Whether you’re basing yourself at the Gold Coast for a short or long holiday, there’s a multitude of interesting destinations within a short drive away. For a change of pace or scenery, you don’t have to go far to wind up somewhere new and different, be it a forest, mountain or beach. Here are some ideas to inspire you to jump in a Gold Coast Airport car rental and hit the road with Hertz.
An hour’s drive southwest of the Gold Coast will bring you to Lamington National Park – part of the Gondwana Rainforests, a World Heritage Area and the most extensive subtropical rainforest in the world. It consists of two sections: The Green Mountains and Binna Burra. The Green Mountains are on the western side in the O’Reilly area. Choose from the many half-day or full-day walks that explore the park’s best attractions. Picnic Rock is a particularly secluded and pleasant spot. You will access it by driving to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, following the Border Track and then the sign for the Picnic Rock turnoff.
Just to the west of Lamington National Park is Springbrook National Park. One of its most interesting features is a geological oddity known as Natural Bridge, a waterfall in a cave. Created over millions of years by water gushing into a basalt cave, it houses a colony of glow worms. All manner of birds will serenade you on your walk. Take a torch for the walk – if you can, time it to arrive to see the waterfall by day, followed perhaps by a picnic and return to the cave at night to witness the glow worm spectacle.
An hour south of the Gold Coast, the drive to Byron Bay will take you through rolling hills and fields in Tweed Valley. Watch the surfers carve through the breaks. Main Beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers and is ideal for swimming or snorkelling. Sometimes dolphins are found at The Pass, at the far end, which is also a nice picnic spot. At the start and end of winter, humpback whales migrate in and out of Byron Bay, making it a prime whale watching location in Australia.
Half an hour north of the Gold Coast, this region includes more than 1200 hectares of wetlands. Walk through this unique natural habitat and look out for the birds and animals that live here.