50 Awesome Things To Do On The Gold Coast

By Brooke Darling
21st Mar 2016

There’s plenty more to the Gold Coast than the glittering skyline of Surfers Paradise.

Open your eyes and hearts to the likes of Burleigh Heads, Palm Beach, Nobby Beach, Currumbin Estuary, Rainbow Bay, and the glorified super bank surf breaks of Coolangatta. Want more reasons to book that trip? Here’s another 50.

1. When four of the best surfers on the planet, including three-time world champ Mick Fanning, made another dream a reality, the Gold Coast gained a new craft beer and brewery—Balter Brewing. You don’t want to miss this. 

2. Try a different Gold Coast breakfast spot every day, starting with Bam Bam Bakehouse in Mermaid Beach.

3. Commit to an afternoon-long Sunday session on the new Justin Lane rooftop.

4. Keep cool and splash about under a Gold Coast waterfall or rock pool, like Cougal Cascades in Springbrook National Park. 

5. Cruiser bike ride along the foreshore as far as your legs will carry you. Just don’t forget you’ll need to turn around and come back.

6. You city folk know a damn sexy beach when you see one. Fortunately, these are absolutely lust-worthy

7. GC might be “famous for fun” but theme parks aren’t the only place you can get it; we reckon you’ll fall head over heels for these secret swimming spots

8. This is as glam as it gets; on point cocktails, epic Asian fusion dishes, and absolute water frontage. This, our friends, is Rick Shores.  

9. Gold Coaster’s might be trim, taunt, and tanned, but they sure know how to make one hell of a crackin’ burger. Here’s where to find the best

10. Pulling your hair out deciding where to stay? Let us guide you to the best hotel bars and swankiest hotel pools going.

11. Tick off at least five of the 15 best cheap eats on the Gold Coast. Your stomach and bank account will thank us.

12. Got a friend with a babe on the way? The locally-made kids wear on offer at The Village Markets (Burleigh and Paradise Point) will send you totally clucky. When you’re done, grab a coffee from the mobile trucks, and relish in the insanely good live tunes. 

13. Have a cocktail at one of the highest points in Australia atop the 77 floor Q1 Resort and Spa

14. Love a WTF food challenge? Doughnutfukwitdis is the burger of the hour at Burleigh’s famous Ze Pickle. Made with, you guessed it, a doughnut for a bun

15. Weather got you all hot under the collar? Take a jaunt up to the cooler air of Mount Tamborine. Grab a triple cream brie from Witches Chase Cheese deli and wash it down with a $20 beer tasting paddle from Fortitude Brewery next door. 

16. BYOP, that’s bring your own picnic! And make an afternoon adventure in the great outdoors with any of the Gold Coast’s best picnic spots

17. A holiday is a time for splashin’ out, like acting all lady-like and booking in for high tea (there’s even one just for the gents!). 

18. Up your breakfast boss ante. Start by working your way around all of Burleigh’s best breakfasts

19. Have a barbie at any of the BBQ setups along the Coast’s foreshore and inlets. Seriously, this is THE place to watch the afternoon light disappear ‘cause the best things in life are free.

20. Over a few vinos on the deck at Marina Mirage’s Glass Restaurant, daydream about that life when you sell everything and sail around the world for the rest of your days. 

21. Vegetarian and vegan eating is no passing health “fad”, it’s a conscious movement that’s here to stay. Expand your mind this year by visiting one of the Gold Coast’s best vegetarian restaurants

22. Hire a party pontoon on the Broadwater. Dock on Wavebreak Island for a BBQ and beach cricket, ‘cause this untouched shrub-covered oasis may not stay untouched forever.

23. Buy a kilo of fresh Aussie prawns from Charis Seafood or Gold Coast Fisherman’s Co-op or Peter’s Fish Market. Enjoy them waterside while watching other tourists get swooped by hungry seagulls and pelicans. Just don’t feed the birds, dammit! 

24. Get out of town with one of these awesome day trips.

25. Take a day trip to Halcyon House in Cabarita and order glamorous cocktails by the pool.  

26. Head to Burleigh’s James Street and have your mind blown by the work of talented local ocean photographer, Sean Scott.  

