Gold Coast – the 6th largest city in Australia and a popular holiday destination in Queensland, has for long been known for its beaches. If you have been reading my earlier posts on this city, you know that it is much more than its gorgeous beaches. There is just so many Gold Coast attractions that even a week might feel too short. And given, the queries that I have been getting on Gold Coast, I thought it is best if I share them all in one single post on – Things to do in Gold Coast.
In this post, I will not just share Things to do in Gold Coast but also, travel tips on how to get there, what to expect, where to stay etc. In some way, you can refer to this as your mini Travel Guide to Gold Coast. So, without further ado – let’s get started.
Things to do in Gold Coast
1) Hit the Beaches
The obvious thing to do in Gold Coast – right? However, this list would not be complete without mentioning that upfront. Just pick one of the many Gold Coast beaches I have shared and let’s get started on your favorite activity.
Surfing, of course, is the most popular on these beaches. And if you don’t know how to, just join one of the many Surf Schools on their beaches. Try some Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Kirra Beach. Head out on a cruise for some whale watching. Or maybe, you should try cruising those waves on a Jet Ski. There is just so much to do along those beaches. They are even perfect for a quiet evening stroll.
Don’t forget to try out the lovely food joints along these beaches. I highly recommend the Surf club at Currumbin beach or the Cafe ‘D Bar at Coolangatta. The sea breeze and the views do at that extra flavor to the food here.
2) Explore the Great Barrier Reef
The Epic Reef that spans over 2300 kilometers of coastline off Queensland definitely needs to be explored if you are in Gold Coast. The best part of it is that you not just get to explore the waters but experience a lovely seaplane ride with some mind blowing views. Plan a day or two at the Lady Elliot Island. Swim with the turtles while you snorkel or dive to see the homeland of the Nemos. Trust me when I say that it is a colorful world down there.
Check my own experience at the Lady Elliot Island through this post. It will also, give you information on how to get there.
3) Try Hot Air Ballooning
The first preview to the statement that “Gold Coast is much more than just beaches” is what you get when you go Hot Air Ballooning in Gold Coast. A bird’s eye view of the stunning Hinterland – with its green fields, sun rays lighting up the various lakes, Kangaroos hopping around and dreamy colors – there is nothing that you will not like when you are on that Hot Air Balloon.
One of my most popular posts, anyone who has seen it has already signed up for this activity. Go on – check it out to know more details on how you can book yourself for a Hot Air Balloon Ride is definitely one of the key Gold Coast Attractions.
4) Explore the Gold Coast Hinterland
Take a day trip to discover what lies on the other side of the coastline of Gold Coast. Go hiking or bird watching at one of the national parks of Gold Coast. The beautiful mountains, green valleys, umpteen waterfalls and amazing biodiversity will refresh and delight you. I discovered some of this at the Springbrook National Park. You can also, try Mount Tamborine or the Lamington National Park. There are camping options also, available for those who are keen to spend more time here. It might be worth doing those nocturnal excursions if you are camping – you might even stumble on glow worm caves like that at the Natural Bridge.
5) Pick a Theme Park in Gold Coast
Get some thrill into your excursions by visiting one of the many theme parks in Gold Coast. For those who love the Wet and Wild – try the Sea World or the Wet N Wild park. If you fancy snow, try the Mini Snow Park. As for me, I went to the Dreamworld – complete with a wet and dry section as well as a fun animal section too. Dreamworld also has a movie section with characters like the Shrek and Puss in Boots. Incidentally, it is Australia’s largest theme park. 🙂
6) Cuddle a Koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
I know that you are all going – Aww! as you look at this picture. Well, instead of me, that could be you. All you have to do is head to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, The place is a treat with all the unique Australian animals. You can feed the Kangaroos or see the pretty Australian birds in action in the bird show. The Sanctuary has a lot of fun activities like a Treetop hunt. I could not get enough of it when I visited the Currumbin Sanctuary.
7) Hire a Fire Truck
It was my childhood fantasy to be able to don a helmet and ride a fire truck. There is something about those bright red engines that make them so attractive. Or maybe, in some way it is about being able to play with those fire hoses. Well, I got to do just that in Gold Coast. You can too – you just have to book a Fire4Hire. The company uses retired fire engines to take people on tours, halts at a lovely open park where you can hose down everything in sight (including your friends ;-)) A very unique thing to do in Gold Coast and definitely worth it, especially if you have a special occasion to celebrate.
