TRAVEL THE GOLD COAST BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

So you’ve booked a trip to the Gold Coast and need information on how to get around. With a variety of bus, rail and shuttle services on offer, we’ve got all you need to know to jump on board and see the best of the Gold Coast.

Read on for tips on how to travel the Gold Coast by public transport.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are a few ticket options for passengers travelling around the Gold Coast. The go card is used for Translink buses, trains and the G:link tram. You can buy a go card at any 7-Eleven store, Visitor Information Centres, many Queensland Rail and tram stations, some busway stations and selected newsagents. You can top-up your card at any of those locations, as well as online on the Translink website or by phone.

Your fares are automatically calculated in order to provide you with the best fare, including transfer, discounts and any other savings. You can buy a single paper ticket which is valid for one-way journeys only. These tickets can be used within a 2-hour time frame and can be purchased on board buses and fare machines. The SEEQ card is specifically for tourists travelling around South East Queensland on the TransLink network.

If you have just arrived at the Gold Coast Airport, you can take the route 761 or 777 bus and within 45 minutes you will arrive at Ferny Avenue in Surfers Paradise. If you are looking for something a bit easier, the Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle provides door-to-door services. Alternatively, taxis are always available directly outside the terminal. 

One of the best options for travellers though is a Gold Coast go explore card. It allows visitors unlimited daily travel everywhere on the tram, trains and bus services from just $10 per day or $5 for kids.

TRAVEL BY TRAM

Tram frequency to all stations is categorised by weekdays and weekends. During peak periods (7am to 7pm) trams run every 7.5 minutes on weekdays and every 10 minutes on weekends. Outside of peak times, the trams run every 15 minutes, with the exception of between midnight and 5am where they run every half an hour on weekends.  

Gold Coast Light Rail Tram
Gold Coast Light Rail Tram. Image Credit: Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 1.

Cypress Avenue

With trams passing through the Gold Coast so frequently, it’s never been so easy to see the sights and enjoy some great activities. Some highlights along the tracks of Cypress Avenue include…

The Wax Museum

Have you ever wanted to meet the royal family? Or the Kardashians? People we know from history, movie stars, scientists, explorers, royalty, villains and even world leaders have all been transformed into startling realism and dressed in authentically reproduced outfits. It’s certainly a must-see. 

Located on Ferny Ave in Surfers Paradise, the Wax Museum is open 7 days from 10am to 6pm. 

Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre

As one of the few precincts that offer shopping, bars and restaurants, the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre is a tourist favourite to chill out and explore many new eateries and fashion boutiques. Plus, they offer 2 hours of free parking and free WIFI through the centre.

Infinity

Within the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, there is a special place where you can be transported into a 30-minute journey. Special effects, illusions and hallucinogenic music will have you wanting to come back for more. This futuristic maze-like fun-house is great fun for all ages.

Located on the corner of Surfers Paradise Blvd and Elkhorn Ave, Infinity is open 10am-10pm daily.

Betty’s Burgers

Crisp fried Portobello mushrooms filled with melted gouda and gruyére cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Betty’s special sauce… say no more! Such a classic place, serving the freshest and most mouth-watering burgers. This eatery is another must when visiting Surfers Paradise.

Located on Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Betty’s Burgers is open from 10.30am-9.30pm each day.

Cavill Avenue

As the hotspot of Surfers Paradise, there is nothing that you can’t find on Cavill Avenue. From the hottest clubs, restaurants, bars and attractions including the iconic Surfers Paradise sign, this is one stop on the tram that you don’t want to miss.

iconic Surfers Paradise sign
Take a photo under the iconic Surfers Paradise sign at the beach end of Cavill Avenue. Image Credit: @delainhamariya

Hard Rock Café

Fancy American cuisine? Eat, drink and unwind at Hard Rock. Located in the most central spot, it features an indoor dining room and bar, as well as a balcony with outdoor seating. Once inside, you also can’t forget the retail store with all the collectible Hard Rock gear. The fun part is after your meal you can stroll through their collection of music history from great all-time legends.

Located on the corner of Cavill Ave and Surfers Paradise Blvd, the Hard Rock Café restaurant is open 12pm-late and its shop is open 10am-10pm.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Robert Ripley scoured the world in search of unusual and bizarre things… and decided to put it into a museum. Sounds like fun? Some examples of what you may experience or see: rare shrunken heads, dinosaur eggs, a man that is 8”11… Intended for those who enjoy fantastically weird things.

