Why should tourists get all the fun?
We already know the best things on the Coast are free – a day at one of our many stunning beaches, hiking through tropical rainforests, scenic bike rides along the coast or a bit of window shopping.
But what about something that kicks it up a notch and adds a serious ‘fun’ element?
We’ve done a deep dive into some fun things to do that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re a family, a couple, or going it solo, this list of one-off experiences and activities will help you stick to your budget – and more importantly, entertain you!
Check out our tips for the Gold Coast On A Budget: 8 Fun and Unique Things For Locals To Do:
1. Cheers To That!
Sneak in a cheeky little getaway to the stunning Gold Coast Hinterland to sample some award-winning spirits and liqueurs.
Tamborine Mountain’s highly acclaimed boutique distillery manufactures fine liqueurs, vodkas, schnapps, rum, gin, Eaux-de-vie (a French colourless fruit brandy) and more.
Let’s not forget delectable chocolate liqueurs!
Enter the traditional Elizabethan Tudor style manor which is steeped in history, and head to the tasting room to savour some of the finest grog, the Coast has to offer.
The entry price includes 4 Liqueurs and 1 Spirit of your choice.
Bookings not necessary for groups under 6 people, but it is essential for groups with more than 6 people.
When: 7 days from 10 am to 5 pm
Cost: $5per person ($15 Cocktails on Weekends only)
2. Revenge Of The Nerds
Are you keen to dazzle friends and complete strangers alike with your impressive range of useless facts and random knowledge?
Put your thinking cap on, test your memory and have some laughs at Currumbin RSL’s trivia night.
Be in it to win it in order to grab some great prizes including a $100 Currumbin RSL voucher for first place!
When: Thursdays from 6.30 pm
Where: The Main Bar, Currumbin RSL
3. Be One With Nature
If you’re feeling the need to connect with nature, this one’s for you.
Lamington National Park is the bee’s knees of rainforests. It’s home to unique flora and fauna, spectacular lookouts and majestic waterfalls.
Stroll through the canopy of flowering trees, and observe the birds and wildlife that call this tropical rainforest home.
The first of its kind in Australia, the O’Reilly’s Tree-Top Walk covers a distance of 180 metres and includes 9 suspension bridges that hover at 16 metres above the ground.
Two observation decks are found along the way – one that the kids (even the big ones) will love. Climb 15 metres up a Strangler Fig to the first lookout, and a further 15 metres to the second, to enjoy a bird’s eye view over the rainforest canopy. Parents needn’t worry – ladder access is protected by a wire enclosure.
If you’re interested in the educational side of our native flora and fauna, do a bit of bird spotting in the early morning or late afternoon. You’ll also notice profiles of the rainforest flora are scattered along the way to help identify plants in the area.
If you enjoy bushwalking, Lamington National Park has a wide variety of short, half-day and full-day walks for you to enjoy. Visit their website for more bushwalking options.
No restrictions on height or age.
When: All day every day
Where: Lamington National Park
4. Ditch The Shoes and Get Your Bowl On
No longer just a bit of fun for retirees, barefoot bowls has become a popular activity for people of all ages.
Pop down to Burleigh Heads Barefoot Bowls on Sundays for fun that youngsters through to oldies will enjoy. If you’ve never bowled before, coaches are on hand to get you started.
Bookings essential. Call 07 5535 1023 or book online.
When: Tuesday to Thursday from 5 pm or Friday to Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm
Cost: Tuesday to Thursday $4 per person; Friday to Sunday $8 per person
Kids 10 – 12 years old $4 each (sorry, no kids under 10 allowed to play)
Where: Burleigh Heads Bowls Club
5. Check Out The Stars Under the Stars
90’s Movies. Popcorn. Beer. Oh my!
Drop the Nintendo 64 controller, grab your Doc Martens and stone-washed jeans and head down to relive your favourite nostalgic big screen moments from the 1990s.
The genius creators at Burleigh Brewing Company have joined forces with the Gold Coast Film Festival to bring the 90’s back.
Check out the bodacious schedule for your fave flick and mark it on your calendar. First-in best dressed gets their choice of comfy seat, or bring a blanket to sit on. Choose from an array of world-class craft beers, wine and popcorn and settle in for the night.
Each screening also includes a short film from an up-and-coming local filmmaker.
A strictly 18+ affair, kiddies will need to be left at home for this one.
When: The last Thursday of each month from 6 pm to 10 pm (film starts around 7 pm)
Cost: FREE! (not including beverages)
Where: Burleigh Brewing Company
6. Dance Like No One’s Watching
Wish you had moves more like Beyonce and less like a baby giraffe taking its first steps?! Well, every Monday at Lights Out And Dance (LOAD) in Burleigh Heads, you can get your freak on and no one will be the wiser.
Shake off Mondayitis and revitalise your mind body and soul as you confidently bust a move in the dark.
A huge variety of genres is available and changes every week. From pop to rock, to folk to swing, to R&B, to hip-hop – you’ll find something to get your body moving. You can even request your favourite music before you arrive!
With no steps to remember or teachers to follow – it’s the perfect excuse to try out your new Tay Tay routine.
Those spooked by the dark needn’t worry. Minimal lighting ensures a balance between a fool-proof judgement-free space and complete safety.
Not feeling sociable? That’s cool. There is a strict ‘no talking’ rule inside.
Wheelchair accessible and (well-behaved) child-friendly.
When: Mondays at 7 pm (arrive 10 minutes early to avoid lock-out)
Where: Burleigh Heads State School
7. Channel Your Inner Golf Star
Why not try your hand at the exceptionally romantic, Twilight Mini Golf at Mermaid Beach?
Choose from one of three 18-hole courses and putt till your heart’s content.
Navigate a tropical oasis of shipwrecked pirates, frolicking dolphins and sassy turtles on the Waterways Course. Putt around colour changing lagoons, magical fairy lights, challenging water jumps and cascading water features.
When: Seven days from 9 am until 10 pm
Cost: $19 per course, per adult; $15 per child. Buy online to receive a 10% discount (no expiry).
Where: Putt Putt Golf Mermaid Beach
8. Light Up Your Life
Take a glow-worm tour to support this incredible conservation initiative. You will help ensure the survival of the humble glow-worm, who does its part for Gold Coast residents by keeping that pesky mozzie population down.
Learn about the life cycle and behaviour of this minuscule bioluminescent creature as you trek through a purpose-built cave where you’re guaranteed to see thousands of tiny little glow worms on every visit.
If you’re even slightly claustrophobic – no need to panic, the spacious interior of the cave is easy to access and navigate.
When: 7 Days from 10 am to 4 pm. Tours run for 30 minutes, every 30 minutes.
Twilight Tours every Friday and Saturday, last tour at 6 pm.
Cost: $14 per adult, $6 per child (4-12yo). Buy tickets online.
Where: Cedar Creek Estate, Mount Tamborine
Not feeling so adventurous? If you’d rather veg out by the water on a nice sunny day, check out our suggestions for the top 10 family-friendly swimming spots on the Gold Coast.
For those who love to browse for a bargain, buy organic produce or sample international street foods at local markets, we have your guide to 8 must-see markets on the southern Gold Coast.
Whether you like to be amongst nature, work up a sweat or relax with a cold one – there’s something for everyone on the beautiful Gold Coast.
With our guide to the Gold Coast on a budget: 8 fun and unique things for locals to do, you’ll not only find ways to add more fun into your life, but you won’t have to take out a second mortgage to do it.
Where will you go first?