Growing up in Adelaide, meant a hot, dry summer and cold, wet winter. It also meant hopping on a Jetstar flight bound for the Gold Coast during school holidays. Fortunately for myself, my family was able to take this trip a number of times during my childhood. It was common for a lot of my friends to holiday to the Sunshine State. One day, I decided I would complete a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond Uni; be it with 3 times the luggage and no return flight to Adelaide. As almost every uni student knows, money is your best and worst friend. For this reason, here is a list of the top 15 must visit cheap holidays on the Gold Coast.
1. Beaching at Burleigh Heads
Since moving to the Coast, this is my one of my favourite places. It’s chilled-out vibe oozes out. There are unique restaurants, Paradisal Beach and the oceanview walks through the National Park are to die for. Burleigh is a destination to explore and can be done on a budget. Access to the beach and National Park are free. There are countless cuisine options that vary in cost; you can eat delicious food on a budget!
2. Taking a dip at Tamborine National Park
This park was declared a national park in 1908! It is Queensland’s very first national park. Just by visiting you are experiencing Australian history! The highlight of this park is the waterfalls and swimming holes. Thinking about my most recent visit makes me smile. You can’t step onto Tamborine Mountain without being met with an overwhelming sense of serenity by nature that surrounds you. This makes for a perfect girls trip or romantic picnic getaway with that “special” someone.
3. Experiencing Night-Quarter Market
This weekend night market, located in Helensvale, is the perfect mix of live music, exotic food, and eclectic shopping stalls. The best bit? Entry is $3, and kids 12 and under are free! The variety of food, let alone portion sizes, could be considered overwhelming. Check their website to find the latest ‘what’s on’ and make sure you don’t miss out on this fun (and very affordable) night out. Night-Quarter Night Markets are open every Friday and Saturda from 4 to 10 p.m.!
4. Thrill-seeking at Theme Parks
When you think Gold Coast, you think of the long list of theme parks: DreamWorld, WhiteWater World, MovieWorld, SeaWorld and Wet ‘n’ Wild. So which ones do you visit? In my opionion, the best and cheapest way to explore Gold Coast theme parks is to invest in a multi-pass. Multi-passes offer few options which depend on the length of your stay. You can get a 1-day, 3-day or 7-day pass! You can opt for a Season Unlimited pass, giving you over 10 months of access. Make sure to check which theme parks you gain access to with this pass. These theme parks are also split up for ticketing; DreamWorld and WhiteWater are combined onto one pass. MovieWorld, SeaWorld and Wet ‘n’ Wild are offered on another.
Planning ahead and purchasing multi-passes not only saves you A LOT of money, but allows you to access the parks for more than one day, if you purchase the 3+ day passes. You have more time to explore and more time to immerse yourself in the experience. There is no need to rush around for one day, attempting to fit in every ride and show.
5. Immersing at The Arts Centre
After a big day chasing down the thrills at the theme parks, the Arts Centre is the perfect place to wind down and appreciate various forms of art. Whether you watch a film in one of the two beautiful Old-World style cinemas, view the art displayed at the free gallery, or watch a performance in one of their spaces, you will walk away having experienced something not many people know the Gold Coast has to offer. The cost of a movie ticket ranges from $8.50 to $10! What an affordable way to spend your time immersing yourself in Australian and Queensland art culture.
6. Cuddling at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
A visit to Currambin is a bit more on the expensive side but worth every cent. Whether you are visiting from interstate or overseas, the interaction with a variety of animals is incredible to say the least! You can watch the feeding of crocodiles and hand-feed and pet the kangaroos. You can even cuddle with a koala. If you are comfortable spending a bit more money and are a thrill-seeker, you can take part in the Treetop Challenge.
7. Peaking at Skypoint Observation Deck
This destination is broken down in to a couple of different experiences which, of course, each come with their own price tag. For the thrill-seekers, you can experience standing 230m above the ground with only a glass between you and the floor. You can get these tickets at general admissions to the Observation Deck. Tickets usually start at $24. The SkyPoint climb features 90 minutes of starring at a 260 view of the Gold Coast from the iconic Q1 Resort building. You can select different times of day to visit, even paring it with a dining package. Unsurprisingly, this option isn’t too cheap.
