Things To Do

50 Free (Or Cheap) Things To Do On The Gold Coast

By Brooke Darling
21st Jun 2021

free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast
free things to do on the gold coast

What a pain! You’ve got 20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket and you don’t know how to spend it. Said no one, ever. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, at least not on the Gold Coast, so the more fun you can have for less, the better!

With that in mind, we’ve foraged together 50 awesome things to do on the Gold Coast that are fun, sometimes tasty and maybe even free!

  1. You can order an espresso martini with a side of golf! Holey Moley is where cocktails and bar snacks collide with crazy putt putt golf and good times galore. Located in Surfers Paradise, nine holes here will set you back $12 per person, just bring extra cash for beers and burgs. 
  2. One of our all-time fave things to do on the Gold Coast when you're on a budget? Snag one of the best seats in the house for drinks and a cheap pub meal at the characterful old Rainbow Bay Surf Club. Knock back the cheapest pot of Balter in town, with views over the same surf break where the legendary shark-punching world champ Mick Fanning got his water wings.
  3. One of all-time favourite free things to do on the Gold Coast, no matter what your age, is the free lorikeet feeding sessions at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (daily at 8am and 4pm). These colourful critters are seriously wild! 
  4. Get your hands dirty with you-pick veggies and fresh produce from these fertile farms in the region. It’s one of the best things to do on the Gold Coast and will cost you next to nada. Did someone say sunflower selfies?! 
  5. Nothing exemplifies the Gold Coast’s bohemian slash surf culture and the creativity of our talented populace than a Sunday morning stroll around Burleigh’s beloved The Village Markets (8:30am to 1pm, first and third Sunday of the month). It’s free to wander and enjoy the live tunes, but be warned, you’ll wanna buy one of everything! Though if your wallet is tight, all is not lost. At the first market of each month, the TVM rack sale includes dozens of pre-loved stalls and literally hundreds of new-to-you outfits to ponder. 
  6. Speaking of markets, Gold Coast is home to a ridic selection, and is without question one of the best things to do on the Gold Coast if you’re on a budget. For cheap street eats, vintage finds, free live entertainment and all those feel-good community vibes, start with this list of some of the city’s best markets.  
  7. If you love beer, you don’t need a fat wallet to explore Gold Coast’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Soak up the brewhouse atmosphere and order a tipple from each brewery—starting with Balter, before moving north to Burleigh Brewing, Black Hops and Miami's Lost Palms. Fridays through Sundays are your best bet if you want to hit them all.
  8. Lace up your sneakers and explore any of these incredible national parks in our immediate backyard. While you’re at it, these stellar local bush walks will get you amongst nature—‘cause the best things in life are free.
  9. Warm up with a steamy pot of herbal tea (with lemon, mint and ginger plucked fresh from the garden) at Currumbin Valley Harvest, open Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 1pm. Or climb Tomewin Range for coffee and homemade cake with killer views at Freeman’s Organic Farm. It’s one of our fave cheap things to do on the Gold Coast if you’re on a budget. 
  10. Go to the beach! With literally dozens of sandy spots the entire length of the city, what better way to spend a cash-free day than with a good book and a beach towel? We've rounded up some of our fave beaches here
  11. Bank account looking dismal until payday? Eat your way through this long list of best cheap eats on the Gold Coast.
  12. How many times have you stopped to ponder how blessed we are to live on the edge of 50-plus kilometres of jaw-dropping beaches and, just 30-minutes inland, towering ranges bursting with ancient rainforests, waterfalls and wildlife? Consider this your guide to exploring Mount Tamborine and the surrounding hinterland. 
  13. Water activities? On the Gold Coast? You know it! With boards hired from Currumbin Creek’s Boatshed for just $20 for 1.5 hours, SUP’ing is the perfect activity for your tourist pals. Whether you’re a pro or newly learning, it’s a sure-fire way to create some serious deep-belly chuckles. Or check out these top spots to SUP around the Coast.   
