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Fun and sunny things to do on the Gold Coast

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

Updated

Fact checked

You can find a variety of attractions on the Gold Coast, including theme and amusement parks, beach attractions and sports, safaris, 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 for things to do 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 on the Gold Coast worth a visit. Warner Bros. Movie World, 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.

  • Pocket-friendly option: At the best of times, deals websites like Groupon, Scoopon, Klook and RedBalloon offer discounted passes.
  • The ultimate experience: Three-park (Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet'n'Wild) passes through Expedia. Alternatively if you are a member of Bupa, you might be eligible for 15% off passes.

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2. Beaches

The 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.

  • Pocket-friendly option: Hire a car and drive from beach to beach.
  • The ultimate experience: Gold Coat City Sights Tour which includes scenic cruise of Broadwater and visit to Burleigh Heads.

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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 for various group sizes.


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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, hot air balloon riding over the Gold Coast and Hinterland and a scenic helicopter ride over the city's highlights.

For something a little closer to land you can capture the Gold Coast by parasail.

Parasailing Gold Coast review

This activity was super fun and lets you sail down the Gold Coast's Coral Sea capturing views of Moonarewa Beach, Wave Break Island, Sea World and more from at least 50 metres up. It's great for families and for anyone who's afraid of heights as it eases you up so you won't even notice that you're sky high. That is, until you are.

You get the chance to be dropped into the water (a very refreshing must on a hot day) and a decent amount of time in the air (around 8–10 minutes) to wonder at your surroundings which is a mix of water, beach and bush. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Two guys getting strapped in to go parsailing.

Stephanie went parasailing on the Gold Coast on 22 February 2020 as a guest of Klook.


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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.

  • Pocket-friendly option: Snorkelling is fantastic for families.
  • The ultimate experience: Adventurous sorts have the chance to scuba dive their way through deeper waters, exploring reefs and shipwreck sites.

The Star Grand hotel.

6. The Star Grand at the Gold Coast

The Star Grand at the Gold Coast is the Gold Coast’s only casino, offering punters the chance to roll the dice or shake hands with lady luck.

The Star Grand is connected to the Convention and Exhibition Centre by a skywalk and features a hotel, award-winning restaurants, bars and stage entertainment.

The Star Grand overlooks Broadbeach and is open 24 hours.

Broadbeach Island, Broadbeach, Gold Coast


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7. Live entertainment

From ticketed events to street buskers, entertainment abounds on the Gold Coast. In particular, the Arts Centre (135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise) 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.

  • Pocket-friendly option: Gather around the beach esplanade for live and local performances.
  • The ultimate experience: Keep an eye on Ticketmaster for the latest events.

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Image: RACV Royal Pines Resort

8. Golf

The Gold Coast offers a handful of golf courses.

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 September.


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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, you'll discover mother nature's finest creations.

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:

  • Grass is Greener Festival. This boutique music festival welcomes artists the world over to play moments from the surf in Broadwater Parklands. It's held in October annually. Artists have included Amy Shark, Peking Duk, The Veronicas and TYGA.
  • 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, 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

Wave Break Island Snorkel Tour on the Gold Coast from Viator

Organised by Viator

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

$59.00

View details
Learn to Surf at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast

Learn to Surf at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast from Viator

Go Ride a Wave

Highlights:
  • Learn how to surf at one of Australia’s favourite surfing schools.
  • Lesson is approximately two 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

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

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

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

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 4

View details
Air Drop Free Fall

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

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 5

View details
O'Reilly’s Mountain Green Mountains tour from Gold Coast

O'Reilly’s Mountain Green Mountains tour from Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Grayline

Highlights:
  • Enjoy an eight-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 two and under travel free.
From AUD

$110.00pp

View details
Hinterland and Gold Coast

Hinterland and Gold Coast from finder.com.au

Grayline

Highlights:
  • Enjoy a six-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 two and under travel free.
From AUD

$115.00pp

View details
Moreton Bay Marine Park Dolphin Cruise Including Lunch

Moreton Bay Marine Park Dolphin Cruise Including Lunch from finder.com.au

Highlights:

  • Enjoy a six-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

Wotif Wotif
Exclusive

Extra 10% off hotels with code

Available on stays until 30 June 2021. Destinations include Hobart, Cairns, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and more. Maximum discount of $150. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Luxury Escapes Luxury Escapes

Up to 44% of Gold Coast getaway with flights

Available for travel until 30 June 2021. Package includes return economy airfare, accommodation at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach, breakfast and more. Valid for 2 persons.

Last verified

Deal ends

Experience Oz Experience Oz

5% off first time experience

Available on select dates on activities like tours, sightseeing cruises, skydiving, hot air balloon experience, zoo and animal interactions and more. Destinations include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and more.

Last verified

Wotif Wotif

Hot air balloon over Gold Coast from $250

Available until 6 June 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Wotif Wotif

Gold Coast hot air balloon flight with champagne breakfast from $324

Available until 6 June 2021. Includes 1 hour balloon flight, breakfast, transfers and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Experience Oz Experience Oz

Up to $40 off Gold Coast hot air balloon flight with free cruise

Available on select dates until December 2020. Includes 30 minute flight experience, hotel pick up and drop off and Gold Coast sightseeing cruise.

