Self Drive To Gold Coast Attractions
Self-drive to any of the Gold Coast tourist attractions provides a relatively low cost option with lots of flexibility particularly for families.
You can rent cars on the Gold Coast from budget or compact cars right through to people movers. Pick up from Brisbane Airport, Gold Coast Airport or locally near your accommodation.
Parking is FREE at most of major tourist attractions outside Surfers Paradise including the Gold Coast theme parks: Dreamworld, MovieWorld, Sea World, Wet n Wild and WhiteWater World.
Most shopping centres have all or at least part of the parking free - for example you might get 3 hours free, or free parking if you spend over a certain amount.
Whilst there isn't free parking at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, you can find parking close by for a small fee.
Driving gives you flexibility to arrive early, leave when you want and possibly even do more than one attraction in a day.
If you are not used to driving in Australia or just want to relax and enjoy your holiday, you can consider several different door to door transfer services available.
Public Transport To Theme Parks & Attractions
Public transport is quite complicated! There are several options and it is an area I get asked about quite a bit! First things first, I want to say right up front....
Using Public Transport for getting around Gold Coast is a compromise between lower costs and wasting your precious holiday time.
I'm going to cover mostly getting to and from the theme parks, however, you should be able to work out how to get around most other locations when you see how I use the tools.
To get to the theme parks by public transport you are going to have to use at least one bus. If you happen to be staying near one of the Express Bus stops for the theme park expresses you will probably only need to catch the express.
If you have to catch a bus to get to the express bus stop, make sure you leave plenty of time, my personal experiences with the Gold Coast buses are NOT great. I have been left waiting for buses that don't run on time or don't even turn up.
Example Public Transport Trip -
Vibe Hotel to Movie World
I picked Vibe Hotel because I know it is very close to the Express bus stop! It's about a 1 minute walk from the hotel to the bus stop - but leave yourself plenty of time to get down in the hotel lifts ;-)
Catching the bus TX2 will take you to Movie World in approximately 35 to 40 minutes there in the morning at peak times. However, if you wanted to do the same journey at a time when the express buses are not running it will take you anywhere from 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 35 minutes!
Express buses to the theme parks run to the theme parks only from approximately 8am through to 11am each day. Return services run from MovieWorld from about 1.30pm through to 6pm.
If you buy a paper ticket the Express Services will only issue single or one way tickets. An adult trip will cost you $8.10 each way - $16.20 in total. If you have a GoCard the price will be less, but you need to pre-buy and load up the GoCard and have one for each member of your group.
Comparing the cost of a single transfer using theme park shuttle bus transfers to MovieWorld directly from your hotel door to door, the cost for an adult is $21 return. The advantages of the shuttle bus transfers include door to door, guaranteed seat (you confirm the booking the day before), you can pre-pay online for the whole group or family and just need to have your vouchers printed off. And if you package these theme park transfers with airport transfers it will be more cost effective. See details above.
Disclaimer: All prices shown and times are approximate and are based on information from September 2014. These may be subject to change without notice. They are used for illustration only.
If you are staying close to the railway stations at Varsity Lakes, Robina or Nerang - you could take a train to either:
- Helensvale Station for Movie World, Wet n Wild, Paradise Country & Australian Outback Spectacular
- Coomera Station for Dreamworld & WhiteWater World.
To get to Sea World by public transport you will have to take at least one bus, and there aren't express buses that go to Sea World.
Translink Journey Planner is the best way to work out how to get around Gold Coast using public transport. It's not the easiest to use, so I have written some tips to help make it easier for visitors to understand!
Gold Coast Attraction Transfers Using Taxis
Taxis can be useful for getting around to some of Gold Coast tourist attractions. For example if you are staying in Surfers Paradise or Main Beach and want to go to Sea World, then a taxi could be a very cost effective and flexible option.
If there's a big enough group of you, then paying for a taxi to take you to Dreamworld may be worthwhile for a once off, but you may find that the shuttle passes with Airport and transfers are better value.
Gold Coast Cabs phone number is 131 008, you can book online ahead of time, or your hotel can call a taxi for you. There's an extra charge for booking a taxi. When booking you will need to tell them how many people, if you have more than 4 people you will pay more.
There are Maxi Cabs for larger groups and that can work out less expensive than taking the shuttles - but you will have to work that all out using the taxi fare estimator. Put in the details of where you are going from and to and it will tell you an approximate price. This will change in reality based on traffic conditions when you actually go. If you have more than 4 people then add 50% to the estimate and that should give you a good idea of the cost.
Taxi's tend to be a bit hard to get at peak times, so it is worth booking, especially your return journey, and make sure you give them a name and check when you hop in the taxi you have the right one. They have a change over around 3pm each day, so that can be a particularly hard time to get taxis.
Ask Question About Transfers
Do you have a question about getting around Gold Coast or transfers to theme parks and attractions?
This is the place to ask!
Theme Park And Attraction Transfer Questions
Click below to see questions and answers about the transfers to and from theme parks and other attractions in the Gold Coast ...