Aerial view of Surfers Paradise and Southport on the Gold Coast,

Credit: Martin Valigursky from stock.adobe.com

Ready to make some mischief in the sun? The Gold Coast is your playground, and this guide is the key to unlocking its best-kept secrets. Get ready to chase thrills, soak up the vibes, and make memories that will outshine the sun.

The sun's got your back, the sand's between your toes, and life is happening all around you. Of course, we're talking about the Gold Coast, and it's way more than just epic surf breaks (though don't worry, we'll get to those!). 

This place is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of deal – heart-pounding thrills, artsy vibes, and everything in between. 

Think of this guide as your inside scoop to one of Queensland’s best holiday destinations , the one that shows you those gotta-see spots, helps you dodge the crowds, and puts together a getaway that'll leave you seriously stoked.  

Whether you dream of theme park thrills, hidden rainforest trails, or nights filled with that vibrant Gold Coast energy, we've got the lowdown.  

Time for some epic Gold Coast adventures - let's map out the fun.

Top 10 Things to Do in Gold Coast – Attractions

1. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Feeding the Rainbow Lorikeets at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.  These beautifully coloured birds are the species of Australasian parrot.

Credit: SeaRain from stock.adobe.com

Kicking off our list - the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS). 

About half an hour’s drive south from the bustling centre of the Gold Coast, there’s a sprawling 27-hectare reserve of gorgeous rainforest and over 1,400 species of native animals and birds.

Think cuddly koalas, curious kangaroos, and maybe even a cheeky dingo or two. However, this place isn't just about staring at animals – you'll be feeding Kangaroos, hanging with colourful birds, steering clear of saltwater crocodiles and Tasmanian devils, and ultimately feeling that wild spirit in your very soul.

It’s a truly wonderful zoological garden experience for that alone, but it’s so much more, which is what makes it so great.

As a sanctuary, the teams here are serious about saving these incredible creatures and giving them the best life. While you’re observing these fantastic examples of wildlife, you'll also catch a glimpse of their awesome hospital, where they nurse sick animals back to health. 

With this in mind, this is more than just having a good time - your visit and contribution help keep this place wild and beautiful.

Whether you’re visiting as a family looking for a full day out or a fully-fledged wildlife warrior – this place has got you covered. Little ones will go nuts over the friendly animals while you soak up the sights and learn all about the sanctuary's awesome conservation work.

Oh, and don't forget there are plenty of events on, depending on the month you go, plus a treetop adventure course and so much more.

Visiting Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Time it right: Sure, you could breeze the sanctuary, but why not make a day of it? Aim for at least half a day to really see all the animals and make time to catch some of the awesome shows, including animal displays and Aboriginal performances.
  • Pro tip: Want cool animal selfies without the crowds? Head in early or stick around towards closing time – the animals are chill, and you'll practically have the place to yourself. You might even catch some exclusive feeding times.
  • Beat the heat (Or embrace it!): This is Queensland, so cooler months mean super active animals, but honestly, this place rocks anytime. Just pack sunscreen, water, and a hat if you're visiting during the summer.
     

Helpful information:

 

2. Dreamworld

Inside the Dreamworld theme park in Gold Coast, Queensland

Credit: Alexander from stock.adobe.com

Located a mere half an hour’s drive north of Gold Coast’s centre (and accessible by bus and train), thrill-seekers and fun-lovers, Dreamworld is the Gold Coast's giant playground, and it's got your name on it. 

The park spans over 210 acres, making it Australia’s biggest theme park, and is broken down into multiple areas. You’ve got:

  • Dreamworld: Where you’ll find all the thrill rides, family rides, and kid play options. We’re talking rides like The Giant Drop and Steel Taipan, which happens to be the only triple launch coaster in Australia.
  • WhiteWater World: Basically Dreamworld but the water park version, filled with thrill-seeking rides and more child and family-friendly aqua experiences.
  • Entertainment & Shows: Across the park, there are numerous theatres, dedicated areas, stages, and talks filled with events and displays, either aimed at kids (such as the Kenny and Belinda shows or Wigglies and Friends) or for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Wildlife Enclosures: Tiger Island. The Bilby Discovery Centre. The Crocodile Enclosure. If you’re on the hunt for majestic beasts and crazy creatures, Dreamworld has a ton on offer.
  • Rivertown: Due to open late 2024, this highly-anticipated zone takes on a wicked jungle theme filled with brand-new roller coaster experiences, a vintage car driving attraction, and mine-cart styled family coaster in the form of Jungle Rush - Dreamworld’s biggest ever investment clocking in at $35 million.

As a family, couple, or group of friends, there’s enough here to sink your teeth into for days at a time. 

Whether you're a rollercoaster junkie or a parent chasing kids squealing in delight, Dreamworld's got something to make you shout for joy.