Last verified

Deal ends

Experience Oz Experience Oz

Up to $50 off Gold Coast hot air balloon experience

Available on select dates until December 2020. Includes 45 minute flight experience, transfers, breakfast and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Experience Oz Experience Oz

Up to $80 off Gold Coast hot air balloon experience

Available on select dates until September 2020. Includes 30 minute flight experience over the Gold Coast Hinterland and Wineries, transfers, breakfast and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to 17% off Gold Coast hot air balloon and jet boat adventure combo

Available on select dates until 2021. Includes hotel pick up and drop off, breakfast, sparkling wine and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to 20% off Gold Coast hot air balloon experience

Available on select travel dates until 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Gold Coast hot air balloon experience from $195

Available on select travel dates. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Up to $56 off Gold Coast hot air balloon and jet boat adventure combo

Available on select dates. Includes hotel pick up and drop off, breakfast, sparkling wine and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Viator Viator

Up to 15% off Australia skydiving experience

Available on select dates in 2020. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Groupon Groupon

Up to 89% Australia activities

Available as birthday gifts on select 2020 dates. Activities include getaways, attraction admission, spas, classes and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Experience Oz Experience Oz

Australia hot air balloon experience from $229

Available on select 2020 dates in Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $65 + one free date change

Available on select flights until 31 October 2020 with Jetstar. Destinations include Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Perth, Cairns, Hobart and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina Byron.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Domestic flights from $99 each way with Virgin Australia

Available on select flights from August 2020 - May 2021 to Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Darwin, Melbourne and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Gold Coast.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cudo Cudo

Up to 10% off local experiences

Join the newsletter and use promo code at checkout. Minimum spend of $49 required and valid for new subscribers only. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Wotif Wotif

Up to 11% off Australia hotels + free cancellation

Available on select 2020 dates and hotels in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Cairns, Perth and more. Offer available to logged-in Wotif account holders and Wotif newsletter subscribers. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Australia-wide flights from $96 return

Available on select dates from July - August 2020 to Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Townsville, Perth, Gold Coast and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Sydney with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Klook Klook

Up to 10% off Gold Coast City card

Available until 9 January 2021. Activities include whale watching cruise, jet boat extreme, Surfers Paradise river cruise and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to $30 off skydiving experience

Available on select 2020 dates in Sunshine Coast, Airlie Beach, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Contiki Contiki

Up to 15% off Australia tours

Available on select 2020 and 2021 dates to Byron Bay, Uluru, Perth, Whitsundays, Melbourne, Adelaide and more. Plus lock in your tour for $99 when you book by 1 September 2020. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Viator Viator

Australia Zoo by Croc Express Coach from $97.73

Available until 31 March 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Australia skydive from $199 + free $20 merchandise voucher

Available on jumps from 7,500 ft to 15,000 ft. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Up to $30 off Australia getaways

Available on select travel dates to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Blue Mountains, Cairns, Canberra and more.

Last verified

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Driving experiences from $30

Available on select dates on activities like rally driving, go karting, quad biking, and more. Destinations include Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Up to 20% off car hire

Available on pre-pay bookings from 1 April - 31 August 2020 at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Australia school holiday activities from $18

Available on select dates and activities like hop-on hop-off bus tours, zoos and animal interaction, treetop adventures and more. Destinations include Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Gold Coast school holiday activities from $27

Available on select dates and activities like zoos and animal interaction, snorkeling, scuba diving, SkyPoint climb, parasailing, getaways and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 52% off Australia hotels

Available on select stay dates from July - August 2020 in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Lastminute.com.au Lastminute.com.au

Up to 52% off Australia hotels

Available on select stay dates from July - August 2020 in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Get 3rd day free on Australia rentals

Available on rentals until 31 August 2020 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and more. Minimum of 3 days rental required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

4th day free car hire

Available on rentals from 1 April - 31 August 2020 at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and more. Minimum rental period of 4 consecutive days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Free car hire upgrade

Available on rentals from 1 April - 31 August 2020 at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and more. Minimum rental of 2 consecutive days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

7th day free car hire

Available on rentals from 1 April - 31 August 2020 at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and more. Minimum rental period of 7 consecutive days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Sea World tickets from $139

Available on select dates from July 2020 - December 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Penguin Antarctic adventure at Sea World from $129

Vouchers are valid for 3 years after date of purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Dolphin deep water adventure at Sea World from $249

Vouchers are valid for 3 years after date of purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Seal Encounter at Sea World from $79

Vouchers are valid for 3 years after date of purchase. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Popular Gold Coast deals coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
13 Jul 2020 5% off first time experience FIR****
9 Jul 2020 Up to 10% off local experiences CUD****
30 Jun 2020 Get 3rd day free on Australia rentals TPN****
30 Jun 2020 4th day free car hire TPN****
30 Jun 2020 Free car hire upgrade UPN****

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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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