Local Escapes

10 Non-Lame Touristy Things To Do On The Coast

By Alex Mitcheson
8th Jan 2018

things to do on the gold coast

Your interstate friends are coming to town and you’re sweating at the thought of your 85th visit to a glorious Gold Coast beach. But, before you deliberately break an ankle…read this list. Here are 10 fresh, tourist-friendly options that will both impress your visiting friends and won’t make you want to scream with boredom.

Go Throw Some Axes

One of 2017’s rad new appearances on the scene has got to be the opening of our very first axe throwing club, Lumber Punks. Nestled in the industrial area close to Miami Marketta, the gang here is giving you the chance to rock up and throw an array of axes at targets. Yep, really! None other than Jason Mamoa himself spent his birthday night here and is reported to have been truly in his element. Not one just for the men either, with scores of girls demonstrating a dead eye with an axe. So, fellas, it might make you think twice next time she asks you to pick that sock up off the floor…

Join A Crafted Coast Tour

Now, imagine yourself and a group of mates, the sun is shining and you are being chauffeur driven by an awesome crew to the city’s best craft breweries, where you sample some of their fine work and having a hell time. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, this very scenario can, in fact, be a reality. Crafted Coast Tours offer this tour along with a selection of other day trips, including hitting some rad surf spots and waterfalls. Generally highlighting the best the Coast has to offer, and helping the discerning tourist realise there is so much more to the GC than rollercoasters and parmigiana.

Hire A Boat On The Tweed River

As simple as it sounds, this is one bang for your buck experience. Several companies offer simple boat hire on the Tweed River that pretty much anyone can captain themselves. All you need is a salty crew, some sunscreen and obviously an Esky full of liquid refreshment! Cruise the river, drop a line if you want or even hire a houseboat for a night or two and get lost along the beautiful banks of the Tweed.

Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s Incredible New Lost Valley

We’ve all seen the kangaroo selfies and quaint snaps of people we know embracing a rather languid looking koala at some point. But if you’re yet to visit Gold Coast’s treasured Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, or haven’t been back in years, now you’ve got one very special reason with the recent opening of the Lost Valley precinct. This stellar addition to the sanctuary is one of the southern hemisphere’s largest multi-species, free-flight aviaries and focuses on the very early times when our world was just one land mass known as Gondwana. The enclosed habitat section is really to marvel at, as the environment inside is completely natural with walkways built around existing trees and streams. Being a walkthrough enclosure means you’ll see a large selection of birds and natural fauna as well as a ‘conspiracy’ of lemurs pretty much face to face; one to wow the kids and captivate the adults. 

Get Jiggy With The Island Rooftop’s Gin & Jazz Nights

Gin. And. Jazz. On a rooftop? Sounds like a scene from somewhere further afield than Surfers Paradise, yet The Island Rooftop Bar is helping win back some favour for the sometimes neglected heart of our Coast, and they are doing a top-notch job of it, too. The rooftop bar itself is the Gold Coast’s largest, but size aside these guys are backing it up with well-crafted cocktails and good times to boot. Rock up on any given Thursday night and from 6:30pm a live jazz band will serenade you with sophisticated melodies all night long.

Catch An Event At The Arts Centre Gold Coast

Our ever-changing city has always had an underlying cultural backbone. Often overlooked by the sandy and ‘surfy’ disposition that has culminated over the years, it now seems the arts are truly flourishing. If you haven’t been to The Arts Centre Gold Coast or don’t pay it a visit while you're here, then you're really missing out on one of the Coast’s integral institutions. There is always a myriad of stuff going on, from alternate/arthouse films and documentaries, musicals, gigs and even workshops. Their current summer program running through January is varied and entertaining, with something for everyone. Your next rainy day solution = sorted.

Stand-Up Paddle The Creeks 

Who hasn’t at least once looked at someone stand-up paddle boarding on pristine mirror-like water and said to themselves, “I’ll do that one day” or “I’m going to buy me one of those paddle boards”? Well, now is the time. Albeit you can stand-up paddle all year round, summer has to be the best time of year. Both Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks have places to hire a SUP for as little as an hour to as long as you want. Not just one for the tourists either, as locals will see our beautiful creeks from a completely different perspective! Need more inspo? We’ve rounded up the Coast’s best SUP locations here.  

Go On A Hinterland Adventure

How blessed are we to not only have mile after mile of pristine beaches, but also an incredibly lush and hidden away hinterland to play in? The ‘green behind the gold’ is the perfect opportunity to escape the beach crowds and… pretty much everywhere else. Your itinerary should include visiting a winery or two, trying out some local award-winning cheeses, waterfalls and endless walking tracks that will lead you through tranquil forests which have existed for millions of years.

Hit Up A Night Market

Sometimes eating out with a bunch of friends can be somewhat of a hassle. Bob wants to do Mexican, Sarah fancies something Japanese, Rochelle is vegan… and you couldn’t care less what you eat. But there is a saviour. Why not check out one of our vibrant night-styled markets slash street food venues to change things up and cater to everyone’s tastes? Miami Marketta in Miami and NightQuarter in Helensvale are the pick of the bunch as these fixed venues offer a range of food stalls and are also licensed to serve alcohol. Marketta is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night from 5pm while NightQuarter opens every Friday and Saturday night from 4pm. If you feel like something more outdoors, Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets and The Sanctuary Markets in Currumbin are definitely also worth a looksee. 

Hang With The Locals At Burleigh Hill 

If this isn’t the epitome of a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon on the Gold Coast then, well, we are at a loss. On any given Sunday you’ll find huddles of people upon the hill; grass between their toes and armed with blankets, food, Bluetooth speakers and perhaps a bottle of wine or two. And there is good reason for this ‘natural’ phenomenon; the feast-for-the-eyes view itself from Burleigh up to the shiny lights of Surfers Paradise is something else, along with the falling afternoon sun ebbing its last warmth of the day and the ever-present blue canvas of the Pacific Ocean, it really doesn’t get any better.

Image credit: Hayley Williamson for The Urban List 

Looking for more things to do on the Gold Coast if you're visiting or have been tasked with hosting friends from out of town? We've got your ultimate Gold Coast bucket list, right here

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