The Gold Coast has a great public transport system called TransLink that makes travelling around the city without a car simple and convenient.

If you’re keen to navigate the Gold Coast’s public transport system, we’ve put together a handy guide.

Buses

Gold Coast buses run all over the city. While the tram is a great option for central parts of the Gold Coast, buses can take you further and to more outer suburbs than trams or trains.

There are more than 60 bus routes around the city, with most routes operating every 15 minutes on all days of the week between 7am and 7pm. Services are less frequent outside of these hours.

Check the TransLink website for a full list of bus timetables and routes.

Trams

The Gold Coast tram system is called the G:link. It runs from Helensvale Station, through Nerang, Southport and Surfers Paradise, to Broadbeach. If you’re living in any of these suburbs along the tram line, you can use the tram to get to Griffith University or the TAFE campus in Southport.

On weekdays, trams run every 7.5 minutes from 7am to 7pm and every 15 minutes outside of these hours. On weekends, they run every 10 minutes from 7am to 7pm and every 15 minutes outside of these hours. There are very limited services between midnight and 5am on any day of the week.

Trains

The train system connects the Gold Coast to Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane. It offers a direct line that runs between Varsity Lakes Station to Brisbane Airport, and it can get you to Brisbane’s Central Station in around an hour.

The Gold Coast has six train stations: Ormeau, Coomera, Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes. Services between the Gold Coast and Brisbane Airport run frequently, with trains departing every 15 minutes during peak times and every 30 minutes during off-peak times.

Bus connections are available from the stations to get you into the heart of Southport and Surfers Paradise. You also have the option of transferring to regional trains that will take you to the outer suburbs of Brisbane.

The Go Card and How To Use It

You’ll need a go card to use the public transport system on the Gold Coast. Purchase one from any 7-Eleven store, selected retailers, station ticket offices, online, or over the phone, and add credit to start using it.

Then, it’s a simple matter of topping up the card as needed. If you register your go card, you can add credit online. Otherwise, top up at fare machines, ticket offices, or at one of the many go card retailers around the city.

Touch on before you start any trip. Remember to touch off when you exit the vehicle so you will be charged the correct fare for each ride.

Zones

South East Queensland is divided into eight public transport ‘zones’ that run from Coolangatta to outer Brisbane. The Gold Coast region runs from zones 4-7, with the majority of inner Gold Coast in zone 5.

Each time you travel across a different zone, your fare will increase.

Check the TransLink website for more information on zones and to view a zone map. Use the Journey Planner feature to calculate which zones you need to travel through and to work out your fare before you board.

Prices

Using public transport on the Gold Coast can be extremely affordable. An adult fare can be as little as $2.65 each way travelling through one zone during off-peak hours. A student concession fare can be as little as $1.32 each way.

The total cost of your ride will depend on several factors, including the number of zones you have travelled through, whether you have a student concession, and if you’re travelling during on-peak or off-peak hours.

Concession Rates

As a full-time university or TAFE student living in Queensland, you may be eligible for a student concession card. This means you can get 50% off the full fare.

You can apply by registering your go card on the TransLink website and applying for a student concession in the ‘My Details’ section.

Use the Online Services

By visiting the TransLink website or downloading the app, you’ll have access to online services that will make travelling on Gold Coast public transport much easier. View timetables, fares and zones, top up your go card, plan your journey, get stop alerts, and stay informed about service disruptions.