The Gold Coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, luscious greenery and delicious food! Below I have provided a list of sight seeing activities that you MUST do when visiting the Gold Coast!
The Gold Coast is the surfing capital of Australia and the beaches are filled with lots of squeaky white sand and bright blue water! (yes you read it right; squeaky!) Here are a few beaches I visited on my trip
Surfers Paradise Beach is by far the most popular beach on the Gold Coast due to its proximity to main attractions like theme parks, hotels, nightlife and entertainment. If you don't mind being on a crowded beach filled with tourists year round, this is the beach for you! Also be sure to check out the beach side markets that open later on in the evening starting at 4pm.
If you prefer a more laid back beach with cool surf vibes then you should definitely visit Coolangatta Beach. The beaches in this coastal suburb have some of the best surfing conditions and most picturesque scenery and are definitely less touristy. Take a walk around to Snapper Rocks for an amazing view of the city skyline as well as whale watching.
Burleigh Heads Beach is another laid back beach that offers the best swimming conditions on the Gold Coast. If you don't feel like laying on the beach or swimming, you can walk along the beach and visit the Tumgun lookout that offers tourists a beautiful view of the coast line. Stepping away from the beach, you will find many cafes, ice cream shops and surf boutiques bordering the beach. James Street is becoming one of the coolest, urban, seaside villages on the Gold Coast. Enjoy the emerging fashion boutiques, coastal home stores and charming cafes this strip has to offer!
Tallebudgera Creek was one of my favorite spots to visit on my trip to the Gold Coast. This pristine waterway is great for family and friend BBQ's and spending a day by the water. Grab a paddle board (there are rentals available from the Chenye Horan shop front on the South side of the river near the Tallebudgera Recreation Centre) and cruise up and down the river. You can even tube, water ski or wakeboard and if you are a thrill seeker you can jump off the Tallebudgera bridge.
The Gold Coast has so many natural, outdoor locations to explore! Here are a few activities that I would recommend:
Visit the Currumbin Rock Pools
The Currumbin Valley will lead you through the rainforest to some cool rock pools. These rock pools are perfect for a swim to cool off as fresh mountain water flows over the hills of boulders. You can also experience some waterfalls if there is not drought.
Australia is home to many different animals and you certainly cannot leave without experiencing some sort of wildlife. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is worth exploring because you are able to learn about the animals and actually interact with some of them which is really cool! I was able to hold a Koala bear, feed some Roos and learn about many other animals native to the land down under. For an additional charge and if you have the time, the sanctuary also has a TreeTop Challenge that features 3 different levels of ropes courses and 11 insane ziplines that are definitely worth the money!
Mount Tamborine will definitely not disappoint! The town offers a variety of activities from nature walks, ropes courses and zip lining to exploring breweries and wineries and wandering around the mini shops filled with homemade hand soaps and fudge.
Amusement Park Central
Australia's largest theme park, Dreamworld, is located in the Gold Coast and is definitely worth exploring if you are a thrill seeker. The park is filled with rides for all ages and is very similar Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa, Florida.
Day Trip to Brisbane
Known as "BrisVegas" by locals, Brisbane is not the most exciting city to visit in Australia, but it is certainly worth a 24 hour visit if you are traveling the Gold Coast. One of the cities most unique features is the man- made beach "Street Beach" located in South Bank Parklands. Another prime spot to visit is the The Wheel of Brisbane, which will give you a striking view of the city as you travel 360 degrees.
Brisbane offers a large shopping area for tourists and locals alike. If you have not bought any souvenirs, then The Queen Street Mall is your best bet for finding that perfect souvenir. This mall is known for housing over 700 stores from international luxury brands and department stores to quaint boutiques.
If you are looking for a bite to eat the Eat Street Northshore is the perfect place! This venue is a former shipping container wharf and it features different food stalls with all sorts of international street eats from Asian to African.
If you are looking for some awesome views of the city while sipping on a fancy cocktail, I would recommend visiting the Emporium Hotel's roof top bar called The Terrace. Not only is the hotela wonder to walk through but also offers a beautiful view of the city.
Experience the Night Life
Surfer's Paradise is the Gold Coast's hub for nightlife and entertainment. If you are trying to avoid crowds this is not the place to be, however Surfers Paradise is known for its lively restaurants, bars and clubs. I visited once on my trip and really enjoyed my night. We decided to go to Retro's, a dance club featuring music from the 80's, 90's and now!
Note: Make sure you bring your passport to get into the clubs, as Surfers Paradise is very strict and requires I.D no matter your age!
Visit Beautiful Coastal Towns
Byron Bay is no doubt the hippie epicenter of Australia. The town is known for its chilled out, carefree culture. You can spend the day wandering the streets and browsing through the boutique stores, craft shops and artsy cafes. Definitely worth visiting when traveling around the Gold Coast.
Hike and Swim in Waterfalls
The Gold Coast is full of nature preserves filled with luscious greenery, tall mountains and beautiful waterfalls. We spent the day exploring the mountains and swam in cool pools and cliff jumped. Springbrook is a mountain located in Springbrook National Park and is part of the Gondwana Rainforest. Spend the day hiking around the mountain, exploring wildlife and viewing waterfalls. The Purling Brook Falls can be viewed from the suspension bridge in the park and the Twin Falls cascade into 3 rock pools. Along the hike you will come across the Natural Bridge which was formed by the force of a waterfall and past sunset you can view glow worms and small bats within.
Other waterfall viewing areas are: Cedar Creek Falls, Elebana Falls, and Moran Falls
The Gold Coast has some of the best food I have ever experienced. There are many yummy cafe's with lots of healthy options to choose from! While traveling around the Gold Coast, I noticed that there was no shortage of coffee shops which is perfect for those of you who are coffee addicts (including myself). I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the cafes and restaurants with my taste buds and have included a list of all the food places I would definitely visit again!
Food By Location:
Paddock Bakery- Burleigh Heads
Recommended: Toad in a Hole
California Tacos- Burleigh Heads
Recommended: Fish Tacos
Pasture & Co.- Currumbin
Recommended: Eggs Benny or Braised Pork on Roti Bread
Cafe DBar- Coolangatta Rainbow Bay
Recommended: Acai Bowl
The Farm- Byron Bay
Barefoot Barista- Palm Beach
Recommended: Acai Bowl
Sens Coffee- Southport
Recommended: Scrambled eggs on toast
Grill'd Healthy Burgers- Any location
Recommended: Simon Says Burger
The Coffee Club- Any location
Recommended: Chai Tea and Avo Toast
Nandos- Any location
Recommended: Chicken Pita