Gold Coast, Australia is one of Australia’s most iconic cities. Sitting on the eastern side of Australia, this is a MUST visit destination. Personally, I have wanted to visit Gold Coast for a long time, but I never had the chance to visit until recently as Australia is generally a higher cost of living country compared to some of the other places I have traveled to.
After visiting, I can easily say that it was such an amazing opportunity to finally be able to come and visit and I am super excited to share with you some of my recommendations on things to see and things to do in Gold Coast, Australia. Keep in mind that this list is in no specific order from best to worst. There are many things beyond this list as it is a large city, but I believe you will enjoy the recommendations I have for you.
For those of you who prefer to watch a video vs. read a blog post, check this out below:
Exploring Gold Coast
Now, let’s go ahead and hop into my recommended things to do in Gold Coast, Australia.
1) Surfer’s Paradise
This is the tourist epicenter of the Gold Coast. It offers not only a lovely coastline to swim (and of course, surf), but it’s also full of shops, restaurants and many other venues. It’s a really cool spot to come check out the beach, take a stroll and make use of all the other possibilities this place has to offer. It is a bit more on the touristy side, but hey, it is still a fun time!
2) Q1 - the tallest building in the Gold Coast
The Q1 is the tallest building in the city, and it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the beach. At the very top there is a viewing deck called Skypoint, where you can see all of Gold Coast. It’s a very beautiful view if you don’t mind being high up in there air. As for price, it is relatively affordable for the views it offers sitting at just over $19 bucks. Check it out here. If you like the adrenaline, you can also do a Day Climb for just under $55 bucks which gives you the option to climb the exterior of the Q1 building.
3) Coffee in Gold Coast
Australia is known for its great coffee. You need to try it when you visit Gold Coast! If you are like me and like iced coffee, you may also be surprised to find out that iced coffee is served with ice cream. If you need a recommendation for coffee, make a stop over to Hard Coffee which sits in an upscale neighborhood and has a very nice patio to sit down and enjoy a coffee.
4) Australian Breakfast
What is an Australian Breakfast? Bacon, eggs, sausages, fried tomato - YUM! This meal is probably the most Australian thing you can eat. It’s been served since “European” Australia started. Australians really love and value their breakfast, so if you’re looking for a great culinary experience, this is your best bet. The place we ate at was called “Cáfe Diva”, and I can tell you - whatever you get there, you can’t get it wrong. It’s all very delicious! I got a bacon & egg “sammie”(the Australian slang for sandwich), but the eggs Benedict were incredible as well. This cafe is a bit outside of Gold Coast, but there are a lot of great options downtown as well.
5) Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
If you love animals, then visiting the Currumbin Wildlife sanctuary is the place for you to visit! This is the best place to check out the myriad of Australian wildlife - kangaroos, koalas, maybe even a crocodile if you’re up for it. It is also a heritage listed zoological garden. It costs about 40 AUD per person or roughly $28USD. You can buy tickets here. That gives you general access to the sanctuary, but if you pay a bit more, you can get other experiences like holding koalas. You have to get there a bit early though, since this place closes at about 5PM. If you get there when we did at 2.30 PM, all the interesting attractions were already booked or had already happened, so we didn’t get to experience them. So if you want to make the most of it - make sure you get there early enough if you want to take advantage of some of those more unique experiences.
The first thing we saw when we entered were the koalas. They were having a little siesta (Spanish for midday nap), and they were incredibly cute! I was surprised to find out that they sleep for up to 20 hours a day, because their digestive system drains their energy, and they need to rest as much as possible. We saw some fascinating informational posters about the lives of the koalas, and we found a fun fact. Are you ready to hear it?
Okay, so the word “Koala” actually means no drink, since the koalas don’t consume any water directly. They absorb what they need through their food - the gum leaves, and so rarely need to get any hydration beside that.
We then went on to see some birds. The first ones we saw were the Rainbow Lorikeet. As the name suggest, they have a very fun coloring on their feathers. They are very beautiful and consume their food in a really curious way, since they have a hair-like structure on them which makes them able to remove the nectar from fruits.
Another really fascinating bird was the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, which are actually a bright fluorescent lime green color. An interesting fact about them is that they resemble the hue of the flower that they eat, so they are pretty much invisible to predators.
The next thing you can expect to see is a pelican pond. You can go ahead and see these beautiful birds swim in nature.
We also got to experience an aboriginal show, which was included in the general admission. It is a story and dance show which was very interesting to see. This experience can give you a taste into what life was like for them 60 000 years ago (although this statistic is argued amongst historians), their culture and heritage.
Next we went to see the kangaroos. There is a petting and feeding area we got to explore. We actually got to see a kangaroo with a baby inside it’s pouch. This was truly an amazing sight, because we got to be really close to them. We even got to pet them, and there are signs detailing how to do so safely. You can also buy them food to feed them if you want to do that.
Last but not least we got to see the crocodiles and let me tell you - they were really impressive in person. If you’re up to it, you can actually pay to (safely) feed the crocodiles, but you have to come earlier than we did.
A rope course is also a possibility if you’re up for it. There are really so many things you can do here, so definitely don’t miss out if you’re in the area! You can easily spend at least half a day or even a full day here to experience everything this amazing place has to offer. There are restaurants, a water park for kids and so many more interactive opportunities. This was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the Australian trip for me, since you hear about these lovely animals so often, but it’s definitely something else to see them in person. It’s also a great place to look around in their natural habitat, which makes it that much more exciting.
I would definitely recommend going here, even if it’s a bit out of your way - you’re going to enjoy it so much!
If you find yourself arriving pre-check-in or post-check-out, you can store your luggage in Gold Coast with Bounce. Bounce is an app every traveler should have on their phone. They have thousands of luggage storage locations in most major cities worldwide where you can instantly leave your bags for a low daily rate.
This concludes my list of recommendations on things to do in Gold Coast Australia. This list is in no way exhaustive of all of the awesome things there are to do in Gold Coast, but it includes what I did, what I found enjoyable and where I had a good time. I have also included a list of other excursions you can check out below! If you have any other recommendations or experiences in Gold Coast you would like to share, please drop them in the comments below!
Want to learn more about Gold Coast and the surrounding areas? Check out the YouTube videos:
Exploring Gold Coast
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Hiking Mt. Warning
Springbrook National Park
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