Desperate financial times call for desperate frugal measures.
But, you’ll be happy to know there are quite a number of things to do when you realise you can’t afford that epic overseas holiday you were planning with your BFF or SO.
And, we promise there’s way more to do than just cry (though that’s definitely a big part). We’d say pack your bags but that’s not happening…So instead, we’ll say read on Gold Coast—here are 50 things to do on the Gold Coast when you can’t afford a holiday.
1. First up, cry. Go on, there’s no shame in letting it all out.
2. And what’s the second thing you do when you realise overseas flights are expensive AF? Book an awesome staycation instead. Obvs.
3. Treat yourself to an Asian food trip right here on the Gold Coast. These epic restaurants should do the trick.
4. Hit up Gold Coast’s best beaches, we’ve basically got some of the world’s best, right here in our very backyard. No expensive plane ticket required.
5. Been to all of these? Seek out one of these secret swimming spots worth the drive. (With views easily mistaken for some long-lost exotic island).
6. No doubt you’re just craving a good dose of adventure. Check out these local camping gems.
7. #Treatyourself, we’re a talking major pamper sesh. Indulgent Lomi Lomi massage followed by a 90-minute soak sesh at The Bath House. Bliss.
8. When you can’t afford a real safari, it’s time for a food safari, duh. Start ticking these bad boys off.
9. Spoiling yourself is totally necessary right now. So we propose, the ultimate dining experience at a fancy restaurant. Who needs a holiday anyway?
10. Rooftop bar hop (come on, you need to see the Gold Coast from all perspectives).
11. Stuff yourself silly with Gold Coast’s best bucket-list desserts (let’s be real, you’d be packing on the kilos on your vaycay anyway).
12. Eat pasta from a freakin’ flaming cheese wheel. Just like Nona would make.
13. Catch the light rail and explore the northern end of town.
14. Cry some more (naturally).
15. Culture yourself and visit 19 Karen Contemporary Art Gallery.
16. Who needs Whistler? Stay local and rent a cute cabin when the temps fall. It’s cosy, secluded, and there’s wine. Lots of it.
17. Borrow a friend’s four-wheel drive and finally make that mission to Fraser Island. Mind-blowing beauty and it’s right under your nose.
18. Get amongst these cheap eats (you know, so you can actually save for a holiday later down the track).
19. You might not be able to actually go on a holiday, but at least you can look like you have, which is why a spa day is definitely on the cards.
20. SUP your way around Gold Coast’s spider web of canals and have fun trying to find the route back.
21. Drown your travel sorrows and drink all the wine and eat all the cheese, right here.
22. Start a blog. Maybe about all the awesome things you’ve done in your life. Or maybe about how sad you are that you’re stuck on the Gold Coast. Get creative.
23. Learn to SCUBA dive, right here. We can confirm it’s bloody amazing.
24. Take your pick from these epic outdoor eats. They’re as close as we’re going to get to an open balcony sunset drinks in Uluwatu.
25. Head to Brunswick Heads. Think hippie-loving markets, cafe hopping, and crystalline saltwater creeks to float around in (that look just like the Caribbean, close enough).
26. Too tight for Airbnb? Well folks, air camping exists and it has your name all over it.
27. Shop it out. Pac Fair should just about do it.
28. Go on a seaplane ride up to South Straddie.
29. Take a yoga class and as you stretch, reflect on all the reasons why you didn’t need to go on a holiday anyway (you’re right, there are none).
30. Take yourself on a luxe road trip and rent a fancy set of wheels to get you there.
31. Continue crying (can’t stop, won’t stop).
32. But while you’re busy drying your eyes with the dollar bills you don’t have, try watching all of these killer TV series.
33. Win some serious eye-candy with these restaurants that are packing insane water views. Budget won’t stretch the far? Trusty surf clubs with killer views will suffice, for now.
34. Let’s be real. Planning a holiday (with virtually no money) is stressful. Ditch the trip and get yourself to Freedom Float Centre. And yes, you’ll feel like you’re floating mid-air but without that annoying guy reclining his seat.
35. Dying for a taste of Santorini? This Greek-inspired gem in Kingscliff is just across the border, not across the world.
36. We’ll only say this once: Go to all of the waterparks! We’re talking Wet ‘n’ Wild, Dreamworld, Cougal Cascades (it’ll feel like you’re in the heart of an endless European summer holiday). Swimsuits optional.
37. Learn to fly. It’s well worth the dosh and so much better than your standard passenger flight.
38. Revamp your entire room. ‘Cause you know what they say, a change is as good as a holiday!
39. Keep an eye out for international food festivals or even a good ol’ food truck round up. Yes, we all had the dream of eating Nepalese food specifically in Kathmandu but sometimes that’s not an option.
40. Spend a day on the Broadwater and sail away on a luxury yacht. You might want to get your friends to chip in for this one. No friends? A BBQ boat (AKA party pontoon) will still get you amongst the action.
41. Tell all your friends not about the countless bar-tops you danced on in Ibiza, but of the crazy mountain hikes you conquered in your very own backyard.
42. Be a tourist in your own backyard, and put one of Localyokl’s guides through their paces.
43. Get a new hair do at one of the Gold Coast’s favourite salons.
44. So you’ve always talked about skydiving… now is your time.
45. A trip to Tuscany would have been nice buuuuut there are plenty of intimate wineries on and around the Gold Coast. Required, one (unlucky) designated driver.
46. Get yourself to Australia’s first Japanese microbrewery, opening soon on the Gold Coast. True story!
47. Decide that the Gold Coast really is the best place on earth and tick your way through this bucket list.
48. Fiiinally learn to surf! You’ll thank us when you eventually get to Morocco or Indo.
49. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do what proper adults do. Photoshop yourself jumping into the refreshing waters of the Maldives. Easy.
50. Just admit it; there’s no place like home. Here are 33 reasons you’ll never be able to leave.
Looking for more things to do on the Gold Coast when you can’t afford a holiday? Here’s 25 awesome options under $25. We call bargain!
Photo Credit: Hayley Williamson for Metropolist