  14. Nothing beats a cheap and flaky pastry for brekkie or lunch from one of the best bakeries on the Gold Coast. We’ve got you covered with our faves here
  15. Get wet in Currumbin Valley’s Cougal Cascades. This little slice of paradise is hidden among some lush south east Queensland greenery and is the perfect place to chill out and swim without being attacked by a vicious wave. It's our pick among the best free things to do on the Gold Coast. 
  16. Throw a sickie and spend a weekday trawling the best op shops on the Gold Coast. Wanna dress like the locals? Go vintage and you’ll be safe. 
  17. Chase waterfalls, folks! Don’t listen to TLC; getting lost surrounded by nature is the best medicine, always. Check out our favourite waterfalls around the area and beyond. 
  18. Dance like nobody is watching, while you shimmy and sway your way into that bikini, with these adult dance classes to get you groovin’. From swing to Beyonce, it’s all here. 
  19. Head to Brunswick Heads for a day trip. Think: hippie-loving markets, cafe hopping, and crystalline saltwater creeks to float around in (that look just like the Caribbean, well, close enough). 
  20. Burleigh Hill is the greatest picnic spot on the Gold Coast and our absolute weekend arvo go-to when guests are in town. Unless you hate crowds and looking for a place to park, in which case it could be the worst. But, for most of us, the sweeping views from Burleigh Hill up to the glitter strip and the ‘always Sunday’ mood make it well worth the effort.
  21. While we pile on the layers in autumn and winter, others are flocking to the warmer Queensland waters in droves. Yes, May to November is whale migration season and you can gawk at these wondrous creatures as they frolic and splash their way north, and then south again come springtime. Our top picks for a free nature show? Burleigh Hill, Point Danger, The Spit and Miami Lookout.
  22. Scoop up your date or family and head to Yatala drive-in. Here, a car full of people (max six guests) will set you back just $35, leaving plenty of coin for choc-top ice cream cones. 
  23. Head out for a sunset bike ride from Main Beach to Burleigh (or vice versa). While everyone else is stuck in traffic racing home from the office, there’s nothing better than winding down with a cruisy pedal along the bike-friendly foreshore. You’ll work those buns and be in awe of the gorgeous sunset.
  24. Flick off the thongs for a pair of Nikes and pound the pavement between Kirra and Froggies Beach, or any of these pretty walks. Stunning views and increased heart rate come complimentary. 
  25. Grab a picnic blanket, your favourite buddies, a phone with some fab playlists, dips, crackers and your mad cheese board skills, then set up a picnic with your friends. Any of these awesome picnic spots will do just fine. 
  26. Dine at one of the best cheap Taco Tuesday nights on the Gold Coast and you’ll easily come out on top. 
  27. Ask any international visitor and they’ll attest we’re damn lucky to have free BBQs in almost every public park. Take advantage of cooking in the great outdoors, with these top BBQ spots with epic views
  28. Book into Burleigh Heads Barefoot Bowls on Sundays (12pm to 5pm) for fun that even gramps can get into. $8 per person will cover all equipment, as you lounge around with the locals and lap up the savings you’ve made. Bookings essential. 
  29. Head to Doughnut Boss in Robina and try to walk away empty-handed—go ahead, we dare you.
  30. Go appreciate the wealth of artists that call the Gold Coast home at any of these fabulous local galleries. While you're at it, check out all these epic workshops where you can let your creative juices flow.   
  31. Binge on your favourite street food at Miami Marketta, which pulls together some of the best ethnic food stalls from across the Coast every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Expect an electric vibe, revolving roster of toe-tapping bands and DJs, multiple cocktail bars, a dessert hall, fashion stalls and a buzzing family-friendly crowd. 
  32. If there’s one thing Gold Coasters are obsessed with, it is euphoric treats of the frozen variety. We’re talking ice cream and gelato—cold, sweet, delicious goodness which won’t set you back more than $5. We challenge you to lick your way through each of the best ice cream joints on the Gold Coast this summer.
