, located at Coolangatta, approximately 22 kilometres south of Surfers Paradise. The Gold Coast airport offers frequent domestic services to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart and International services to New Zealand, Asia as well as the rest of the world. One hour’s drive from the Gold Coast, Brisbane’s International Airport also provides links with the United States and Europe.

Getting to and from the Airport in the Gold Coast

Located approximately 22 km from the Gold Coast, the airport is readily accessible by road with several regular transport services into the city centre. Most affordable and efficient is the Gold Coast Airport Transfers service: a door to door bus transfer from Coolangatta to all registered accommodation houses and hotels on the Gold Coast. Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle meets all arriving flights into the Gold Coast Airport and operates one-way and return transfers. Taxis service the length of the Gold Coast with taxi and limousine services and many of the drivers are a great source of local knowledge. Frequent trains also run to and from Brisbane International Airport. Trains leave every half hour or so - you can buy tickets at any Gold Coast railway station.

Travel Costs in the Gold Coast

Grab a cab, jump in a water taxi, ride a bus or travel by train - the Gold Coast has plenty of public transport options for anyone without a car. But there is one important thing to remember: the Gold Coast is a long, slender city so just about everything runs north and south. Travelling east and west by public transport takes a little more planning. In the main, the Gold Coast offers several efficient and regular transport links, more affordable than Sydney and most other major cities. Due to the compact size of the city and relative proximity of the surrounding area, Buses are rarely more than a few dollars per journey and stretch to every area in and around the Gold Coast, with unlimited day passes available for $5-10, dependant on how far you wish to go outside the city limits. Long distance buses stop at the bus transit centres in Southport, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta and run daily to other major destinations such as Brisbane and Sydney for around $15-20. The network of trains cost comparatively less than most other cities and charge about $15-25 for a day pass, running from the Helensville and Nerang stations. Ferries also run along the many waterways are inexpensive and can take you to the exotic delights of nearby Stradbroke Island and Couran Cove, departing regularly from Hope Harbour and Runaway Bay - be sure to purchase a ‘Gold Pass’ pass if you wish to buy a ticket that operates across the Gold Coast’s public transport network. Taxis are the most expensive option but still comfortably within most people’s spending limits for short trips, averaging out at around $3 a km. However, make sure to steer clear of unlicensed taxis, as they tend to charge a great deal extra for tourists.

Renting Cars in the Gold Coast

Car hire in the Gold Coast is easily arranged and, due to large amounts of competing companies, fairly good value if you are willing to shop around. Visitors must hold a valid driving licence with no infringements for dangerous or drunken driving in the last 5 years. You must be aged 18 or over to rent a car in the Gold Coast. For Car Hire in and around the Gold Coast expect to pay approx $35-60 per day but do watch out for bargains.


To book car rental in Gold Coast online, view our Car Hire section for Gold Coast. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Gold Coast. We advise you book your Gold Coast hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.

Drivers License Requirements in the Gold Coast

Visitors wishing to drive must possess a Certificate of Insurance or an International Green Card, a valid Driving Licence or International Driving Permit.

Driving Rules in the Gold Coast

In Australia, like Britain, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. The legal default urban speed limit in Queenland is 50 km/h, but the city has introducing 40 km/h zones in many built-up areas during recent years. Note it is an offence to hold a mobile phone whilst driving a moving vehicle. Drivers and adult front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Children must wear seat belts or a suitable child/infant restraint, in both front and rear seats. the Gold Coast has similar provisions to the UK, with regards to fixed alcohol limits and roadside breath testing. The penalties in the Gold Coast are severe, large fines or up to 6 months in prison plus unlimited disqualification from driving. It is an offence to drive whilst under the influence of drugs. If you are involved in an accident you must stop and phone the Police for the correct course of action. Failure to do so is an offence.

Buses in the Gold Coast

Buses are the cheapest modes of transportation in the Gold Coast, and provide an inexpensive way to explore the city’s beautiful surroundings. There are a large number of buses travelling in and around the city and form an integral part of the Gold Coast bus services. The Gold Coast has a good bus network system that takes passengers to all corners of the city. The Gold Coast bus services runs 24 hours a day are operated by Surfside Bus Services. This company not only operates buses within the city but also outside the city. Another bus company operating in Gold Coast and the Tweed region is the NSW Services. One can board a bus from the bus stops located at different places on the streets of the city. The buses are huge and can accommodate a large number of passengers. The seats are comfortable and all come with air-conditioning. They are also accessible by wheelchair thereby making it easy for disabled travellers to board and travel. Due to the compact size of the city and relative proximity of the surrounding area, Buses are rarely more than a few dollars per journey and stretch to every area in and around the Gold Coast, with unlimited day passes available for $5-10, dependant on how far you wish to go outside the city limits. Long distance buses stop at the bus transit centres in Southport, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta and run daily to other major destinations such as Brisbane and Sydney for around $15-20. One can either purchase a round trip ticket or go for a one-way trip ticket. Ticket rates vary depending upon whether you are an adult or a child. You can avail of the several types of passes, which turn out to be very economical. One can also opt for the 3, 5, 7 or 10 days passes - particularly beneficial for regular commuters. Gold Coast bus services are extremely good and well worth a ride.

Taxis in the Gold Coast

Throughout the suburbs and central business district of the Gold Coast, taxis are regular, convenient and easy to flag down. Large taxi ranks can always be around busy areas, as well as major areas of commerce and at all train stations. Regent taxis are the main cab company, and it is easy to arrange trips over the phone or internet. Taxis charge around $3 per km and tipping is common; but not mandatory. Extra charges are made for waiting time and luggage not carried in the passenger compartment. It is advisable to always ask the taxi driver for a receipt in case of any complaints or queries you may have on a taxi fare can only be dealt with if a receipt exists.

Cycling in the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is largely flat providing excellent opportunities for cycling. The river corridors provide opportunities to link west from the Gold Coast Oceanway out to the hinterland. The V1 is an emerging cycle route along the M1 freeway corridor from Smith Street Gaven to the Logan River at Beenleigh. In the future it will be extended southwards along the M1 corridor through Nerang, Robina, Varsity Lakes, West Burleigh, Palm Beach and behind the Gold Coast airport to the NSW state border.

Water Transport in the Gold Coast

What better way to travel around the Gold Coast than by water? The Gold Coast has more canals than Venice and some spectacular waterfront homes to have a look at on your way through. Excellent for sightseeing and very affordable, The Gold Coast runs a public ferry service between Paradise Point, Labrador, Spit, Couran Cove, Southport, Surfers Paradise West and Surfers Paradise Central. A smaller ferry service also connects Surfers Paradise South to the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Conrad Jupiters and Pacific Fair. Unlike Brisbane's popular CityCat ferry services, Gold Coast Ferries are not part of TransLink (South East Queensland).

Hitchhiking in the Gold Coast

Although hitchhiking is a popular method of transport for travellers in Australia, the potential dangers are huge and cases of violence and abduction not unheard of so it is not a recommended form of travel.