You've hopped off the plane and there's only been one thing on your mind: theme parks! You indulged your inner child's cartoon fandom at Warner Bros. Movie World and then felt adventurous so you rocketed up the Tower of Terror II at 161km/h at Dreamworld. You barely had time to recover before heading to Wet 'n' Wild to try your hand at surfing on the Flow Rider. It didn't seem so hard so you tested your new skills at Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Turns out real waves are a lot harder! You were exhausted by the end of it so a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was on the cards to catch your breath and a glimpse of some cute, furry animals. There's no doubt that the Gold Coast is a tourist's paradise but besides the thrills, bright lights and numerous attractions, you'll be surprised to find there are some activities that only the locals know about.
I was told the Gold Coast was expensive, but then I found all these activities for free!
Of course you'll want to spend a day at the beach, especially since it costs nothing to go and enjoy the crisp, blue waters and warm, golden sand. But avoid the crowds of Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach in favour of the quieter spots such as Miami and Nobby Beach which is good for families with BBQ and picnic areas. If you have young kids who aren't as confident in the water, head to Tallebudgera Creek which has calmer waters and a patrolled area on the South side of the estuary.
After a visit to the beach, you think that's all the nature there is to see at the Gold Coast. Little did you know that the Gold Coast has many tropical rainforests and bushwalks to keep you entertained for hours. Strap on your hiking boots, pack your lunch and set off on one of the many trails that often lead to stunning lookouts that capture the skyline, beaches and horizon. Remember to pack your camera! You can even indulge your newly-acquired love of swimming in one of the many mountain streams along the way. And best of all – it all doesn't cost a cent.
I didn't want to blow my budget, but I couldn't resist when I went to the markets
If there's one thing the locals love about the Gold Coast, it's the markets. No matter where you're staying, you are bound to find a local farmers or arts and craft market close to you. All these markets are filled with the freshest produce you can find in the country so there's never a better time to try the sweet-tasting and delicious tropical fruits of Queensland like mangoes, lychees, bananas, pineapples, jackfruit and papaya. Don't worry about using up all your spending money in one place – there are usually a lot of free samples on offer.
You were shocked by how much you saved on your beachside accommodation…
So you decided to loosen the purse strings and spend big on a cultural experience. The Jellurgal Dreaming Tour is a full-day tour that teaches tourists and locals alike about the Aboriginal history of the region. This five hour experience includes seeing the native wildlife in their natural habitat accompanied by stories of their significance to the Aboriginal people as well as a traditional smoking ceremony and ochre anointment. Visit the website to book your experience and for more information.
If you still need to see more nature, why not hire a car and head to the Natural Bridge in the Springbrook National Park. One of the most unusual rock formations created by water pouring through the roof of a basalt cave, this natural wonder features a cascading waterfall by day and an incredible colony of glow-worms by night. Stunning!
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