A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Gold Coast vs. Fraser Island for Beaches, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a vibrant, colorful, and high energy coastline. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the nightlife, food, and scuba diving and snorkeling.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is a breathtaking, idyllic, and stunning island. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the beaches and hiking.

Gold Coast and Fraser Island: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Gold Coast. Although Gold Coast and Fraser Island are both popular with visitors, Gold Coast has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Gold Coast is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, shopping, and big city activities, while Fraser Island is known for its impressive beauty. Gold Coast is more touristy than Fraser Island and is popular for its colorful theme parks, thrilling water sports, and nearby rainforests. It is also home to the long sandy beaches. Fraser Island is popular for its beautiful sand dunes, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife.

How is Gold Coast different from Fraser Island?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Fraser Island and Gold Coast. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a well-known place for its sights and museums. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for its museums and history.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Gold Coast. The views from the observation deck at the Q1 Resort and Spa are a not-to-be-missed experience. You'll also find many amusement parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the area.

If you're looking to pass the time, head to a museum or historic sight in Fraser Island. The stunning natural beauty is the appeal of this island. It is worth visiting the Maheno Shipwreck which was once a trans-Tasman liner.


Is the Food Better in Gold Coast or Fraser Island? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for its restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Gold Coast. The coastline is filled with modern Australian restaurants that serve locally caught seafood and modern twists on traditional dishes. There are wine bars, fine dining restaurants, and more casual options. You'll also find plenty of international eateries as well.

Fraser Island may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. There are settlements on the island where you can pick up food and essentials, but don't expect much more than the basics. There are also several restaurants.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Nightlife?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is very popular for nightlife and partying. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for its evening party scene.

Gold Coast is a party destination, and you'll find plenty of activity all night long. The nightlife scene is filled with ritz and glam, but you'll also find wild beach parties and lively nightclubs. There are backpackers and students that keep the parties going until the morning hours.

Fraser Island doesn't offer many options. There are a handful of bars on the island where you can enjoy a drink in a laid back setting.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Resorts?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is very popular for its resorts. However, Fraser Island is not a resort destination.

Vacationers flock to Gold Coast for its luxury resorts. Resorts range from family-friendly to backpacker-focused with everything in between. There are many high rise resorts that have luxury pools and beachfront views.

Fraser Island is not a resort destination.


Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a well-known place for its diving and snorkeling. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for snorkeling and scuba diving.

There are many scuba diving and snorkeling spots near Gold Coast. There are many dive shops and snorkeling excursions. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, there are excursions that will not disappoint. There are also many places that offer certification courses.

It's possible to go snorkeling in Fraser Island. The waters around the island are not designed for snorkeling, as the currents are strong and there are often large sharks. There are several dive spots including a ship wreck as well as a beautiful reef that is filled with hard and soft corals.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Beaches?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Gold Coast and Fraser Island are amazing choices.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Gold Coast. This stretch of beachline is perfect for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. There are miles of coastline that are sandy and beautiful and some of the most popular beaches include the Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, and Broadbeach.

With world-famous beaches, Fraser Island is a very popular vacation destination. The idyllic beaches really are paradise. The water is blue, the sand white, and the rainforest feels undiscovered. The most famous beach is Seventy-Five Mile Beach, but other beautiful spots include Eli Creek, Lake Wabby, and the Champagne Pools (the only oceanfront spot where you can swim).

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Hiking?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

If you're looking to go hiking, Gold Coast and Fraser Island both have superb trails.

Many visitors go to Gold Coast for the hiking trails. The Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk connects the area's diverse and lush rainforests through the Numinbah Valley. It's a World Heritage Area with subtropical rainforest as well as warm temperate rainforest, and Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest.

Fraser Island is a popular spot for hiking. There are many stunning hikes on the island and many visitors choose to camp during their visit. It's possible to organize a group hike with a guide as well, which is recommended as it is the safer option.


Is the Shopping Better in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a well-known place for its shopping opportunities. However, Fraser Island is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Gold Coast is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. There are large outlet malls, outdoor markets, and designer shopping centers. You'll find trendy fashion designers as well as the typical souvenir shops.

Fraser Island is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Families?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Fraser Island is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Gold Coast is very family-friendly. It's filled with popular theme parks and other adrenaline-filled activities. There are surfing lessons, wildlife sanctuaries, ropes courses, and water sports. Kids of all ages will appreciate this fun-filled setting with its many family-friendly resorts and restaurants.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Fraser Island. The kids will love the peaceful beaches and stunning landscapes as much as the adults. There are walking trails, beautiful water, and between the months of July and November you can go whale watching.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Couples?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

With fun activities for couples, both Gold Coast and Fraser Island make for a amazing place to visit.

Gold Coast makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. Couples that energy high energy activities, water sports, theme parks, and parties that last into the morning, will love a stay at this vibrant coast. There's no shortage of great restaurants, entertaining shows, and fun activities that you can experience.