  33. Be inspired by over 4, 400 incredible artworks on display at the brand new HOTA Gallery. This stunning new gallery is the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia, so you can expect it to be absolutely incredible. Enjoy views from the rooftop Exhibitionist Bar or indulge in fine-class dining at Palette Restaurant
  34. Explore the rich Indigenous culture of the Gold Coast at Jellurgal Cultural Centre in Burleigh Heads. On your free tour you can browse the incredible Indigenous artwork, learn about the native Yugambeh People and be inspired by the traditional customs.
  35. Nestled away in picturesque Tamborine Mountain, you’ll find the gorgeous Glow Worm Caves, where thousands of the critters light up these magical caves. For just $15, embark on a guided tour, where you can get close and personal with these bioluminescent creatures.
  36. Lace up and get a full top-to-toe workout with the latest craze—indoor rock climbing. The Gold Coast is packed with prime rock climbing spots, and with climbing sessions costing $15 to $30 (and loads of places offering free trials) this fun activity won’t dig too deep into your wallet.
  37. We’re all about wellness and healthy living here on the Gold Coast, so grab your yoga mat and get into your best downward dog with the GCCC’s Active & Healthy Yoga Program. Most weekly yoga sessions are free, with a few costing a gold coin donation, so you’ve got no reason not to get your zen on.
  38. Sip your way through the abundance of gorgeous distilleries we are blessed with on the Gold Coast. From Granddad Jack’s craft spirits to Wildflower Gin’s botanical gins, a tipple or two won’t set you back too much coin and you can even learn about the spirit distilling process and take a free tour of the distilleries. Bonus.
  39. 38. Get your flippers and snorkelling gear ready to go and explore our stunning home from beneath the surface. Get face deep (for free) and snorkel your way around the Gold Coast’s beautiful blue waters.
  40. Fulfil your influencer dreams at the most Insta-worthy cafes across the Gold Coast (and trust us, there’s plenty of them). Grab a coffee and snack at one of the many aesthetic AF spots, perfect for pimpin’ your feed.
  41. The Gold Coast is home to a bunch of mouth-watering pizza options—enough to sample a different one every day of the week, if you’ve got the dosh. From authentic Italian wood-fired delights to quirky toppings, there’s a slice to suit every taste bud that won’t set you back too much coin.
  42. We sure are a sucker for the decadent winer drink of molten chocolate in a mug, AKA a hot chocolate, which is the best treat during the chillier months. Bring out your coin purse and wrap your mitts around the best hot chocolates on the Gold Coast.
  43. For just $25 per person every Sunday, you can stuff your face with 1.5 hours’ worth of unlimited tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and pizza at North Burleigh Kitchens. Uhh, whaaat?
  44. Indoor plants are all the rage right now and we’re first to admit we’re totally obsessed (especially when we can snag a cheapie from a local nursery). Thankfully, the Coast abounds in blossoming garden centres and plant shops which sell every plant you could possibly want, without costing an arm and a leg. 
  45. You can’t call yourself a Gold Coaster without hitting up the iconic Surf World at least once in your life—with an entry fee of just $10, the museum showcases Australia’s largest collection of surfboards, along with exhibitions of photographs, oral histories, surf movies, surf craft and all related surf memorabilia. Hell yeah!
  46. Pedal your way through the Gold Coast’s best cycling tracks.
  47. 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.
  48. Take a stroll through the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens—entry is free and there’s so much to see!
  49. Load up on the Gold Coast’s most epic burgers.
  50. Then lace up and hit the best running tracks on the Gold Coast to counteract all the burger eating.

On the hunt for more free things to do on the Gold Coast? Hunt down these hidden lookouts that we probably shouldn’t tell you about.

Image credit: Hayley Williamson and Brooke Darling for Urban List 

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