A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Rockhampton vs. Gold Coast for Nightlife, Beaches, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

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

Should I visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast? 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.

Rockhampton

Rockhampton is a charming, cultural, and natural town. With fun activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a colorful, high energy, and fun-filled coastline. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, and beaches.

Rockhampton and Gold Coast: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit


Is there more to do in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Gold Coast than Rockhampton. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Gold Coast is very popular for its nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, shopping, and big city activities, while Rockhampton attracts visitors for its small town charm. Gold Coast is more touristy than Rockhampton and is known for its colorful theme parks, thrilling water sports, and nearby rainforests. It is also well known for the long sandy beaches. Rockhampton is famous for its cultural centers and surrounding national parks.

How is Rockhampton different from Gold Coast?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

You'll find a number of high quality museums and attractions in both Gold Coast and Rockhampton.

Rockhampton offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. While many people come for the area's natural beauty, there are also educational centers where you can learn about the indigenous culture. Make sure you visit the Dreamtime Cultural Centre as well as the Rockhampton Museum of Art. Also of interest are the Rockhampton Heritage Village and the Mount Morgan Historical Railway Museum.

Many visitors head to Gold Coast specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. 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.


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

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Foodies will find both Rockhampton and Gold Coast both to be high quality destinations.

Rockhampton has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Despite its small size, the food scene is surprisingly diverse. There are local cafes that offer local produce, waterfront restaurants that have great views, and casual international eateries, as well as low key pubs.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Gold Coast makes for a great culinary experience. 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.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Nightlife?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for its evening party scene. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife.

People head to Gold Coast just to party. 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.

Rockhampton has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. It's a small place, but there are still a number of pubs and bars around town. Many visitors enjoy going to a coastal beach bar for the evening.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Resorts?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for its luxury resorts. However, Rockhampton is not a resort destination.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Gold Coast is a great choice. 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.

Rockhampton is not a resort destination.


Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is an excellent place to visit for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Rockhampton is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting 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.

Rockhampton is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Beaches?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for the beach. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its beaches.

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.

Many people head to Rockhampton to enjoy the beach. The town is about 40 kilometers inland from the Capricorn Coast beaches.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Hiking?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

If you're looking to go hiking, Rockhampton and Gold Coast both have high quality trails.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Rockhampton. The area has several national parks that are perfect for an avid bush walker or anyone looking for an afternoon in nature. Whether you're interested in a day trip or overnight camping trip, there are many natural scenic areas nearby.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Gold Coast. 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.


Is the Shopping Better in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is an excellent place to visit for its shopping areas. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Gold Coast. There are large outlet malls, outdoor markets, and designer shopping centers. You'll find trendy fashion designers as well as the typical souvenir shops.

Rockhampton is a great destination for shopping. There are several shopping centers in town where you can pick up anything you might need.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Families?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Gold Coast is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Rockhampton is a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will enjoy a visit to the Rockhampton Heritage Village. You can also picnic and walk around the nearby Mount Etna Caves National Park or explore the Capricorn Caves which is about half an hour outside of town. Other kid-friendly places include Kershaw Gardens and Rockhampton Botanic Gardens.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Couples?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for couples. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

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.

Couples visit Rockhampton frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Near several great national parks and interesting outdoor settings, this is a wonderful couple's destination. There are sunset cruises and beautiful gardens as well as wellness spas and great food and wine.


Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a world-class destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Rockhampton is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Gold Coast, as it is a very popular coastline for budget travelers. 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.

Rockhampton is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels in the area as well as a low key backpacker scene.

Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast Better for Students?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Rockhampton is a popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Gold Coast is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Rockhampton. The city has universities that attract an international crowd. It's a friendly setting that welcomes cultural diversity.

Gold Coast is not popular with students.

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

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Gold Coast is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Rockhampton is lacking in options for its public transit.

Many visitors use the public transit system in Gold Coast. There's a bus, train, and tram network that's operated by TransLink and runs along the coast.

Public transit is generally limited in Rockhampton. There are regional buses operated by Sunbus.


Is Rockhampton or Gold Coast a more walkable city?

Rockhampton
Gold Coast

Rockhampton and Gold Coast are nice when it comes to walkability.

Rockhampton is a somewhat walkable town. It's fun to explore the Riverside Precinct on foot.

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

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

Should I spend more time in Gold Coast or Rockhampton?

How long in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Both Rockhampton and Gold Coast have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Gold Coast than in Rockhampton. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Rockhampton, and 3-7 days is enough time in Gold Coast.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Gold Coast than Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton or Gold Coast? Ideal Length of Stay
    Rockhampton 2-4 
    Gold Coast 3-7

One day in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

With museums and nightlife around the traditional town of Rockhampton, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. 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.

Visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the fun-filled coastline of Gold Coast. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A weekend in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Rockhampton, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the colorful destination of Gold Coast. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This coastline offers something for everyone. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.


Five days in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Rockhampton, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Visitors enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the vibrant coastline of Gold Coast. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Many people spend five days here.If you enjoy all that's offered here, then five days is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A week in Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Rockhampton is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. 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.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Gold Coast. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for one week. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. In one week, you should have a good grasp of this coastline.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Australia, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Sydney, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Melbourne, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Australia.


Which place is cheaper, Gold Coast or Rockhampton?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Rockhampton is $173, while the average daily cost in Gold Coast is $100. 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 Rockhampton and Gold Coast in more detail.