For those traveling as a couple, Fraser Island has plenty to offer. It's stunning beaches and serene setting make for a truly romantic destination. You can picnic on the white sand or float down Eli Creek. Kayaking or stand up paddle boarding are also fun.


Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is very popular for backpackers. Also, Fraser Island is not as famous, but is still a good island to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Gold Coast. Backpackers flock to this vibrant coastline. There are hostels and budget-friendly places to stay, and there's a huge nightlife scene. The many activities and long sandy beaches make this a well established stop on Australia's backpacker circuit.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Fraser Island. It's truly a bucket list destination, so even though it may be challenging to reach, it's well worth the effort. There are ferries that leave from either Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay, or you can visit as part of an organized tour.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a well-known place for its public transit. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for times when you don't have a car.

Gold Coast has some very good public transit options. There's a bus, train, and tram network that's operated by TransLink and runs along the coast.

Public transit is quite limited in Fraser Island. The roads are sand and you'll need a vehicle of your own to get around. Because of the conditions, it requires four wheel drive.

Is Gold Coast or Fraser Island a more walkable city?

Gold Coast
Fraser Island

Gold Coast is a good destination for its high level of walkability. However, Fraser Island is not a good island for its ease of walking around.

Gold Coast is a somewhat walkable place. There are parts of the area that can be explored on foot.

Fraser Island is generally not a very walkable coastline. The island is large enough that you'll likely want a vehicle (four wheel drive) to get around and fully experience it.


For even more information, also check out Is Gold Coast Worth Visiting? and Is Fraser Island Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Fraser Island or Gold Coast?

How long in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

In either Gold Coast or Fraser Island, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Gold Coast than Fraser Island because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Gold Coast, and 3-5 days is enough time in Fraser Island.

Families should spend more time in Gold Coast than Fraser Island. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Gold Coast, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Gold Coast than Fraser Island. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Gold Coast that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Gold Coast than Fraser Island if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Gold Coast.


  • How many days in Gold Coast or Fraser Island? Ideal Length of Stay
    Gold Coast 3-7 
    Fraser Island 3-5

One day in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the vibrant destination of Gold Coast. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

With around the stunning island of Fraser Island, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Gold Coast. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

With around the destination of Fraser Island, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Many travelers enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling when visiting the fun-filled destination of Gold Coast. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This coastline offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Fraser Island, a popular island, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this island. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the coastline of Gold Coast. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Fraser Island is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Australia, The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Australia, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Australia, and The Best Contiki Tours to Australia.


Which place is cheaper, Fraser Island or Gold Coast?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Gold Coast is $100, while the average daily cost in Fraser Island is $210. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Gold Coast and Fraser Island in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Gold Coast $56
    Fraser Island $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Gold Coast $112
    Fraser Island $206
Compare Hotels in Gold Coast and Fraser Island

Looking for a hotel in Gold Coast or Fraser Island? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Gold Coast


Hotels in Fraser Island


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Gold Coast $23
    Fraser Island $94

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Gold Coast

Also for Gold Coast, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Gold Coast Airport Arrival Shared Transfer: $21
  • Airport to Hotel Return Transfer: $21
  • Movie World To Brisbane Hotel One Way Transfer: $27
  • Gold Coast Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Gold Coast: $39
  • Chill Out at Byron Bay Bus Transfer: $59
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Airport OOL to Gold Coast in Business Car: $99
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfer: Airport OOL to Gold Coast in Business Car: $99
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfer: Gold Coast to Airport OOL in Business Car: $99
  • Departure Private Transfer: Gold Coast to Airport OOL in Business Car: $99
  • Australia Zoo Ticket and Roundtrip Transfer: $102
  • Tangalooma Beach Day Cruise with Bus Transfers: $116
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfer: Airport OOL to Gold Coast in Luxury Van: $126

Is it cheaper to fly into Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Prices for flights to both Fraser Island and Gold Coast change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Gold Coast $28
    Fraser Island $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Gold Coast

For Gold Coast, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner & Show: $73
  • Gold Coast Buffet Dinner Sightseeing Cruise: $81

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Gold Coast $19
    Fraser Island $45

Tours and Activities in Gold Coast

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Gold Coast.

  • Australia's First Upside Down House Photo Experience: $13
  • Spring Brook National Park Self Guided Driving Tour: $13
  • SkyPoint Observation Deck Ticket: $24
  • Surfers Paradise: IceBar Entry Ticket and Drink: $30
  • Surfer's Paradise Sightseeing Cruise: $30
  • Gold Coast Morning Tea Cruise from Surfers Paradise: $33
  • Surfers Paradise and Midday River Cruise: $33
  • Gold Coast Sunset River Cruise: $37
  • Aquaduck City Tour and River Cruise: $37
  • City Lights Cruise: $37
  • Aquaduck Gold Coast 1 hour City and River Tour: $37
  • Surfers Paradise Sunset Cruise: $37

Tours and Activities in Fraser Island

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Fraser Island are as follows:

