1. If you come via Brisbane Airport, you can easily go to Gold Coast by Airtrain. The train station is just across the road from the terminal building. The train ride takes about two hours. Since you are already in flying via Brisbane, a day in the city can be a nice side trip. But don’t spend too much time there, all the fun and action are in Gold Coast anyway.
2. Get a Go-Card. Fares are much cheaper when you use Go-Card as compared to paper tickets. You can use it for train rides and bus rides. I bought mine at the tourist information counter. You can also buy them at train stations. Don’t forget to return them before you fly home so that you can get back your deposit and whatever balance you still have in the card.
3. Get accommodation at Surfers Paradise. It’s in the heart of Gold Coast. Easy access to shops and most bus routes pass by the area. It can be a little pricey, but the convenience and beautiful scenery makes it worth every penny!
4. If you travel in a group of 4 or more, rent an apartment. It has lots of space and all sorts home appliances (washing machine, dryer, fridge, stove etc.) that you need during your stay. Plus, you can cook your own food and save money. Trust me, there’ll be plenty of time to cook because theme parks and shops are closed around 5 PM, so there’s nothing much to do during nighttime anyway.
5. Australia has a huge Muslim community. It’s easy to find halal food as long as you are not being too picky. Kebab and pizza are obvious choices. If you wish to cook, you can buy halal meat at EzyMart convenience shop near McDonald’s at Surfers Paradise.
6. If you wish to visit multiple theme parks like we did, get combo tix. It saves lots of money. But beware of the T&C. Ours specifically mentioned 3 parks in 3 consecutive days. Meaning we had to go to three parks in a row, day after day. Personally, by the time we finished the second park, I had enough of theme parks already. Not sure about you.
7. Attention shoppers: Harbour Town is a must visit! It’s about an hour bus ride from Surfers Paradise. Go early when it opens and leave when it closes.