Visiting Dreamworld:

  • Beat the crowds: Weekdays and school holidays are your friends for shorter lines. Play it extra smart and arrive early, or stick around until closing for prime ride time and fewer queues.
  • Score ticket deals: Get online and book ahead, as this often means sweet discounts and less time waiting around. Season pass got your name on it? That's the way to go if you'll be back for more thrills.
  • Must-dos inside the park: Get up close and personal with tigers and cuddle a koala – those memories last a lifetime. And don't forget those awesome live shows and character meet & greets.
     

Helpful information:

 

3. Skypoint Observation Deck

View of Gold Coast from Skypoint

Credit: Rafael Ben-Ari from stock.adobe.com

Forget beach views (okay, don't REALLY forget them) – the SkyPoint Observation Deck is where you get the ultimate Gold Coast panorama. We're talking beaches, rainforests, glitzy cityscapes, and the WHOLE thing.

Located in Surfers Paradise atop the iconic Q1 skyscraper (the tallest in the Gold Coast, by the way) at a breathtaking 750ft in the air, SkyPoint gives you that birds-eye-view that'll have you playing "I Spy" with the entire region.

Think of it as your ultimate Gold Coast cheat sheet – see everything you wanna explore all laid out before you. But hey, it isn't just about the views (though those are epic). 

Daytime, it's your chill-out zone with a view that'll blow your mind, complete with events like yoga above the city. Come nightfall, the place transforms into a swanky lounge with the SkyPoint Bistro and bar, matching those city lights with serious vibes.

Oh, and Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm are home to acoustic sessions, so if vibey guitars are your jam, you can’t miss this.

And on top of this, if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, then the SkyPoint Climb could take things to the next level - a unique opportunity to actually climb the exposed exterior of the tower’s safety rail over the course of an hour and a half.

It’s Gold Coast, as you’ve never seen it before.

Visiting SkyPoint:

  • Golden hour is your hour: Sunset here is unreal, so make sure you do your homework - check the times and get there early to catch the whole "sky on fire" show.
  • Treat yourself: Fancy a drink with that view? The SkyPoint Bistro + Bar has got you covered, from casual bites to something a bit special. It's the cherry on top of an epic experience.
  • Take your time: You don't want to rush this one. Give yourself a good hour or two to soak it all in, grab a coffee, and maybe even come back for those vibes.
     

Helpful information:

 

4. HOTA, Home of the Arts

HOTA, Home of the Arts

Credit: Hotel Miami for Tourism and Events Queensland

Bored of stuffy museums? HOTA is where art gets a serious dose of Gold Coast energy. 

The space is easy to find, just cross the bridge from Chevron Island and you’re there, just a stone’s throw from the SkyPoint Observation Tower.

Think big, bold architecture, galleries buzzing with ideas, and stages set for shows that'll have you dancing in the aisles. It's part gallery, part performance space, and completely dedicated to showcasing the coolest creative stuff happening today.

HOTA's got it all: paintings, sculpture, music that makes you move, plays that make you think... you name it. This is where national Aussie artists show their stuff alongside the best of the international scene.  

Because of the size of the space, we’re looking at workshops, a cinema, exhibitions, theatre, festivals, comedy shows, dance, talks and discussions, gigs, and so much more, all under one roof.

As you can probably imagine, this availably means the calendar is seriously packed. One week, it's an edgy art exhibit that's got everyone talking; the next, it's an outdoor festival with bands you've never heard of (but won't forget).  

Plus, they're big on supporting the local community, too, so you never know what amazing new talent you'll discover.

The bottom line is - if you're into art in any form, this place speaks your language. 

Visiting HOTA:

  • Get the inside scoop: HOTA's calendar is jam-packed, so do your homework. Check what's on, from cool exhibits to under-the-radar bands – you don't want to miss a thing during your visit.
  • Want the VIP treatment? Guided tours spill all the secrets – the art, the building, even the juicy behind-the-scenes stuff.
  • Stay in the loop: HOTA's always got something fresh happening. Keep an eye out for special events and workshops – it's the best way to discover the next big thing in Australian art. 
     

Helpful information

  • Address: 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217, Australia - Google Maps
  • Opening times: Gallery is open from 10am to 4pm daily
  • Cost of entry: Entry prices vary - some exhibitions are free to enjoy, while other exhibits require paid entry.
  • WebsiteHOTA

 

5. Miami Marketta

Miami Marketta food area

Credit: Hotel Miami for Tourism and Events Queensland

Miami Marketta is where the Gold Coast's real flavour lives. It’s essentially an open-air nighttime street food market, a laneway in itself on the west side of the North Burleigh neighbourhood - more towards the south of the Gold Coast. 

Imagine food trucks slinging everything from sizzling Asian street food to South American tacos, the air thick with spices and laughter. Throw in live bands that'll get your feet moving, a craft beer bar, and maybe even a cheeky cocktail or two... that's the Marketta vibe.

