The Gold Coast has it all – beaches, national parks, markets and gardens – the list goes on and the great thing is, you can have hours of fun without spending a cent! Read on for our favourite free activities.
Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
Smell and touch the exquisite flowers at the Sensory Garden, explore local plants along the Mangroves to Mountains walk, visit the native Butterfly Garden and breathe in the sweet aroma of roses in the Rose Garden at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens at Benowa. There’s also a lake, children’s playground, picnic area and walking trails for all fitness levels to enjoy.
Go To The Beach
Soak up the sunshine, splash in the waves, play in the golden sand; the Gold Coast offers miles of pristine, safe and clean coastline, making going to the beach a free holiday favourite among tourists and locals alike. Lifeguards patrol most of the open surf beaches, while an enclosed swimming area at Southport is popular among those who prefer calm natural swimming waters. Parkland with free barbecues and children’s playgrounds also lines much of the foreshore, so pack your sunscreen, sunnies and some snacks and make a day of it.
Take a picnic to the Broadwater Parkland and sit back and relax as the kids let off some steam dodging the water jets and climbing the animal statues at the Rockpools Water Playground. Another playground at the southern end of the parkland has a huge jumping pillow and ride-on pedal trains, while at the northern end is a climbing apparatus for the older kids. A pier also offers a great spot for fishing.
Visit A National Park
The Gold Coast isn’t all bikinis and beaches – step away from the sand and soak up the serenity of its national parks and hinterland. Entry to all of the Coast’s national parks is free, so swap your flip flops for some hiking boots and set off on an early morning adventure trekking through lush green mountains and ancient rainforests and chasing breathtaking waterfalls. There are walking trails to suit most fitness levels, including the 2.3km rainforest circuit at Burleigh Heads National Park, and the substantial 54km walk at Springbrook National Park.
Festivals And Events
Depending on when you’re visiting and what you’re into, the Gold Coast hosts an array of exciting annual festivals and events. There’s the Blues on Broadbeach music festival, the Surfers Paradise LIVE music festival, the Broadbeach Jazz Festival, the Gold Coast Multicultural Festival, the Swell Sculpture Festival at Currumbin and more, while the Breaka Burleigh Pro, Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro serve up the goods when it comes to some of the best competition surfing, close up.
Currumbin Rock Pools
A picturesque little spot to while away the hours, the Currumbin Rock Pools are one of the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets. Located inland about 15 minutes from Currumbin Beach, the pools offer peace and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle. Splash in the cool, crisp waters, and, if you’re brave, swing from the ropes, lounge on the rocks nearby and enjoy a packed lunch on the grassy river banks.
Go To The Markets
Most markets on the Gold Coast are free to attend so head along, browse the crafts, clothing, cute little home wares and more, and make the most of the live entertainment and delicious samples on offer. The Village Markets, full of boutique fashion and arts and crafts, at Burleigh never disappoints, with the live entertainment on the lawn always attracting a crowd. Pack a blanket and head to Burleigh Heads State School on the first and third Sunday of every month, from 8.30am to 1pm.
Feeling a bit sluggish? Head to the beach and work off those holiday cocktails with a walk or run along the Gold Coast Oceanway, a 36km network of pathways connecting The Spit in the north to Point Danger in the South. You don’t have to run the entire route – pick a starting point and go from there, and make the most of the fitness circuits dotting the foreshore along the way. Ocean waves, golden sand and blue skies – what better view for an early morning or afternoon workout?
Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame
Sports lovers should check out The Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame, a dedicated sports museum which, at present, honours more than 30 Gold Coast sporting champions who have reached the highest possible level in their sport. Located in a beautiful restored Queenslander at Owen Park at Southport, the museum holds an outstanding collection of sporting memorabilia and an impressive library with books on most subjects of a sporting matter. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, the hall is well worth a visit.
Read In The Park
Some people head to the Gold Coast for its world-famous nightlife; others flock to our shores for a spot of much-needed rest and relaxation. If you’re here for the latter, why not head to the beach or a park, find a nice shady tree and while away the hours reading a good book? There’s nothing like a great read to refresh the soul, and there’s no better backyard than the Coast to sit back and soak it all up.