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Things to do on the Gold CoastGold Coast Attractions, Theme Parks, Tours and More

The Gold Coast is Australia's favourite holiday playground - its been that way since the 1950s when Surfers Paradise was established as a one hotel, beachside town and has grown up over the last half century with more and more attractions having popped up, making the region one of the most tourist-oriented in the country.

We've compiled a brief guide to some of the most popular things to do on the Gold Coast, it's by no means exhaustive, but it is regularly updated and is as unbiased as possible. Although, if you're doing anything in this beautiful Queensland sun we bet you'll be very happy. Click through to learn more about the various activities on offer and book tours and experiences online.

Most Popular Things to do on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a dedicated tourist town and there's enough things to do to keep you occupied for months. It's not just mini-golf and wax museums either; take a tour of the river and canals in an aqua-bus, see the Australian Outback without leaving the Gold Coast, learn about our native wildlife or learn to surf on one of our pristine beaches. Check out our list of the best Gold Coast tourist attractions!

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Theme parks on the Gold Coast come in all shapes and sizes and whether you like death-defying roller coasters or petting furry animals, you're sure to have a great time. Choose to visit a handful of the big 5 (namely Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World, Wet'n'Wild and WhiteWater World), or visit them all - passes are available and you can save hundreds off admission prices by getting a combo pass. 

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Visiting the Gold Coast doesn't have to be expensive, there's plenty of free things to do while you're here! Visiting the beach is probably the 'free thing to do' that comes to mind for most, but there are plenty more, from going to one of the national parks in the Hinterland, or going to one of the many free events or festivals. If you are planning a budget holiday take a look at stuff to do on the Gold Coast that doesn't cost a cent.

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Blessed with a few hundred kilometres of canals and rivers (446km to be precise), the Gold Coast's waterways are more than ten times longer than those of Venice. The Nerang River is the main aquatic artery and if you've ever had the chance to follow its course past Surfers Paradise and into the Broadwater with the sun setting behind the Mountain tops, it's an experience you won't forget. Book a cruise today!

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Once upon a time the Gold Coast was home to one market place and that was the Carrara Markets. While they're still a favourite, now there are dozens of markets that line the coast. Some follow the rules that one man's trash is another man's treasure and others nurture the local arts, crafts and fashion scene. Get out into the sunshine (or moonlight, depending on which markets you choose to visit) and check out one of these markets!

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You're on holidays so sit back and let someone in the know take you to all the best places on the Gold Coast! There are heaps of options - half day tours, day tours and even quick little jaunts to a couple of destinations. Often the tour will combine a number of Gold Coast attractions in the one journey with time available at each to stop and experience. Stops are also provided for snacks and lunch with some tours including it in the price.

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There's no other place in the country with more things to do, see, try and experience than the Gold Coast! Choose from a wide range of tours, cruises and activites and book online. Find combo passes and save on the holiday budget. Purchase tickets to the assortment of theatre shows and theme parks. Or get the blood pumping on one of many extreme activities. The choice is yours! There'll be plenty to do to keep you busy.

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The Gold Coast with its stunning coastline, brilliant beaches and scenic hinterland is a playground for some very talented artists.  Many artists choose to live by the beach or up in the Gold Coast Hinterland where they have the glories of mother nature as their inspiration and the Gold Coast's beautiful scenery as their backdrop. Visit an art gallery and browse their amazing creative works at these various galleries. 

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The Gold Coast has more than 70km of fantastic beaches and Surfers Paradise is one of the most iconic along this huge stretch of sand. However, there are plenty of beaches that are much prettier and have better swells if you care to explore the area. Read our comprehensive guide to Gold Coast beaches including information on beach safety, the best Gold Coast beaches, a history of shark attacks and surfing.

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Many of the Gold Coast breweries have been winning both Australian and international awards for their beers and if you visit them you’ll see why; Queenslanders love beer! To these local brewers what they do is not just a job, it’s their lifestyle. Drop in for a tasting and hear them talk with passion about the brewing process, what beers go with which dishes and what their favourite brews are.

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Enjoy this beautiful region on foot and trek through the rainforest, under waterfalls and the ancient rock formations which wildlife, such as the mysterious glow worm, call home. With hundreds of square kilometres of bushland, stretching from Mt Tamborine in the north, down south to the NSW border, the number of treks you can do is really only limited to the amount of time you have and the thickness of the tread on your boots.

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Rainy day or public holiday? You can always catch a movie! The Gold Coast has quite a few cinemas with one bound to be near you, so you can make sure to catch the latest films from Hollywood and home grown ones on the big screen. See something at VMax Robina, or get the full service at Gold Class (with recliners, drinks and food brought to you by your waiter). You can even still catch a flick at the drive-in!

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While the Gold Coast's history as a tourist destination is steeped in flashing lights and iconic high rise skyline, the last couple of decades have seen a boom in luxury amenities for discerning travellers who want to be pampered. Plenty of uber-rich travellers pass through the Gold Coast each month and while you may not be Paris Hilton, or an Arabian oil sheik, if you're staying on the Coast you have the chance to be treated like one.

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Driving probably isn't the first thing you think of when going on a holiday to the Gold Coast. Driving around to see the sights or visit destinations, yes, but for some, the act of driving is an experience in itself - it's all about the journey! Thanks to the mix of terrain, types of driving adventures range from off road ATV adventures to screaming around go karts, to obtaining maximum traction on the smooth tarmac.

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Experience the excitement of jumping from a plane, speeding over the water in a jet boat or doing loop-the-loops high in the sky over Surfers Paradise. What a rush! Along with all the more sedate activities, the Gold Coast also has heaps to offer those looking for an adrenalin rush. Here are some suggestions that will get your heart racing - book extreme activities such as sky diving, jet boating and bungy jumping online. 