And it’s always worth heading over to the website to see what ticketed events are on the calendar. It’s all good fun. 

So, if you’re into the vibes of an old-school warehouse strung up with fairy lights, packed with people from all walks of life, this is for you. 

It's foodie heaven, a music lover's paradise, and a chance to soak up the good times. 

Kids, couples, groups of mates – everyone fits right in.

Visiting Miami Marketta:

  • Beat the hungry crowd: Get there early to snag a good spot and beat the rush to those delicious food stalls. However, this isn’t the kind of place where you need a reservation.
  • Food adventurer wanted: This is your chance to taste the world. Go wild – dumplings, paella, those weird-looking things you can't pronounce... Your tastebuds will thank you.
  • What's the buzz: Live music, pop-up shops, the vibe changes all the time. Check their website before you go so you don't miss the good stuff and can get your tickets before you head out on your trip.
     

Helpful information:

  • Address: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami QLD 4220, Australia - Google Maps
  • Opening times: Open from 5pm daily
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • Website: Miami Marketta

 

6. Australian Outback Spectacular

Australian Outback Spectacular

Credit: The Edit Suite for Tourism and Events Queensland

The Australian Outback Spectacular isn't just dinner and a show – it's a full-on experience and adventure. Located off the Pacific motorway, picture a dusty oval arena with the crowd stands circled around the outside.

However, add in some state-of-the-art immersive technology, huge digital spaces and effects, and some beautiful human and animal characters (horses, dogs, and more), and you’ve got yourself an experience you won’t forget.

The show centres around two native farmers, Reg and Marge, and their epic adventure through challenging but equally beautiful life on the land.

Think dusty legends come to life, horses doing things that'll make your jaw drop and music that'll get your boots stompin'.

And dinner for this isn’t a popcorn affair. We’re talking a full three-course traditional BBQ meal with drinks (think Bush Billy Tea and other classics) that’s sure to satisfy any appetite.

This place is bursting with history and heart. The stories they tell, the way those riders and horses work together... it's the kind of thing that gives you goosebumps. 

All together, you've got a night the whole family will be buzzing about.

Visiting Australia Outback Spectacular:

  • Upgrade your view: Want the best seats in the house? Go for the "Top Rail" – you'll see everything, no craning your neck. And why not, since you're only here for a short time.
  • Bring home the legend: Don't forget to hit the gift shop. Score some cool Outback merch, maybe even a photo of you and your crew channelling your inner adventurer.
  • Don't miss a thing: Get there early, soak up the atmosphere, and maybe grab a drink before the show kicks off. That way, you're ready for all the action when the lights go down.
     

Helpful information:

 

7. Pacific Fair Shopping Centre

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre

Credit: The Edit Suite for Tourism and Events Queensland

Love shopping? Adore browsing? Looking for a new outfit or two, or three, or more? Want to experience some of the best shopping the Gold Coast has to offer?

Look, shopping is a fantastic modern pastime, but it only works if you go to the right shops. On that note, the Pacific Fair's where it's at.  

It’s shopping, dining, and entertainment, all rolled into one.

Located just ten minutes from the centre of the Gold Coast, just off Hooker Boulevard in the heart of Broadbeach, Pacific Fair is one of the best places to shop in Gold Coast. It’s home to over 400 stores and is essentially an open-air wonderland curated with tropical vistas and landscapes, and the shops, restaurants, and cafes in between.

They've got all the big brands you know, those cute little shops with one-of-a-kind stuff and everything in between - this is serious shopping territory.

They even have events going on throughout the year, so you never know what you might stumble across.

Visiting Pacific Fair Shopping Centre:

  • Beat the crowds: Want to browse in peace? Weekday mornings are your best bet. Weekends get wild, which can be fun too – but it's a whole different vibe.
  • Parking made easy: Don't stress about finding a spot – they've got over 6,500. Their fancy system even tells you where the empty ones are. Feeling lazy? Valet parking – treat yourself.
     

Helpful information:

  • Address: 2/32 Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach Waters QLD 4218, Australia - Google Maps
  • Opening times: 9am to 5:30pm
  • Entry cost: Free 
  • Website: Pacific Fair

 

8. Warner Bros. Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World

Credit: The Edit Suite for Tourism and Events Queensland

Hailed as Australia’s number one theme park, if you've ever wanted to step off the couch and into the movies, there’s no better nor more immersive way than a trip to Warner Bros. Movie World. 

Only 20km from Gold Coast, it’s a whopping 380-acre site (so well worth spending a whole day) - we’re talking Hollywood blockbusters, crazy rides, superheroes around every corner, and enough glitz to make you feel like a star yourself.  