8) Go Jet Boating
Speed boating with a difference. The difference being that while you ride over those waves, you are dunked in water. The sudden twists and 360-degree spins are made deliberately to add those chills and thrills to your ride – eventually soaking you from top to bottom. The Jetboating tour takes you along the many canals of Gold Coast and showcases the lovely sights hidden amid them – like the mansions of the rich and famous and mangrove vegetation on tiny isles. I loved everything about it, except that I wish I was allowed to ride it – like the Seakart in Mauritius. Ah well! Guess I have to train for that. 😉
9) Climb the Highest Building in Gold Coast
Not from within – but from the outside! You got to get through that glass door and step out of it on the 77th floor of the highest building in Gold coast. Don’t worry, it is all safe as I discovered when I did my Skypoint Climb at Q1. The initial butterflies that I had given way to awe as I experienced the most mindblowing views of Gold Coast City. You can even try a dusk or a night climb. The climb also, initiates you to the layout of the Gold Coast City. Not sure of this Gold Coast attraction – read this post on my experience. It will throw some light on what to expect and also, how to go about booking this activity.
10) Try some shopping in Gold Coast
Whether you are a mall enthusiast or a Street shopper, there are enough options for you to indulge in Gold Coast. Head to the popular Pacific Fair for not just those branded stores but some fun, play and relaxation for the mall is quite like a resort. If you stroll down Surfer’s Paradise at night, you can visit the lovely flea market along the beach. From Beaded Jewelry to pretty purses, there are some lovely wares that will tempt you. You might even see some bands playing around. Given this kind of a vibe, it is not unusual to note that the Surfers Paradise Markets is one of the key things to do in Surfers Paradise.
One of the other markets that I enjoyed was the NightQuarter markets. The place is like a carnival with games, craft stores and tons of food stalls. I highly recommend the dessert stalls – especially those donuts. Yummy! 😉
Well, that ends my list of things to do in Gold Coast. Which one would be your favorite? Comment in and let me know. Won’t be surprised if you say – “All of them!” ;- )
Getting to Gold Coast
Gold Coast City has an international airport with a decent connectivity, You can directly land here through flights like Flyscoot.
Stay in Gold Coast
- Gold Coast has a plethora of hotels, hostels and resorts that suit all kinds of budgets. Any of these hotels in Gold Coast can be booked online.
- Surfer’s Paradise is central to the Gold Coast city and a good location to stay in. I stayed at the QT Gold Coast and The Island during my visit to the Gold Coast. Both of these are close to the beach and are very comfortable.
- You can even stay at Currumbin or Coolangatta for the beaches. However, these are a little away from the main city,
- The Gold Coast Hinterland too, offers stays in camps and small home stays for those interested in staying around the mountains.
Visas for Australia
- Check your eligibility for Visa through this website. For certain countries, you will be able to apply for your Australian Visa through the same website.
- If you are an Indian, you will need to apply for the Australian Visa at least a month before you head to the country.
- For the Visas, you will need to submit the following documents to the Australian Consulate – either directly or through an agent, You can even apply through VFS Global Website.
- A passport with a validity of at least 6 months
- All the old passport copies
- 3 passport sized photos
- Income Tax returns for the last 3 years
- Original and Updated Bank statements for the last 6 months. You will need to have a bank stamp on the same.
- Business Proof by way of company registration certificate or articles of the memorandum or VAT registration certificate
- If you are an employee, you will need to submit 6 months of Pay slips, your appointment letter and leave letter
- If you own a property, please submit copies of your property papers
- Any FD receipt copies
- Your Hotel and Flight ticket copies.
- Once you get the Visa, you will need to take a copy of the same and carry it with you.
General Travel Tips for Gold Coast
- There are plenty of Traveler SIM cards available at the airport for Gold Coast. All of them work well.
- Carry Australian Dollars for your transactions. Most of the places in Gold Coast also, accept cards.
- You can use UBER Cabs for internal transport. Alternately, you can book with companies like Australian Meet And Greet that pick and drop you from different locations based on your itinerary. I experienced them during this travel and loved the punctuality and comfort that they offered.
- Please do not forget to carry an Australian Adapter. This is different from the regular travel adapters you get. I got a shock of my life when I realized that I could not use my universal one here. I had to rush and buy one for 7 AUD on arrival 😉
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Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.