From mountain escapes to refreshing feasts, there are plenty of things to do on the Gold Coast this summer break. Explore the Coast’s most beautiful spots, try something new, and top it all off with a crisp cocktail at the end of the day.
We adore summer, but the truth is (just like 2015) next time you look. Bam. It’ll be gone.
Never forget, people flock from all over the world to visit our backyard. So get out there and make the most of our sunny slice of paradise—with your hit list of 38 things to do on the Gold Coast before summer is over.
1. How long since you were last there? Pay another visit to one of our fave watering holes on the Coast, the super chill and unassuming Rainbow Bay Surf Club.
2. Pro surfers are again descending on the Gold Coast. Clear you calendar for the Burleigh Pro (Jan 29—31) followed by the granddaddy, Snapper Rocks’ Quiksilver Pro (Feb 28—March 13).
4. Raid the fridge for leftovers and pack up the car for an afternoon picnic. Everything tastes better when consumed in the great outdoors!
6. Round up your besties for an espresso martini bar crawl.
7. Relive the good ‘ol days with movies under the stars at Yatala Drive-in.
8. Sink a few funky cocktails at Gold Coast’s first summer pop-up bar—Aloha Bar and Dining by Exotic Pets Presents. Opening mid January!
9. Pack the car for a Mt Tamborine day trip, with lunch plans to visit Witches Chase Cheese Factory and Fortitude Brewery—order a locally-made cheese platter and beer tasting paddle. Summer afternoon sorted!
10. Tick off at least five of the 15 best cheap eats on the Gold Coast. Your stomach and bank account will thank us.
11. Whisk someone special away for a delicious long lunch at charming Mavis’s Kitchen at the base of Mount Warning.
12. Take a day trip to Halcyon House in Cabarita and order glamorous cocktails by the beach. Better yet, splurge and spend the night. This hideaway is extra spesh.
14. Commit to an afternoon-long Sunday session on Justin Lane’s new rooftop.
15. Understand what dinner and dessert in the same meal tastes like, when ordering Ze Pickle’s mad new burger: #Doughnutfukwitdis. The “bun” is an original glazed creation from Doughnut Time. WTF?
16. Keep cool and splash about under a Gold Coast waterfall or rock pool you’ve yet to discover, like Cougal Cascades in Springbrook National Park.
17. Up your breakfast boss ante. Start by working your way around all of Burleigh’s best breakfasts.
18. Luxe out at The 4217’s lovely Cha Tea Providores. Their modern take on a classic high tea will set you back just $35pp, and it’s super cute.
19. Have a barbie at any of the BBQ setups along Gold 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. Cruiser bike ride along the Gold Coast foreshore as far as your legs will carry you. Just don’t forget you’ll need to turn around and come back.
23. Vegetarian and vegan eating is no passing health “fad”, it’s a conscious movement that’s here to stay. Expand your mind this summer by visiting one of the Gold Coast’s best vegetarian restaurants.
24. An old man’s sport has never been so much fun. Rally your mates for barefoot bowls; Sunday afternoon at Burleigh Heads Bowls Club.
25. Catch a flick at Pacific Fair’s shiny new Event Cinema. Hungry? The impressive new “café court” will change your perception of shopping mall grub.
27. 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.
28. Visit a weekend Farmers’ Market (Miami, Palm Beach, Burleigh, Helensvale, Bundall, to name a few) and cook your friends, family or lover that epic ethnic dish you’ve long been wanting to attempt.
29. Give a personal welcome to the newest culinary resident to Burleigh Heads—Rick Shores has opened under Oskars with an exceptionally-crafted South East Asian-inspired menu to match those uninterrupted ocean vistas. Cuttlefish popcorn anyone?
30. Tackle that DIY project you’ve been tossing about for months. Like building a nifty rough-wood vertical herb garden for the deck. Unless you have a yard…make it a veggie patch.
32. Whisk your lover away for a weekend retreat in the mountains. Here are some ideas that’ll earn you extra brownie points.
33. We are seriously spoilt peeps! 2015 saw a swag of new eateries descend on the Gold Coast, how many have you been to? Try to hit at least five on this list before the summer is out.
34. New Year. New You? Yoga is a good place to start. Here are some of the best studios on the Coast.
35. Hire stand-up paddle boards on Currumbin or Tallebudgera creeks. Sure we might sound like a broken record, but THIS summer you are actually going to make it happen!
36. Get out of town with one of these awesome day trips.
37. Make a return visit to a suburb you’ve probably forgotten about. Who knows how much its dining scene has changed since you looked away. When was the last time you hung out in Kirra?
38. Creature of habit? Head to the same glorious strip of sand every weekend? Aim to stretch out on at least one GC beach you’ve never visited (or haven’t scoped for years) and it might just feel like you’ve squeezed in a mini escape. Here are a few of our faves.
What have we missed on our list of things to do on the Gold Coast that makes your summer epic? Tell us and we’ll share your insider hot tips for all to enjoy!
When Brooke Darling is not travelling to far flung places or sailing around the world, she’s scouring the coast for the best ethnic food, new openings, and hidden gems, all in the name of research for Metropolist. She loves motorbike rides to the hinterland, learning (frustratingly) to surf, and will try any adventure sport at least once. Find her on Instagram @darlingisamrs
Photo Credit: Pop-Up Waterpark