Rides include icons like The Flash, where you’ll reach speeds of up to 70 km per hour in a 67-metre half pipe, the Tom and Jerry 4D experience at the Roxy Theatre, the chance to ride Marvin the Martian’s UFO saucer 32 ft above the ground, and, depending on when you visit, the highly anticipated new Wizard of Oz precinct that includes two new family-friendly rides; the Flight of the Wicked Witch and the Kansas Twister.

Phew, that’s a lot to take in, and we’re still not even scratching the surface on what’s on offer. Picture insane daredevil car shows, a ton of Looney Tunes themed rides and shows, and all your favourite WB cartoon characters wandering around, ready to meet and greet.

Kids obviously love it, but people at all ages will find something to fall in love with here, especially if you grew up on the classic cartoons and movies.

Visiting Warner Bros. Movie World:

  • Easy to get to: Movie World is a straight 20 to 30-minute drive north of the main Gold Coast area, which is great if you’re renting a car or easily accessible by public transport.
  • Timings: How long you spend here is really up to you. At a minimum, set aside a large half-day (4-5 hours), but you can easily spend a whole day here if this is really your jam.
  • Skip the line: Want to ride the big ones without the wait? Grab a Fast Track Pass – especially if you're visiting when it's busy. Which is most of the time.
  • Don't miss the action: Shows, meet-and-greets, those moments are magic. Check the schedule before you go so you can plan your adventure.
  • Weekdays are your friends: Want to dodge the crowds (and ride your favourites over and over)? Weekdays and non-holiday times are the way to go.
     

Helpful information:

  • Address: Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210, Australia - Google Maps
  • Opening times: 10am to 5pm
  • Entry cost: $115 for adults and $105 for children for a single day pass purchased at the gates. Book ahead online for discounted ticket prices.
  • Website: Movie World

 

9. Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads - Queensland, Australia

Credit: bcorreabh from stock.adobe.com

While Gold Coast is famous for its beaches, they can get a little crowded and overwhelming. The alternative? Burleigh Heads - where the Gold Coast gets real. 

We're talking all the epic waves that surfers dream about, but also chill picnic spots under the trees, and rainforest trails where you can spot a kookaburra if you're lucky. It's kinda got the best of both worlds: heart-pumping action and total zen, all in one place.

Those waves though... serious surfers know this is the spot. But hey, even if you've never stood on a board, there are places to learn. Out in the water or chilling in the sand, it's the perfect place to soak up the beach life.

But it's not just the shore. Head about five minutes south of the Burleigh beach and you’ll discover another world in the form of the rainforest, known as the Burleigh Head National park.

Think stunning views from the Tumgun Lookout, maybe even a cheeky koala sighting, and that feeling of being a million miles away from the city in pure peace and tranquillity.

The bottom line here is whether you're here for the surf, the walks, or just a seriously good time, Burleigh Heads has got something for you. Pack your swimmers AND your hiking boots – this place is all about exploring.

Visiting Burleigh Heads:

  • Fuel up, surfer style: Worked up an appetite? Hit one of those cute Burleigh cafes up at the exceedingly popular Burleigh Pavilion (one of the most popular in the area)  – they use all the good local stuff, and those views? Priceless.
  • Sunset goals: Grab a blanket (and maybe a sneaky drink) and head up to Burleigh Hill as the sun goes down. It's the classic Gold Coast move.
  • Surf's up: Renting a board and giving it a go is the full Burleigh experience. If you're not that brave, lessons are always an option.
  • Walk on the wild side: Fancy a rainforest adventure? Burleigh Head National Park's got trails AND epic views. Keep an eye out for wildlife.
     

Helpful information:

 

10. Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Jellurgal Cultural Tour at Burleigh Heads

Credit: Chris Proud for Tourism and Events Queensland

Forget what you think you know about museums – Jellurgal is different. 

Another gem in the heart of the Burleigh Heads neighbourhood (making it an ideal visit if you’re spending a day at the beach), Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a place where the stories of Australia's First Nations people are shared, the land itself speaks, and you get a glimpse into a culture that's been here longer than anyone can imagine. 

It's run by the Yugambeh people, so you're learning from the source.

Their walking tours are the real deal. Imagine exploring sacred sites, hearing ancient stories passed down through generations and even learning about bush foods that have been used for thousands of years. This isn't just about history – it's about a living, breathing culture you won't find anywhere else.

Jellurgal is important. Whether you're a student, a traveller, or just someone who wants to know more about Australian history, this place changes you. It's a chance to listen, learn, and walk away with a whole new respect for the land we all live on.

Visiting Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre:

  • Be prepared: These tours are popular (for good reason!), so book ahead on their website. That way, you won't miss out on this special experience.
  • Sun smart: You'll be walking outdoors, so bring the essentials: good shoes, water, sunscreen, and a hat. And hey, your camera, too – the views are amazing.
     