27. Burleigh Brewing single-handedly kick-started the craft beer revolution on the Coast; beer connoisseurs will love this tank to tap to pint glass experience. 

28. Get wet at the Currumbin Rock Pools. This little piece of paradise is hidden amongst some lush South East Queensland greenery and is the perfect place to chill out and swim without being attacked by a vicious wave.

29. It ain’t a visit to the Gold Coast without sinking a few frosty pots at a trusty surf club. We can’t go past the legendary Rainbow Bay SLSC (home of the Quiksilver Pro), or any one of these surf clubs with the best views.  

30. Miami Marketta introduced us coasties to the wonder of the permanent night market and international food street eats. Trust us, you want to live like the locals do? Then head here any Friday or Saturday night between 4—10pm.   

31. Impress your mates by boosting your knowledge of your favourite brew with Introduction to Cupping classes at Paradox Coffee Roasters

32. Sink a few funky cocktails at Gold Coast’s first pop-up bar—Aloha Bar and Dining. Here for a good time, not a long time, and is damn tricky to find too! 

33. Pack the car for a jaunt into the hinterland. In just 45 minutes you’ll be surrounded by the lush rainforest of Springbrook National Park. What’s not to miss? The four-kilometre round trip hike to the base of spectacular Purlingbrook waterfall or, if you’re simply lazy, there’s a sweet viewing platform at the top.

34. Try a Bronut Sundae from Skull and Bones Espresso, Mermaid Beach. We hope this doughnut, bronut, cruffin craze never goes away. Ever. 

35. Go for a hike around Burleigh Heads National Park, those gorgeous ocean vistas come complimentary. #freshairdontcare

36. See why Jupiters Hotel and Casino is well on its way to becoming a sparkling new jewel in the crown, starting with a long lunch or cocktails under the stars at Garden Kitchen and Bar

37. It’s the era when everyone went crazy for food trucks, and the Gold Coast is no exception. Hunt down a few of our faves. 

38. Upping the night market ante even further, Helensvale welcomed the addition of NightQuarter, a nifty village comprising 120 upcycled shipping containers, mini fashion boutiques, a ridic selection of food vendors, and live music. Open every Friday and Saturday night between 4—10pm.  

39. Embrace fine Aussie cuisine with a bacon and egg sanga, toad-in-a-hole, or dippy eggs at Paddock Bakery

40.  Hit up Fish Mongers for fish ‘n’ chips and head to much-loved Burleigh Hill for a picnic among the locals and under a dusky sunset. If you’ve not fallen head over heels for this part of the world already, this will be a deal maker.

41. On dusk, sit under the Norkfolk pines lining any beachside park and try to out scream the lorikeets.

42. Get your groove on and lace up your bowling shoes at disco-esque Surfers Paradise Ten Pin

43. Only have eyes for THE best restaurant on the Gold Coast? There’s plenty of contenders hot on its tail, but it’s unanimous around town where to go when you’ve got cash to burn or are celebrating something truly momentous—and that’s The Fish House

44. We don’t like to admit it, but sometimes the Sunshine State, well, it ain’t that sunny. In this rare case, deep breaths, release tension from shoulders, and call on our pick of things to do when it rains

45. Find yourself a friendly designated driver and take a crawl of the Gold Coast’s best craft beer bars

46. It’s likely a big trip to the Gold Coast will include a wee side excursion to hippy-lovin’ Byron, and who can blame you? Here’s a few ideas to get you started. 

47. There’s some sweet-ass shopping to be had at Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre, and Burleigh’s James Street; or you can continue supporting the GC economy when returning home by buying online from any one of these talented and crafty local retailers

48. Try your best to look coordinated while walking on water on magical Currumbin Creek estuary, or at any one of these gorgeous stand-up paddle boarding spots

49. Before heading back to the office, tie up your boots and work off all those cocktails, doughnut crawls, and burger feasts with a five-hour round trip hike to the summit of Mt Warning. Are you up for the challenge?

50. Don’t depart until you’ve tried at least half of the best coffee joints in bountiful Burleigh. While you’re sipping back on the liquid gold, you can start planning your return visit.   

Image credits: Hayley Williamson, Brooke Darling

Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Tourism Gold Coast and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

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