100 things to do on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is massive – 70 kilometres of coastline, the largest concentration of theme parks in the Southern Hemisphere and on top of that, it’s Australia’s most biologically diverse city. That means there’s lots to see and even more to do.
Book in your annual leave, clear your calendar and fill up your bucket list with these 100 things to do on the Gold Coast.
1. Check out this handy guide to narrow down your beach of choice.
2. Vroom your way into some sweet waves with Gold Coast Jet Ski Safaris.
3. Take a walk through time and space… the people at Infinity Attraction have created a sense-defying experience that you have to take head-on. It’s scarier than seeing your dad in budgie smugglers.
4. Spoil your special someone with a date; we’ve got 50 great ideas for you.
5. Step out onto the ledge of the Q1 and walk straight to the top – 270 metres is HIGH and that means the views are worth all the stairs.
6. Leave the hotels to the mainlanders and spend the night on water with Coomera Houseboat Holidays.
7. WhiteWater World will slip, slide and splash your holiday adventure to the next level.
8. Cheer and yee haw as you watch amazing stunt riders, beautiful horses, learn about Australian history AND tuck into a three-course meal at the Australian Outback Spectacular.
9. Join Kayak the Gold Coast for a day out on the water or take the sunset option, which includes champagne and cold beer.
10. Light up the night when you check out the glow worms in Springbrook National Park. These amazing creatures live under the Natural Bridge, which has grown even more beautiful over the last few million years.
11. If you’re looking for things to do on the Gold Coast, get some bling to match that Gold Coast tan at King Opal.
14. Meet Wally the platypus at David Fleay Wildlife Park!
15. Get deep in some gnarly waves or learn to surf with one of these surf schools.
16. Meet the birds and cuddle up to koalas and kangaroos at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
17. Fish the Deep Charters takes you out to where the big fish play so you can bring home some dinner.
18. Enjoy the Numinbah Valley Horse Trails and a traditional fire-cooked damper for lunch.
19. Sizzle up a snag on the Tweed River when you hire a BBQ boat.
20. Hike through lush rainforest and discover the Green Mountains Section of Lamington National Park where you can conquer the waterfall circuit and find Elabana, Chalahn and Box Log Falls or explore the rainforest canopy with a Tree Top Walk. Or, visit Mount Tamborine and explore Witches Falls.
21. Check out the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ at the biggest wax museum in Australia.
22. Spy a platypus, climb a tree and feel like a kid again at Thunderbird Park.
23. Head off-road and into the canals on an Aquaduck Safari, and make sure your kids (or yourself) get a turn at the wheel.
24. Catch a barrel of knowledge at Queensland’s only surf museum.
25. Get up early to watch the sunrise, or time your afternoon perfectly to get to these amazing spots to snap a pic.
26. Unleash your inner Mark Webber and make everyone eat your dust with a day at Go Karting Gold Coast.
27. Paws for a look at the tigers in Dreamworld’s Tiger Island, and then meet Kenny Koala and Belinda Koala for a cuddle.
28. Born to be wild? Wildfire Tours hooks you up with a Harley, a helmet and more attitude than a teenager with a new car.
29. Check out the new 4217 dining precinct in Surfers Paradise and join a coffee cupping session at Paradox Roasters.
30. Play with dolphins, hit the ice with the penguins, and “sea” it all at Sea World.
31. Jetpack Flyboard Adventures sounds as crazy as it actually is. Strap on a jetpack and a jet-ski will power you up to fly over the ocean.
32. Improve your driving skills at Racecentre. This state-of-the-art racing simulator is just like the real thing without the risk of breaking someone’s million-dollar toy.
33. Book yourself in for an afternoon of pampering at some of the best day spas around.
34. Rise and shine to new heights on a hot air balloon ride, taking you over the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland.
35. Take a ride on the Arkham Asylum at Warner Bros. Movie World.
37. Avast and yarrr your way to happiness on a tallship island adventure.
38. Live like the rich and famous when you charter your own private plane or aerobatic flight to get a first class view of the Gold Coast skyline.
39. Take a yacht to South Stradbroke Island, use a Segway to break through the bush trails and then drive over the sand dunes in your own buggy, and just when you think you’ve done it all? Sand boarding! Gold Coast Island Buggy Tours will help you do it all.
