Longer than travelling by car.
Having to switch from Rail to Bus.
As highlighted in much of our content, the best bargains for Brisbane residents often require a trip to Gold Coast Airport. Whilst there a number of reliable airport transfer services which can pick passengers up from all corners of Brisbane to be swiftly deposited at Coolangatta, many people have asked me whether it is feasible to rely on public transport. The answer: yes. I have on a number of occasions taken the public transport route to Gold Coast airport for both domestic and international flights. There are however a few factors one has to consider.
The first is timing. The journey requires a combination of rail and bus travel which takes approximately 2 hours (based on Central Station to Varsity Lakes Station to Gold Coast Airport). Depending on where you are travelling from the journey by car can take 60 to 90 minutes from Brisbane City. The connecting leg from Varsity Lakes to Gold Coast Airport requires a local bus service (761 – Tweed Heads) which takes approximately 30 minutes meandering through the suburban streets of Elanora and Currumbin. This is also not an ideal bus to take during school hours. The train is very efficient and almost always on time. With a buffer approximately 10 minutes and the fact that the bus is more likely to be a couple of minutes late than early, the prospect of missing the connection is rarely a concern.
The second factor is cost. As South East Queensland has some of the world’s most expensive public transport, it is a concern that this option may not be all that much cheaper. Currently a one-way go card Adult fare for this journey (Central Station to Gold Coast Airport) is AUD17.14 (peak) or AUD13.72. (off peak) Students and Concession card holders can travel at the rate of AUD8.57 (peak) or AUD6.86 (off peak). Non-go card holders will pay up to AUD24.90 (peak) or AUD12.50 (off peak) for this fare when purchasing a paper ticket. One other major incentive is Translink’s free travel offer after 9 journeys in one week. If travelling on the weekend, many commuters are likely to be on free trips in which case you pay the grand total of AUD0.00.
The third factor is comfort. Whilst the public transport option is never going to be as comfortable as your own car or a dedicated shuttle bus, it easy enough to make the time fly. I always load up my iPad with TV shows and Movies to kill the couple of hours and Queensland rail city trains between Brisbane City and the Gold Coast are now almost always equipped with free Wi-Fi. The trains also have toilets on-board if the thought of a 90 minute train ride makes you nervous.
For me, I’m always happy to take the public transport options if possible, however I am yet to attempt it for an early morning flight. Whilst the public transport schedules do permit (see translink’s journey planner), I’ve so far gone for the more chauffeured options at those ungodly hours. In any case, I enjoy that most trips to the Gold Coast Airport I find myself hopping off a train/bus so distracted by my own personal entertainment that I didn’t even notice the last two hours and then relishing the fact this it was completely free.
For a more up to date version, especially if you have a flight leaving Gold Coast after 9.30am, we’ve UPDATED the information for you.