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.
as to what you MUST see when you’re on the Gold Coast.
Top things to do on the Gold Coast
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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
7. Live entertainment
From ticketed events to street buskers, entertainment abounds on the Gold Coast. In particular, the Arts Centre 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
Image: RACV Royal Pines Resort
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.
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.
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.
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 Viator
Organised by Viator
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.
Valid for travel on select dates between November - December 2019 and January - June 2020. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Sydney with Qantas. Destinations include Port Hedland, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and more.
Valid on select dates and activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, fishing and more. Must book two or more people in single order. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.
Valid for use on select purchase. Minimum spend of $100 applies on activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, flying experiences, kayaking and more. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and all major cities across Australia. T&Cs apply.
Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 with Virgin Australia, Tigerair and more. Sample fare is Brisbane-Sydney with Jetstar. Other destinations include Newcastle, Cairns, Melbourne, Townsville, Darwin, Prosperine, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.
Valid for travel on select dates until May 2020 with Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar and more. Destinations close from Gold Coast include Brisbane, Toowoomba, Lamington National Park and more. T&Cs apply.
Up to 50% off experiences + extra 10% off with code
Valid on all dates, including over Christmas on activities like skydiving, quad biking, bridge climbing, canyoning, hot air ballooning, helicopter scenic flights, abseiling, scuba diving, cruises, ghost tours and more. Minimum spend of $100. T&Cs apply.
Valid on select experiences and activities like skydiving, scenic helicopter flight, kayaking, whale watching and more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Darwin and Perth. T&Cs apply.
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),
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for Travel Weekly, Escape, Thomas Cook Magazine, Showpo, The Nibbler and Hostelworld. She was also the editor of kids magazine DMAG. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping readers stretch their dollars while on holiday.
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