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The top things to do on the Gold Coast

Looking for the best things to do on the Gold Coast? Browse our wide range of tours, activities and attractions here and book online instantly! The Gold Coast is Australia's favourite holiday destination because of the sunshine, beaches and huge selection of activities to suit families, couples and solo travellers. Purchase your discounted theme park tickets online to SKIP THE QUEUES and SAVE or book a day tour to the Gold Coast rainforest. You can also cuddle a Koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoy a buffet lunch cruise on the waterways, visit the Q1 SkyPoint for stunning city views of the Gold Coast or take in an evening show at Australian Outback Spectacular or Draculas Cabaret Show. View our entire range of Gold Coast activities below to pick your ideal adventure. With instant e-ticketing and NO booking fees book your Gold Coast experiences online today!

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The top things to do on the Gold Coast

Looking for the best things to do on the Gold Coast? Browse our wide range of tours, activities and attractions here and book online instantly! The Gold Coast is Australia's favourite holiday destination because of the sunshine, beaches and huge selection of activities to suit families, couples and solo travellers. Purchase your discounted theme park tickets online to SKIP THE QUEUES and SAVE or book a day tour to the Gold Coast rainforest. You can also cuddle a Koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoy a buffet lunch cruise on the waterways, visit the Q1 SkyPoint for stunning city views of the Gold Coast or take in an evening show at Australian Outback Spectacular or Draculas Cabaret Show. View our entire range of Gold Coast activities below to pick your ideal adventure. With instant e-ticketing and NO booking fees book your Gold Coast experiences online today!

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Top 10 Restaurants in the Gold Coast

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If you’re wondering where to eat on the Gold Coast, visitors and locals are spoilt for choice here. The Gold Coast has come of age with many new quirky cafes, laneways, eateries, restaurants and rooftops bars bursting onto the dining scene.

You'll be spoiled for choice, as the city's thriving tourist market has lead to the establishment of a huge variety of restaurants covering all major cuisines.

Whether you are looking for a great breakfast haunt, a fine dining experience, casual dining, comfort food, gourmet cuisine or street food dining experiences – we have got you covered with our guide to the best restaurants on the Gold Coast. The hardest decision you will have to make now is- which one to try first?

1. Hellenika

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Location: 2235 Gold Coast Hwy, Nobby Beach

Cuisine: Mediterranean/ Greek

Combining both a great restaurant with a great location, Hellenika at Nobby’s beach is not only one of the best Greek restaurants on the Gold Coast, but one of the best restaurants in general.

First off, its location does play a big factor as Nobby’s Beach is a suburb that is generally more relaxed, clean and just overall “friendly” than some of its northern neighbours; this attitude seems to be reflected in the staff who are both friendly and famously efficient.

Hellenika also boasts a wonderful layout that simply feels inviting from the moment you approach the door – “modern yet warm” would be the best way to describe the restaurant, with a lovely indoor/outdoor dining balance that is especially enjoyable on warmer, uncrowded weeknights.

As authentic Greek food is particularly hard to find on the Gold Coast, it would be relatively easy for the owners of Hellenika to simply set up shop and then watch the customers roll in while putting in little effort – this however couldn’t be further from the case as the food is obviously produced with great care and skill while the interior and its décor is both rustic while clean and modern at the same time.

"The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes as well as a robust banquet option for $49 a head that will leave you bursting at the seams if you aren’t a big eater."

The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes as well as a robust banquet option for $49 a head that will leave you bursting at the seams if you aren’t a big eater, consisting of a lineup of dips, entrees, mains, deserts, and their trump card – a slow-cooked lamb shoulder prepared over the course of 5 hours that is simply mouth-watering.

Only a limited number of these are prepared per day however, so you’ll have to make a prior request in advance if you’re planning to sample this goodest-of-goods. The fact the decent Greek food is so hard to find on the Gold Coast coupled with its quality that shines through in all facets makes Hellenika highly recommended.