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If you're after nightlife then the Gold Coast won't disappoint! The lights shine brighter at night and the cocktails flow until the early hours of the morning here. Check out the bars, pubs and clubs scattered throughout Surfers Paradise, the restaurants and wine bars of Broadbeach, the southern dining (and drinking) precincts, The Star Gold Coast casino, dozens of live music venues and more. Find out where you should head out tonight!

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Undoubtedly the best way to catch fish on the Gold Coast is from a boat but there is something to say for the romance of throwing in a line off a jetty or from the beach. While there are plenty of fish which hang around the shoreline, unless you are prepared to do some serious secret spot hunting you're only going to end up with smallish bream, whiting and flathead - see our guide on where to fish and book a charter online.

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The Gold Coast is a golfers paradise with more golf clubs and courses per square kilometre than just about any other region in the world! Whether you are looking for a world class championship course designed by one of the world's best players, or a driving range to whack a few balls, you'll find exactly what you're after - nine are ranked in the top 100 in Australia! View our list of courses around the Coast. 

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Even if you've never been on a horse before, trail riding through the Australian bush is something you will never forget. The gentle motion of the horse, the steady clip clop of their sure feet on the land and the sense of comradeship with your fellow riders are all things you will remember long after the experience is over. The Hinterland offers some excellent scenic horse riding experiences though spectacular rainforest & mountain trails.

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With magnificent beaches, a fantastic climate, a huge range of accommodation and a strong business infrastructure the Gold Coast is a helluva place to hold an event. That's why there's so much happening in this town. Whether you like car races, golfing tournaments, tennis, musicals or surfing, there's guaranteed to be something on the calendar to suit you. The following is a brief guide to some of the major events held on the Coast each year.

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With beautiful weather pretty much all year round, visiting Natural Attractions and Farms on the Gold Coast are popular with both tourists and locals. You can book a tour which will take you to one of the beautiful wonders up in the Hinterland or visit a 'working' farm to get a feel for the Aussie lifestyle. To experience some of this beauty first, we recommend trying out some of these great farm tours and natural attractions! 

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There are plenty of things to do and obviously everyone has different tastes. But if you’re struggling with all the exciting options and can’t decide on what to do then maybe some of the following day plans can help you plan out your holiday. There are non-stop party plans, relaxing tours of the magnificent scenery, shopping trips and active hikes through the Hinterland. The choice is all yours.

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As you'd expect with any tourist town, the Gold Coast has a restaurant on every corner - except that unlike a lot of other tourist towns, most Gold Coast restaurants are really quite good. If you're after a cheap meal by the ocean pretty much all of the surf clubs (found in every oceanside suburb of the Coast) have a bistro where no matter what you choose. Read our guide to where to go for a meal on the Gold Coast.

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Driving through the winding mountain-side roads of the Hinterland can be an awe-inspiring and thrilling adventure as you make your way from one National Park to the next, stopping at all the country towns, lookouts and roadside stalls. If you like the view of the world from behind a windscreen or you appreciate the winding mountain roads then you simply must get out and do a scenic drive. We've put together a few options!

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Up, up and away... if you have a hankering to be up with the birds in the clear blue sky, the Gold Coast is one of the best places in the world to do it. The view is amazing - with the deep blue Pacific Ocean in the east, the canals and highrises of the Gold Coast on land, stretching to the beautiful mountain scenery of the hinterland in the west and beyond, you'll be amazed. We've included some operators for you to check out. 

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Few cities in the world have better scuba diving (and snorkelling) conditions at such easily accessible locations than the Gold Coast. Couple this with spectacular weather and you'll see why the Gold Coast truly is a scuba divers paradise. From the natural diversity of the Gold Coast seaway, to the numerous wrecks and reefs sitting just off the coastline, there's great coral, marine life, and general intrigue in the Gold Coast waterways. 

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With some of the biggest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere as well as boutique strip mall shopping, the Gold Coast is the retail therapy capital of Australia. While the major centres are mostly full of large retail chains and boutiques, there are also plenty of cool alternate stores on the edges of the main shopping districts.  If you need it, chances are you can buy it on the Gold Coast, you just have to know where to look.

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The Gold Coast has some of the best and most consistent waves in the nation; it's home to round one of the Association of Surfing Professionals world tour; there are 70km of beaches and four epic point breaks. It would be appropriate to call it a surfers' paradise; and they did. In fact, getting a wave on the Gold Coast is as easy as heading east. When the wind is right and the swell is from the east, surfers are almost guaranteed a wave.

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Each year majestic Humpback Whales migrate from the Antarctic to the warmer waters off the coast of Queensland. Every year around 1200 whales make the 5000km journey - the first ones arriving on the Gold Coast in early June. There are plenty of options when it comes to seeing these majestic creatures on their migration, with tours ranging from a few hours to a whole day, with the typical season lasting from June to October.

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As one of Queensland's fastest growing wine regions, the Gold Coast hinterland is making its mark. With a range of wineries located at Mount Tamborine, Mount Nathan, Canungra, Scenic Rim and Lamington, you can fill a couple of days visiting them all. Go on a day trip to the major wineries so you can enjoy a few tasty drops and some delicious food and views at the cellar doors whilst being driven around in air-conditioned comfort.

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Images courtesy Tourism & Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Destination Gold Coast & Getty Images

Things to do and seeOn the Gold Coast in Queensland

Theme Parks

Combo passes & packages

Free things to do

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cruises

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