40. Get on top of the biggest surfboard you’ve ever seen and learn what makes stand-up paddleboarding so popular. Hint: it’s awesome.
41. Bust out your crab grabbing hands as you cruise up the Tweed River, pump yabbies and catch fish. Sound like too much work? Take the Rainforest Cruise options instead. Tweed Endeavour Cruises has you covered.
42. Find out how the locals brew the best suds around on a tour of the Burleigh Brewery.
43. Get some sand in your spokes and take a bike tour of the beautiful Gold Coast beaches.
44. Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant is a hilarious and evil way to spend a night. Watch out for the waiters… they suck!
45. Spend time with the gentle giants of the deep with Spirit of the Gold Coast Whale Watching.
46. Stand on your tiptoes and curl your arms into your chest, it’s time to pretend to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Gondwana Rainforests are some of the oldest on earth and are Heritage Listed… they also happen to look like the set of Jurassic Park. Enjoy this dino nerd’s playground.
47. Go behind the glitz and glamour of Surfers Paradise nightlife with Lantern Ghost Tours. You can hold hands if you want.
48. Turn the night upside down and see the sunrise from the comfort of a dance floor. The Wicked Club Crawl is a Beyonce video brought to life.
49. Return home with some new cooking skills after a lesson from Tamborine cooking school.
50. Go full Khaleesi and eat some dragon fruit at Tropical Fruit World.
51. Sink your putts in King Kong’s face and then travel through Ancient Egypt one hole at a time. King Tutt’s Putt Putt is a crazy good time.
52. Bee-bop and scat your Sunday away on a Jazz Lunch Cruise through the Gold Coast canals.
53. Drive a supercar that’s so sexy you might need to keep the AC on in the winter because you’ll be so hot.
54. Sweeten up your day learning about the bee’s knees and everything in between at Honeyworld.
55. Play clinkies all day long at these awesome Gold Coast wineries.
56. Get back to the basics with an Aussie farm tour. Watch a sheep shearing show, pet a koala, visit the kangaroos, mine your own opal in a mine, go gold fossicking, visit the nursery for some baby lambs and finish it all off with a crack of a whip… wait this isn’t simple at all, it’s just amazing!
57. Dive into a laser maze and then see some really, really weird stuff at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium.
58. Fight like you’re in the Matrix and drive like you’ve just robbed a bank at the Stunt Academy. They offer half-day and full-day courses, ranging from fists, to flying and everything in between. Just don’t forget your one-liners.
59. Grab your togs (swimmers) and get your stair-climbing legs ready. The ‘Constrictor’, the ‘Black Hole’, the ‘Kamikaze’, the ‘Mach 5′ are all massive slides waiting for you to throw yoursef down them. Wet’n’Wild is every slide junkie’s dream.
60. Put on your best polo and grab your clubs, the Gold Coast spoils you with Palm Meadows Golf Course, Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club, Links Hope Island Golf Club and RACV Royal Pines Resort Golf Course to name a few.
61. Leave the views of the beach to see what the Gold Coast’s local artists have been creating at the Gold Coast City Gallery.
62. Pack a picnic and surround yourself with the beautiful landscape of the Gold Coast Botanical Gardens.
63. Pop on your 3D glasses and strap yourself into the Ferrari-style racing seats; this isn’t your normal movie theatre. The 7D Cinema makes 3D cinemas look like black and white TV.
64. Swing your way to becoming the trapeze artist you always knew you could be at Circus Arts Gold Coast.
65. Getaway Sailing on the Gold Coast will make you happy you dragged yourself away from the beautiful beaches.
66. Scream, jump and run (if you have to) through five floors of terrifying and hilarious themes at Draculas Haunted House. Experience crocodiles, vampires, sharks and more freaks than an episode of Jerry Springer.
67. Indulge yourself with a romantic gondola ride through the canals.
68. Fall off the edge of a boat and land in the middle of some great dive sites. The Scottish Prince, Cook Island, Palm Beach Reef, Nine Mile Reef and Gold Coast Seaway are all dive sites that will make finding Nemo really hard, because there is way too much to see.
