It’s no secret the Gold Coast is home to some of the best beaches in Australia. However, not everyone visiting this tourist hotspot will be able, or want, to go in the water or get sand in unspeakable places.
Luckily for you, our no-beach guide of things to do on the Gold Coast in 2020 doesn’t mention a single beach. What you will find is theme parks (known and not-so-known), nature escapes and activities for everyone in the family.
Whatever you feel like doing, the Gold Coast has it for you.
Photo by Jordan on Unsplash
Things to do on the Gold Coast that Aren’t the Beach
3 Top Theme Parks on the Gold Coast
Heading to Warner Bros. Movie World is a great day out for the entire family. Even toddlers can get in on the action with thrill rides suitable for almost all ages. Movie World is also home to the largest roller coaster in Australia, the Hypercoaster, perfect for those seeking a serious thrill.
Aside from the rides, this popular Gold Coast theme park also has street shows, meet and greets and a street parade with all your favourite superheroes, Looney Tunes and more.
But don’t worry, Warner Bros. Movie World doesn’t just feature kids television and movie favourites. Many of the shows and exhibitions go behind the scenes of popular movies, including props from recent releases and a stunt driving show (an absolute must).
Some of the other park features include:
- A 4D cinema.
- Plenty of food and drink options.
- Retail outlets.
- Lockers for storing your purchases while you chase those thrills.
The wide range of rides, family friendly activities, animal habits and delicious food attracts more than 1 million people a year to Dreamworld’s gates. All the family can get involved with a variety of rides for all ages, ranging from roller coasters to entire kid friendly precincts.
Dreamworld’s Corroboree Precinct also offers native Australian wildlife and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education shows and animal experiences. Yes, you can pat and help walk a tiger!
Your Dreamworld ticket will also give you access to its sister theme park, White Water World. This one park alone offers more than 13 different slides and attractions, on top of all that there is to see and do at the main park. It’s definitely a great way to end a day of running from ride to ride.
Other things to do at Dreamworld:
- Tiger feeding experience.
- Dingo experience.
- Wildlife photos
- FlowRider, a surfing and bodyboarding experience.
Sea World on the Gold Coast provides more than 18 rides and different precincts and endless animal exhibits to please the whole family. Although, just a warning, it’s easy to get so caught up watching polar bears, dolphins, sharks, fish, penguins and other animals, you’ll need to come back for day two to cover the rides!
Kids will love the rides and shows for the kids at Nickelodeon Land, while the adults keep busy with the thrill of the Storm Coaster, Jet Rescue Coaster and The Vortex. If the reason you’re avoiding the beaches isn’t because you can’t be in the water, there are also many activities to splash into, including the Castaway Bay Battle Boats.
One side of Sea World people often don’t see is the The Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation. This non-profit organisation helps rescue and rehabilitate injured marine animals around Australia. With more than 180 research projects to date, The Sea World Research & Rescue Foundation is doing everything it can to help improve our waterways and the animals that live there.
While you’re at Seaworld, don’t forget to see the:
- Penguin feeding.
- Thunder Lake Stunt Show.
- Ray Reef Presentation.
If you want to cool off but the beach isn’t for you, then Wet’n’Wild might be exactly what you’re looking for. As Australia’s premier water park, you’ll find a huge range of activities for kids and adults to enjoy.
Wet’n’Wild Junior is a section of the park designated just for kids under 10. Consisting of 8 kid friendly slides, including some miniature versions of their full-size rides, it’s the perfect place for the kids to have fun and be safe.
Note: Kids must be accompanied by a supervising adult.
Looking for something a little more low key and relaxing? Why not hire one of Wet’n’Wild’s private cabanas. You can sit back and relax and soak up the sun, starting at just $50 for lounge hire.
Wet’n’Wild also hosts movie screenings in their giant wavepool. The Dive’n’Movies event runs every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm, showing current blockbuster movies.
At the Gold Coast’s wettest theme park, you should also check out:
- Whirlpool Springs.
Top 3 Gold Coast Hinterland National Parks
Tamborine National Park
Get back to nature and enjoy some peace and quiet in Tamborine National Park. Stretching across an 8km plateau, the park offers a variety of easy to moderate walking trails, waterfalls and lookouts with incredible views of the Gold Coast for you to enjoy.
