Top things to do near Gold Coast Airport
Life’s a beach
Although it may seem hard to believe, some of the Gold Coast’s world-famous beaches are only 1.2 miles (two kilometres) away from the airport. Whether you’re fresh off the plane and ready to embrace Coolangatta’s colourful coastal culture, be it anything from high-octane water sports to contemplative yoga on the beach, or if you’re just looking to soak up some last-minute sun before take-off, all of it is within walking distance of the terminal building.
Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the Gold Coast is home to some of Australia’s oldest and most celebrated surfing clubs. With conditions that attract surfers from around the world, there is no better place to catch a wave, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro. Many of the clubs have fully-stocked professional-level surfing shops if you need to prep your board and there is an extensive range of rental and tuition packages available that will see you hanging ten in no time.
Sea life of all shapes and sizes
Australia’s proximity to the equator means that the surrounding warm seas are a haven for all manner of exotic aquatic animals and the Coral and Tasman Seas off the Gold Coast are no exception.
Along with the inquisitive local pod of dolphins and numerous native species of sea turtle, if you’re visiting OOL between June and November, you have the incredible opportunity to witness humpback whales as big as 52 feet (16 metres) long complete their 3,100-mile (5,000-kilometre) migration to tropical waters where they will give birth and raise their calves over the winter. What’s more, Gold Coast Airport is only three miles (five kilometres) from Point Danger and Snapper Rocks, widely considered to be amongst the best places for whale watching, with shuttle bus services running between the airport and the coast every 20 minutes.
A National Park after dark
If the beach isn’t your thing, then the 15,310-acre (6,197-hectare) UNESCO World Heritage site, Springbrook National Park, is only a 45-minute drive inland from the airport. Formed by the eruption of a gigantic coastal volcano over 23 million years ago, the park boasts an incredibly diverse and unique array of natural caves, waterfalls, flora and fauna.
It is beautiful during the daytime, but the park truly comes alive at night, so if you’ve got an evening to spare, take the chance to observe elusive nocturnal wildlife in its natural habitat and discover caves illuminated by huge colonies of glow worms on the park’s popular night-time tours.
Keep it Coolangatta
If the weather forecast isn’t looking good, The Strand is a great place to spend some time before you fly. As Coolangatta’s biggest and best shopping centre and dining destination, The Strand houses a six-screen cinema complex and over 75 shops, outlets, cafés, bars and restaurants all under one roof only minutes away from the airport, whether you take a taxi or catch one of the many local bus services.
If you’re hungry for something different, whether it’s Australian favourites, beach burritos or Vietnamese dumplings, or if you just can’t find the gift you’re looking for at the airport, The Strand is bound to have what you need.
The Gold Coast Arts Centre puts the spotlight on the area’s incredible creativity with an in-house theatre and gallery, two cinema screens and an arts café. Providing you with the opportunity to see work by some of Australia’s best artists and directors alongside the produce of the region’s rising stars and carefully preserved artefacts from the area’s Aboriginal past, the Gold Coast Arts Centre is only half an hour’s drive from the airport and it is a great way to take in all the scenery and creativity that Australia’s east coast has to offer.
Heard it on the grapevine
Thanks to its temperate climate and rich volcanic soil, the Gold Coast is becoming increasingly renowned for its wine. There are numerous vineyards and wineries only a few hours from the airport and many are more than happy to take you on a tour of the vine fields, explain their histories and processes and, of course, let you sample their wines straight from the source.
Whether you’re a connoisseur or can’t tell your Merlot from your Pinot, you can spend the day finding your new favourite wine before you fly.