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Things to do on the Gold Coast

From beaches to theme parks, these are the best attractions that the Gold Coast has to offer.

You can find a variety of attractions on the Gold Coast, including theme and amusement parks, beach attractions and sports, safaris and bushwalks and coastal vistas.

Attraction cards such as iVenture can provide you with access to some of these attractions at affordable prices.

Here are our top picks as to what you MUST see when you’re on the Gold Coast.


Top things to do on the Gold Coast

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Image: Dreamworld

1. Theme Parks

There are five major theme parks in the Gold Coast worth a visit. Warner Bros., Sea World and Wet’n’Wild are all part of the same company so it’s possible to purchase a combo pass to access all three. The same goes for Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.

You can often find cheap theme park passes to all five theme parks on Viator or if you are a member of Bupa, you might be eligible for 15% off passes.

At times, deals websites like Groupon, Scoopon, RedBalloon and OurDeal will offer discounted passes.


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2. Beaches

Gold Coast is home to over 30 beaches. Popular beaches well worth basking on include Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Main Beach.

Surfers Paradise, fondly referred to as "Surfers" is a hub of activity and the Gold Coast’s most renowned beach. Surfers boasts exceptionally white sand and enviable surf conditions.

Broadbeach is smaller but no less picturesque. Broadbeach will welcome you with its wealth of entertainment, which includes buskers, music festivals and cultural events. Visit between June and November to witness the whale migration off its pristine beach.

Lastly, Main Beach is a more affluent and less frequented beach than Surfers and is located at the mouth of the Nerang River.


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3. Cruise down the canals, rivers and broadwaters

Although renowned for its bountiful beaches, the Gold Coast is rife with canals, rivers and broadwaters that you can traverse by cruise.

Morning, afternoon and evening cruises are available as are lunch options and romantic sunset sailings.


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4. See the Gold Coast from above

Gain some perspective and look down on the beauty of golden sand as it meets the crystal blue ocean. It will be an unforgettable experience.

Your options include skydiving over the beach or a scenic helicopter ride over the city's highlights.


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5. Snorkel or dive the Gold Coast

When there's so much brilliantly bright coral beneath your feet and marine life teeming around your curious eyes, you shouldn't pass up the chance for an up-close-and-personal experience with your natural surroundings.

Snorkelling is fantastic for families while more adventurous sorts have the chance to scuba dive their way through deeper waters, exploring reefs and shipwreck sites.


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6. Jupiters Hotel and Casino

Jupiters Hotel and Casino is the Gold Coast’s only casino, offering punters the chance to roll the dice or shake hands with lady luck. Jupiters is connected to the Convention and Exhibition Centre by a skywalk and features a hotel, award-winning restaurants, bars and stage entertainment. Jupiters overlooks Broadbeach and is open 24 hours.

Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach


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7. Live entertainment

From ticketed events to street buskers, entertainment abounds on the Gold Coast. The Arts Centre, in particular, offers culture and entertainment under one roof and is a hop and a skip from Surfers Paradise Beach.

It’s a space for art exhibitions, dance performances, concerts, musicals and children’s workshops. A cinema is included in the centre and shows current and feature movies.

135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise


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Image: RACV Royal Pines Resort

8. Golf

The Gold Coast offers a handful of golfing ranges that allow visitors to putt on their greens.

The most conveniently located clubs within the Gold Coast area include RACV Royal Pines Resort, Emerald Lakes Golf Club, Palm Meadows Golf Course, Southport Golf Club, Lakelands Golf Course, Surfers Paradise Golf Course, Palmer Colonial, Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club and Mercure Gold Coast Resort.


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Image: RACV Royal Pines Resort

9. Catch a game

Thinking of attending a game while in town? An AFL or NRL game will set you right. The official AFL team of the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast Suns. AFL season runs from March to August. See here for fixture details.

The official NRL team of the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast Titans. Similarly, NRL season runs from March to July.