The Gallery Walk in the Tamborine National Park is also a must see for anybody visiting the region, with more than 60 gift and craft shops to explore.
If you want something with a little less walking and a little more drinking, then be sure to check out Tamborines growing beer, wine and spirits scene. Even better, book a wine tour so you don’t even need to drive.
Accommodation is plentiful around Tamborine National Park, with a huge range of different options to suit your needs. You’ll find bed and breakfasts, camping/glamping hotspots, cottages, chalets, motels and hotels, suitable for almost any budget.
Other things to do in the Tamborine National Park:
- Gallery Walk.
- A glow worm tour.
- A hot air balloon ride.
Springbrook National Park
As part of the ancient and World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Springbrook National Park is brimming with life. You’ll find rare birds, lizards and marsupials that you’ll be hard-pressed to see anywhere else.
If you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, Springbrook has a range of options available at cafés, restaurants, a teahouse and even a fudge shop for you to try.
You’re sure to find the perfect accommodation in Springbrook too, with a great selection of cottages, camping areas, chalets and rainforest retreats. Depending on the accommodation you choose, you can expect to find luxury amenities to ensure your stay is a good one.
Sights to see in Springbrook:
- Purlingbrook Falls.
- Warringa Rock Pool.
- Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
Lamington National Park
Bushwalkers are going to absolutely love the Lamington National Park. With more than 160km of walking trails throughout, it’s a dream for those looking to get back to nature with a good hike.
Lamington National Park is also part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest, so expect to see a huge variety of plants and animals.
Hungry? Get breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of Lamington National Park’s great restaurants or cafés.
The accommodation options available to you near Lamington National Park are quite varied, ranging from camping spots all the way to chalets.
Things to see and do while at Lamington National Park:
- Morans Falls.
- Tree Top Walkway.
3 Fun Attractions on the Gold Coast
If you’re looking to see wildlife, but don’t want to drive into the middle of nowhere, then The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is an absolute must see. While there, get up close and personal with native Australian animals, see animal encounter shows or hand feed hundreds of lorikeets at the daily bird feeding sessions.
Within the sanctuary, you can find a great selection of food options, ranging from a burger bar, café, ice-cream parlour and a snack stop overlooking the kangaroos.
Favourite activities at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Walk amongst the kangaroos.
- Watch crocodile feeding.
- Wildlife Hospital Tour.
Location: Level 77, Q1 building, 9 Hamilton Avenue, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217
Price: Tickets for the Observation Deck start at $17 to $27, while tickets for Skypoint Climb start at $77 to $ 107
The Skypoint Observation Deck offers you an unparalleled view of the Gold Coast’s beaches, Hinterland and just about everything else. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the clouds at the Skypoint Bistro or experience live music on a sunday afternoon with Skypoint Sounds.
Try the Skypoint Climb if you’re after something with a little more thrill, with dawn, twilight and night climbs available. If you’re interested in the Skypoint Climb, it can also be bundled with a dining option for a truly unique experience.
Location: Multiple locations across the Gold Coast
Price: Average pricing for one person is $120
There is nothing like deep sea fishing, especially on the Gold Coast. A fishing charter will enable you access to expert fishermen who know the Gold Coast waters like the back of their hands.
Going with a professional crew and using high-quality gear on a big comfortable boat means you’re set up right for a great day and, hopefully, a big catch.
3 Tips for Holidaying on the Gold Coast
1. Public Transport is Aplenty
Before using public transport on the Gold Coast, we highly recommend you buy a GO Card. This is a public transport card, which can be bought and topped up at each tram stop and train station. Your GO Card can be used on the tram, buses and trains across the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Be sure to get one when you first arrive and don’t forget to touch on — you’ll receive a fine otherwise!
2. Explore Hundreds of Food & Drink Options
For food and drinks on the Gold Coast, it’s fair to say the selection is enormous. Ranging from almost every cuisine you can think of, you’re spoilt for choice with Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Thai and every other cuisine you can think of available.
There are thousands of accommodation options on the Gold Coast. To get the most out of your stay, it’s worth doing a little research on what you’d like to do while you’re on the Gold Coast, and book your accommodation near them, or at least public transport.
You can find top spots to stay on the Gold Coast right here on localsearch.com.au.