Top things to do on the Gold Coast

Book the best things to do in the Gold Coast with Experience Oz. From world-class theme parks, wildlife parks, cruises or jet boating adventures, view and buy online here.

Top things to do on the Gold Coast

Book the best things to do in the Gold Coast with Experience Oz. From world-class theme parks, wildlife parks, cruises or jet boating adventures, view and buy online here.

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Top 10 Things to do Gold Coast

From the stunning golden beaches and theme parks to whale watching, rainforest tours and world-class events - the Gold Coast is an entertainment hub for all travellers. Combine this with the region’s famously beautiful weather all year round, and it’s safe to say the Gold Coast is Australia’s favourite holiday destination.

The sheer variety of things to do on the Gold Coast is what makes it a special destination and given the blessings of the climate and proximity to the ocean and the rainforest, a vast array of outdoor activities are viable any day of the year. There are so many Gold Coast attractions to visit. It would be impossible to fit them all into one visit.

From the world-class Gold Coast theme parks to relaxing sightseeing cruise winding through the waterways and tours to the Gold Coast hinterland - the opportunities to craft an extraordinary holiday here are endless. Then there are the famous Gold Coast jet boating adventures and the aquatic activities that will see you learn how to surf, stand up paddleboard or snorkel and dive secret locations in the Gold Coast seaway. Wildlife lovers won't be disappointed either with numerous opportunities to snuggle up to koalas or hand-feed kangaroos at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Paradise Country.

Creatures of the night can party till dawn at night club hotspots in Surfers Paradise or sit down for an evening show at the Dracula's Gold Coast or the Australian Outback Spectacular. If you are want to chill a little and let someone else take the wheel while you have a drive free holiday then a wide range of Gold Coast tours can cater your every whim and help you cover the must-see Gold Coast beaches, rainforest and attractions.

But with so much to see and do, how does a visitor decide the best activities to take part in? Here, we break down the Top 10 Things to Do on the Gold Coast to ensure you don't miss out on the best places to visit.

1. Visit a Theme Park

Location: Various locations, northern end of Gold Coast

The region’s theme parks are major features that set the Gold Coast apart from other popular holiday destinations in Australia. The parks are a huge drawcard for many people visiting from both interstate and overseas and are the major reason the city is such a popular spot for families.

It’s not without reason as each of the theme parks is a quality attraction in their own right, and each one offers something slightly different to the next.

From the high-quality thrill rides of Dreamworld to everyone’s favourite film and cartoon characters at Movie World to the watery, aquatic fun available at both Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild, there’s a theme park on the Gold Coast for all age groups, interest types and weather conditions.

While they’re best visited outside school holidays, each of the parks has grown over the years to accommodate large crowds. The immense variety of rides and sideshows for all ages also provides something interesting to see, try or ride at all times of the day.

The Gold Coast is the theme park capital of Australia with thrilling rides, slides, live entertainment and animal experiences on offer for all ages making it a great day out for the whole family.

While buying tickets to the theme parks isn’t cheap, there are numerous passes and package options available that give greater value than standalone one-day entry tickets. Options include passes for three parks for 7 consecutive days, unlimited entry for a few weeks, and even full-blown VIP style theme park packages that allow an entire year worth of unlimited entry.

These passes change regularly with sales and discounts sporadically appearing. Check our Gold Coast theme parks section for an up to date listing of value passes for the parks.

Regardless of what your style of the theme park is – and particularly if you have kids – if it’s your first time to the Gold Coast you’ll no doubt want to pay a visit to one of these high-quality entertainment attractions.


2. Make some furry friends at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: 28 Tomewin St, Currumbin, Gold Coast

One of the longest-running and most beloved attractions on the Gold Coast, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the definitive place of choice for those looking to get a dose of family-friendly animal fun on the Gold Coast.

Previously called Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, the facility offers a full and great value day out with reasonable prices on tickets and a wide variety of native Australian and exotic wildlife. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary features interactive displays and wide-open enclosures all set within a lush, cool eucalyptus and rainforest environment.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is both easy to find and easy to get to, with a location just off the Gold Coast Highway at Currumbin, around 20 minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise and with bus stops right on its doorstep.

Home to all your favourite Aussie animals, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to cuddle a koala, hand-feed kangaroos and see exotic animals on display in the Lost Valley.

Families will be in their element here, as the park offers not only a great variety of animals but also its iconic train that takes you around the park regularly, this is something kids love and it gives parents a chance to rest their legs.

