The Gold Coast in Australia is one the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It offers everything, from fabulous weather and miles of sandy beaches, to theme parks and museums. No matter what time of the year you visit, you won’t be short of entertainment, so to help you plan your travel itinerary, here is a list of things to do on your next trip to South East Queensland.
1. Hit the Beaches
The Gold Coast has a huge number of beaches. There is around 57km of coastline, with some of the world’s most famous stretches of sand. You can surf, sunbathe, play beach volleyball, or just check out the local talent. Some of the most popular beaches include Coolangatta Beach, Burleigh Heads Beach, Broadbeach, Currumbin, Surfer’s Paradise, and Palm Beach. Take your pick – they are all awesome!
2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to meet the locals (wildlife that is). Cuddle a Koala, feed the lorikeets, and shear a sheep. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many species of indigenous Australian wildlife and the kangaroos have free access inside the park. The park has a popular organised tour, but you can also catch the bus from Broadbeach.
3. Wet ‘N’ Wild
Wet ‘N’ Wild on the Gold Coast is where the fun never ends. There are pools, water slides, and an awesome new zone for little ones. Chill out in the Calypso beach or test your nerve on the slides. The Aqualoop slide is fantastic, but not the faint-hearted. Other slides include the Mach 5, the Kamikaze, and the Black Hole, and if you are wondering how scary they are, the clue is in the name.
4. Logan Village Museum
The Logan Village Museum is staffed by a team of local volunteers, who are keen to share 150 years of local history with visitors. Find out more about the Pioneer Families who created many of the communities still alive and well today. It’s a fascinating museum for history buffs.
5. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Everyone loves a koala, even though they sleep a lot and can be grumpy at times. The Lone Pine Koala has been in existence for 85 years and is home to well over 100 cute koalas. Visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and you can also meet platypus, lorikeets, and kangaroos.
6. Sea World
Take a trip beneath the waves at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Learn more about the creatures that inhabit the mysterious underwater world, including polar bears, penguins, seals and sharks. Kids will love the Storm Coaster attraction and the Jet Stunt Extreme Show.
7. Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
Explore the rainforest safely on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Begin the 1.5km walk at the Eco Centre. Stroll along the Skywalk Bridge and take photos from Cedar Creek Viewing Platform. You can also follow a winding pathway along the rainforest canopy floor, where you get to see the local flora and fauna up close and personal.
8. The Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens
The Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens is a magical place. Explore the stunning gardens and walk among the Gods on the famous Buddha Walk. There are some unique experiences to try, including the Music of the Plants and a Peace Experience. For anyone with an interest in spirituality, this is the place to visit. The Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens is only 20 minutes from Byron Bay.
9. Paradise Country Aussie Farm Tour
Have you ever wondered what life is like on an Aussie farm out in the bush? Visit the Paradise Country Farm and you can find out! This is an authentic Aussie farm experience, where kids can learn about sheep shearing, opal mining, and gold fossicking. You can meet the baby lambs, a pair of friendly dingoes, and have your photo taken with a koala.
10. Desert Art Centre
The Desert Art Centre curates artwork from some of Australia’s most collectible Aboriginal artists. There are regular exhibitions held at the Desert Art Centre at Broadbeach, so if you are interested in Aboriginal Dot paintings or other local artists, pay a visit to the art centre.
11. Laguna Park
Laguna Park is the most awesome park for children. The park is located in Palm Beach, with facilities to suit kids of all ages, including a pirate ship, monorail, adventure playground, interactive play equipment, and a Liberty Swing for kids in wheelchairs. There are barbecue and picnic areas for summertime cookouts. If you visit on a weekend, you might even catch a concert or two.
12. David Fleay Wildlife Park
The David Fleay Wildlife Park is near Burleigh Head. Plenty of Australia’s indigenous creatures live at the David Fleay Wildlife Park. Explore the park at your own speed, saying “hello” to the park’s residents in their natural habitats. The park was one of the first conservation parks to promote the importance of keeping endangered animals in conditions as close to their natural environment as possible. If you are interested in meeting some of the Gold Coast’s most iconic animals, the David Fleay Park is the place to visit.
13. The Gold Coast Museum
The Gold Coast Museum and Hinterland Historical Society extends over 1.25 acres and includes an early settler’s cottage, remains of the Bundall sugar mill, the Vincent Sheldon Artist Studio, littorial forest and beautiful gardens. This fascinating museum contains a huge collection of historical photos, archive records, Aboriginal artefacts, and even a bikini collection!
14. The Wax Museum
The Wax Museum in Surfer’s Paradise is home to 110 life-sized wax effigies of presidents, prime ministers, the Royal Family, and other famous figures from the world of politics, entertainment, and culture. There is also a Chamber of Horrors cataloguing the history of human cruelty, but you’ll need a strong stomach to survive the guided tour.
15. Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves
The Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves are two large man-made chambers linked by network of tunnels. The amazing “glow worm” cave is populated with thousands of glow worms, which is an extraordinary sight. The Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Caves are located on the Cedar Creek Estate.
16. Hinze Dam
The Hinze Dam is part of a huge recreation area in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Visit the Hinze Dam and try your hand at water sports on Advancetown Lake or explore the nature trails around the lake. There are also some great fishing opportunities for anglers.