69. Grab your smartest friends and put on your detective hats; The Escape Hunt Experience is a live escape game where you fight against the clock to escape a room using only your wits. Good luck!
70. Let the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre teach you about bush tucker and the amazing culture of the Yugambeh people.
71. Take a break from the heat, beach and water sports to chill out and go ice-skating at Planet Chill.
72. Shift gears and do something you have always dreamed of doing… driving really, really fast and not getting a speeding fine. The V8 Supercars Driving Experience is literally your childhood dream imagined. Strap in and burn rubber until you lap faster than Jamie Whincup.
73. Be green and enjoy an ECO Safari. Choose between a nature safari (beautiful) or a wine safari (delicious).
74. Take your holiday to where all the cool animals hang out: the treetops. High-five an eagle, pretend to be a howler monkey and don’t forget to scream when you’re zip-lining around like Tarzan after too much coffee with the Tree Top Challenge.
75. Leave one paradise for another and take a day trip to Lady Elliot Island. This is the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory.
76. Scrap the beers and get something fancy at these sassy Gold Coast bars.
77. Try a distinguished taste of liqueurs, schnapps, vodka or some delicious liqueur chocolates at Australia’s most awarded distillery. Tamborine Mountain Distillery shows you the mulch, mash and wild way the Gold Coast can make booze.
78. Pew, pew, your way through obstacles and other players at Laser Skirmish in North Tamborine. Play mock missions, team vs team and live in a real life video game.
79. Nosh, bite, gorge and feed yourself an endless amount of great food. From top breakfasts to five restaurants you must try, we’ve got you covered. Just in case here’s five more… oh, just take another five just because we’re so nice!
80. Perk up a bit with Surfers Paradise’s best coffee shops.
81. Go green and eat clean with our handy organic dining guide to the Gold Coast.
83. Everyone can enjoy the same views as the birds at the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. The 45-minute walk goes from the forest floor to high up in the tree canopy and gives you a great view of Cedar Creek.
84. Make like Perez Hilton and start celeb spotting. Here are some helpful tips to get you pointed in the right direction.
85. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! Your way back to earth with Skydive Australia.
86. Take a guided rainforest tour through Lamington National Park. Step into the land of the lost without any risk of actually ending up that way.
87. Get ready to roast marshmallows on an open fire and fall asleep with the sounds of the rainforest. Nightfall Wilderness Camp is like camping but without the hard work and preparation. Just show up, pick your jaw up from the ground and enjoy an amazing night.
88. Plan your next trip to match up with the loudest group of hoons in Australia, the V8 Supercars. They’ll roar through the Gold Coast streets on the last week of October. Not convinced? Check out these epic moments.
89. Leave the big brands behind for the exclusiveness of high fashion. These Gold Coast designers will have you looking hotter than a sandy beach in the middle of summer.
90. Take yourself higher and higher with a trip on ABC Heli. See the Gold Coast from a pilot’s perspective as you fly over the world-famous beaches.
91. Leave the tarmac and head to the Gold Coast Hinterland’s epic 4wd trails. Nature doesn’t take a backseat here.
92. Take a trip down memory lane, snapping some of the Gold Coast’s most iconic typography. Check this out for some inspiration.
93. Retreat to a natural spa that costs nothing – Currumbin Rock Pools are the easiest way to get that pampered feeling without the big bill.
94. Star Hotel and Casino is never a gamble for having a good time. It’s a sure thing.
95. Cast a line into Hinze Dam and hook up with Mary River cod or some Australian bass.
96. Put some padding on your bike seat because the Gold Coast has some amazing bike trails that will test your endurance and fill your camera to the max.
97. Belt out a tune at G-Clef. This Japanese restaurant brings the best of the best out in your karaoke skills.
98. Have a laugh at The Basement underneath the Arts Centre Gold Coast. Every week they showcase the Gold Coast’s best comedic talent.
99. Scope the Gold Coast for JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue food truck. This is slow cooked and slow roasted in a fast moving and mobile package.
100. Snap a pic with some of Queensland’s greatest heroes – the surf lifesavers. Just remember to stay inside the flags so you won’t need a more urgent visit.
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This post was originally published in 2015 and updated on 8 February 2018.