Gold Coast: Suggested Itinerary

Surfer's paradise

Day 1: Fly in and start the fun early. A theme park is a good idea and there are plenty to choose from – SeaWorld, DreamWorld or MovieWorld are all within reach.

Day 2: Head to Byron Bay via brekkie at Twisted Sista. Check out the Cape Gallery and the Byron Bay Green House. Then go up to the Lighthouse after a detour to Wattegos's Beach. Lighthouse parking can be dodgy, so be prepared to walk. The Bryon Bay Farmer's Markets are on Thursdays and Saturdays — make sure your visit coincides. Have lunch at the Bangalow Hotel in Bangalow then roam around the boutiques, antique shops and to-die-for bookstores in this quaint town before heading home.

Day 3: Take a nice, easy day at the beach. Well surely that’s what you came for, didn’t you?!

Day 4: Wineries, pubs on cliffs, gallery walks, four-wheel driving tours, rainforests, hang-gliding and more await you in the mountains. Have lunch at the famous Songbirds of the Forest or the equally famous St Bernard's Hotel. Check out the hang-gliders taking off various cliffs, or have a go yourself! Bushwalking is also a great idea, especially in summer. Check out Lamington National Park, Binna Burra or O'Reilly's Rainforest Guest House to find the right bushwalking option for you and yours.

Day 5: I would advise you spending today by finishing off what you didn’t get to do yesterday. Failing that, take another slow one at the beach.

Day 6: Today is the day to properly experience Bris Vegas. Take the Vulture Street exit and follow it to Boundary Street, West End. Next on the list is GOMA, The Queensland Art Gallery. While on the educational kick, visit the State Library and the Queensland Museum as well. The various gift shops are all fabulous if you're looking for a keep-sake. The entire Brisbane loop can be done on the City Cat; this is included in your ticket cost if you took the train here from the Gold Coast.

Come lunchtime, head to Paddington where you will be surrounded by restored Queenslanders, funky shopping and so many good lunch spots that it'll be hard to go wrong. Montrechet is a great up-market option. Finish up at Mt Coot for awesome city views. Head over to New Farm's James Street for a bit of window shopping and dinner at any number of the neighbourhood's groovy restaurants.

Day 7: Head south past the famous surf spots of Kirra, Greenmount and Snapper Rocks, and up the hill to Duranbah. Grab a patch of grass and a latte, and watch the surfers at Duranbah Beach. Then take lunch at Omeros Bros at Marina Mirage, Main Beach. Walk off lunch at the Seaway Rock Wall. The sea breeze will perk you up and the views back to Surfers and Main Beach are both stunning. Have dinner at GCI's Yamagen Restaurant - the sashimi platter is to die for. Or maybe have a stroll around the Surfers Paradise shops. On Friday or Wednesday nights, the beachfront markets are worthwhile spots. Have your last drink at the Irish pub above McDonald's on the beachfront, and toast a golden Gold Coast holiday (near the Golden Arches…)

Day 8: Head back home.