Helpful information:

  • Address: 1711 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220, Australia - Google Maps
  • Opening times: 9am to 4pm daily
  • Cost of entry: $39 per adult, $20 per child (for tours)
  • WebsiteJellurgal

Top 10 Things to Do in Gold Coast – Activities

1. Spend a day at the beach

View of Gold Coast beaches and skyline

Credit: Richie Chan from stock.adobe.com

Okay, let's be real – the beaches ARE the Gold Coast. 

We're talking golden sand, waves crashing, that whole sun-on-your-shoulders feeling… What more could you ask for? Whether you're out there catching waves, building epic sandcastles, or just soaking up the rays, you'll find your perfect slice of paradise here.

It isn’t just about swimming and sunbathing, though. Surfers know this is where the big breaks happen (Snapper Rocks, anyone?). Families love the gentle waves at places like Coolangatta. And for those epic views with a picnic thrown in? Burleigh Heads all the way.

Here's the insider scoop on the best Gold Coast beaches you can’t miss:

  • Surfers Paradise: It's got the name for a reason, and that’s quite simply because the conditions here for surfing are nothing short of amazing. Because of this, expect busy, buzzing, and beautiful, if you love that classic beach town vibe or getting on the board yourself.
  • Coolangatta: Chill vibes gentle waves, ideal for families or a relaxed day out.
  • Burleigh Heads: Surf's up, the views are amazing, and the picnic spots rock. What's not to love?

 

2. Check out the famous Gold Coast glow worms

Glow worms at Springbrook National Park

Credit: Sho,Flatmound from stock.adobe.com

Deep in the rainforests of the Springbrook National Park, about an hour’s drive from the centre of the Gold Coast area, there are tiny creatures that turn caves into something out of a storybook. 

We’re talking glow worms – they light up like little stars, and it's honestly one of the coolest things you'll ever see.

This experience is for everyone – families, couples, nature nerds, and anyone who loves a little wonder in their life. Kids go bonkers (in a good way!). Imagine their faces when they see that first twinkle… priceless.

Oh, and don't forget to ask how they actually glow.

Here's how to make it epic:

  • Nighttime is the right time: The darker it is, the brighter they shine. Think of them like the stars, but way closer.
  • Go with the pros: Tours help protect the glow worms AND tell you all the interesting stuff. Like, did you know they're related to flies? Weird, but true.
  • Bring your camera (with flash turned OFF): Try to capture that magical glow. It's tricky, but oh-so-worth it.

 

3. Go on a jet ski tour

Jet Ski Safari snaking through Broadwater, Gold Coast

Credit: Hotel Miami for Tourism and Events Queensland

Picture the wind in your hair, the spray on your face, and the whole Gold Coast zooming by as you ride the waves... on a jet ski. 

That’s right, this isn’t some kid’s pool ride - it's fast, it's fun, and it gets your heart pumping for sure. Think of exploring hidden islands, zooming through channels, and maybe even spotting a dolphin or two.

Okay, fair warning: You WILL get wet. But who cares? That's half the fun! Adventurers, thrill-seekers, anyone who doesn't mind a little splash – this one's for you. 

And hey, grab some mates or bring the fam – sharing the screams makes it even better.

Some of the best places to sink your teeth into some jet ski fun include:

  • The Southport to Tippler’s Run from Broadwater Parklands
  • The Tangalooma Run around South Stradbroke Island
  • The Spit and Coral Sea run from the Spit

However, the best way to find the perfect opportunity is to speak with a tour company. They’ll be able to tell you exactly where’s best for your skill level, and what conditions are like for the day you want to head out.

Here's the deal:

  • Find the right crew: Not all jet ski tours are the same. Look for a company that's all about safety AND a good time.
  • Life jackets are cool: Seriously, don't be a hero. Wear the jacket, listen to the instructions, and have an awesome time.
  • Newbies welcome: Okay, maybe you've never done this before. No worries - most tours give you the lowdown before you hit the waves.

For those trying to pack a lot into a short amount of time, book a 30-minute Jet Ski Safari Jet Express or for those with more time, book a 2.5 hour Jet Ski Safari The Ultimate Adventure.

 

4. Visit one (or more!) of the Gold Coast's theme parks

Family watching the Affinity Dolphin Presentation at Sea World Marine Park

Credit: PixelFrame for Tourism and Events Queensland

The Gold Coast is basically an amusement park paradise. We spoke about Dreamworld and Movie World… but those are just the beginning. 

Imagine epic rollercoasters, shows that make you gasp, and enough cartoon characters to make you feel like a kid again (in a good way). This is where those big-time memories get made.

Here's a taste of the Gold Coast’s best theme parks:

  • Dreamworld: The biggest park in Australia, and they've got everything: white-knuckle rides, gentle stuff for small kids, and even tigers if you need a break from the loops.
  • Warner Bros. Movie World: Where your favourite movies come to life - think superhero thrills, behind-the-scenes secrets, and enough Hollywood glitz to make you feel like a star yourself.
  • Sea World: Ocean adventures with a side of awesome. There are so many things to do at Sea World. Dolphins, penguins, rides – it's a whole day of fun, especially if you love marine life.
  • Wet 'n' Wild: The name says it all. Waterslides galore, from the chill to the seriously scary. Perfect for hot Gold Coast days.