  • 2 Hours Hervey Bay Funset Cruise: $54
  • Discovery K'gari (Fraser Island) Day Tour - From Noosa: $203
  • Discovery K'gari (Fraser Island) Day Tour - From Rainbow Beach: $189
  • From Hervey Bay: K'gari/Fraser Island 2-Day Tour with Meals: $317
  • Hervey Bay Ultimate Whale Watching Cruise: $74
  • Hervey Bay Whale Watching Cruise: $101
  • Hervey Bay: Best Value Half Day Whale Watching Cruise : $81
  • K'gari (Fraser Island) Day Tour: $184
  • Remote Fraser Island Experience: $169
  • Remote K'gari (Fraser Island) & Whale Experience: $169

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Gold Coast $5.28
    Fraser Island $21

Sample the Local Flavors in Gold Coast

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Gold Coast:

  • Sirromet Cellar Door Wine Tasting Public Tour with Lunch: $44
  • Northern Rivers Wine Tour: $115
  • Tamborine Mountain Wine Tour with 2-Course Lunch: $126
  • Full-Day Guided Wine Tour in Mt Tamborine From Gold Coast : $135
  • Mount Tamborine Wine Tasting Tour from Brisbane or the Gold Coast: $143
  • Private Bespoke Hinterland Heritage Wine Tour: $163


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Gold Coast and Fraser Island, we can see that Fraser Island is more expensive. And not only is Gold Coast much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Gold Coast would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Gold Coast and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Fraser Island would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Fraser Island than you might in Gold Coast.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Gold Coast Expensive? and Is Fraser Island Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island in the Summer?

Both Fraser Island and Gold Coast during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Gold Coast for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Fraser Island because of the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

In January, Gold Coast is generally around the same temperature as Fraser Island. Daily temperatures in Gold Coast average around 25°C (77°F), and Fraser Island fluctuates around 26°C (78°F).

Fraser Island gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Gold Coast. Gold Coast usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Fraser Island. Gold Coast gets 167 mm (6.6 in) of rain, while Fraser Island receives 164 mm (6.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Gold Coast 25°C (77°F) 
    Fraser Island 26°C (78°F)

Should I visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Gold Coast and Fraser Island. The autumn months attract visitors to Gold Coast because of the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the shopping scene. Also, the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Fraser Island this time of year.

Gold Coast is around the same temperature as Fraser Island in the autumn. The daily temperature in Gold Coast averages around 22°C (71°F) in April, and Fraser Island fluctuates around 22°C (72°F).

Gold Coast gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In April, Gold Coast usually receives more rain than Fraser Island. Gold Coast gets 101 mm (4 in) of rain, while Fraser Island receives 87 mm (3.4 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Gold Coast 22°C (71°F) 
    Fraser Island 22°C (72°F)

Should I visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Gold Coast as well as Fraser Island. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Gold Coast this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Fraser Island for the cuisine.

In the winter, Gold Coast is around the same temperature as Fraser Island. Typically, the winter temperatures in Gold Coast in July average around 15°C (59°F), and Fraser Island averages at about 15°C (59°F).

Gold Coast usually gets more rain in July than Fraser Island. Gold Coast gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Fraser Island receives 59 mm (2.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Gold Coast 15°C (59°F) 
    Fraser Island 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Gold Coast or Fraser Island in the Spring?

Both Fraser Island and Gold Coast are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Gold Coast for the beaches and the activities around the city. Also, many visitors come to Fraser Island in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In October, Gold Coast is generally around the same temperature as Fraser Island. Daily temperatures in Gold Coast average around 21°C (69°F), and Fraser Island fluctuates around 21°C (71°F).

It's quite rainy in Gold Coast. In October, Gold Coast usually receives more rain than Fraser Island. Gold Coast gets 103 mm (4 in) of rain, while Fraser Island receives 75 mm (2.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Gold Coast 21°C (69°F) 
    Fraser Island 21°C (71°F)

Typical Weather for Fraser Island and Gold Coast

Gold Coast Fraser Island
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 25°C (77°F) 167 mm (6.6 in) 26°C (78°F) 164 mm (6.5 in)
Feb 25°C (77°F) 157 mm (6.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Mar 24°C (75°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 24°C (76°F) 134 mm (5.3 in)
Apr 22°C (71°F) 101 mm (4 in) 22°C (72°F) 87 mm (3.4 in)
May 19°C (66°F) 91 mm (3.6 in) 19°C (66°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Jun 16°C (61°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 16°C (61°F) 64 mm (2.5 in)
Jul 15°C (59°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 15°C (59°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Aug 16°C (61°F) 46 mm (1.8 in) 16°C (61°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
Sep 18°C (65°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 19°C (65°F) 29 mm (1.1 in)
Oct 21°C (69°F) 103 mm (4 in) 21°C (71°F) 75 mm (2.9 in)
Nov 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 106 mm (4.2 in)
Dec 24°C (76°F) 129 mm (5.1 in) 25°C (77°F) 134 mm (5.3 in)