Boasting sunny days year-round, over 30 beaches (that’s 40 kilometres of soft sands for you to sunbathe on), surf breaks, dozens of nightclubs and a burgeoning street food scene, Gold Coast should be on every beach lover’s list. And with the 2018 Commonwealth Games happening in this coastal city next April, the town predicts it will boost its tourism more than ever. So, whether you are searching for a flight for your next trip Down Under or just want to hang loose at one of its famous beaches, here are some tips on cheap and free things to do in Gold Coast, Australia.Search for flights to Gold Coast, Australia
1. Hang out by the beach
Beautiful beaches made Gold Coast famous. And with over 30 of them all over the city, the challenge is choosing which spot to spread out the beach towel. Everyone has a favourite beach, but among the most famous ones include the Main Beach, Surfer’s Paradise and Broadbeach. If you want somewhere a little more chill, head over to Rainbow Bay or Tallebudgera Creek. Meanwhile, the famous Burleigh Heads attract surfers from all over the world, as well as the more residential Currumbin.
2. Hit the hinterlands
The beaches may have put Australia’s sunshine state on the tourist map, but, in our opinion, the hinterlands are just as much a must-see. Complemented by lush rainforests, UNESCO World Heritage-listed national parks, rivers and falls, as well as numerous resorts and affordable guesthouses, this greener side of Gold Coast has awakened the eco-explorer in many tourists and locals. Places of note include Springbrook National Park, Lamington National Park, the Natural Bridge cave and waterfall, the Binna Burra and the iconic O’Reilly’s Guesthouse.
3. Find a bargain at the markets
Skip the shopping malls and head for the city’s many markets, which sell everything from clothes to souvenirs to food. Among the local favourites include the weekend night market called NightQuarter, which offers fashion and food options alongside live entertainment. Another famous market is the Village Markets on Burleigh Heads, where a blend of interesting second-hand finds, chic designer clothing and scrumptious street food come together on the first, third and fourth Sundays of the month.
4. Relax at the Currumbin Rock Pools
Take a dip in the Currumbin Rock Pools. Famous with Gold Coasters, the spot is a few minutes drive from Currumbin Beach and features a small rock pool where people can take a relaxing swim in its fresh mountain waters. Apart from the refreshing dip, most visitors would also stay for an afternoon picnic, especially on lazy weekends. Most convenient of all, there are nearby toilets near the location, as well as a cafe across the road.
5. Catch a glimpse of the whales
Gold Coast is one of the best places to see whales, as these beautiful creatures pass by its warm waters for its annual migration. The best times to see thousands of Humpback Whales is from June to October (although you can also get really lucky in the months of May and November). Of course, the choice of viewpoint is also crucial for a successful sighting. If whale watching tours or cruises are a little out of your budget, you can try to catch a glimpse at a few Gold Coast locales, including Point Danger Lookout, Tumgun Lookout, Burleigh Poin or Kirra Hill (just to name a few).
6. Attend a festival
The Commonwealth Games may be a little too far away, but Gold Coast hosts a ton of other events you can attend, and a lot of them are for free. From August’s Gold Coast Multicultural Festival to May’s Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival, there are plenty of free festivals to take advantage of whenever you visit.
7. See art
Aside from nature and festivals, Gold Coast is also home to interesting art galleries featuring contemporary art from local and international artists. Among the locations you can visit free of charge are 19Karen on Mermaid Beach, the Gold Coast City Gallery on Bundall Road and the Urban Paradise Gallery situated on Surfer’s Paradise.
8. Watch incredible sunrises (and sunsets)
We know, we know…this one may sound a little cliche. But, a visit to Gold Coast is not complete without fully enjoying these breathtaking (and free!) views. The Spit and Snapper Rocks are unmatched places to see the sun rise, while Burleigh Hill, Kirra Lookout and Tallebudgera offer the best sunset views.