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.

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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.


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11. Visit Mt Tamborine

Step away from the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast and go wine tasting in Mt Tamborine. With its fair share of bush walks, rich history and culinary experiences, you'll definitely want to set aside some time to explore the outdoors in Mt Tamborine.


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

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Australia flights from $80 return

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Australia family holidays from $50

Available on select travel dates. Destinations include Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Perth, Noosa, Blue Mountains and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 23% off Australia flight experiences

Available on select travel dates on hot air balloon flights, scenic flights, aerobatic flights and more. Destinations include Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Byron Bay, Sydney, Whitsundays, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

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Australia skydiving experiences from $279

Available on select travel dates. Destinations include Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Yarra Valley, Perth, Melbourne, Uluru and more. T&Cs apply.

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Australia-wide flights from $65 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Sydney, Hobart, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia and Qantas. T&Cs apply.

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Australia hotels from $37 per night

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2+ nights Australia getaways with flights from $200

Available on select travel dates to Gold Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and more.

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Up to 25% off Australia and Oceania tours

Available on select travel dates until 2022 to Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Wellington, Fiji and more. T&Cs apply.

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FLASH SALE

Get up to 20% off 3+ day rentals

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Australia flights from $35 each way with Jetstar

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Up to 51% off Gold Coast hot air balloon flight

Available until 21 March 2021 for a 30-60 minutes experience. T&Cs apply.

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Australia flights from $79 each way

Available on select flights from February - September 2021 to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina and Launceston-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Extra $50 off Queensland getaways

Plus get up to 19% off stays from 6 January - 30 June 2021 when you spend a minimum of $250. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Townsville and more. Exclusive for Trip.com members. Membership is free. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 15% off Australia tours

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Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Gold Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra, Cairns, Hamilton Island and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Jetstar sale: Australia-wide flights from $35 each way

Available on select flights from February - September 2021 to Launceston, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Gold Coast homestays from $23 per night

Available on select stay dates. T&Cs apply.

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Australia-wide homestays from $4 per night

Available on select stay dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 70% off Gold Coast stays + an extra 5% off with code

Available on select travel dates. T&Cs apply.

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Exclusive

$20 off Australia-wide rentals

Available on rentals until 30 April 2021 when you spend a minimum of $200. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

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Free flight change fees and cancellation fees

Available on flights until 30 June 2021 to Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Broome, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

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Extra $50 off Queensland getaways

Plus get up to 19% off stays from 6 January - 30 June 2021 when you spend a minimum of $250. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Townsville and more. Exclusive for Trip.com members. Membership is free. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 31% off Gold Coast jet boat ride

Available for travel until 31 January 2021 for a 55-minute experience. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 30% off Budget car hires

Available on select rental dates across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

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Available on select stay dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

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Available on flights in January 2021 to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, Perth and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina with FlyPelican. Other airlines include Virgin Australia from $96, Qantas from $133 and more. T&Cs apply.

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Available on stay until February 2021 in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Hobart, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

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Up to 20% off base rate

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Popular Gold Coast deals coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
22 Jan 2021 Get up to 20% off 3+ day rentals 210****
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20 Jan 2021 Up to 70% off Gold Coast stays + an extra 5% off with code GOL****
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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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