8. Brunching at Broadbeach
No matter where you head on your holiday, it simply must involve brunch! Broadbeach is that perfect blend between city chic and beach chill that gives it a unique atmosphere, and makes it the ideal brunch destination! Whether you feel like an acai bowl at Bootleg Juice Bar, a ‘freakshake’ at Loose Moose Tap & Grill House or even a delicious vegan breaky at Cardamom Pod, there will definitely be something to satisfy your appetite.
9. Touring the Glow Worm Caves
A fun activity that could result in being relatively educational is a visit to the Glow Work Caves at Mount Tamborine. Tours are every half an hour beginning at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday. Tickets range from $6 to $12. Not only will you have a chance to see glow works but the caves themselves are extremely interesting.
10. Soar high at The Star Casino
The Star Casino has so many amazing things within its walls; a hotel, eight different food venues, five bars, and, of course, a casino. A visit to The Star can make for a very fun friends night out, and can be done on a budget too (just make sure you always use your head)! I would recommend meeting at one of the bars for a few cocktails before moving on to a restaurants of your choice to enjoy a meal. Afterwards, enjoy some time in the casino. You can retire back into your luxurious hotel room at the end of the night for some much-needed rest. Guests must be over 18 years of age to enter the casino.
11. Hole-in-one at King Tutt’s Putt-Putt
For another (cheap) change of pace, why not let your competitive side out and take part in a few rounds of mini golf! This is not just any ordinary putt-putt though: it has three different themed courses for you to take your pick from… or, if you are anything like me you could just commit to all three! Plus, the more courses you play, the better valuer it becomes! The themes are Egyptian, Dinosaurs and an outdoor course! Even after playing all three, I still can’t pick a favourite. All I can say is that the whole experience was so much fun and I will definitely be returning for a rematch in the future!
12. Paddle-boarding at Tallebudgera Creek
A real Aussie name for a real Aussie location! Head to the tourist park for a spot of camping and pair it with some paddle-boarding in the calm creek, or head to the nearby beach for a surf if that is more your speed. Don’t forget to pack a picnic as a money-saving alternative and there are even BBQ facilities, making it the perfect place to spend a full day chilling out!
13. Shop ’til you drop at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
Queensland’s largest shopping and dining destination, need I say more? A must visit for anyone on the Coast, this centre has every store you could ever need in it. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time here, though! Perhaps make a day of it and take a break from the shops to head to Event Cinemas and watch the latest blockbuster, or grab a bite to eat from the expansive food court!
14. So much to choose from at Miami Marketta
A street-food lovers delight! Open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, it is recommended you book a table so you’re not left disappointed! Wednesday is Tapas night from 5pm to 9pm, and with all plates under $6, it’ll leave you jumping for joy!
15. Exploring Springbrook National Park
After stuffing your face with all the delicious food Miami Marketta has to offer, wake up and feel good knowing you will be burning away those unwanted calories as you make your way towards Springbrook National Park. Walk along an ancient volcano whilst taking in what is arguably the most picturesque view of the Gold Coast. There are so many different routes and places to head to whilst here, but one that you simply cannot miss is the aptly named ‘Best of All Lookout’. The walk to the lookout itself is full of ancient plants and trees and gorgeous moss rocks. It is described as one of the few living examples of an ancient temperate rainforest.
Hopefully this article has given you an insight into some of the cheap holiday destinations that are accessible in the Gold Coast. Travelling is fun, and the best bit? It doesn’t have to be expensive!
Let me know in the comments if you think I’ve missed a place that deserves to be on this list of cheap holidays to visit in the Gold Coast. Happy travelling.
Featured Image Source: weheartit.com
"Hi! My name is Vicki and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I am nineteen years old and passionate about writing, film and beauty. Hope you enjoy reading my articles!"