Located on Cavill Ave, Ripley’s Believe it or Not is open 9am-10pm daily.

Surfers Paradise

Looking to experience more great local attractions? Only one tram stop south is a little haven of tranquillity, where you can dine and chill in a more sophisticated manner.

King Tutt’s Putt Putt

Indoor and outdoor Putt Putt – say no more. Three individually themed 18-hole mini golf courses… all available in the heart of Gold Coast. Try your hand at the ultimate mini-hole challenge. And better still, it’s also decorated in ancient Egypt décor and has glow in the dark caves with Jurassic dinosaurs.

Located on the corner of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Pandanus Ave, King Tutt’s Putt Putt is open daily from 9am-9pm.

King Tutt's Putt Putt Surfers Paradise
Jurassic Put at King Tutts Putt Putt. Image Credit: @busycitykids

Longboards Eatery and Bar

Positioned under the Q1 building, Longboards is one of the best places in town for ribs. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can compete in the “Phat Bastard Burger Challenge”. It’s a laidback venue, perfect to chill out with the family and a cool place for a Sunday Sesh or a long lunch with friends.

Located at the base of Q1 Resort & Spa, Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar is open from 11am until late – table reservations can be made online

TRAVEL BY BUS

Some bus services finish at the Broadbeach South tram station, where you may transfer onto a connecting tram to complete your journey. There are more than 60 bus routes in the city including seven ‘turn up and go services’ that operate every 15 minutes or better, seven days a week. Route 777 connects the Broadbeach South light rail station with the southern end of the Gold Coast, travelling all the way to the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta. 

Go for a swim at some of the nation’s best beaches, or go explore on foot and find a café with a good vibe in one of the trendy coastal suburbs like Mermaid Beach, Miami, Burleigh and Palm Beach.

Better yet, hop on a connecting bus to Coolangatta for The Strand Coolangatta, Baskk, Coolangatta beach, Kirra Beach, Snapper Rocks, Greenmount Beach, Kirra Hill and much more. Coolangatta also offers plenty of adrenaline sports, night-time entertainment as well as bars and clubs.

Kirra Beach
Enjoy the sun, surf & sand at Kirra Beach. Image Credit: @77no.bru

TRAVEL BY HEAVY RAIL

Queensland Rail trains connect major centres on the Gold Coast including Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes and also serve Ormeau and Coomera. Trains run at regular intervals to and from Brisbane with bus connections to Surfers Paradise, Southport and Broadbeach. From Helensvale train station you can go south to Varsity Lakes, or north on the AirTrain all the way to Brisbane Airport.

To plan your journey ahead of time on the tram, bus and heavy rail services, click here.

FREE SHUTTLE SERVICES

Did you know there are also free transport services? The following shuttles will help carry all your goodies back to your hotel, get you to the next Suns AFL game and even your next race day.

Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre

With brand names like Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Coach, Calvin Klein, UGG Australia, Hugo Boss and Nike… how can you say no? It’s also Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre, so you’re bound to bag a bargain.

Available to tourists only, this shuttle operates twice per day, 7 days-a-week with an additional daily service running in December, January and April. Shuttle pick-up points are located at 4 convenient locations in Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, with pick-ups starting from 9:15am to 10:30am, and return transfers at 2pm till 5pm daily. Simply book online.

Harbout Town Outlet Shopping Centre
Shop till you drop at Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre. Image Credit: Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre

GC Turf Club

No booking required, just check out their timetable. It’s Race day travel made easy. This courtesy bus is available to patrons of the weekend races, travelling to all stops between Tweed Heads to Surfers Paradise. Recently, they began operating bus services to Runaway Bay, Harbour Town and Southport.

Metricon Stadium

See the local AFL Gold Coast Suns play at Metricon Stadium.

Free transport is available for ticket holders every game day. As long as you have your valid event ticket, you get to travel for free with Translink (Surfside buses, Queensland Rail and tram services) both to and from the event. For more information on pick up points and schedules for Metricon, click here.

And if all else fails and you change your mind about public transport altogether? There’s a number of hire and private transfer options to choose from, to help you get around the Gold Coast.

For convenience, save the city Visitor’s Map for you to get the most out of your stay.

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