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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.

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. 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


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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

Wave Break Island Snorkel Tour on the Gold Coast from Viator

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

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 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
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 four

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 five

View details
<a href=OReilly’s Mountain Green Mountains tour from Gold Coast" />

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
<a href=Hinterland and Gold Coast" />

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

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

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

RedBalloon RedBalloon

Up to 50% off driving experiences

Valid for use on select driving experiences. Destinations include Brisbane, Hunter Valley, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal expires

Virgin Australia - Deals Virgin Australia - Deals

Domestic flights from $75

Valid for travel from 9 January - 3 July 2019. Sample fare is Ballina Byron-Sydney.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal expires

Looking4Parking Looking4Parking
Exclusive

Up to 15% off airport parking, port parking and transfers

Valid on all dates on select Australia destinations, including Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code expires

Accor Hotels Accor Hotels

Up to 50% off Australia hotel packages

Valid for stays until 31 March 2019. T&Cs apply.

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Deal expires

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to $1,170 off Australia and New Zealand tours

Valid for travel from 29 October 2018 - 30 January 2019. Destinations include Auckland, Wellington, Adelaide, Cairns, Alice Springs, Uluru and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

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Deal expires

Rentalcars.com Rentalcars.com

Up to 20% off car hire

Compare car hire prices on Rentalcars.com and save up to 20% compared to booking direct.

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Skydive Australia Skydive Australia

Up to $110 off skydiving

Valid on select 2018 dates. Locations include Byron Bay, Hunter Valley, Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Skiddoo Skiddoo

Australia-wide flights from $113 return

Valid for travel between August - October 2018 and February 2019. Sample fare is Melbourne-Hobart. Destinations include Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Sydney, Darwin and more.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal expires

UBER UBER
Exclusive

$20 off your first ride

Valid for an instant $20 off in all cities across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. First ride only.

Last verified

Coupon code expires

Avis Avis

Earn double Qantas points on 4+ days car hire

Valid on until 16 December 2018 across Australia. Minimum rental of 4 days to redeem offer. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code expires

Groupon Groupon

Up to 11% off Movie World Gold Coast ticket + Extra 10% off

Valid for single entry until 30 November 2018. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code expires

Groupon Groupon

Up to 13% off Sea World Gold Coast ticket + Extra 10% off

Valid for single entry until 30 November 2018. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code expires

Groupon Groupon

Up to 12% off Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast ticket + Extra 10% off with code

Valid for single entry until 30 November 2018. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Gift It Now Gift It Now

Up to 20% off experiences

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.

Last verified

Viator Viator

Dreamworld Gold Coast ticket from $95

Valid for one-day entry for one person. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Get deal

Deal expires

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to 67% off + extra $15 with code

Valid sitewide on experiences $79 or more across Australia including skydiving, driving, go karting, sailing, hot air ballooning, diving, bridge climbing and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Jayride Jayride

Gold Coast airport transfers from $23.47

Valid on shared transfers in the Gold Coast. Sample price is from the airport to Surfers Paradise.

Last verified

Hotelopia Hotelopia

Up to 20% off Gold Coast hotels

Valid on select dates and hotels across Gold Coast. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Choice Hotels Choice Hotels

Up to 10% off stays

Valid on select dates when booked between 2-30 days in advance and prepaid at time of booking. Available at locations across Australia and New Zealand.

Last verified

Otel.com Otel.com

Extra 8% off hotel bookings

Valid on hotel stays worldwide on all dates, including over holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Last verified

Groupon Groupon

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),

Last verified

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 on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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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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