Hellenika has completed their multi-million dollar transformation and now have a rooftop bar- Bar Hellenika. This impressive rooftop space above the restaurant is the perfect place to unwind with wine, sunshine while snacking on their mezze menu.

Bar Hellenika is open from 12pm Wednesday to Sunday while the restaurant is open from 5pm till late.

2. Etsu Izakaya

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Location: 2440 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Cuisine: Japanese

The Gold Coast has an abundance of Japanese restaurants, however there's one that stands out for a number of impressive reasons: Mermaid Beach's Etsu Izakaya. Offering a high-end version of traditional Japanese izakaya dining, Etsu is oriented around a culture of sharing within a modern and slick environment.

The dishes here are designed to be shared with good company. Of course you will find sushi and sashimi, tempura dishes, salads and more on their menu but dining here is an experience.

The dimly lit mood lighting and Japanese murals on the timber walls creates ambience and the warm staff will welcome you and graciously explain their menu to you.

"The dimly lit mood lighting and Japanese murals on the timber walls creates ambience and the warm staff will welcome you and graciously explain their menu to you."

The menu is vegetarian friendly and the restaurant has an impressive wine list though the Japanese beers, whisky and Sake are far more popular.

Items on the menu are moderately priced with entrees starting from $5- 15 each however, if you are dining in groups we recommend going for the Omakase menus which start from $55 per person.

Etsu Izakaya is open 7 days from 5pm till late.

3. Allure on Currumbin

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Location: 136 Duringan St, Currumbin

Cuisine: Modern Australian, French

On a list that’s dominated by dining options that largely hover around the Broadbeach – Surfers Paradise tourist hub, Currumbin’s Allure restaurant stands on its own as the high-end dining destination of choice for those looking to delight their tastebuds on the southern half of the Gold Coast.

A much-acclaimed French fusion restaurant that has deservingly earned accolades over recent years, Allure takes supplementary dining factors such as lighting, temperature and décor and combines them with one of the most impressively delicious menus to make for a package that is befitting headliners of larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

It’s a restaurant that takes the best of France, throws high quality Australian seafood and livestock and the result is something outstanding.

Located in a discrete little dining block on the intersection of Currumbin’s Thrower’s Bridge, you’d be forgiven if you’re a long-time Gold Coast resident and hadn’t noticed Allure before. It’s an understated and classy venue that shies away from gaudiness and focuses on sheer enjoyment of dining, with melt-in-your-mouth dishes and exquisite service the name of the day.

"It’s an understated and classy venue that shies away from gaudiness and focuses on sheer enjoyment of dining, with melt-in-your-mouth dishes and exquisite service the name of the day."

Long-time favourite French dishes such as duck liver pate, pork belly and croquettes are all accompanied by ideal matching flavours, whether that be an expertly-selecting roasting juice to bring out hidden flavours or to create a texture that makes each dish silky smooth both do dine on and to digest.

Other little touches go a long way to completing the experience, such as the under-utilised “soup on arrival”, sorbet between courses and delightfully-warm French bread that may not stand out at the time but you’ll truly appreciate the next time you dine somewhere else.

Allure’s menu also boasts an impressive selection of gluten-free options without compromising on taste, which is a boon to those choosing this increasingly-prevalent diet type. Dessert here also warrants a special mention; simply put, they’re our choice for the best you’ll taste on the GC – generously-sized, sweet without being overwhelming, they’re the type of light fare you’ll want to have to cap off your meal rather than over-fill your stomach, with the profiteroles in particular utterly delicious.

It’s obvious upon visiting Allure how passionate the staff are about the entire experience, as everything is served to look like a work of culinary art and of substantial enough a portion size as to never feel like you’re getting ripped off. Make no mistake, you’ll pay for the privilege of dining here, but it’s a place that actually feels like a privilege rather than some sort of fake-pretentious upper end restaurant. Service is friendly, prompt and always well-timed to avoid interruptions, and being greeted personally on arrival goes a long way.