In addition, Currumbin Sanctuary also has a fun tree ropes course called the Green Challenge which is likewise a huge hit with the little ones at just a few dollars extra charge.

If you’re wanting to hand-feed kangaroos, cuddle a koala, see wombats, echidnas, emus and more, then Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is your destination of choice on the Gold Coast.


3. Enjoy the view from the SkyPoint Observation Deck

Location: 9 Hamilton Ave, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Most major cities have their iconic towers and the Gold Coast’s answer to this is the towering Q1 Building and its viewing platform on the 77th floor named the SkyPoint Observation Deck.

Venturing to the top of the tower offers some stunning 360-degree views of all the sights that the Gold Coast is famous for. Think vibrant blue ocean, the Surfers Paradise skyline, lush green hinterland, and perhaps most of all, the endless kilometres of golden beaches below.

The SkyPoint Deck serves as a great starting point for your visit to the Gold Coast as it will allow you to get your bearings and can be easily found right in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Be sure to bring your camera along if you’re making the trip up top, as you’re unlikely to find another viewpoint in the region that can compare.

For a spectacular view of the Gold Coast, head to the SkyPoint Observation Deck on Level 77 of the Q1 Resort and Spa to enjoy beautiful panoramic vistas from the surf to the hinterland.

The SkyPoint Deck also serves as a bar and restaurant, so whether you simply choose to take in the views as most do or turn your visit into a dining experience is entirely up to you.

SkyPoint also offers a SkyPoint Climb experience that allows you to harness up and go outside the glass for an adventure that is both stunning and thrilling.

There is no other place on the Gold Coast that can offer views quite like the SkyPoint Observation Deck, making it a must-do.


4. Australian Outback Spectacular Dinner Show

Watch the stories of the Australian outback come to life in this extraordinary live arena sensation that comes with a delicious 3-course meal and complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks.

5. Chase waterfalls in the hinterland

Location: Approx. 45-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

While the gold is what most people think of with the Gold Coast, it’s the green areas that round out the package and make visiting the region such a solid overall experience.

All it takes is roughly a 45-minute drive from the heart of the glitz and glamour in Surfers Paradise and you’ll find yourself in the Gold Coast Hinterland, an oasis of greenery and scenery that feels like it is the world away from the main tourism hub.

It’s a gem of an area that is still relatively untouched given its proximity to one of Australia’s top holiday spots, and features the likes of glow worm caves, cascading waterfalls, wonderful mountain views and wineries all within a reasonably close distance of one another.

The laid-back atmosphere and abundance of greenery on offer here may surprise new visitors, and may, in fact, turn out to be your favourite part of the trip to the Gold Coast.

Away from the glitz and glamour, the Gold Coast hinterland is an oasis of greenery filled with glow worm caves, cascading waterfalls, wineries and tranquil nature walks just waiting to be explored.

All of this centres around the lovely Mount Tamborine and the various World Heritage-Listed National Parks which provide plenty of great vantage points for taking in the views that spread out into the distance beyond.

There are numerous options available for exploring the Gold Coast Hinterland, you can drive yourself (it’s quite a scenic route) although the roads tend to be steep and windy, while there are also various tours, which can take some of the hassles out of the adventure and take you directly to the winery or sightseeing area of your choice.

Horse riding in the Hinterland is also quite popular and provides plenty of chances for exploration around the scenic Natural Bridge area, allowing you to combine a dose of wildlife with your sightseeing (and always a hit with the kids).

There’s also the charming mini-village of Gallery Walk that features a range of quaint, boutique arts and craft stores producing everything from oil paintings to honey, and charming little cafes that allow you to kick back and revel in the greenery. If you’re looking for a break from the typical Gold Coast, then making the trip to the Hinterland is well worth the effort.


6. Tree Top Challenge Currumbin

Experience the thrill of the Tree Top Challenge at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary! This exhilarating adventure park offers over 80 high ropes challenges and thrilling zip lines set in the lush rainforest. Perfect for all ages and fitness levels, the Tree Top Challenge is an exciting way to connect with nature and test your limits.
Soar through the treetops on exciting zip lines and enjoy stunning views of the rainforest, tackle over 80 unique high ropes challenges designed to test your agility and strength.
Courses for beginners to advanced climbers ensure fun for everyone and State-of-the-art safety systems and trained staff ensure a secure adventure.
Ideal for families, friends, and solo adventurers looking for a unique experience and set in the natural beauty of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Book your Tree Top Challenge on Experience Oz today for an unforgettable adventure in nature!

