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9 things to do if you're visiting Australia's Gold Coast for the first time

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Stephanie White Jun 29, 2018 11:01 am 659

The Gold Coast is famous for three of the best things in the world: sun, surf, and sand!

The sixth largest city in Australia and the recent host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, its located on Australia’s east coast. It’s also the perfect fun-filled destination for your next vacation.

Within the Gold Coast, you can find 70 km of sandy beaches in a region known for constant warm, sunny weather and blue skies. And we do mean constant – the subtropical climate is known for offering around 300 days of sunshine per year!

The Gold Coast offers more than just beaches, however. It’s also home to several theme parks, lush Hinterland area, and a vibrant culinary scene to keep you entertained throughout your stay.

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So if you’re visiting Australia’s Gold Coast for the first time, here are nine things you absolutely need to do!

Visit some of the best beaches in the world

With 70 km of stunning beaches, you need to visit some of the 35 picturesque beaches that make up the Gold Coast. There’s a beach perfect for everyone; popular beaches include Main Beach and Surfers Paradise, while Miami, and Bobby offer family-friendly beaches. Meanwhile, Currumbin and Burleigh Heads Beach are favourite spots for surfing.

Insta-worthy moment: Beach selfie, obviously.

Hug a koala

No visit to Australia would be complete without seeing a koala and a kangaroo! At Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary you can see Australian animals up close. At the sanctuary, you can feed kangaroos and sign up to get your photo taken holding a koala.

Throughout the day there are a variety of events including the lorikeet feeding and aboriginal dance show. If you want to learn more about the local culture, the dance show is a highly entertaining way to do so. Every afternoon members of the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre explain Yugambeh culture through stories, music, and dance.

Insta-worthy moment: You and your new koala BFF. 

Enjoy the view from SkyPoint

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Enjoy breathtaking views of the famous Gold Coast beaches from the SkyPoint observation deck. Located on level 77 of the Q1 building you can get a 360 view of Brisbane to the north, the hinterland to the west, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

For the ultimate view of the Gold Coast, you can do SkyPoint Climb, during which you wear a harness and walk around the top of the tower!

Insta-worthy moment: Famous Gold Coast beaches as far as the eye can see.

Visit one of the many theme parks

Dreamworld is a massive theme park that not only has roller coasters and thrill rides but even a zoo and water park too! It would be easy to spend several days at the park as there is so much to see and do.

When visiting make sure to try their Big 9 Thrill Rides and visit Corroboree where you can see tree kangaroos.

Insta-worthy moment: Group pic by the park’s entry sign.

Tour the Hinterland

A short drive from the beaches is the Hinterland, one of the five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Australia. The area consists of mountain ranges and world heritage rainforests where you can find beautiful waterfalls, lookouts, and local wildlife.

There are plenty of tour companies, such as Southern Cross Tours, that will pick you up at your hotel and take you for a full or half day tour of the Hinterland. Not to be missed sights include the stunning Natural Bridge waterfall and Purling Brook Falls.

If you have the opportunity, the night tours of the Hinterland are equally amazing. On these tours, you can walk through the rainforest to enter a cave in the Tamborine Mountain that is illuminated by thousands of bioluminescent glow worms.

Insta-worthy moment: Standing next to a waterfall in a UNESCO rainforest.

Sample some local craft beer


In the past few years, the craft brewery scene has been exploding in the Gold Coast. For a fun afternoon activity, Hop on Brewery Tours provides a three and a half hour tour of the Gold Coast where you will be able to sample craft beer at several breweries.

Instagram-worthy moment: Your craft beer flight at a Gold Coast brewery

Relax at the spa


Within Burleigh Heads, you can find Bathhouse by Greenhouse, a trendy spa that is the perfect space to ease your aching muscles.

The bathhouse is in a warehouse that has been converted to create a beautiful, relaxing space filled with pastel colours and plants. To leave you feeling rejuvenated there are hydrotherapy spas, a steam sauna, cedar wood sauna, magnesium plunge pool, all in addition to indoor and outdoor lounge areas.

If you wish to treat yourself further there’s also the option to book a Kahuna massage.

Insta-worthy moment: Cooling off in the outdoor plunge pool.

Try surfing

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The Gold Coast is a famous surfing destination hosting many international surfing competitions. With 70 km of beaches offering the most consistent waves in Australia, there is surf suited to all levels of experience.

The most famous spot for surfing would of course be Surfers Paradise. Right next to the Surfers Paradise sign you can sign up for a surfing class at Go Ride A Wave. With 25 years of experience, the Surfing Australia accredited school offers surfboard rentals and provides 2-hour surf lessons to suit any skill level.

Insta-worthy moment: Standing up for the first time on a surf board! 

Dine on the shores of the Gold Coast

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The Gold Coast offers a diverse culinary scene with plenty of cafes and restaurants along the beautiful coastline. And for the most memorable dining experience you need to dine next to the water.

In Burleigh Heads, Rick Shores offers tables right next to the crashing surf. Here you can enjoy gourmet sharing plates and cocktails as you hear the sound of the waves over your meal.

Insta-worthy moment: Dining with the ocean as backdrop.

For more information about Australia or to plan your next trip to the Gold Coast visit Australia.com.

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Disclaimer: Travel, accommodation, and meals were provided by Tourism Australia. All views and opinions are those of the author.



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