Flying to Gold Coast? Here are all the best things to do in the coastal city

best things to do in gold coast queensland beach australia travel
best things to do in gold coast queensland beach australia travel

Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations – and for good reason. Known for having the best surf beaches, shopping spots, and vibrant nightlife, the coastal hotspot is brimming with activities throughout the year.

If you’re thinking of visiting, we’ve done some research on where to visit and what to do when you’re in this beautiful Queensland destination. This curation of the best things to do in Gold Coast will surely make your trip extra special this year. 

Best things to do in Gold Coast in 2023

For marine-life lovers: Go whale watching with the Spirit of Gold Coast

Embark on a cruise to learn about all the fun facts of this rare sea creature. Leave the tricky part of trying to spot whales to professionals, where marine biologists guarantee that you’ll be able to see humpback whales as they migrate past the Gold Coast from June to November (or you’ll get a complimentary second cruise). Get an up-close look of humpback whales breaching from the boat’s lower or upper deck — an experience that’ll last for a lifetime.

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For explorers: Embark on the Tambourine Mountain Glow Worm Tour

Discover nightlife (in the mountains) at the Tamborine Mountain Glow Worm Tour in Cedar Creek Estate. Start with a stroll on the boardwalk through the rehabilitated rainforest on the way to your destination. You’ll soon arrive at the mesmerising Glow Worm cave for a spectacular underground journey, where audio and visual displays will help you acclimatise your eyes to the dark. Then, feast your eyes in the magical “glow-worm alley” decorated with thousands of glow-worms to create a beautiful show of lights that you can only see at night!

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For superhero fanatics: Get pumped at Warner Bros. Movie World

Australia’s number one theme park, Movie World is a must-visit destination for people who are travelling with kids or simply love joyrides. Feel the adrenaline rush with all the world-class rides, themed attractions, and your favourite characters! Boasting a fun-filled day exploring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, characters from Looney Tunes and DC Universe. 

Feeling the need for speed? Movie World is the home to one of the tallest, longest and fastest HyperCoaster in the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Metropolis Rollercoaster Subway that reaches up to 100 kilometres per hour within two seconds. For all Batman fans, you also get to take a photo with Batman and Batmobile throughout the day. Remember to stay for the Streets Star Parade to witness the exclusive JL 52 Batmobile in action!

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For wildlife and nature lovers: Get up close with Aussie critters at Currumbin Rainforest

Explore the wonder and beauty of the Currumbin Rainforest, take your time to stroll through the 27 hectares of open animal enclosures. See Australian treasures up close as you’ll get to interact with cute kangaroos and cuddle koalas along the way. Here, you’ll experience a variety of fun activities like feeding the wild lorikeet and enjoy free-flight bird shows available only at Currumbin rainforest. Spot various unique and exotic flora and fauna that adds colours to the magnificent rainforest like red pandas, Capybaras and more along your way.

If you’re bringing kids, they can also visit the huge outdoor-themed playground as they embark on a tour into the sanctuary on a miniature train.

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For foodies: Dine at Rick Shores

Seafood is a must when in Gold Coast and so feasting is obviously one of the best things you can do here. Dine right next to the sea, looking out to Burleigh Beach with floor-to-ceiling windows at Rick Shores.  This restaurant focuses on seafood with a sprinkle of the colourful pan-Asian influence. The menu (including the drinks list) changes regularly to allow guests to enjoy each season’s best so that guests could never get enough of Rick Shores. The Moreton Bay bug roll served with Sriracha, mayonnaise and lettuce is also crowned as the restaurant’s signature; so be sure to try it when you’re there.

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For indecisive foodies: Order everything at Miss Moneypenny’s

What to eat is one of the biggest everyday dilemmas one could have, but not when you go to Miss Moneypenny’s. Start with a little tipple and munchies — how do creative cocktails and bar snacks sound to you? Later, enjoy the seven-course chef’s menu for only AUD $89 per person and experience a variety of delicious Australian cuisines in just one seating. You can also head over to Miss Moneypenny’s for supper as the restaurant opens till late night for foodies searching for food after dark.

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For coffee-dependent travellers: Sip a cuppa at WavyBone

Feeling jet-lagged or simply just needing a coffee booster? Here’s a locally loved retro coffee caravan turned specialty coffee shop that you should try. Wavybone started as a small coffee caravan with quality coffee drops and recently opened its first physical store in Chirn Park. Sip the culturally crafted coffee in the trendy, minimalist cafe — order a cup of freshly brewed Blackboard Coffee, we insist.

For a quick bite: Indulge at Bam Bam Bakehouse

Enjoy freshly baked handmade pastries in small batches at Bam Bam Bakehouse — a croissant perhaps?. This bakery at Mermaid Beach built its reputation as a cult-followed bakery destination and cafe for obvious reasons. Whether you’re craving for a sweet dessert or savoury option, you’ll be able to find a pastry just for you. Don’t forget to try the buttery baked croissant paired with a cup of coffee that’s a perfect combination to kick start your day in Gold Coast.

(Hero and featured image credit: Caleb Russell on Unsplash)

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