7. Cruise the waterways with Sea World Cruises

Location: Various departure points, Gold Coast

Water is a central theme on the Gold Coast and the beaches aren’t the only source of fun and entertainment. The city has a highly developed and quite scenic canal system that is actually larger than those of both Amsterdam and Venice combined.

As a result, there are plenty of different cruises on offer that allow visitors to explore the city and its waters from a whole other vantage point. Whether it’s the ocean or the canals, on a sunny day (which the Gold Coast has plenty of) the colour of the water can be quite spectacular.

Cruises on the Gold Coast take part typically either within the canal system or out on the Broadwater (or sometimes both) and offer detailed commentary on local history and highlights. This makes them a solid choice of sightseeing options for first-time visitors to the region.

There are numerous cruises available, you choose from sightseeing cruises, lunch or dinner cruises, crab-catching cruises and sailing cruises. However, you choose to do so, seeing the Gold Coast from the water can provide you with a whole new perspective of the region.

Nestled behind the beaches and highrises, a network of beautiful canals sit behind Surfers Paradise. A Gold Coast sightseeing cruise provides a relaxing way to kick back and enjoy the scenery.

8. Go whale watching

Location: Various departure points, Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale watching destinations and during the annual whale migration season, as the humpbacks come out to play, you’ll be able to get up close to these gentle giants.

Lasting from late May to early November each year, the whales make for a spectacular sight as they perform their regular trip up the east coast of Australia searching for warmer waters. The Gold Coast’s seaside location makes it an ideal spot to get out on the water and get a firsthand look as they breach, spout and relax.

The Gold Coast typically has a very high number of whales passing through and with a five month whale season, there are plenty of chances for visitors to take part.

There are also a variety of operators to choose from each with their own benefits. Some offer longer trips, others include bonus lunches, or perhaps packages that combine with other essential Gold Coast experiences at a reduced price.

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale-watching destinations. Say hello to the majestic humpback whales during their annual migration on a whale watching cruise.

Over 10,000 whales pass close to the Gold Coast’s shores every season, and the city has a large, shallow bay that serves as an ideal location for the whales to rest and mingle on their way to the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re interested in doing some whale watching during your time on the Gold Coast, it’s a good idea to plan your trip between June and November.

Many of the operators who provide whale watching tours also offer whale sighting money-back guarantees or at least a free return trip if no whales are sighted as well, providing a bit of extra peace of mind if you’re thinking of booking.


9. Take a jet boat ride

Location: Surfers Paradise and Marina Mirage, Gold Coast, QLD

Taking a step away from the standard sightseeing cruise, the Gold Coast offers numerous opportunities for jet boat rides. This provides a more adventurous way of exploring the waters while garnering a dose of adrenaline as well.

Heading out onto the Gold Coast Broadwater with a jet boat ride you’ll be able to take in the city skyline and surrounding islands and marinas while performing some extreme water-based stunts. Think 360-degree spins, high-speed drifting and taking advantage of the boat’s construction for some beach buzzing as well.

It’s a fun activity that is enjoyable for most people as it isn’t too extreme. Jet boat rides on the Gold Coast have the added bonus of providing great views of local landmarks including the likes of South Stradbroke Island, the Palazzo Versace hotel, and Sea World. As a result, it’s the ideal activity for those who want to do some sightseeing but also have a little fun along the way.

Rides typically last 30 minutes or 1 hour are suitable for kids and adults.

A fast and furious jet boat ride through the Broadwater should be high on your agenda if you crave a bit of excitement and adrenaline in your life.

10. Duck tours on land and water

Gold Coast duck tours offer a unique way to explore the city streets and pristine waterways of Surfers Paradise all in one fun and entertaining tour. Step aboard for a 60 minute adventure that will see passengers travelling past the golden beaches of Surfers Paradise and Main Beach by road before splashing down into the Broadwater for a scenic Gold Coast river cruise past Marina Mirage and beautiful waterfront mansions.
Duck boat tours with Aquaduck or QuackrDuck are an affordable Gold Coast activity that all ages will enjoy and children are encouraged to meet the captain and help drive the duck. Departing from Surfers Paradise, tours are scheduled throughout the day so you can join a number of tours in the morning or afternoon. Book ahead for school holidays peak times as this is popular with families. Don’t miss out on one of the top things to do in the Gold Coast, get your Gold Coast Amphibious duck tickets here.

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