Gold Coast on a budget: top things to do

Good as gold: five budget-friendly ways to experience the best of the Gold Coast.

Currumbin Beach with stand-up paddleboarders on the water and city skyline in the background, Gold Coast, Queensland.
  • Jetstar
  • November 2020

There’s no need to flash your cash to experience the best of the Gold Coast. With these top things to do, you’ll create more memories than your Instagram feed can handle without getting the hip-pocket blues.

1. Chill like the locals at Currumbin Rock Pools

Cool off at the Currumbin Rock Pools. This local-secret swimming hole is a 15-minute drive inland from the beach, taking in the lush surrounds of the Currumbin Valley. Soak up the sun on the grassy banks and sink down into the cool fresh water. Take a stroll 50 metres upstream to the small, hidden waterfall. And bring a few drinks and nibbles so you can kick back in gourmet style.

Location: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley

Currumbin Rock Pools

2. Picnic on Burleigh Hill

Spend your Sunday afternoon among Gold Coast locals, who know how to take picnicking to the next level. Outdoor rugs, fully stacked platters and choice bubbles abound as Burleigh Hill plays host to those looking for killer views and a surf soundscape. Top and tail your Burleigh session with a swim and a walk. Don’t let the hunt for a free car space get you down either – park anywhere along the Burleigh Esplanade and join the locals taking in the view as they walk to their spot.

Location: Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads

3. Check out local music and street food at Miami Marketta

The Gold Coast has been kicking its arts scene up a notch and one of the best examples is this former industrial complex. The chosen venue for local musicians, artists and design creatives alike, Miami Marketta opens in new window throws open its doors every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. Immerse yourself in the local scene and enjoy live music, DJs and market stalls. Entry is free, but if you do have a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket, the Marketta is home to a bunch of street food vendors ready to take you on a culinary trip around the world.

Location: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

4. Go hiking in the hinterland

The Gold Coast hinterland is unparalleled when it comes to spectacular (and easy-on-the-wallet) ways to while away time. Enjoy a drive up the winding roads of Mount Tamborine and head to the Witches Falls section of the national park. Strap on your sneakers and head to the Witches Falls Circuit walking track, taking in the rainforest, waterfalls and birdsong of the world’s third-oldest national park. The 3.6km track should take you around an hour to tackle, with an incredible lookout as your reward.

Location: Main Western Road, Tamborine Mountain

Explore the Gold Coast hinterland

5. Find inner peace in the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

End your Gold Coast jaunt with some rest and recovery in one of the city's prettiest parks. Stop and smell the roses at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, a vast expanse of parkland and lakes just a 10-minute drive from Surfers Paradise. Learn about local plants on the Mangroves to Mountain trail and get in touch with nature in the Sensory Garden. If you have little ones in tow, hit the Kaialgumm Games Trail to learn about traditional Indigenous games and how to play them. Pack a picnic and soak up the serenity, or grab a brew from the volunteer-run coffee cart and stroll the lakeside boardwalks. Relaxation guaranteed.

Location: 230 Ashmore Road, Benowa

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