Whether you're planning your next family holiday or a girls weekend getway, here's a go-to-guide.
Famous for skyscrapers, big sunglasses, luxury restaurants and family-friendly resorts, be prepared for all of it when you holiday on the Gold Coast. From towering rollercoasters, theme parks and coastal breweries, if you’re chasing action, the GC will hit the spot.
If you prefer to unwind with lazy days on the beach, there’s also a quieter side to the Gold Coast. Here we uncover the top 10 things to do and best places to stay.
1. Mega theme parks
With 5 to choose from, you could spend your entire holiday park hopping. Dreamworld, Whitewater World, Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild offer unlimited entry over 7 days. If that sounds too hectic get your thrills on a 3-day pass. If you’re new to family theme park holidays, here’s a guide to help you plan.
2. Whale watching
If you’re not prone to seasickness, add this to your must-do list. Watching these magnificent creatures surface metres from your boat is exhilarating. The season runs from May to November and is extremely popular so it’s a good idea to book ahead. One for every type of traveller.
3. Coastal shopping
If you’ve already settled on the Gold Coast you’ve probably scoped out the 400+ shops too. Of course, there’s the obvious, like Pacific Fair Mall and the luxury boutiques at the Marina, however if boho is more your style, head to Palm Beach or Mermaid Beach for hand-made rattan bags, cotton jumpsuits and Byron Bay bed linen.
4. Cool art galleries
Once only famous for casinos and skyscrapers, there’s now a now bustling cultural scene. Currumbin is home to an old warehouse, Dust Temple, hosting an art gallery, musicians, poets and cafes with incredible pastries. In Surfers Paradise, visit the regions’ largest gallery, with an outdoor amphitheatre, cinema and exhibitions on rotation
5. Places for animal lovers
From glow worms to dolphins, whatever your cute animal obsession, there’s an experience for you. You can’t beat Sea World for hand-feeding dolphins but if you prefer smaller creatures book a Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Tour in a purpose-built cave. Also worth a visit is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, home to 130 koalas, wild lorikeets and platypus.
6. Best breakfasts
If you’re always on the hunt for a good breakfast, the Gold Coast won’t disappoint. If you like to grab the best coffee and keep moving, try Elk Espresso at Broadbeach with charcoal and raspberry waffles a crowd pleaser. Paddock Bakery in Miami for traditional Toad in a Hole or for the uber health conscious, vegan converts BSKT in Nobby Beach.
7. Surf’s up
Love to know where to surf before you book? From beginners to pros, the GC is a surfers’ paradise. Rainbow Bay and Currumbin Alley are great for families learning to surf, with consistent world-class waves. Try Snapper Rocks and Kirra for more iconic breaks. If all you want to do is surf, book a budget-friendly apartment at any one of these beach locations.
8. Back to nature hikes
A popular walk for families through mangroves and surf is the Tallebudgera Creek Track starting at the David Fleay Wildlife Park. For the more adventurous, soak up views of ancient trees and spectacular waterfalls on Warrie Circuit in the Springbrook National Park.
9. Drive the Gold Coast
Love a Sunday drive? From the beach to the hinterland you’ve got options. One of the prettiest is through Currumbin Valley, keep driving until you reach the Rock Pools for a dip. For a 2-hour trip, try Surfers Paradise to Aratula via Mt Tambourine, this lush winding road a visual feast for nature lovers.
10. Day at a day spa
Whether you’re with your bestie or on a family holiday on the Gold Coast, you deserve to be pampered. If you’ve got the budget book a day at On Eagle Wings Mountain Retreat and Spa and soak up the views from the horizon lap pool or if you prefer a more earthy treatment, try the organic Earth and Skin in Mudgeeraba. Either way, avoid disappointment and book ahead.
Best places to stay
If you love this guide share it with your travel buddies so you can start planning. Now it’s time to find the best places to stay on the Gold Coast.
Broadbeach for shopping malls, weekend markets and surfing lessons.
Main Beach for Sea World, whale watching and luxury at the Palazzo Versace.
Surfers Paradise for nightclubs, gelato bars and street vibes.
With a range of hotels, self-contained apartments and family resorts available on the Gold Coast you can plan ahead, book now and pay with interest-free instalments using Planpay or buy now and pay later with Afterpay.