Perhaps the only downside to dining at Allure is you’ll want to book ahead if dining on weekends – exclusivity and limited seating make this essential. Elegant, yet unpretentious and exceedingly enjoyable; that’s Allure on Currumbin in a nutshell.

Allure on Currumbin is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

4. Fellini Italian Restaurant

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Location: 74 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

Cuisine: Italian

Fellini Restaurant is regularly voted as the Gold Coast’s favourite Italian restaurant at the swanky Marina Mirage in Main Beach. The restaurant is beside Palazzo Versace and the Sheriton Mirage so it is no surprise that it has played host to a number of high profile guests in the past.

Fellini Ristorante is family owned and operated by Carlo Percuoco, Anna Cacace, Richard Burt and Raffaelle Di Benedetto who have worked hard to put a modern twist on traditional Italian cuisine.

"There is no comparison to Italy and Surfers Paradise but the food offered at this restaurant is probably the closest that you could get to an authentic Italian meal on the Gold Coast and the food is delicious."

The menu offers a mixture of seafood and meat entrée, mains and pasta dishes and if you want to sample more than one than we recommend the degustation which is around $90 per person.

There is no comparison to Italy and Surfers Paradise but the food offered at this restaurant is probably the closest that you could get to an authentic Italian meal that is not your run of the mill pizza and pasta dishes offered at other restaurants on the Gold Coast.

Enjoy views of the yachts on the Broadwater as you dine in at this restaurant. Fellini Restaurant is open daily from noon to 10.30pm.

5. Seaduction Restaurant and Bar

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Location: Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise, 8 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Cuisine: Seafood

Seaduction Restaurant and Bar is situated on Level Two of the Peppers Soul precinct in the heart of Surfers Paradise. It’s location is a huge draw as you can dine while losing yourself in the ocean views.

The cosy restaurant has booth seating and heavy but comfortable armchair dining and the menu changes frequently to ensure that the best local ingredients can be utilised in their mouth watering dishes.

The Executive chef “draws inspiration from the fusion of earth and sea, his travels as a chef and international culinary practices.”

"If you want a seafood feast in Surfers Paradise but not necessarily at a busy buffet then Seaduction is a fantastic option with comfortable décor and comes complete with nice views."

With that being said, you will always find a rich selection of seafood and steak, pork or succulent chicken on their ever changing menu. And because the chef makes an effort to change up the menu, there is always a reason to return again to try different meals.

The average prices start from a very reasonable $25 per meal and don’t forget to look over their dessert menu. Lunch specials are offered from time to time with a 2 course menu and a glass of house setting you back around $45.

If you want a seafood feast in Surfers Paradise but not necessarily at a busy buffet then Seaduction is a fantastic option with comfortable décor and comes complete with nice views.

Seaduction Restaurant and Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and breakfast from 7am to 10.30am.

6. The Loose Moose

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Location: 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach QLD

Cuisine: American

The Loose Moose is included on our list because sometimes you just really crave a burger. This popular Broadbeach eatery is open daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner though it is popularly known for its extensive range of burgers.

On any given day you will find this establishment busy whether its with office workers grabbing lunch or tourists enjoying a bite to eat in between sightseeing, shopping or swimming at the beach.

The grill house even offer burger banquets which are perfect for groups consisting of share starters, buffalo wings and of course their burgers. The restaurant has a very well bar stocked as well with 25 beers on tap and over 150 whiskeys from all over the world.

The restaurant décor adds to the atmosphere too filled with antique treasures such as classic typewriters, old photographs, dark leather booths and a Canadian imported trophy moose- hence the namesake of the bar.

"The grill house even offer burger banquets which are perfect for groups consisting of share starters, buffalo wings and of course their burgers and a very well bar stocked as well with 25 beers on tap and over 150 whiskeys from all over the world."