Pro tip: Don't let those lines get you down. Grab a multi-park pass if you're hitting up more than one, or look for individual park passes that include Fast Track options. Way better than spending your holiday standing in a queue in the sun. 

Book a 7 Day Theme Park Pass for Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild and Paradise Country

 

5. Shop at a local market

Couple shopping at The Village Markets

Credit: The Edit Suite for Tourism and Events Queensland

Who doesn’t love a local market?

Sure, big shopping experiences are great, but local markets and artisan shops are where the real treasures are found, especially here on the Gold Coast. 

Think handmade goodies, one-of-a-kind finds, maybe even a vintage gem you never knew you needed. It's part shopping, part treasure hunt, and a whole lot of fun.

It’s a lot of fun, culture, and exploration in one place.

Here's a taste of the best markets in the Gold Coast:

  • Broadbeach markets: Beachy vibes, unique designs, and the sound of the ocean... shopping doesn't get much better than this.
  • Carrara markets: A bargain hunter's paradise. This one's HUGE, with everything from fresh fruit to funky vintage clothes.
  • The Village Markets: Also known as the TVM, this is where cool fashion and creativity collide. Perfect for finding that one special piece. It can be found in the heart of Burleigh Heads.

Get there before the crowds for the best stuff and seek out those artisan stalls – their stuff is special, and your money supports local makers.

 

6. Get lost at INFINITY attraction

Infinity attraction, Gold Coast

Credit: INFINITY Attraction

Imagine a place where your eyes play tricks on you, lights dance around corners, and it feels like you've stepped into a video game... that's INFINITY through and through.

Think of it as part funhouse, part art installation, and 100% completely mind-blowing. Leave reality at the door and see the world in a whole new way.

You've got loads of offers here too, like mazes that mess with your head, rooms filled with crazy lights, sounds that make you go "whoa"... It's impossible to explain; you gotta experience it.

And hey, get those cameras ready because this place is basically built for Instagram.

Ideally, this is for anyone who likes a little weirdness; say you're the kind of person who thinks normal is boring; this is your jam. Alternatively, this is great for families looking for something a little different. 

No joke, kids (recommended to be over the age of 8) go nuts for this place, and let's be honest, the adults will be secretly having a blast, too.

Logistics-wise, you can find INFINITY in the heart of Surfers Paradise - 5km from Gold Coast - , with ticket prices starting at $19.90 per person. You can set aside anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to cover it all.

Book your Infinity Attraction tickets

 

7. Take a moment at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

Scenic views of Tamborine Mountain Regional Botanic Gardens

Credit: hyserb from stock.adobe.com

Need a break from the beach? The Botanic Gardens are your chill-out zone. 

Located no more than a 15-minute walk from the Gold Coast centre and offering free entry, this beautiful space is all about lush greenery, flowers galore, and maybe a butterfly or two flitting past... a little slice of paradise where you can seriously slow your roll.

Whether you're into flowers, need some green in your life, or just want an excuse to wander, the Gardens are the perfect escape.

Here's the deal:

  • Plant nerd heaven: Okay, even if you don't know a cactus from a rose, there's something cool about seeing plants from all over the world in one spot.
  • Wander and wonder: They've got paths for days, leading through different themed gardens. It's the perfect place to switch off and just stroll.
  • Sensory overload (the good kind): Some parts are all about the smells, the textures... It's pretty and kinda trippy, which is cool.
  • Picnic goals: Pack a lunch and find a shady spot under a tree – the best way to chill.

 

8. Discover the Gold Coast food scene

Rick Shores Restaurant, with a view overlooking the beach

Credit: Josh Thies for Tourism and Events Queensland

There's absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that the Gold Coast's amazing food is part of the adventure, and one that you cannot miss. From cute cafes with killer ocean views to fancy restaurants serving up the freshest seafood imaginable, this place has got it all covered.

Here's a taste of some of the best places to eat in the Gold Coast:

  • The Collective Palm Beach: Can't decide on one cuisine? No worries. This place has FIVE kitchens, so pizza lovers can hang with sushi fans – problem solved.
  • Rick Shores: Seafood with a side of the Gold Coast’s awesome beach views? Yes, please! Their bug rolls are famous for a reason.
  • Miami Marketta: An open-air warehouse converted into a foodie-loving laneway. Also offers live ticketed music events.
  • Eumundi Markets: Okay, it's a short drive, but WORTH IT. Best fresh produce, food stalls galore... it's foodie heaven and one of the best things to do in Sunshine Coast.

So, who's gonna love this?

