What a pain! You’ve got 20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket and you don’t know how to spend it. Said no one, ever. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, at least not on the Gold Coast, so the more fun you can have for less, the better!
With that in mind, we’ve foraged together 30 awesome things to do on the Gold Coast that are fun, sometimes tasty and maybe even free!
- You can order an espresso martini with a side of golf! Holey Moley is where cocktails and bar snacks collide with crazy putt putt golf and good times galore. Located in Surfers Paradise, nine holes here will set you back $12 per person, just bring extra cash for beers and burgs.
- One of our all-time fave things to do on the Gold Coast when you’re on a budget? Snag one of the best seats in the house for drinks and a cheap pub meal at the characterful old Rainbow Bay Surf Club. Knock back the cheapest pot of Balter in town, with views over the same surf break where the legendary shark-punching world champ Mick Fanning got his water wings.
- One of all-time favourite free things to do on the Gold Coast, no matter what your age, is the free lorikeet feeding sessions at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (daily at 8am and 4pm). These colourful critters are seriously wild!
- Get your hands dirty with you-pick veggies and fresh produce from these fertile farms in the region. It’s one of the best things to do on the Gold Coast and will cost you next to nada. Did someone say sunflower selfies?!
- Nothing exemplifies the Gold Coast’s bohemian slash surf culture and the creativity of our talented populace than a Sunday morning stroll around Burleigh’s beloved The Village Markets (8:30am to 1pm, first and third Sunday of the month). It’s free to wander and enjoy the live tunes, but be warned, you’ll wanna buy one of everything! Though if your wallet is tight, all is not lost. At the first market of each month, the TVM rack sale includes dozens of pre-loved stalls and literally hundreds of new-to-you outfits to ponder.
- Speaking of markets, Gold Coast is home to a ridic selection, and is without question one of the best things to do on the Gold Coast if you’re on a budget. For cheap street eats, vintage finds, free live entertainment and all those feel-good community vibes, start with this list of some of the city’s best markets.
- If you love beer, you don’t need a fat wallet to explore Gold Coast’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Soak up the brewhouse atmosphere and order a tipple from each brewery—starting with Balter, before moving north to Burleigh Brewing, Black Hops and Miami’s Lost Palms. Fridays through Sundays are your best bet if you want to hit them all.
- Lace up your sneakers and explore any of these incredible national parks in our immediate backyard. While you’re at it, these stellar local bush walks will get you amongst nature—‘cause the best things in life are free.
- Warm up with a steamy pot of herbal tea (with lemon, mint and ginger plucked fresh from the garden) at Currumbin Valley Harvest, open Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 1pm. Or climb Tomewin Range for coffee and homemade cake with killer views at Freeman’s Organic Farm. It’s one of our fave cheap things to do on the Gold Coast if you’re on a budget.
- Go to the beach! With literally dozens of sandy spots the entire length of the city, what better way to spend a cash-free day than with a good book and a beach towel? We’ve rounded up some of our fave beaches here.
- Bank account looking dismal until payday? Eat your way through this long list of best cheap eats on the Gold Coast.
- How many times have you stopped to ponder how blessed we are to live on the edge of 50-plus kilometres of jaw-dropping beaches and, just 30-minutes inland, towering ranges bursting with ancient rainforests, waterfalls and wildlife? Consider this your guide to exploring Mount Tamborine and the surrounding hinterland.
- Water activities? On the Gold Coast? You know it! With boards hired from Currumbin Creek’s Boatshed for just $20 for 1.5 hours, SUP’ing is the perfect activity for your tourist pals. Whether you’re a pro or newly learning, it’s a sure-fire way to create some serious deep-belly chuckles. Or check out these top spots to SUP around the Coast.
- Nothing beats a cheap and flaky pastry for brekkie or lunch from one of the best bakeries on the Gold Coast. We’ve got you covered with our faves here.
- Get wet in Currumbin Valley’s Cougal Cascades. This little slice of paradise is hidden among some lush south east Queensland greenery and is the perfect place to chill out and swim without being attacked by a vicious wave. It’s our pick among the best free things to do on the Gold Coast.
- Throw a sickie and spend a weekday trawling the best op shops on the Gold Coast. Wanna dress like the locals? Go vintage and you’ll be safe.
- Chase waterfalls, folks! Don’t listen to TLC; getting lost surrounded by nature is the best medicine, always. Check out our favourite waterfalls around the area and beyond.
- Dance like nobody is watching, while you shimmy and sway your way into that bikini, with these adult dance classes to get you groovin’. From swing to Beyonce, it’s all here.
- Head to Brunswick Heads for a day trip. Think: hippie-loving markets, cafe hopping, and crystalline saltwater creeks to float around in (that look just like the Caribbean, well, close enough).
- Burleigh Hill is the greatest picnic spot on the Gold Coast and our absolute weekend arvo go-to when guests are in town. Unless you hate crowds and looking for a place to park, in which case it could be the worst. But, for most of us, the sweeping views from Burleigh Hill up to the glitter strip and the ‘always Sunday’ mood make it well worth the effort.
- While we pile on the layers in autumn and winter, others are flocking to the warmer Queensland waters in droves. Yes, May to November is whale migration season and you can gawk at these wondrous creatures as they frolic and splash their way north, and then south again come springtime. Our top picks for a free nature show? Burleigh Hill, Point Danger, The Spit and Miami Lookout.
- Scoop up your date or family and head to Yatala drive-in. Here, a car full of people (max six guests) will set you back just $35, leaving plenty of coin for choc-top ice cream cones.
- Head out for a sunset bike ride from Main Beach to Burleigh (or vice versa). While everyone else is stuck in traffic racing home from the office, there’s nothing better than winding down with a cruisy pedal along the bike-friendly foreshore. You’ll work those buns and be in awe of the gorgeous sunset.
- Flick off the thongs for a pair of Nikes and pound the pavement between Kirra and Froggies Beach, or any of these pretty walks. Stunning views and increased heart rate come complimentary.
- Grab a picnic blanket, your favourite buddies, a phone with some fab playlists, dips, crackers and your mad cheese board skills, then set up a picnic with your friends. Any of these awesome picnic spots will do just fine.
- Dine at one of the best cheap Taco Tuesday nights on the Gold Coast and you’ll easily come out on top.
- Ask any international visitor and they’ll attest we’re damn lucky to have free BBQs in almost every public park. Take advantage of cooking in the great outdoors, with these top BBQ spots with epic views.
- Book into Burleigh Heads Barefoot Bowls on Sundays (12pm to 5pm) for fun that even gramps can get into. $8 per person will cover all equipment, as you lounge around with the locals and lap up the savings you’ve made. Bookings essential.
- Head to Doughnut Boss in Robina and try to walk away empty-handed—go ahead, we dare you.
- Go appreciate the wealth of artists that call the Gold Coast home at any of these fabulous local galleries. While you’re at it, check out all these epic workshops where you can let your creative juices flow.
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