17. Warners Bros. Movie World
The Warner Bros. Movie World in Oxenford is the place where fantasy meets adventure. Enjoy the world-class rides and meet your favourite superheroes. Attractions at the Warner Bros. Movie World include the Rio 4D Experience, Green Lantern Roller Coaster, Batwing Spaceshot, Superman Escape, and Arkham Asylum. This is Hollywood, right in the heart of the Gold Coast.
18. TreeTop Challenge
Take the TreeTop Challenge on Mount Tamborine. There are six courses spread out over 10 acres of bushland. Have a go on the giant Tarzan swing or tackle the 12 flying foxes. Full instruction will be provided before you are let loose in the Treetop Challenge. The attraction is great fun for families and suitable for kids aged 7-years and older.
19. Slideways Go Karting World
The Slideways Go Karting World in Pimpama is built for hard-core racers. The circuit is one of the best in the country. It’s over 700 metres long with lots of banked corners, undulations, and super-fast straight stretches where racers can build up some speed. If you are skilful enough, you could easily reach up to 70km/h. Kids aged 7 and above are good to go, but younger children can hitch a ride with mum or dad in a two seater kart.
20. Springbrook National Park
The Numinbah section of the Springbrook National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The park is located in the foothills of the Border ranges in south-east Queensland. Admire the rugged mountain scenery, wander along the banks of the Nerang River, and stop for a picnic in the day-use area where facilities are provided.
21. Tropical Fruit World
Do you want to learn more about fruit? If so, Tropical Fruit World at Duranbah is a fun place to visit. There are more than 500 different varieties of tropical fruit grown on the site – check out the Chocolate Pudding fruit and the Lemonade fruit. You can also take a wildlife boat cruise and explore the Island playground. There are also some pretty awesome views of Mount Warning!
22. Burleigh Head National Park
The Burleigh Head National Park is right in the heart of the Gold Coast. It is where ancient volcanic columns and rainforest meet the sea. The Burleigh Point is one of the Gold Coast’s most popular surfing point breaks, but if surfing is not your thing, walk the Ocean View trail along the headland and look out for humpback whales. There are walking trails throughout the park: explore the rainforest, wander along the foreshore, and take a picnic on Echo Beach. You might spot bush turkeys nesting or water dragons. Don’t forget your camera!
23. Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens are a short drive from Surfer’s Paradise. The gardens cover 31 hectares of Hinterland and are the perfect place to visit if you are interested in horticulture. Learn more about Australia’s native ecosystems as you explore the Mangroves to Mountains trail or visit the Butterfly Garden. There are free guided walks, ice creams, and organic coffee at the Friend’s Centre. What’s not to like?
24. Dracula’s Haunted House
Who knew Dracula had made his way from Transylvania to the Gold Coast? For the disbelievers, pay a visit to Dracula’s Haunted House on the Surfer’s Paradise Boulevard. It’s a fun walk-through attraction that includes some deadly Australian creatures, as well as a Carnival of Freaks, the Vampyre Lair, Phobia Level, and Mirror Maze.
25. Go Diving on the Gold Coast Seaway Dive Site
The Gold Coast Seaway is a popular dive site for beginners and experienced divers alike. There are four areas for all abilities: the North Wall, South-West Wall, South Wall, and Wave Break Island. The latter is ideal for snorkelers and anyone learning to dive. The North and South Walls are home to a vast variety of marine life, including whale sharks.
26. Take the Kids to Justins Park
Justins Park on the Burleigh Heads foreshore is a popular spot for families. The park contains all the classic attractions, including swings, slides, climbing frames and balance beams, but it is also a pretty picnic spot with tables and shady trees in abundance. The Oceanway dissects Justins Park, so if the kids are still feeling energetic, take them for a 2km walk along the seafront – the wide pathway is great for pushchairs and bikes.
Holoverse is a fun and futuristic theme park funded by the Australian government. The park uses holographic technology to create a futuristic world. You can fight monsters using holographic swords, jump into holographic holes, and experience artificial gravity. This is ground-breaking technology and kids and adults will have a ball!
28. Infinity Attraction
The Infinity Attraction at Surfer’s Paradise will challenge your senses and blow your mind! This is a fun and interactive attraction set in the future. Enjoy the special effects, groovy music and atmospheric sound fields. Leap into Inter-Dimensional Space, explore the Electron Maze, discover the Mystery Zone, and cross the Infinite Recession. The fun never stops!
29. WhiteWater World
WhiteWater world is a wet and wild oasis near Coomera on the Gold Coast. This water park is a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. Adults can chill out while kids play in the Cave of Waves, splash around in the Green Room, or slide at Wiggle Bay. On a super-hot Gold Coast day, not much beats a trip to White Water world.
30. SkyPoint Climb
If you have a head for heights, you will love the SkyPoint Climb at the top of the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise. The climb begins from the SkyPoint Observation deck on Level 77. You will follow your guide up to the crow’s nest, which is 270 metres above the ground. The views are spectacular and you will be able to see 360 degrees in every direction. Don’t worry about safety – that’s all taken care of. All you have to worry about is taking some great photos for Facebook!
This is just a small sample of the many Gold Coast Attractions on offer to locals and visitors – there are hundreds more, so you certainly won’t be bored if you visit the area. Most are within easy reach of the main resorts and cities, so jump on a bus, call an Uber, or hire a car and explore what the Gold Coast has to offer this year!