The 12 Best Things to Do on the Gold Coast This Summer
As the top tourist destination in Australia, you can be sure the Gold Coast will always offer plenty of interesting and exciting things to do. Trying to list them all in a single article is therefore almost impossible, so what we've done is calculated which activities are the best in each category.
1. Best beach
The Gold Coast is home to many fine beaches, but Coolangatta Beach is clean and paradisiacal, with amazingly white sand, inviting water, decent surf, and just an all-round good vibe.
2. Best wildlife park
The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a clear winner here. This place has a long history and a stellar reputation. The prices can be a little steep, but generally these are prices that you'll find at any tourist attraction. You can get really close to the animals and they have some that would be difficult to spot in the wild, so it's actually good value if you're sensible about what you do.
3. Best theme park
This category was a lot more difficult to judge, because there's so much diversity, and it really just comes down to what floats your boat. However, since Dreamworld will now be closed for an extended period of time, and Warner Bros Movie World is more expensive and geared towards kids, the winner is Sea World, which at least provides some real entertainment and is enjoyable for anyone. The best way to enjoy this attraction is to stay at Sea World Resort, which gives you unlimited access to everything, and is better value than just doing a day visit.
4. Best natural feature
Purling Brook Falls (near Springbrook Mountain) offers incredible views and scenery, in a wonderful rainforest setting. This really is one you have to see for yourself in order to understand the superlatives.
5. Best shopping
We may be biased, but we believe the shopping experience at ‘The Strand Coolangatta’ is honestly the best on the Gold Coast! With such a great mix of boutique retailers and a selection of awesome dining options, as well as the basics like Woolworths and Aldi, we’ve truly got your ‘shopping day’ on the Gold Coast covered.
6. Best Day Trip
Whales in Paradise is a whale watching expedition that will take you out into the Pacific Ocean to see whales and other sea creatures (such as dolphins) in their natural habitat. It's one thing to see trained animals doing amazing things at Sea World, but quite a different experience to see them in the wild. Whale watching might sound boring, but only until you try it.
7. Best adventurous activity
If you want to be Richard Branson, you're out of luck, unless you actually are Richard Branson (in which case, well done). However, even if you can't fulfil everyone's most fervent wish (which is obviously to be Richard Branson), you can at least emulate his antics by going for a balloon ride. You can find providers for this activity at Surfers Paradise, and the prices are quite reasonable.
8. Best place to chill out
During summer, it can get pretty hot on the Gold Coast, and when you simply feel like you need to get out of the heat, the Planet Chill ice skating rink is the coolest place in town. They have skating, snowboarding, ice hockey, and a range of other amusements.
9. Best cultural experience
Well, this is highly subjective, but if you want to get your groove on, the best place to do that is Bongos at Burleigh, located at Justin’s Park. Every Sunday at 5pm, there's a mini festival with live music, dancing, and revelry.
10. Best active activity
What could be more fun than 50 interconnected trampolines under one roof? You can find this attraction at Bounce Inc. Kids will love it, and it's actually quite good exercise. Hours of bouncy fun! There's a similar venture called Air Factory Trampoline Park, but that's more oriented towards serious trampoline time.
11. Best way to spend an entire day
If you want an all day activity, look no further than the Treetop Challenge. This is a series of ziplines, suspension bridges, rope swings, and so on, that will bring out the Tarzan persona you always secretly knew you possessed. Amazing and challenging fun in the midst of a beautiful rainforest.
12. Best way to risk your life
This is either going to be the most thrilling or the most terrifying experience of your life. Maybe a little of both. If you've seen the movie Tomorrowland, you'll already be familiar with the potential risks of personal jetpack flying. Now, you can experience those risks for yourself by hiring a jetpack from Jetpack Flyboard Adventures. It's not cheap, and it isn't safe, but there's no doubt at all that it's a thrill.