The Gold Coast is perfect for weekenders and those wanderlusters who have more time. The Gold Coast is a metropolitan region south of Brisbane on Australia’s dramatic east coast. It’s famed for its dolce vita, beautiful beaches, hinterland mountain ranges, surfing, water sports and its extensive inland canals and waterways. Here are some ideas for those Gold Coast things to do.
Things to do on the Gold Coast for Weekenders
Nothing beats a hot air balloon ride to get the lay of the land, and Hot Air operates one of the best value hot air ballooning rides in Australia. Start the day with a champagne breakfast and a one-hour balloon ride. It’s perfect for the first timer or you can opt for a longer ride.
Then in the afternoon have a whale of a time whale watching with Whales in Paradise which is the original Gold Coast whale watching company. It’s the only whale watch operation whose cruises depart from the heart of the Gold Coast in central Surfers Paradise. (However, the best whale watching in Australia is to be found in Hervey Bay).
The crew is focused on providing guests the closest whale watching encounter possible and guarantees a whale sighting or free return visit.
The boats are modern, large and purpose-built specifically for whale watching, providing guests with the ultimate whale watching experience.
You’ll also pass through the Gold Coast Waterways and the homes of the rich and the famous.
Staying with the water theme for the next day why not hitch a ride with Gold Coast Island Adventures which has departures from the Tallship Cruise Terminal at the Mariners Cove Marina. They offer corporate events, private functions and beach weddings.
You can visit their exclusive, private island paradise at McLaren’s Landing, South Stradbroke Island where you can relax and experience wild wallaby and kookaburra feedings as the animals roam about the large property.
There are recreational activities like swimming, playing darts or volleyball. An Australian style, tropical barbecue lunch is served in the ambient courtyard or Balinese pavilions.
On the island, for the more adventurous there’s Segway Safaris, Parasailing, Speedboat rides, Seaplane, Jet Ski’s, or 4WD Eco Tour with Sand tobogganing.
The Showboat Cabaret Dinner Cruise has great nightly entertainment and cruising in one package. Onboard you’ll receive a delicious entrée prepared on board, followed by their famous buffet and seafood fantasy of fresh local prawns, fish, spanner crab and calamari.
On the showboat live entertainment takes the form of exciting cabaret-style shows and dances.
Things to do on the Gold Coast for Wanderlusters (three- or four-day trips)
While all the options are open, the first thing that comes to mind is the beach but there are so many others things like the many markets and music festivals that are close to the surf. Also, think of the hinterland too for a day trip, as all the national parks are free of charge.
A nature walk through the rainforest and a swim is a great way to recharge the batteries. The many bushwalking trails are well marked and can help you navigate your way to stunning panoramic look-outs.
Not far from Currumbin Beach is the gem of the Currumbin Rock Pools a perfect place for a day of swimming in the freshwater rock pools.
It’s fantastic for families as it has picnic tables, shelter, grassy river banks, BBQs, and other amenities. Worth doing also is the 1.6km walking trail through Mount Cougal National Park and the Currumbin Valley.
The Gold Coast hinterland is making inroads as Queensland’s blossoming wine region and has won national and international awards.
Most of the wineries are in Mount Tamborine, Mount Nathan, Canungra and Lamington. You can easily fill a couple of days driving yourself around but if you prefer a tour, most of the major tour operators offer day trips to the wineries.
There are a number of Art Galleries and Museums on the Gold Coast. All are free to visit and many offer tours. If stepping back in time is your interest stop at the Gold Coast Historic Museum in Bundall and learn about the early settlers. You’ll see some of the first buildings in the area.
There’s a replica of one of the first pioneering slab homes of the region, complete with memorabilia machinery dating back to the 19th century. It’s open on the first Sunday of every month or by appointment.
Gold Coast Festivals
Blues on Broadbeach is a music festival held every year in May. It features the best of Australian best blues and soul music. There are multiple stages and shows going on simultaneously and remains a non-ticketed event.
The Kirra Kite Festival is a celebration of kite culture. It’s a fun festival filled with music, arts, food and street performance, usually in November of each year.
Every year September, Currumbin Beach comes alive with the work of local and international sculptures at The Swell Sculpture Festival. It is a free event and you are very likely to be able to meet and have a talk with some of the artists.
The Bleach Festival celebrates the Gold Coast’s beach lifestyle for three weekends of music, arts and culture at various locals up and down the Gold Coast. The Surfers Paradise Festival celebrates Gold Coast art, culture, music and food for the whole month of April. The programme offers a number of free concerts, art and history exhibits.