  • Foodies, obviously: Whether you're into fancy fare or just want the best fish and chips ever, you'll find your happy place.
  • Adventurous eaters: Love exploring new flavours? The Gold Coast has everything, from top-notch Asian food to hidden gems serving up dishes you've never even heard of.

And the best part is that the Gold Coast food scene is always changing, with new places popping up all the time. Come hungry, be curious, and get ready for some seriously good eats.

 

9. Explore the hinterland and national parks

Twin Falls - Group hiking through the forest on the waterfall circuit at Springbrook National Park

Credit: Courtney Atkinson for Tourism and Events Queensland

Okay, we know beaches are awesome, but here's the thing: the Gold Coast rainforest is a whole different kind of magic. Think waterfalls, giant trees, maybe even a cheeky possum sighting. It's lush, wild, and waiting to be explored.

Breaking this down, the must-visit national parks include;

  • Lamington National Park: Ancient rainforest, birdsong galore, and walking trails for every level. It's a nature lover's paradise.
  • Springbrook National Park: Waterfalls, epic views, glow worm caves... this is postcard-perfect scenery at its finest. Don't forget your camera, but also don’t forget to put it down and bask in the present moment.

Pro tip: Don't be afraid to get a little lost (not the dangerous kind). Take a side trail, explore a creek, and see what you find.

If you're an avid bushwalker, IG snapper, or basically anyone in dire need of a nature fix, ditch the crowds and soak up that rainforest magic. There are few things in life that are as good as this for the soul.

Just don't forget to check conditions before you leave (weather can change fast), and gear up with comfy shoes, layers for temperatures, and plenty of water and snacks.

The hinterland is the Gold Coast you haven't seen yet. Get out there, breathe in that fresh air, and make some wild memories.

 

10. Feel the adrenaline on a Supercar driving experience 

Supercar racing in Gold Coast

Credit: Rohan Findlater for Tourism and Events Queensland

If the idea of cruising the Gold Coast's stunning roads just isn't exciting enough, it's time to pump up the thrills with a supercar driving experience that'll get your heart racing. 

Driving a supercar is an incredible experience, one that any car lover or thrill seeker is bound to love. Even if you do this once in your life, it’s something you’re never going to forget - to feel the pure grit and drive of what these modern masterpieces can do. 

It’s exciting and utterly gripping, and when you immerse yourself in this experience surrounded by the beauty of the Gold Coast, well, there’s nothing like it.

Picture the power of a Lamborghini, Ferrari, or other world-class car as you rev that engine and leave your worries in the dust.

Who's gonna love this?

  • Speed demons: If "fast" and "furious" are your middle names (or should be), this is for you.
  • Bucket list enthusiasts: Always wanted to feel the roar of a supercar beneath your hands? Check this one off and brag to everyone!
  • Petrolheads: Know the difference between your Aston Martins and your McLarens? Live the luxury car dream and get behind the wheel of some of your favourites!

The Gold Coast is already full of excitement, but a supercar driving experience turns the volume up to 11. Just remember, safety first, then let the fun and adrenaline flow!

Book your V8 Supercar 3 Hot Lap Experience

Things to do in Gold Coast for families

Tugun Beach - Family cycling along the beachfront pathway

Credit: Jesse Lindemann for Tourism and Events Queensland

The Gold Coast knows how families do fun.

Theme parks, beaches, wildlife, whatever your crew is into, you'll find it here. Think big thrills, epic splashes, and plenty of chances to just chill together under the blue skies and sun.

Here's the thing: this place is built for ALL ages. Rides that make kids scream (with joy!), gentle beach days for the little ones, and hey, stuff that'll get the grown-ups grinning too. It's about those shared experiences, the laughs, the ice cream dribbles... the moments that make a family trip special.

Pack your swimsuits, your sense of adventure, and get ready for a Gold Coast getaway your family will be talking about for ages.

Top 5 activities for families

  1. Have fun at Thunderbird Park: Get competitive on the mini-golf course, conquer those treetop challenges (don't worry, you're harnessed in), and hunt for hidden treasure like real explorers.
  2. Cool off at Wet’n’Wild: This is no ordinary pool. Slides, wave pools, lazy rivers... There's something for every level of water lover, from the little splashers to the serious thrill-seekers.
  3. Spend the day on Surfer’s Paradise Beach: Sandcastles, splashing in the waves, maybe even a beginner surf lesson? This is what those perfect beach days are made of. Pro tip: Grab some fish' n chips - they make a good day great.
  4. Try Go Karting: Channel your inner Mario Kart and let loose on the track. They've got karts for the littles and the not-so-littles so the whole family can get their race on.
  5. Enjoy a family bike ride: See the Gold Coast from a new angle. Bike trails along the beach, through the parks... pick your adventure. There are rental shops aplenty, so no need to lug your own gear.

