The Best Free Things to do on the Gold Coast

  • Mums & Bubs

It's no secret that the Gold Coast is a mecca of family-friendly fun; renowned for its beautiful weather, stunning scenery, and stellar attractions. And while, of course, we love the adrenalin-fuelled Gold Coast attractions, sometimes we just want to do something a bit slower-paced, and easier on the wallet. 

So, we've rounded up the best free things to do on the Gold Coast for the days you feel like simplicity is the way forward! 

The Best Free Things to Do on the Gold Coast

1. Walk Along the Famous Gold Coast Oceanway

Gold Coast Oceanway
Gold Coast Oceanway

That stunning scenery we mentioned doesn't come much better than the iconic Gold Coast Oceanway. This 36-km stretch connects some of the most well-known beaches in the world—so why not round up the family, pack sunhats and a picnic, and explore these gorgeous slices of serenity at your own leisure, either on foot or by bike? The best things in life really are free! 

2. Check out the Gold Coast Markets

Gold Coast Markets
Gold Coast Markets. Image credit: Swell

There are few things more peaceful than meandering around a market, and thanks to its rich and diverse offering, markets are one of the best free things to do on the Gold Coast in our book. Gold Coast Markets range from gourmet food and farmers' markets, arts and crafts markets, beachfront markets (lookin' at you, Surfers Paradise!), fashion markets, and beyond. A bit of window shopping never hurt anyone! 

3. Hit the Playgrounds

Gold Coast Playgrounds
Gold Coast Playgrounds. Image credit: Brisbane Kids

The Gold Coast boasts stunning weather year-round, so it's no surprise that the playground scene is also thriving—who wouldn't want to be outside constantly?! Nothing blows off steam quite like a playground, where kids can be wild, free and connect to their outdoor environment. We'd recommend checking out Palm Beach Parklands, Kurrawa All-Abilities Playground, and Pratten Park to get you started! 

4. Take a Self-Guided Street Art Tour

Gold Coast Street Art
Check out some awesome artworks for a free thing to do on the Gold Coast.


Free, available year-round and most importantly, a real celebration of all that the Gold Coast has to offer in terms of art and culture, Art Roll is a free walking tour of over 100 murals and street artworks that are just waiting to be explored. Check out locations here, and get ready to snap a selfie or twenty as you get in front of these epic works! 

5. Soak in Nature at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens

Discover the serene oasis of the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, right in the heart of the city, just a short 10-minute drive from central Surfers Paradise. This expansive 31-hectare haven offers something for everyone. Explore native ecosystems along the Mangroves to Mountains trail or uncover the historical journeys of the Yugambeh people in the Story of their Country Garden. Take in the fragrant beauty of the Rose Garden and learn how to attract butterflies to your own garden in the Butterfly Garden. 

Fun for the entire family awaits, including leisurely walks on the boardwalks, bird watching by the lake, and a children's playground. Free guided walks are available, and there are new games to discover along the Kaialgumm Aboriginal games trail. Race you there! 

6. Enjoy a Free Event or Festival

Free Things to do on the Gold Coast
There are always lots of fun-filled, free things to do on the Gold Coast

Bookmark this link from The Weekend Edition and check it regularly for a great guide to free events, exhibitions, and festivals that are happening across the Gold Coast! (You're welcome.)

7. Go for a Splash at Currumbin Rock Pools

Currumbin Rock Pools
Currumbin Rock Pools

Discover the hidden gem of the Currumbin Rock Pools, just a short fifteen-minute drive away from Currumbin Beach. It's a well-kept secret loved by locals and those in the know.

At the Rock Pools, kids swing from ropes and take daring leaps off ledges into the cool, refreshing waters, while those seeking a more laid-back experience bask in the sun on nearby rocks. The pool depths vary, offering perfect spots for preschoolers to have a playful splash. It's a place where you can relive the simple joys of life, make new memories, and escape the hustle and bustle. 

8. Spot Some Sculptures on the Sculpture Walk

Gold Coast Sculpture Walk
Gold Coast Sculpture Walk

The Evandale Parklands have transformed into the stunning Gold Coast Sculpture Walk, showcasing a captivating collection of 49 artworks crafted by talented artists from both near and far. A delightful exploration of creativity and artistic expression awaits you—and, it's free!

9. Visit one of the Many National Parks 

Gold Coast National Parks
The Gold Coast has so many stunning national parks to explore! 

If you want to swap the beach for the bush, the Gold Coast is home to a plethora of National Parks that promise a day of wholesome family time spent beneath the trees. Add the likes of Burleigh Heads National Park, Springbrook National Park, Tamborine National Park and Lamington National Park to your must-visit list, and prepare for a day out in nature like no other. 

10. Hit up the Beach

Burleigh Heads Beach
Gold Coast beaches are stunning

It's called the Gold Coast for a reason—there are so many beautiful sandy stretches to set up upon for a day at the beach! From the big names (hello, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach) to lesser-known gems like Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin, there's a Gold Coast beach for every type of activity and day out. 

11. Have a Picnic at Burleigh Hill

Burleigh Hill
The beautiful Burleigh Hill is the perfect spot for a picnic.

Burleigh Hill boasts a picturesque expanse of green, offering breathtaking views of the pristine Burleigh Beach and the distant Gold Coast City skyline.

It's a beloved gathering spot for both tourists and locals, who come together every afternoon to enjoy picnics while soaking in the mesmerising sunset. It's truly a fantastic place to wind down and savour the beauty of the day's end in our book.

12. Stop off for a Swim at the Cougal Cascades

Cougal Cascades
Cougal Cascades is the perfect spot for a dip on the Gold Coast.

A brief stroll by Currumbin Creek will lead you to the enchanting Cougal Cascades in Springbrook National Park – a perfect destination for a quick outing that's conveniently close to the Gold Coast. It's also an excellent choice for a refreshing escape on a scorching day, minus the sand and salt of the beach.

If you're up for a little adventure, there's more fun to be had upstream with fantastic swimming holes waiting just a 20-minute walk away! 

More Gold Coast Reads Here

Fun, Food and Family Time Await at Paradise Resort Gold Coast
10 Things To Do With Toddlers At The Gold Coast
Affordable Family Adventures: Your Ultimate Guide to Budget-Friendly Activities on the Gold Coast

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