Things to do on the Gold Coast

I feel like I’ve been talking Scotland, Scotland, Scotland on the blog at the moment so I thought I’d shake things up a little. Since visiting the Gold Coast for the second time I have been meaning to put together a little guide of what to do, where to eat, where to sleep and everything in between. I have now visited the Gold Coast twice and on both trips I have made the most of my time in this area. So here’s my Little Guide to the Gold Coast…

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The Gold Coast is located on the East Coast of Australia just below Brisbane and north of Byron Bay. You will probably know it for schoolies, stunning beaches and theme parks but this area has so much more to offer. A wealth of Aboriginal history, home of I’m a celeb and its beautiful rain forests and enough water ways to rival Venice. When I visited this city as a backpacker I had no idea it has so much to offer until I returned the second time with gapyear.com and took time to explore the area.

What to do on the Gold Coast:

Wet ‘n’ Wild – At $60 for entry (back in 2012 so may have risen by now) this is the CHEAPEST of the theme parks but despite the steep price tag, it is certainly a great day out. With rides to suit all types of adrenaline rush as well as plenty of space for kids to play you will certainly be able to fill the whole day. Wet ‘n’ Wild is easily accessible by bus or car from Surfers Paradise. I would recommend going while the kids are still at school and on a slight overcast day because there will be minimal queues. Read More Here

water park

Dreamworld and White Water World – At around $80 for entry (please check prices before planning a trip) to both parks it is a expensive but worthwhile day out. Getting to do the two parks in one is definitely a great idea however be sure to check the opening times of each park as they are different. Dreamworld caters for people who love super scary rides or tame ones, I found there to be not many rides with medium scariness. White Water World is an all round hit, with big fun water rides – nothing too scary like Wet ‘n’ Wild but still a lot of fun. Read More Here…

Climb the Q1 Building – The Q1 is Gold Coasts’ tallest building and just for fun you can climb around the outside at the very top. I know, not so sure that goes down as fun but still something to try. Heading up top for the sunset is a pretty epic experience and then watching the city get dark and light up as you descend. Our guide Jodie was amazing and really encouraged us to enjoy the experience despite our nerves. A great way to see a different perspective of the city but another pricey activity. Read More Here…

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Visit Currumbin Wildlife Park – Visiting a wildlife park isn’t really the most exciting thing but when you add in segways and cuddling a koala it sounds a lot more appealing. At Currumbin you can do both of these activities as well as explore the whole of the park and feed then Kangaroos. Segwaying is A LOT of fun and your time on the machines is combined with a tour around the park. Cuddling a Koala is only legal in Queensland now and is the closest spot to NSW to do so, it’s also a pretty big bucket list tick. Read More Here…

Skydive on to the beach – I know its stereotypical for a backpacker but I am a huge adrenaline junkie and nothing is better than falling from the sky, strapped to a stranger you met less than an hour ago. Having already skydived before the nerves were at bay and I was just giddy with excitement to see this beautiful area from the sky. Alternatively you could just bag a window seat on your flight to/from the Gold Coast but you wouldn’t get to land on the beach I’m afraid. Read More Here…

Other ideas for you: Jet Boating, Jet Packing & Harley Davidson Tour

Things to do around the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast isn’t just beach and city, if you head an hour inland you reach rainforest or an hour south and you are back in NSW. Here are a few things worth checking out away from the city.

Binna Burra Hinterland – We headed out to the rainforest to spend a day and night away from the city and it was honestly the best day of that trip. We got to check out the awesome activities – abseiling and zip lining – then had time to head off on a walk and explore some more. We also witnessed an amazing sunset, stayed in safari tents and failed at making a camp fire.  The Binna Burra Lodge where we stayed and played had so much to offer that I wish we’d stayed for longer. Read More Here…

Water sports in Kingscliff – South of Surfers and into NSW is Kingscliff, a little water sports haven with so much on offer. We took the snorkelling trip to Cook Island in the morning and spend the afternoon at the creek paddle boarding and jumping off the bridge. The guys running the company are awesome and it has a proper family feel which makes the experience even more pleasurable. Read More Here…

Where to sleep

Surfers Paradise Backpackers Resort – I have stayed here twice now. Once in the dorm rooms and once in the double room apartment style block. You pay for what you get with each as I loved the apartment style double but it was a lot more money compared to the dorm rooms. Equipped with a pool, basketball/volleyball court, pool table and all the normal facilities it is certainly worth a stay. Read More Here…

Palazzo Versace

Palazzo Versace Hotel – This would be completely out of a backpackers budget but I won a stay here with the #imabackpacker competition. An amazing 5* hotel which left me feeling underdressed and out of place. Still I wasn’t going to let that ruin my stay and did my best to scrub up. Read More Here…

Where to eat

Bine – A craft beer and dining bar is located south of Surfers Paradise between Mermaid Beach and Miami on the Gold Coast Hwy. The place hasn’t been open that long but has quickly become a favourite among locals, mostly for the beer but the food it good too. They had a good choice of main course but the highlights were their sharing plates – not that we shared ours and the tasting handle of beers.

Vapiano – This is an Italian restaurant of which there are three in Australia. Dining here is a very unique experience as upon arrival each person is given a bill card which you use to order everything on. To order drinks you go to the bar like normal but to order food is very different. Once you have chosen from the menu, queue at the appropriate place (pizza, pasta or salad queue) and then wait your turn. The chef  then asks how much of spice, flavouring etc you would like, the type of pasta and then makes the dish fresh in front of you. Great idea – only problem was it took a long time to queue and none of our group ate at the same time as the pizza was ten times faster!

Helm Bistro – Gorgeous location, gorgeous food – located by one of Surfers many water ways the view was lovely in the fresh summer air. They had a meal deal every night and even stocked Burleigh Brewing Co. beer! All our food was incredible but I was amazed at the size of the prawns in my salad and my passionfruit pavlova was to die for. This was probably my favourite place and the atmosphere was awesome.

Hurricane Bar and Grill – We ended up here on Valentines night so it was packed! However it was run so smoothly and although we did have a long wait on food I think that was to do with one of our meals being the huge trio plate. The place looked out on to the beach and the inside was well decorated. More importantly our food was amazing and so was the waitress Brittany. The portions were massive and after a few drinks we all felt feeling like we had indulged too much!

And drink

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Burleigh Brewing Co. – We were shown around the brewery and even several beers to taste on an afternoon here. It is a local brewery which is ever growing in size and awards for its well-loved beer. Every month on the first Friday they hold a fab party with food and music then the rest of the month they open for a much smaller gathering on a Friday evening. All their beers except the Hef are supplied around Australia although most just around the Gold Coast area – we even found them in bars in Surfers! Each year they have to make enough stock for demand as well as three new beers, it’s a team that certainly have their work cut out. A family run company (plus a few extras) who really love what they do.

Read More About Eating and Drinking in Surfers Here…

All the beaches in Surfers are amazing but I would certainly suggest visiting more than the main beach. Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads are two of my faves.

The Gold Coast is amazing area of Australia and certainly isn’t given enough exposure to backpackers on the East Coast. There is so much to do in this small area of Oz and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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