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10. Discover the hinterland

Connect with nature and discover the lush hinterland that lies a stone's throw from the beaches of the Gold Coast.

Whether you choose Springbrook National Park, Lamington National Park or Tamborine Mountain, day tours can take you deep into the forest where magical glow worm caves will enchant, native wildlife will delight and treetop canopy walks will excite.

All you have to do is choose which park to explore.


What's going on around the Gold Coast?

These festivals and events are worth making a special trip to the Gold Coast to catch:

  • Gold Coast Film Festival. Held late March/early April, the Gold Coast Film Festival is a 10-day celebration of international and local films and filmmakers. Part of the festival includes mini-festival/competition SIPFEST (Shorts in Paradise Festival). It features 10-minute Australian shorts from emerging filmmakers and is played on the sands of Paradise Beach.
  • Gold Coast Marathon. Officially called the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, this event offers a variety of running courses to suit different ages and abilities. Held the first weekend of July, it attracts 27,000 participants and is one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world.
  • Bleach* Festival. Held annually during March, Bleach* is a signature multi-arts festival for the area. It is filled with contemporary and artistic programming and is held at various iconic natural landscapes.
  • GLOW. After the sun has set, the Gold Coast will be illuminated by light for its annual GLOW Festival. Expect light-based interactive installations amidst live music, glow-in-the-dark yoga and stargazing. It's held during April.

Top family-friendly experiences on the Gold Coast

Wave Break Island Snorkel Tour on the Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Organised by Viator

Highlights:
  • Spot hundreds of fish and other marine live in the calm waters of Wave Break Island.
  • Includes transport, all necessary equipment and the chance to feed fish.
  • Tour is approximately 4 hours.
From AUD

$59.00

View details

Learn to Surf at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Go Ride a Wave

Highlights:
  • Learn how to surf at one of Australia’s favourite surfing schools.
  • Lesson is approximately 2 hours long and is ideal for kids, families and first-timers.
  • All necessary equipment will be provided including board and a rashie.
From AUD

$69.00 (adult) or $59 (child)

View details

Croc Express and Australia Zoo from finder.com.au

Croc Express

Highlights:
  • Pick up and drop off from your hotel included.
  • Spend six hours at the famous Australia Zoo.
  • Entrance to Australia Zoo included in your tour price.
From AUD

$90.00

View details

Old Surfers Paradise Ghost Tour + Optional Dinner from finder.com.au

Lantern Ghost Tours

Highlights:
  • 120 minute walking tour
  • Moderate level of paranormal activity
  • Family deals available
From AUD

$29.00 (adult) or $17.00 (child)

View details

Southport Cemetery Paranormal Activity Ghost Tour from finder.com.au

Lantern Ghost Tours

Highlights:
  • 120 minute walking tour
  • High level of paranormal activity
  • Children must be 12+ for this experience
From AUD

$44.00 (adult) or $24.00 (child)

View details

All Stars Flyboard Experience from finder.com.au

HydroFly – the flyboard experience

Highlights:
  • Share a 30-minute flyboard experience with three mates.
  • Choose between a hoverboard or flyboard.
  • Safety equipment, personal instruction and group GoPro video are included.
From AUD

$396.00 for a group of four

View details

Air Drop Free Fall from finder.com.au

Air Factory Trampoline Park

Highlights:
  • Feel the thrill of freefalling from 10 metres in an outdoor setting.
  • This experience is available for ages five and up. Participants must be a minimum of 20 kilograms and a maximum of 110 kilograms.
  • Available on Saturdays from 11am–3pm only, subject to weather conditions.
From AUD

$11.00 per jump

View details

Family Drive Pack from finder.com.au

Off Road Rush Queensland

Highlights:
  • Two adults will drive six laps in a V8 race buggy.
  • Up to three kids can experience three hot laps with an experienced driver.
  • Hot lap session involves jumps, races and slides in a V8 race buggy at up to 140 kilometres per hour.
From AUD

$455.00 for a family of five

View details

OReilly’s Mountain Green Mountains tour from Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Grayline

Highlights:
  • Enjoy and 8 hour coach tour in English or Japanese.
  • On this tour you’ll visit Mount Tamborine in the hinterland, wind your way to the Goat’s Track, pass the Kokoda army barracks, visit O’Reilly’s on top of the mountain and more.
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children 14 years and under. Children 2 and under travel free.
From AUD

$110.00pp

View details

Hinterland and Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Grayline

Highlights:
  • Enjoy a 6-hour cruise and coach tour of the Gold Coast and Hinterland region.
  • On this tour you’ll cruise down the Nerang River, visit Springbrook National Park, take a guided rainforest walk, view natural bridge and look for glow worms.
  • Price is per person with discounts available for children 14 years and under. Children 2 and under travel free.
From AUD

$115.00pp

View details

Moreton Bay Marine Park Dolphin Cruise Including Lunch from Viator

Highlights:

  • Enjoy an 6-hour day tour from the Gold Coast or Brisbane to Moreton Bay Marine Park
  • Look for bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead turtles, dugongs and humpback wales plus you’ll have the option to snorkel at Tangalooma Wrecks and Flinders Reef
  • Price is per person
From AUD

$109.00 (adult) or $69 (child)

View details

Top Gold Coast travel deals

25% off select Australia and New Zealand hotels

Valid at select hotels until 28 November 2018.

Australia flights on sale from $55 each way

Valid for on select dates with Tigerair. Sample fare is for Gold Coast-Sydney. Other destinations include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Whitsunday Coast, Cairns, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia-wide flights from $64 with Jetstar

Valid on select dates. Sample fare available from Melbourne to Launceston or Hobart or Sydney to Ballina. Other destinations available include Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin, Cairns.

Australia flights from $79 inc. bags + food

Valid from 1 May 2018 - 27 June 2018 on select Virgin Australia flights. Destinations include Whitsundays/Hamilton Island, Perth, Darwin, Canberra, Gold Coast and more.

10% off hotel stay with code

Valid for stays until 31 December 2017. Conditions apply.

Show code & visit siteSU****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

Unlimited entry + accommodation from just $142

Valid on stays until January 2019. Includes one night's accommodation at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast and unlimited entry to Sea World and Paradise Country.

Up to 15% off flights with code

Valid on flights booked at least 20 days in advance. Valid on domestic, trans-Tasman (New Zealand), and long/short-haul international.

Show code & visit siteGT****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

$15 off everything

Get $15 off when you spend $79 or more in one transaction. Simply enter code at checkout. Limit of one promo code per purchaser per transaction. Not valid for Gift Voucher redemptions, iFLY Indoor Skydiving Sydney products or in conjunction with the $250 Gift Voucher promotion.

Show code & visit siteEX****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

Up to 10% off Australia and New Zealand flights

Valid for bookings made 20 days in advance in economy, premium economy and business until 31 December.

Show code & visit siteCP****

After the store tab opens, come back to copy the code

50% off Awarded Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast stay

Valid for travel until 24 Dec 2018. Conditions Apply

Gold coast holiday homes from $57 per night

Book a private home or apartment in Burleigh, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Coolangatta and more on the Gold Coast from $57 per night.

Up to 70% off hotel stays and vacation packages

Destinations include Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Bali, Phuket, Fiji, Vietnam and Hawaii. Sample packages include a 5-night stay in Surfers Paradise for $299 (Regularly $579) and a 5-night package to Fiji for $999 (Regularly $2101),

Gold Coast whale watching cruises from $29

Purchase and book whale watching cruises for less than $30 with Groupon.

Queensland flights from $45 each way

Sample fares include Sydney-Gold Coast from $45, Melbourne-Gold Coast from $75 and Adelaide-Brisbane for $115.

Hotels from $99

Valid in Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne select hotels. T&C's apply.

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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    KennethMay 12, 2017

    I’m looking to take teenage son and my 2 nephews to the cold coast. Looking for cheap flights and accommodation if you can help me please.

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