The restaurant is known for its range of burgers but it also has 25 beers on tap and stocks 150 whiskeys from all over the world.

This isn’t just your regular burger bar and is a great choice if you are searching for some comfort food or dinner at a reasonably price. A hearty burger will set you back just under $20 or starter platters and buffalo wings from $10.

If you are a vegetarian, I’m sorry but this is not the place for you with other items on the menu include eye fillet, rump and short ribs and even their salad options containing meat or seafood. A number of their burgers are available in a gluten free option though if you have special dietary requirements.

If you are looking for a burger joint with atmosphere and a great selection of beers and whisky then be sure to pay a visit to The Loose Moose in Broadbeach.

The Loose Moose is open 8am till late daily.

7. Chang Mai Thai Broadbeach

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Location: 2779 Gold Coast Hwy & St Kilda Ave, Broadbeach

Cuisine: Thai

As far as Thai restaurants go, the Chiang Mai franchises on the Gold Coast are about as good as it gets. While there are also Chiang Mai Thai restaurants in both Surfers Paradise and just south of the Oasis shopping centre at Broadbeach, it is the “head” restaurant that is our choice for best Thai experience on the Gold Coast.

First of all, their dishes offer a huge variety of choices across all dietary types; don’t like spicy food? No problem. Happen to be a vegetarian? You’ll be spoiled for choice. Wanting to get a variety of smaller entrees rather than commit to a couple of mains? Go for it.

While your selection of dishes here will obviously depend on personal preference (we strongly recommend the combination satay and garlic seafood dishes, personally), the across-the-board value given the large size of portions makes almost any decision a safe bet.

One of the first things that stands out upon receiving your meal at Chiang Mai is the quantity – it’s exceedingly good value for money, and doggy bags are almost always a necessity that, when spaced out over two meals if you play your cards right, basically halves the cost.

"Portion sizes are large here so it is a good idea to order a few plates or a banquet for the table and share the delicious food amongst yourselves."

Portion sizes are large here so it is a good idea to order a few plates or a banquet for the table and share the delicious food amongst yourselves. If you wish, you can take a “doggy bag” home.

Another tip of the hat must also be given to the décor, as they have spared no expense in attempting to create as much of a “Thai” atmosphere as you could possibly expect while still being in the heart of the glitzy Gold Coast; if the weather’s good, sitting outdoors in the hut-style wooden seats illuminated by flame is always a treat, while the interior consists of so much South-East Asian-themed memorabilia as to walk the line between charm and gaudiness.

It’s slightly more expensive than the average “take-away” Thai restaurant but the quality of the food makes up for it, and the sarong-sporting staff are generally courteous and efficient if not overly friendly.

Chang Mai Thai Broadbeach is open from 5.30pm to 10pm daily.

8. Moo Moo Wine and Bar

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Location: 2685 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach

Cuisine: Steakhouse

Moo Moo is the most popular steakhouse on the Gold Coast centrally located in Broadbeach. Having recently undergone a renovation, this steakhouse is one that should pay a visit too with a sophisticated décor and a delicious menu to select from.

The menu boasts a selection of specialty steaks as this is obviously the star attraction of the venue but you will need to come with a fat wallet with the cheapest coming in around $40 through to $95. Other items on the menu include a selection of pasta and seafood dishes or entrees which are more friendly on the budget.

If you are looking to treat yourself though or celebrate a special occasion then this is a great option.

Having recently undergone a renovation, this steakhouse is one that should pay a visit too with a sophisticated décor and a delicious menu to select from.

"The menu boasts a selection of specialty steaks as this is obviously the star attraction of the venue but you will need to come with a fat wallet with the cheapest coming in around $40 through to $95."

The restaurant also has made a considerable effort to cater to a variety of clientele with vegetarian, gluten and even halal meal options included in the updated menu.

