Visiting the Gold Coast and looking for the best things to do on the Gold Coast? From city skyscrapers to the beach and the incredible (and lesser known spots) on the Gold Coast hinterland, read on to discover the best things to do on the Gold Coast
1. Elabana Falls
First of, let’s jump right in with the lesser known places in the Gold Coast. This is Elabana Falls tucked away in the Gold Coast hinterland in Lamington National Park. This spot is only accessible to those who have a car and it is well worth the drive and hike to find this Gold Coast hidden gem. For more information on exactly how to get to this spot read: How to get to Elabana Falls.
2. Acai at Burleigh Heads
Ah, you just can’t do the Gold Coast without hitting the truly quintessential Gold Coast activities and that, of course, is having an acai bowl at Burleigh Heads. Mixing the relaxed atmosphere with Burleigh and a sweeeeet as acai bowl is one of the best ways to pass the time at the Gold Coast.
3. Movie World
Gold Coast is known for its theme parks so make sure you take advantage of them while you’re here. Warner Bro’s Movie World on the Gold Coast is great for both kids and adults alike with a variety of rides, sooo much nostalgia and the classic characters to interact with while you’re here.
4. Lunch at Q1 Skypoint at Surfers Paradise
Ready for a bit more of the glitz of Surfers Paradise? Head straight up to the top at Q1 Skypoint. With an incredible view of the ocean, beach and skyscrapers that make up the famous Gold Coast skyline, a meal at Skypoint is one of the best things to do on the Gold Coast. If you want more information about this experience, read: Eating out with a view: Lunch at Q1 Skypoint.
5. Watch the sunset at Moran Falls
Hands down one of the most incredible experiences you will have on the Gold Coast is watching the sunset over Lamington National Park atop of Moran Falls. Like Elabana Falls, this spot is only accessible if you have a car and requires a bit of a hike but if you plan your day right you can visit both Elabana Falls and Moran Falls in half a day of exploring. For more information on how to make this spot you reality, read: How to get to Moran Falls.
6. SWELL Sculpture Festival
Gold Coast is known for its epic events and SWELL Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach is no exception. Held annually in mid-September, this festival combines the outdoors with incredible artwork that you can walk around and view up close. For a recap on SWELL Sculpture Festival 2020, check out: SWELL Sculpture Festival 2020: Must do Gold Coast.
7. Stay at The Pink Hotel Coolangatta
There are Instagrammable hotels and then there are Instagrammable hotels, and The Pink Hotel Coolangatta is definitely one of the most picturesque and funky hotels on the Gold Coast. Situated right on the border between Queensland and NSW (like, right on the border, it’s pretty much across the road!), this hotel looks out over Coolangatta beach and is covered head to tow in white and pink mixed with quirky decor. You can read all about what it is like to stay at this hotel here: Should you stay at The Pink Hotel Coolangatta?
8. Hang out on the beach
I mean, after all, the Gold Coast is known for its beaches so why would you not do this while you’re here? Not only that, you’ve got a massive selection to choose from – from the bustling Surfers Paradise, to Tallebudgera Creek at Burleigh Heads and all the way down to the local’s favourite at Coolangatta. In fact, you could literally spend every day going to a different part of the beach – there’s 50km of beach to choose from so you’ll be sorted for a long time to come.
9. Enjoy a picnic in Mt Tamborine
Wrap up the day with a picnic at Mt Tamborine. Situated inland from the Gold Coast, grab a few drinks, delicious ingredients for a platter and relax as the sun sets over the incredible Gold Coast hinterland. If you’re looking for more things to do in this area to really make a day exploring you can discover more: Your Scenic Rim One Day Itinerary: Things to do in the Scenic Rim.
I definitely prefer my theme parks as waterparks, they’re fun, they’re rarely scary and it’s a great way to keep cool throughout the day. Wet’n’Wild ticks all of these boxes and makes for a great day out in the Gold Coast.
11. Hike to Purling Brook Falls
Ready to get your sweat on (and then be rewarded with an epic waterfall)? You’ve found the right place at Purling Brook Falls (suggested read: How to get to Purling Brook Falls). This moderate hike takes you down through the rainforest to the base of Purling Brook Falls and then back up again to the other side. It’s a great way to stretch the legs and be rewarded with a swim at the bottom of the falls.
12. Spirit of the Red Sands
Discover Australia’s true history at the Spirit of Red Sands. A night of live theatre and dinner which will truly immerse you in Indigenous culture and give you a greater understanding of Australia’s history. You can find out more of this incredible experience here.
13. Feast out at Hail Mary
If delicious food and cute as decor is two big ticks on your ideal meal out then Hail Mary is where you want to go for your next dinner. Mexican food, delicious cocktails and a cute pink layout is what you’ll find at Hail Mary in Burleigh, Gold Coast.
14. Curtis Falls
If you’re looking for something a little bit more laid back then put Curtis Falls in Mt Tamborine on your list. A 45 minute drive inland from Surfers Paradise, Curtis Falls is a picturesque waterfall found only a short rainforest walk from the carpark. If you’re looking for other things to do in this Scenic Rim area, please read: Your Scenic Rim one day itinerary: Things to do in the Scenic Rim.
15. Hang out on the border between Queensland and New South Wales
The Gold Coast stretches right down to the border with New South Wales and unlike many other borders around the world which are boring, unattractive lines on a highway, the Queensland New South Wales border is very picturesque. Go for a walk along the southern Coolangatta beaches and make your way up to Point Danger where you can enjoy jaw-dropping views of the ocean (top tip is to bring a picnic with you!).
16. Mountview Alpacas
Yep, you read that correctly! There are Alpacas on the Gold Coast and the best bit is you can feed them and take them for walks through a vineyard. This is one of the epic Gold Coast activities you can do in the Scenic Rim (suggested read: Your Scenic Rim One Day Itinerary: Things to do in the Scenic Rim) and you can find more information about this experience here: Mountview Alpacas
17. Hike Burleigh Heads
One of the more famous walks in the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads is a popular and incredibly scenic ocean and rainforest track. Found right in the centre of Burleigh Heads, after you work up a sweat you can reward your efforts at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area.
18. Natural Bridge
An icon of the Gold Coast hinterland, Natural Bridge is a picturesque waterfall and rainforest walk. By day you can view the waterfall within the basalt cave and by night spot hundreds of glow worms.
19. Go shopping at Pacific Fair
Treat yourself to some retail therapy. With a collection of over 400 shops, an excursion to Pacific Fairy Shopping Centre is a day trip in itself. There’s a massive variety of retail outlets to cover all types of interests and you can find out more on what’s on offer here.
20. Best of All Lookout
Not actually in Queensland by the slimmest measure, this lookout over the Northern New South Wales hinterland is breathtaking. Situated right around the corner from Twin Falls (see below) this lookout juts out just across the New South Wales/Queensland border and gives you views across the mountains, out to sea and even of Byron Bay! For an in-depth guide to this lookout see here.
21. Twin Falls
One of the most well known waterfalls in the Gold Coast region, Twin Falls is an easy and popular hike that takes you through Springbrook National Park. We got up at the crack of dawn to get to this waterfall without the usual hordes of people and even so there were still a few people coming and going as we we were there. This waterfall hike is only made better by the fact you can walk behind the falls as well as admire them from the front. A definite Gold Coast must do!
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