Queenslanders are a spoilt bunch, I learned this while living in London. I’d meet someone new and when I told them I came from Australia, the first thing they’d say is how they dreamed of one day being able to visit our beautiful country and its stunning beaches. Queensland is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and dramatic coastline in the world and the Gold Coast is probably one of the most well-known areas. Regardless of whether you’re a tourist, Queensland local or interstate visitor, there are loads of things to do on the Gold Coast, here are my top tips.
1. Discover beautiful beaches
On the Gold Coast, beaches be crazy, so let’s get the obvious one out-of-the-way first. You will notice a distinct lack of Queenslanders on the beach in the middle of the day, this is because we live in fear of the sun. Any self-respecting Australian knows and has experienced first-hand, the cruel rays of the Australian sun and the scorching physical anguish a nasty sunburn will cause. It’s a UV overload out there and your lily-white skin will burn off faster than calories on a Biggest Loser contestant if you go out at midday. Instead, wake up early and head to Burleigh Heads at dawn to watch the sunrise as the surfers paddle out.
Main Beach, Broadbeach and Palm Beach are all beautiful spots to enjoy the early morning sun and a refreshing dip in the cool water. If you miss the early morning session, wait until after 2pm then head down to the water’s edge. Hire a stand-up paddle board and have some fun at Currumbin Creek (don’t worry, there aren’t any crashy waves) or take a learn to surf lesson. It’s very important to be sun smart, so always wear sunscreen and a hat (at least). Remember, sunburn ain’t sexy.
2. Explore local markets
There are loads of markets on the Gold Coast, ranging from arts and craft, fresh produce and clothing to car boot sales! This link is great, it lists each market on the coast, when it’s on and where. Spend the morning eating and drinking to your heart’s content, stock up on fresh produce and maybe pick up something yummy for a picnic lunch too.
3. Get your thrills
Possibly the most well-known Gold Coast attractions are the awesome theme parks. Roller coasters, water slides, shows, food, fun and laughs are all on offer at the many exciting theme parks. Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild are three of the major theme parks and each one will keep the whole family entertained for the whole day.
If you’re a local, think about getting an annual pass, I had one a few years back and would often stop into one of the parks for a quick whirl around a roller coaster, on my way home from the beach. If you visit mid-afternoon you’ll find there are fewer people.
4. Try your hand at surfing
Great beaches mean great surf breaks and the Gold Coast is famous for hosting some of the world’s well-known surfing competitions. If you’re lucky enough to be on the coast at the right time, you can watch the world’s best battle it out in the Burleigh Pro, Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro.
5. People watching
One of my favourite things to do on the Gold Coast is people watching. I love to grab a coffee and muffin from one of my favourite cafes, Elk Espresso or Little Mali, and sit in the shade or on the beach early in the morning and watch the locals strut their stuff. Great spots for people watching include Palm Beach and Main Beach.
6. Spend a day at a local park
The Broadwater Parklands is a great spot for families and has a huge jumping pillow for kids to hop around on. It also has a BMX circuit and lots of other things for the little ones to jump, climb and swing on. Find a beautiful little park and enjoy a BBQ or picnic lunch while soaking in the fresh air and gorgeous weather. See the ‘Beaches’ section of the post for important information on preserving your epidermis.
There you have it, my guide to things to do on the Gold Coast. Are you a Gold Coast local? Do you have any tips on places for people to visit and things to do? Have you visited the Gold Coast before, did you enjoy it? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please share in the comments below or on Facebook.
Watch: our ‘Coast to Country: Brisbane to Girraween’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.