Moo Moo also have a carefully selected wine list for the connoisseurs amongst you. Choose from exceptional local and international wines to pair with your meal. If you aren’t interested in wine then you may be tempted to try one of their signature cocktails or beers instead.

Make sure to leave room in your belly as the Moo Bar has a delicious crème brulee, a variety of chocolate options an assortment of cheese platters.

If you want to try Moo Moo but can’t quite stretch the budget then visit on a Sunday and purchase the Moo Moo Sunday Roast with your choice of 1,2 or 3 courses starting from $35 per person.

Moo Moo Wine Bar and Grill has two sittings per day open for lunch at 12-3pm and dinner from 5.30pm till late.

9. The Collective Palm Beach

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Location: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Cuisine: Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese

Traditionally, Palm Beach in the Southern end of the Gold Coast has been a fairly quiet neighbourhood but that is slowly changing with some funky bars, restaurants and cafes popping up. Palm Beach is fast becoming the cool kid on the Gold Coast and The Collective at Palm Beach is one of the most popular offerings.

The venue has 5 different restaurants all under one roof which showcase a variety of cuisines and an ever changing menu from all over the globe. The idea is that everyone can be catered for here regardless of dietary requirements or cuisines.

The Collective is a share style venue due to the fact that there are 5 restaurants operating here and therefore your meals will unlikely all come out at the same time if you order from different kitchens.

The five venues currently operating here are: The Italian Job, Umami, Calavera, The Kitchen and Luckies Diner.

"The Collective is a share style venue due to the fact that there are 5 restaurants operating here and therefore your meals will unlikely all come out at the same time if you order from different kitchens."

Choose from woodfired pizzas, pasta, gnocchi, small Japanese plates or noodles, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, salads, chicken wings, burgers and more.

The menu is extensive and too much to list here but there is literally something for everyone including kids meals on offer. I’ve not even mentioned the dessert, drinks, banquet or specialty food menu.

The industrial style restaurant does give off the appeal of cafeteria style dining purely because you have more than one restaurant housed here but it is a far more chic cafeteria giving you a unique dining experience.

We have rated this fairly high on our list because its budget friendly, the food and drink menu is extensive and they cater to a variety of taste so even the picky eaters will likely be satisfied here.

Once you have finished your meal, stay on longer and head to the rooftop bar. The Collective is open from 12pm- 9pm 7 days a week.

10. Paddock Bakery

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Location: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami

Cuisine: Australian, Vegetarian Friendly

The Gold Coast has quickly fallen in love with this Miami café that is found on a corner block with a 1950’s homestead surrounded amongst a beautiful garden. Paddock is the place to go for your morning coffee or naughty donut and is at its busiest at breakfast on the weekends.

Coffee, food and freshly baked goods are available 7 days a week from 6.30am to 3pm. For those who like to lay in a little longer- breakfast is served all day… or you can move onto the lunch menu.

Choose from toasted bagel, creamy porridge, coveted avocado on toast, scrambled eggs, purple toast (yes really), salads, sourdough sandwiches, cold pressed juices, organic tea, coffee and more.

"This Miami Cafe is found on a corner block in an old 1950’s homestead and cottage surrounded by a beautiful outdoor garden. The Paddock Bakery has quickly become one of the Gold Coast’s favourite breakfast haunts."

The Miami Cafe is found on a corner block in an old 1950’s homestead and cottage surrounded by a beautiful outdoor garden. This has quickly become Gold Coast’s favourite breakfast haunt.

Paddock Bakery has a walk in policy for groups up to 8 but bookings are recommendations for larger groups. The bakery has been so popular that they have recently expanded and built a lift above the garden which is just as full as character and heritage as the original homestead.

Paddock Bakery just might be your favourite breakfast haunt whether you are visiting in town or are a local.

