With its warm, sunny weather and endless beaches, the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations. This means that anytime there are national school holidays, hotels get heavily booked out and crowds descend on the beaches and theme parks throughout the region. The extended summer holidays are particularly busy and good flight and accommodation deals almost impossible to find. This season also sees hot, sticky temperatures, and frequent rain showers make it less than ideal for the beach.
Unless you are a motorsports fan, the month of October should be avoided when the Gold Coast 600 race is scheduled, as well as the middle of November through to the first week of December when school-leavers from across Australia descend for their annual “Schoolies Week”. Both these periods see hotel rates soar and huge crowds throughout the streets.
Because the Gold Coast is blessed with such favourable weather, if you travel outside of the peak tourist seasons, you will still get relatively warm and dry conditions. Autumn is particularly pleasant, with both day and night time temperatures still high, and although it can get chilly during winter nights, this coincides with the whale watching season along the coastline. In spring things start to warm up again and good hotel deals are often found, but conditions can be a little windier at the beaches.
For the best deals on flights to the Gold Coast it’s best to book as far in advance as possible at all times of the year. But you will generally get the cheapest flight tickets outside of school holiday periods and major events. If you are connecting through an Australian capital city, then keep in mind that the cheapest flights to the Gold Coast are often available in the middle of the week, rising slightly with the weekend demand.
Flights from Auckland to the Gold Coast – 3 hours 25 minutes.
Flights from Christchurch to the Gold Coast – 3 hours 40 minutes.
Flights from Wellington to the Gold Coast – 3 hours 45 minutes.
Flights from Queenstown to the Gold Coast – 3 hours 30 minutes.
Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia all have direct flights to the Gold Coast from Auckland, with Jetstar and Virgin Australia generally offering the cheapest flights. Both Air New Zealand and Jetstar also have direct flights to the Gold Coast from Christchurch throughout the week, while there are four weekly flights to the Gold Coast from Wellington and Queenstown with Jetstar.
No matter which side of the plane you sit on, you should be treated to endless coastal views as you come into land at the Gold Coast Airport.
The Gold Coast Airport is located in the suburb of Bilinga, around 25 kilometres to the south of Surfers Paradise and an hour’s drive south from Brisbane.
The Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle operates from the airport to hotels across the region and is the quickest way to get to your accommodation. Tickets can be bought online or on arrival at the Gold Coast Airport, and they also offer theme park discounts as part of their transport package deals.
A cheaper option is to use public transport, with a combination of local buses operating from outside the airport terminal building and connecting train lines that run all the way up to Brisbane. You can buy tickets from the bus driver or at the train stations.
There are also private coach transfers which operate between the Gold Coast Airport, Brisbane’s city centre and Byron Bay to the south, which are a convenient option for those that don’t want to transfer between public buses and trains.
The fastest, but most expensive, option to travel from the Gold Coast Airport is with a metered taxi, but it will drop you directly at your door without having to wait for other passengers.