 

Things to do on the Gold Coast for couples

Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast - Sunrise balloon ride over the hinterland

Credit: The Edit Suite for Tourism and Events Queensland

Looking to treat yourself and your loved one to something special while on the Gold Coast?

Imagine hot air balloons at sunrise, hidden waterfalls, cosy rainforest nights, and dinners with epic views... This is where couples escape the ordinary and make those seriously special memories.  

Whether you crave beach vibes and chill or fancy nights and thrills, the Gold Coast has got your date night on lock. Get ready to try something new together, laugh until your sides hurt, and maybe fall a little more in love.  

Top 5 Activities for Couples 

  1. Go on a hot air balloon ride: Imagine floating above the Gold Coast at sunrise... Talk about epic views. And hey, that champagne breakfast on landing isn’t bad either. Date goals and great for the bucket list.
  2. Swim in the secret Currumbin Rock Pools: Ditch the crowded beaches for these hidden gems. Pristine water, rainforest all around... it's like your own private slice of heaven.
  3. Camp at Lamington National Park: Stars, snuggles, campfires, bird calls, and a sky full of stars... this is how you reconnect, away from the rush. Bonus: Those rainforest hikes are awesome for hand-holding. If you want to up the ante on the romance factor, try glamping in the Gold Coast.
  4. Hike to waterfall: An adventure with a kiss at the end. Work up a sweat together, then cool off under a secluded waterfall – who needs a spa when you've got nature's best shower? 
  5. Have a long lunch at Rick Shores: Food, views, & those kinds of vibes. This place has got it ALL: amazing food, oceanfront setting, and that special kind of buzz that sets the stage for a perfect date night.

 

Things to Do in Gold Coast for Young Adults

Lost Palms Brewing Co. - Group enjoying a local craft beer in a brewery

Credit: Jesse Lindemann for Tourism and Events Queensland

The Gold Coast is basically a giant playground for young adults. Whether you're into heart-pounding thrills, beach days that last till sunset, or parties that keep going, this place delivers.

The Gold Coast has that mix of serious fun and chill vibes - a place for riding huge waves, finding hidden bars, meeting awesome people, and maybe even trying something totally new.

Top 5 Activities for Young Adults

  1. Go on a brewery crawl: Looking for good times on tap? Ditch the usual bar scene and discover the Gold Coast's best breweries and craft beer gems. Unique brews, chill vibes, and, hey, new friends are always on the menu.
  2. Try indoor skydiving: Want that skydiving adrenaline rush without the whole "jumping out of a plane" thing? This is your jam.
  3. Learn how to surf: Become a beach legend (or at least try!) with a surf lesson. Wiping out is half the fun, right?
  4. Tackle the SkyPoint Climb: Are you brave enough? Conquer those heights and get epic skyline views as a reward. Insta-worthy bragging rights included.
  5. Enjoy the nightlife in Surfers Paradise: The party starts here when the sun goes down, and surfers turns it up. Clubs, bars, live music... this is where those unforgettable nights happen.

 

FAQs

What is famous in Gold Coast?

Gold Coast in a nutshell?

Sun-drenched beaches, heart-stopping theme parks (think movie magic and epic rides), and Surfers Paradise – the party capital where the good times never end. Endless waves for surfing or chilling, characters that come to life, and a nightlife scene that'll keep you going 'til sunrise (no judgement!).  

This place is pure fun in the sun – get ready for memories that'll last a lifetime.

 

Is 2 days enough for Gold Coast?

Is 2 days enough for the Gold Coast? Look, it isn’t a ton of time, but you can definitely make those 48 hours count – in fact, we even have an itinerary for 36 hours in the Gold Coast! Think one day for the beach – sand, waves, maybe try a surf lesson (even if you wipe out, it's all part of the fun!). 

The second day is your adventure: theme park thrills or exploring waterfalls and rainforest trails. Either way, you're making epic memories. 

Pro tip: Early mornings are your friend, and pack smart so you can move fast. Will you see it ALL in two days? Nope. But will you leave wanting to come back for more? You bet.

 

What's the best way to spend time on the Gold Coast?

The secret to an awesome Gold Coast trip is all about finding that perfect balance. Start your mornings with a touch of magic – catch a sunrise over the beach (or sleep in; again, not judging), then fuel up with a classic brunch at a cute cafe with ocean views.  

Afternoons are for adventures, big and small: think theme park thrills, hikes through the rainforest, or maybe exploring a quirky local market.  

Come evening, the Gold Coast turns into a foodie paradise. Think fresh seafood, flavours from around the world, and maybe a hidden gem of a bar where they make the best cocktails you've ever tasted.  

Pro tip: Don't try to cram it all in.  

The best Gold Coast trips have a good dose of chill vibes, too – pool time, a nap under the palm trees... that's how you recharge for the next adventure.

Bottom line: Embrace those epic moments, but don't forget to slow down and soak it all up. That's what makes a Gold Coast getaway unforgettable.