Top 10 Things to do in the Gold Coast

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Experience Oz Staff
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From the stunning golden beaches and theme parks to whale watching and rainforest tours, the Gold Coast is an entertainment hub has it all for holidaymakers. Combine this with the region’s famously beautiful weather, and it’s safe to say the Gold Coast is known as Australia’s holiday playground for good reason.

The Gold Coast’s variety is what makes it special with elements that make it a destination where outdoor activities are viable almost all year round, and the list of things to do is nearly endless.

An average of 300 days of sunshine throughout the year means regardless of if you’re sticking to the coast, heading to the hinterland or looking for some indoor or evening entertainment, you’ll be spoiled for choice here.

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.

1. Visit a theme park

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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 the Southern Hemisphere and there are thrills, live entertainment and animal experiences on offer for all ages making it a great day out for the entire family- regardless of age. "

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. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

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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.

"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."

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. SkyPoint Deck at Q1

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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.

"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."

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. Day at the Beach

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Location: Various locations along the coastline, Gold Coast

If there’s one thing that the Gold Coast is famous for, it is the beaches – and with around 57 kilometres of beach available, there are plenty to choose from for those who love their surf and sunshine.

Which beach you choose to visit will likely depend on a variety of things; where you’re living or staying, whether you’re bringing kids, or if you’re looking to swim or surf.

Each of the main beaches on the coast, including Broadbeach, Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta, Currumbin, Duranbah, Kirra, Main Beach, Nobby Beach, Palm Beach and perhaps most famously, Surfers Paradise, offer something slightly different, however, all of them are of a universally high quality and exceptionally clean.

"If there’s one thing that the Gold Coast is famous for, it is the beaches – and with around 57 kilometres of beach available, there are plenty to choose from."

All of the beaches listed above are regularly patrolled by volunteer Surf Life Savers, and many offer some blend of public picnic and barbeque areas, nearby cafes and restaurants, and great walking tracks.

For a more comprehensive and detailed breakdown of each Gold Coast beach and what it has to offer, check out our Gold Coast Beaches Guide to help determine which beach on the “Goldy” is the best choice for you.

5. Explore the hinterland

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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.

"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."

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. Hit the Bar or Nightclubs

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Location: Majority centred around Cavill & Orchid Avenues, Surfers Paradise

The vibrant nightlife of the Gold Coast is another one of the popular drawcards for people to visit, and while there of plenty of nice dining areas and shopping centres, the focal point of all this is without a doubt Surfers Paradise.

Surfers is home to a wide array of nightclubs and bars that are simultaneously one of its biggest attractions. The majority of the Gold Coast’s nightlife is concentrated around the hub streets of Cavill and Orchid Avenues in the heart of Surfers Paradise, and each club offers its own take on the typical clubbing experience.

Other suburbs such as Broadbeach and Coolangatta to the south also offer additional nightlife options for those looking for an alternative to the main hub.

Long-time staple nightclubs on the Gold Coast include Melbas, Shooters, Sin City, The Avenue and various others. For a full, detailed look at what each club has to offer, check out our Gold Coast Nightclubs Guide for an in-depth breakdown.

7. Cruise the Gold Coast waterways with Wyndham Cruises

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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.

8. Whale Watching Cruises

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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.

"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."

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 Jetboat Ride

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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.

10. Draculas Cabaret Restaurant

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Location: Broadbeach, Gold Coast, QLD

Dracula’s Cabaret is a long-running entertainment venue that provides a dose of raunchy fun blended with humour and a touch of fun intended mainly for adults. Both standalone show tickets and combined dinner-with-show packages are available.

The venue features a glam-horror theme and combines burlesque-style entertainment with live rock music and stand-up comedy performed by their talented cast. If you’re the type who doesn’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy live acts then it’s a great spot to go as a group.

With shows held during the week and on the weekend, you’ll want to get in quick as its reputation precedes itself and often results in shows filling up very quickly.

Experience Oz + NZ recently enjoyed the VIP seating at Dracula’s on the Gold Coast, read their review and book your spot for an upcoming show online!

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