Air Ways., Gold Coast
Chances are that most people will fly into the Gold Coast. The airport formerly was known as Coolangatta because that is the nearest of the original beachside villages to which it was built. Over the years, the amount of airport traffic has grown enormously.
The airport now is served by the Australian domestic airlines VirginBlue, Jetstar, and Tiger. There also are international services to SE Asia, provided by Air Asia and by Air New Zealand to (you guessed it) New Zealand. I’d show my age if I mentioned that, back in the 1950s when we took our annual holidays at the Coast, I would get a buzz from watching the twice-weekly DC3 service passing through!
The downside of the growth in traffic is that the current airport terminal building was not designed for the passenger numbers it now faces. When we flew through in early 2009 it was looking dowdy, feeling crowded, and generally about the least appealing of all Australia’s major airport terminals. Good news is at hand though, as a major rebuilding programme is currently under way: the works are evident and no doubt the terminal will soon be far more pleasant to visit (website on the project given below).
As your flight takes you in or out of Coolangatta airport, you might care to consider one curious little item. The airport is the only one anywhere in Australia to have the main runway crossing a state border: one end is in Queensland and the other in New South Wales. I suspect it may well be the only airport in the world where a runway crosses a political border, come to a point!
Virgin Blue and Qantas are the two major airlines that fly from Perth to Coolangatta Airport (30min drive from Gold Coast) or Brisbane Airport (1hr drive from Gold Coast).
We chose to fly Virgin Blue to Brisbane Airport because it was a direct flight and a little bit cheaper as well than flying to Coolangatta via Melbourne.
I was told by someone that you only fly Virgin once because it is a no frills airline and somewhat lacking in comforts.
But as we departed Perth midnight we weren't concerned about getting a meal because we don't normally eat at that time anyway.
They don't supply blankets or pillows but we came prepared with some soft neckrests and light blankets so this also wasn't a dilemna.
If you plan to fly this route I do recommend that you check the latest online pricing with Virgin Blue and Qantas because they are very competitive and do offer regular specials.
For our flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, we did quite a bit of searching, and ended up choosing to fly Virgin Blue, since it was significantly less than to fly to Brisbane rather than the Gold Coast direct. Since it was only 80km difference, but it saved us $100AUD, we chose to make the drive!
I would definitely recommend checking with Virgin Blue, as there are different sales all the time and choose your airport based on the best fare if you are picking up a car anyway!
Although Brisbane Airport is not the closest airport to the Gold Coast, this is typically the airport you will end up landing at if you are coming from further than Sydney or Melbourne. Brisbane is the International Arrival Airport for Queensland, so it is important to know about it. Brisbane's Airport Code is BNE, so if you are searching for flights on Zuji or one of the airline's websites, you can effectively search.
The most popular airlines that service Brisbane are:
Air New Zealand
ALL international flights have to land at Brisbane International Airport... and from there, you make your way to Gold Coast... slightly over an hour's drive from Brisbane.
You can hop onto a shuttle van (check for details at the Info Counter, Brisbane International Airport).
Zipping around Surfer's Paradise and the other parts of Gold Coast is not difficult.
You can either take a shuttle bus (tickets are available at your hotel concierge) or a cab.
Cab fares aren't expensive either. I remembered we overslept one morning and missed the LAST shuttle bus service from Conrad Hotel to Dreamworld. We then had no choice but to hail a cab from our hotel in Broadbeach to Dreamworld.
For a 20-minute ride, it costs about A$30. That would be approx. US$20+.
Being an Island, the best way to get to Australia [unless you are a jolly good swimmer] would have to be by Boat or Plane, The nearest international airport to the Gold Coast is Brisbane, approx.a 1hour trip by airport shuttle or if you are travelling interstate ie. ex Sydney,Melbourne etc. we have a domestic terminal at Coolangatta 20 mins south of Surfers Paradise.
Getting around the Coast is relatively easy, buses run frequently up and down the coastal strip. Broadbeach has a Monorail which runs between the Oasis Shopping Center and the Casino also in Broadbeach. Surfers Paradise has hire cars, mopeds, motorcycles
in fact most things even surfboards can be hired there.
There is no international airport on the Gold Coast. It is about 80km to Brisbane airport. Domestic flights land at Coolangatta which is approx 15 mins direct drive.
There are lots of coach services and there is a rail link. Coolangatta Airport is also well serviced by coach services into Surfers centre.
You can buy shuttle tickets that are valid for 5 -14 days. These will take you to and from the airport and to the theme parks and casino etc.. they are great value.
Contrary to some earlier posts, the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) airport is now served by several international flights. Freedom Air fly from Auckland, Hamilton and Dunedin in New Zealand. Australian Airlines fly to Japan, Singapore and a few other places via Cairns. Its also easy to fly into Sydney and take a domestic flight. Freedom Air offers low trans-tasman fares if booked via the net.
Frequent local busses operated by Surfside run from Tweed Heads to Southport stopping at the airport. Theres also inexpensive car hire.