I have now visited Australia three times, and each time I have been staying right outside the Gold Coast, thanks to a close friend and her extremely welcoming family. Every single time I have gotten to discover some of the best places to visit on the Gold Coast, and I thought it was finally time to share them on here. I have to say that not once have I been bored during my trips, even when we’ve spent days on end just lounging by the pool (to be honest, what’s there to get bored of when you have a Kindle, right?).
Disclaimer: If you wish to spend an entire trip lying by the pool and reading, you can do that too. Completely understandable.
There is something so relaxing about the Australian sun, but don’t think for one second that this is a quiet city! The Gold Coast, Queensland is a haven for people looking to stay busy while on holiday, and it’s packed with activities for those who wish to seek them out.
I’ve put together a list of some of the best places to visit on the Gold Coast, and the most fun things I’ve done in the area, and I hope you it gets you excited to visit!
The 9 Best Places to visit on the Gold Coast, Australia
To avoid making this list longer than it needs to be, I have grouped some items together. For example, you’ll find that instead of listing each theme park in the city (you’ll find that these are definitely worth being named as some of the best places to visit on the Gold Coast), I have grouped them together as #1. Hopefully, this makes it a little easier for you to scan this list and to plan your trip to Queensland!
#1 The Theme Parks
The Gold Coast is known for its several theme park options, and I’d go as far as calling it the Orlando of Australia. During one of my visits, there were even rumours of a new Disney park hitting the Australian city soon! This only makes it clear how well Gold Coast delivers when it comes to thrills and fun. You’ve got plenty of parks to choose from, such as Wet ‘n’ Wild, MovieWorld and DreamWorld, so you know you won’t run out of adrenaline.
Top tip: Scan GetYourGuide before visiting for good deals! We ended up getting a seasonal pass with access to SeaWorld, MovieWorld and Wet ‘n’ Wild. Here’s a great offer on a 3-day pass to the parks I found!
#2 The Beaches (yes, Surfer’s Paradise is one of the Best Places to visit on the Gold Coast)
Or, at least it’s one of the most famous places to visit on the Gold Cost (*insert one-tear laughing emoji*).
This is another obvious one, but it is worth the mention. There are plenty of beautiful beaches along the coast of the Gold Coast (hah), and the most famous is of course Surfer’s Paradise. Many locals will tell you it’s too crowded and a little overrated, but I’m sure you’ll still want to get a photo taken of the well-known sign on the boardwalk.
In Surfers, you’ll find loads of places for surf lessons and surfboard hire, if that’s what you’re into, which is also a must when visiting the Australian coastline. We ended up getting a great deal on surfing lessons with this surf school, that even practice a ‘guaranteed to stand‘ policy, which made it a lot more challenging, but oh so fun!
(And yes, I did manage to stand up on the surfboard by the end of the lesson. Barely.)
#3 Peel Island (by boat, that is)
There are lots of islands of the coast of Southern Queensland, and they are worth a mention when we are trying to list the best places to visit on the Gold Coast, Australia. This also means that there are plenty of options if you want to get your sea legs on!
Twice now, I have spent a day lying on deck onboard a boat our way to Peel Island (named the Whitsunday Island of Southern Queensland, which is reason enough to visit), and couldn’t have had a better time. Even the sunburn was worth it.
You can read all about the sailing experience here (yes, I wrote a full post about it)!
#4 Trampoline park
Finally something you weren’t expecting, right?
This is a great time, and a proper workout too! At Air Factory Trampoline Park there are loads of fun activities to choose from, and I promise you that you won’t get bored. They have great deals if you book online, and we took advantage of booking a second hour at an extremely affordable price. We just didn’t consider just how exhausted we would be before our first hour had ended.. Don’t worry, though, there’s free WiFi and a café where you can take a break, and lots of different areas to play around in when you’re ready!
#5 Mount Tamborine
Mount Tamborine is a mountain, by Australian standards, in the backyard of the Gold Coast, and definitely a place worth visiting if you want to get a little closer to nature! From waterfall hikes to the gallery walk (and seasonal events put on throughout the year), there are lots of things to do in this area of the Gold Coast. Head to their official website here for the latest info!
#6 The Mount Tamborine SkyWalk (while you’re there)
If you’re ready to get closer to nature, this is where you need to go. Not only are there loads of cute shops, galleries and cafés on the road up to Mount Tamborine, but the SkyWalk there is such a great experience! We all headed up there during the Christmas break, and absolutely loved it.
Basically, you are following a trail build along the treetops, and the route takes you through the forests of Mount Tamborine, allowing you to listen for the different bird species that habitat the area, scout for other animals and wildlife, and look down (if you dare) to get some proper butterflies in your stomach. If you want to learn more, I’ve written a whole post about it here.
If you do enjoy the outdoors, I also recommend checking out the Warrie Circuit!
#7 The Currumbin Rock Pools
On my first visit to the Gold Coast, my friend took me to the Currumbin Rock Pools, and we had such a great time! The tiny bodies of water (tiny tiny lakes, I guess ‘pool’ is the correct word) are all-natural, and have been created throughout the years from the cascading water running through the rainforest area. They are such a beautiful place to unwind, especially if you are getting tired of the beach. It’s freshwater, and a lot colder than the ocean – but definitely worth a soak! You’ll find the rock pools an approximate 45 minute drive from Surfer’s Paradise, and you’ll get to enjoy the scenery of inland Australia on your way.
#8 Australia Zoo
You can’t go to Australia and not visit a zoo. Scratch that, I mean THE zoo. Australia Zoo is only a 2,5-hour drive from Gold Coast, just past Brisbane, and is well worth a visit. They have daily shows that educate and teach you about the different species that live there, and lots of opportunities to educate yourself on animal welfare and how you can contribute to preventing certain species from becoming extinct. The park was the brainchild of the late Steve Irwin, and his influence throughout is quite obvious. The crocodile show is dedicated to the Crocodile Hunter himself, and I will admit I did shed a tear when they showed a video homage to him.
#9 The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
If you can’t be bothered to take the drive up to Brisbane, or just want to try something different, I strongly recommend the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Many of the animals there roam freely, and you will be able to walk amongst the kangaroos and emus at the same time. Their show dedicated to birds of prey is absolutely insane, and I learned so much that I didn’t know about these majestic birds. It was definitely one of my favourite animal experiences of all time. Their focus is on conservation, and they do this by preserving the habitat of animals native to the area and Australia.
There you have some of the best places to visit on the Gold Coast, Australia!
As you can see, Gold Coast is an incredibly vibrant city, with lots of activities to suit all your needs and wishes. Whether you are travelling with friends or with the family, I am sure you will have a great time. I hope you’ve found some good tips on what to do on your next visit from reading this post! If you are still looking for fun things to do on the Gold Coast, here are a few suggestions: