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Aside from the beach, these are the very best free things to do on the Gold Coast. These golden nuggets (see what we did there? Bravo!) won’t cost you any coin.
Your next Gold Coast holiday could include:
1. Cameras at the ready. Photographs worth a million bucks needn’t cost you a dollar at Burleigh Head National Park. Tramp the rainforest circuits and snap up stunning coastal sights as you go.
2. Where did the shaka even come from? You might find out at the Gold Coast’s Surf World museum. Boasting Australia’s largest collection of surfboards, discover the country’s epic surf culture for just $10pp admission (we know we said free, but we’re bending the rules for this one).
3. If it’s raining outside and your bank account looks just as bleak, venture to the Gold Coast City Gallery at Surfers Paradise. Funded by the council (hurrah) admission is free. With plenty of inspiring and contemporary artworks to admire, you might even consider visiting on a hot day – the air conditioning is a delight.
4. Hold tight, because we’re about to spill a BIG Gold Coast secret… The Currumbin Rock Pools are a little-known swimming hole, just 15 minutes by car from Currumbin Beach. A little treasure that doesn't cost a dime, with rope swings, leaping ledges and a beautiful rock framed lagoon, it’s rustic and gorgeous and sprinkled with inviting grassy embankments. There are also picnic tables and toilets for your sarnies and your excitement.
5. Speaking of picnics, one of the best places in the city to set up your rug and hamper is at the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens. As well as beautiful fauna, weaving pathways and a lovely lake, there are also barbecue facilities, shelters and picnic areas. Open year round, from 5am to 7pm each day. That means you could have a picnic brunch, lunch AND dinner there.
6. Get up early and watch the sun rise over one of the Gold Coast’s stunning beaches.
7. Every August the Gold Coast hosts the Broadbeach Jazz Festival. With multiple venues and outdoor stages, not forgetting the eclectic beats from various jazzy ensembles, you’d think this one would set you back a pretty penny. To the contrary, it’s another stellar freebie.
8. Jog or run (or walk – we think walking sounds much more holiday-esque) along the shoreline at Kurrawa Park in Broadbeach. And if you over-indulged on snags the night before, there are various FREE fitness stations to stop and flex at. Guns at the ready, lads.
9. Ok, ok, only 'free' if you don't buy anything to eat, which you will because the fare here is borderline addictive. However, even without the food, there’s still plenty of live music to be enjoyed. Open Wednesday evenings and the weekend, Miami Marketta is located in Miami (but we're throwing it in with the GC because it’s too good to miss). The international cuisine is plentiful and there’s also a dessert hall – for your sweet tooth to frequent after the main course.
10. There are over 100 stalls to peruse at Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets. Held every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night along the beach Esplanade at Surfers Paradise, simply looking won’t cost you a thing.
11. Nerang River is home to Evandale Sculpture Walk and a very inviting manmade lake. Featuring 49 eclectic art pieces from both local and international sculptors, ponder over their meaning before cooling off in the lake. To observe the sculptures, simply pop into the Arts Centre Gold Coast on Bundall Road for free access.
12. If you have a few Aussie notes left over by the end of your trip, hire a bike and cycle The Gold Coast Oceanway. A network of pathways fronting the coastline, these casual ambles are very popular with both cyclists and locals. But if you want to do it on the cheap, get your body stilts out and go for a walk instead.
It's time to book your Gold Coast holiday. Let's get it sorted.
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