The Gold Coast is the kind of destination you can return to time and time again and still find new and incredible things to see and do with every visit.
A Gold Coast car hire is an absolute must for these kinds of trips – it gives you the freedom to explore where you like, when you like, and lets you linger in places you love and leave the places that don’t live up to expectations.
There are so many things to do in the Gold Coast that it’s no wonder that it is one of the best road trip destinations in Australia, but if you need a few more reasons to go, here are five of its hidden gems to lure you for a trip.
1. Echo Beach
There are 57 kilometres of pristine golden coastline to explore, and Echo Beach is amongst the best.
Located in the Burleigh Heads National Park, this serene little bay promises clear waters that are ideal for swimming and still enough for stand-up paddleboarding. It looks and feels like a place that would be remote and hidden, but it’s less than 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast.
There are also numerous walking tracks within the national park, so you can start the day working up a sweat and enjoying the views from the heads before making your way down to the beach for a refreshing swim and a relaxing afternoon in the sun.
The area does fill up quickly on weekends, so aim to arrive early for a good spot both in the parking area and on the beach.
2. Currumbin Rock Pools
When you’re looking for what to do in the Gold Coast and want something a little different, take a drive through the picturesque Currumbin Valley to reach these rock pools just 15 minutes from Currumbin Beach. The Rock Pools are a fantastic natural outdoor playground that offer small jumps and slides for little ones, and daring jumps off higher rocks for anyone with the daring to try them.
Here you can bomb off rock ledges into the pools, jump in from rope swings, or simply swim and enjoy the refreshing scenery and forest surroundings. There are also soft grassy areas nearby that are perfect for picnics, so be sure to bring some snacks.
There are both toilets and picnics at the site, so you can easily spend a day here enjoying nature. You can also head to the nearby Currumbin Community Farm Campus nearby to pick up ice creams, or hot and cold drinks.
3. The Village Markets
Nothing screams holiday vibes quite like cruising around a market picking up trinkets, gifts, and ingredients for fresh home-cooked meals and road trip snacks. You’ll find The Village Markets just 20 minutes south of central Gold Coast, right on the shoreline where you can take in the beachy vibes and bustling stalls.
The Village Markets are one of the most popular Gold Coast attractions, as they are home to countless clothing stalls, and is the perfect place to pick up a unique piece that you won’t see anywhere else.
These markets are held just once per month on the third Sunday at the Burleigh Heads State School, so be sure to plan your trip ahead of time.
4. Tumgun Lookout
One of the lesser known Gold Coast activities, Tumgun Lookout is found in the Burleigh Heads National Park, and rain or shine, this viewpoint offers some of the most spectacular views on the Gold Coast.
You’ll enjoy views of the large swathes of white sandy beaches that stretch along the coast in both directions, as well as the blue waters ahead that disappear over the horizon, and the clusters of homes and businesses that congregate around the shoreline and form this friendly, laid-back town.
The hike to the lookout will take you through the rainforest and doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. It’s the perfect photo stop opportunity, and be sure to bring your binoculars if you arrive in winter, as this is the prime time and location to spot passing Humpback Whales.
Note that this track is very popular amongst runners, so make sure you stick to the left and allow them to pass.
5. Purling Brook Falls
The Purling Brook Falls are a set of must-see waterfalls, and one of the lesser known day trips from the Gold Coast at roughly an hour away from the city. Unlike other hidden gems around the Gold Coast, this drive will take you inland away from the coastline.
From the carpark, the walk to these falls will take you through the lush Gondwana Rainforest in the Springbrook National Park. The hike will take approximately 90 minutes to complete the full loop on a sometimes-steep but relatively easy walking track.
The falls drop roughly 100 metres down sheer rock face into a serene pool at the bottom, where you can take a dip to cool off or simply enjoy the refreshing spray.
While you’re in the area, you can drive an extra 30 minutes to the Natural Bridge, an awe-inspiring waterfall inside a cavern. This spot is a favourite amongst photographers for its sheer beauty, so is a place where you can up your Instagram game, as it is certainly something truly unique when you’re looking for things to do in Queensland.
Gold Coast tourism often focuses on the big attractions, but these hidden gems are every bit as beautiful and enjoyable. To see it all, make sure to book your car hire at the Gold Coast Airport so you can pick up your wheels and start exploring these hidden Gold Coast tourist attractions as soon as you land!