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

Looking for a hotel in Rockhampton or Gold Coast? 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 Rockhampton


Hotels in Gold Coast


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Rockhampton Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Rockhampton $20
    Gold Coast $23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Gold Coast

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

  • Movie World To Brisbane Hotel One Way Transfer: $27
  • Theme Park Transfer: $563
  • Tangalooma Snorkel the Wrecks Cruise Transfers: $156
  • Tangalooma Marine Discovery Day Cruise Transfers: $149
  • Tangalooma Desert Safari Day Cruise Transfers: $149
  • Tangalooma Beach Day Cruise with Bus Transfers: $116
  • Chill Out at Byron Bay Bus Transfer: $59
  • Australia Zoo Ticket and Roundtrip Transfer: $102
  • Airport to Hotel Return Transfer: $21
  • Gold Coast Airport: One-Way Private Transfer to Gold Coast: $39
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfer: Gold Coast to Airport OOL in Luxury Van: $127
  • Gold Coast Airport Transfer: Gold Coast to Airport OOL in Luxury Car: $128

Is it cheaper to fly into Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Prices for flights to both Gold Coast and Rockhampton 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
    Rockhampton $50
    Gold Coast $28

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.
    Rockhampton $40
    Gold Coast $19

Tours and Activities in Gold Coast

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

  • Whale Watching Australia Experience (3hours): $81
  • 1.5 hr Jet Ski Safari tour to South Stradbroke Island!: $189
  • 2 Hours Dolphin Kayaking & Snorkeling Tour on the Broadwater: $51
  • 2.5 hr Jet Ski Safaris tour - Ultimate Adventure + island stop: $270
  • 2.5hr Gold Coast Kayaking & snorkelling tour: $53
  • 3-Day Ticket: Dreamworld with WhiteWaterWorld & SkyPoint: $99
  • 30min Jet Ski Tour in Surfers Paradise: $81
  • Aquaduck Gold Coast 1 hour City and River Tour: $37
  • Australia's First Upside Down House Photo Experience: $10
  • Brisbane: Winery Tour with Tastings and 2-Course Lunch: $152
  • Broadwater Morning Cruise: $39
  • Broadwater Morning Cruise with Spirit of Gold Coast: $40

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Rockhampton $13
    Gold Coast $5.28

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 Tasting Tour with 2-Course Lunch: $126
  • Full-Day Guided Wine Tour in Mt Tamborine From Gold Coast : $135
  • Private Bespoke Hinterland Heritage Wine Tour: $162


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Rockhampton and Gold Coast, we can see that Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rockhampton 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 Rockhampton Expensive? and Is Gold Coast Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Gold Coast has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Rockhampton. When comparing the sizes of Rockhampton and Gold Coast, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Rockhampton and Gold Coast. The summer months attract visitors to Rockhampton because of the beaches, the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Gold Coast this time of year.

Rockhampton is around the same temperature as Gold Coast in the summer. The daily temperature in Rockhampton averages around 27°C (81°F) in January, and Gold Coast fluctuates around 25°C (77°F).

Gold Coast receives a lot of rain in the summer. Rockhampton gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Rockhampton usually receives less rain than Gold Coast. Rockhampton gets 124 mm (4.9 in) of rain, while Gold Coast receives 167 mm (6.6 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Rockhampton 27°C (81°F) 
    Gold Coast 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Rockhampton as well as Gold Coast. The hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the small town atmosphere are the main draw to Rockhampton this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Gold Coast for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Rockhampton is around the same temperature as Gold Coast. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Rockhampton in April average around 23°C (74°F), and Gold Coast averages at about 22°C (71°F).

It's quite rainy in Gold Coast. Rockhampton usually gets less rain in April than Gold Coast. Rockhampton gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Gold Coast receives 101 mm (4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Rockhampton 23°C (74°F) 
    Gold Coast 22°C (71°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast in the Winter?

Both Gold Coast and Rockhampton are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Rockhampton for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to Gold Coast in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In July, Rockhampton is generally around the same temperature as Gold Coast. Daily temperatures in Rockhampton average around 16°C (61°F), and Gold Coast fluctuates around 15°C (59°F).

In July, Rockhampton usually receives less rain than Gold Coast. Rockhampton gets 29 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Gold Coast receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Rockhampton 16°C (61°F) 
    Gold Coast 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Rockhampton or Gold Coast in the Spring?

Both Gold Coast and Rockhampton during the spring are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Rockhampton in the spring for the beaches and the small town charm. Furthermore, most visitors come to Gold Coast for the beaches and the activities around the city during these months.

Rockhampton is a little warmer than Gold Coast in the spring. The daily temperature in Rockhampton averages around 23°C (74°F) in October, and Gold Coast fluctuates around 21°C (69°F).

Gold Coast gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Rockhampton usually gets less rain in October than Gold Coast. Rockhampton gets 47 mm (1.9 in) of rain, while Gold Coast receives 103 mm (4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Rockhampton 23°C (74°F) 
    Gold Coast 21°C (69°F)

Typical Weather for Gold Coast and Rockhampton

Rockhampton Gold Coast
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (81°F) 124 mm (4.9 in) 25°C (77°F) 167 mm (6.6 in)
Feb 27°C (80°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 25°C (77°F) 157 mm (6.2 in)
Mar 26°C (78°F) 109 mm (4.3 in) 24°C (75°F) 140 mm (5.5 in)
Apr 23°C (74°F) 51 mm (2 in) 22°C (71°F) 101 mm (4 in)
May 20°C (69°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 19°C (66°F) 91 mm (3.6 in)
Jun 17°C (63°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 16°C (61°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Jul 16°C (61°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 15°C (59°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Aug 18°C (64°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 16°C (61°F) 46 mm (1.8 in)
Sep 20°C (69°F) 27 mm (1.1 in) 18°C (65°F) 30 mm (1.2 in)
Oct 23°C (74°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 21°C (69°F) 103 mm (4 in)
Nov 26°C (78°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 23°C (73°F) 118 mm (4.6 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 125 mm (4.9 in) 24°C (76°F) 129 mm (5.1 in)