Beyond Beaches And High Rises

The Gold Coast is Australia’s favourite holiday destination with a plethora of beaches and rainforest retreats to suit families, couples and solo travellers. We have asked 8 Gold Coast locals to share their favourite things to do on the Gold Coast and which experience they have not yet ticked off their bucket list.

Read about what they have to say and spill the tea on some hidden Gold Coast gems. Check out their Instagram accounts and give them some love.

Bec @bec.smith.stylist

Bec Smith is a personal stylist, fashion blogger and self-confessed shopaholic. She loves helping her clients find the right clothes to suit their shape, budget and style. In her downtime, you can find her catching up with family and friends, shopping, travelling and exploring new places on the Gold Coast.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Bec: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is visit my family and go for a swim at Main Beach, followed by lunch at any place that has a water view. If time permits, I’ll go shopping at Pacific Fair or Harbour Town.

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Bec: I’d love to admire the views of the Gold Coast skyline on a scenic helicopter flight, explore the countryside and foodie treats on a Byron Bay Hinterland Day Tour or chase some waterfalls at Springbrook Natural Arch.

Anything else you would like us to know?

Bec: Start your day off with an inexpensive and delicious breakfast at The Beach Cafe overlooking the Broadwater and then enjoy a walk or cycle along the waterfront. It is lovely place to spend a few hours on the weekend and there are some great playgrounds for the kids to run around in.

Brandon @rodetravels

Brandon is a landscape, aerial and animal photographer from the sunny Gold Coast. While his favourite thing to do is to spend time on the beach, there is always more to explore.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Brandon: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is just enjoy our beautiful beaches! The weather is always great and with over 100 beaches, how could you go wrong?!

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Brandon: My favourite experiences/bucket list items would have to be:

#1 SkyPoint Climb: This experience is truly amazing and something I recommend all my friends to do while up here. Not only is it breathtaking but for $60 (roughly) you really can’t go wrong.

#2 Hot Air Ballooning: I’ve been lucky enough to go on this experience a couple of times and would have to say Go Ballooning is by far the best and most enjoyable balloon company on the Gold Coast! (In my opinion)

#3 Wet ‘n’ Wild: With summer coming up this is a perfect place to spend your weekends! And with yearly passes, you won’t be disappointed!

James @_harrrryy_

James is a Gold Coast local, having lived here his entire life. Hailing from the pristine coastal town of Currumbin, he developed a passion for surfing and the ocean from a very young age. Upon finishing his schooling, he went on to become an apparel designer for Billabong, where James had the opportunity to pursue his love of surfing and creativity, as well as travel the world. What more could a 21 year old ask for?! A few years ago James badly broke his leg, rendering him unable to surf or do any physical activity for almost a year, which lead him to buy a drone as a bit of a distraction to the boredom. It didn’t take long for him to become obsessed with the beautiful colours of the ocean that can only be observed from an aerial view, which is completely unique. The rest is history.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

James: Without a doubt, my favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is go surfing. With over 30km of pristine coastline, the Gold Coast boasts an array of world class breaks for those who are out to score a few waves. For those who have never stood on a surfboard but would love to try, there are many learn to surf schools who will have you up and riding in no time.

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

James: My top 3 bucket list experiences would be

Feeding the wild dolphins on Moreton Island

A winery or brewery tour (we have great wine and craft beer)

Diving at Cook Island.

Anything else you would like us to know?

James: It’s hard to go past Burleigh Heads National Park with its multiple coastal walking trails where you spot all types of wildlife from koalas to humpback whales.

Kylie @kyliecamps

Kylie Camps is the owner of the Kind Parenting Company and host of the number one podcast ‘The Kylie Camps Podcast’. Kylie is a very proud mum of twin boys who are nearly 6 years old. Kylie lives in northern NSW and loves the relaxed beach lifestyle while still being close to the excitement of the Gold Coast.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Kylie: Visiting the theme parks, the unlimited passes are an absolute must for any locals or tourists! The freedom to return and really take in all that the parks have to offer really makes for so much fun opposed to squeezing it all in.

Our Beautiful beaches like Tallebudgera Creek, on the GC we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches and picnic locations. I have always enjoyed taking the kids to the Creek at Tallebudgera for a splash and a play.

Whale watching during June – November. Recently we were fortunate enough to experience whale watching with Sea World Cruises. It was truly breathtaking and far exceeded my hopes for the day. My boys were in awe as they learnt facts and witnessed whales playing in front of their faces. The boat is super comfortable and the staff are wonderfully accommodating, welcoming and knowledgable, I highly recommend this experience.

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Kylie: I really need to sit down and write a bucket list! I have to say Experience Oz definitely inspires me to book some experiences for the boys and I. My top 3 wish list tours would have to be…

Horse Riding

Tangalooma Day Cruise and dolphin feeding

Lady Elliot Island Day Trip

Anything else you would like us to know?

Kylie: If you’re on the GC you have to head to TUGUN FRUIT AND FLOWERS for the best açai bowl!

Mariella @mytravelpics84

Mariella is a 35 year old Dutch girl that moved to Australia 10 years ago. Whilst having lived in many different places in the world as well as within Australia itself, nothing has ever compared to the laid back lifestyle of living on the Gold Coast. Working at a tours-desk in Surfer Paradise, there is really no other job that has been more perfect for me as I have so much love for all the amazing things and activities that can be experienced here.
I love sharing them with our customers as well as getting to do them myself as part of my job role.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Mariella: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is to capture the scenery, whether that is at one of the many stunning beaches, the 360 views on top of the SkyPoint Observation Deck, or from a hot air balloon. There are really endless opportunities for beautiful photographs here. On my days off you will rarely catch me without some type of camera in my hand!

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Mariella: My top experiences on my bucket list are

Sea World Helicopters: I have been wanting to do this for a while now and whilst I’m a little nervous in planes, the views will be so good I won’t want to miss this.

Topgolf on the Gold Coast: This seems like a perfect setting for a social occasion, enjoying some drinks with friends while trying to hit some golf balls!

Sea World Cruises Buffet Lunch Cruise: Cruising around the waterways whilst enjoying a buffet and a drink seems like a cruisy way to spend the afternoon!

Anything else you would like us to know?

Mariella: I have just discovered Coombabah Lake Reserve which is a conservation park right here on the Gold Coast where you will find hundreds of wild kangaroos as well as a couple of koalas sleeping in the trees! I also think everyone should do the Burleigh to Tallebudgera coastal walk, as it has the most stunning views of the Southern Gold Coast!

Thomas @skip_sterling

Thomas is a 32 year old who resides on the amazing Gold Coast, but all his friends call him Skip.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Tom: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is, of course, surfing but when I’m not surfing I’m always looking for some adventure or something to get that adrenaline pumping! Jet boating and Gold Coast Hinterland Treetop Adventure are both a very heavy favourite for my list for excitement. Don’t make me choose which one to do first.

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Tom: My top 3 bucket list things to do on the Gold Coast is to do the SkyPoint Climb of the Q1 building, I don’t know if you could get a better view.

Next would have to be whale watching, these incredible creatures of the deep fascinate me and I’ve never seen one up close before.

And last but not least would be to have a night out for dinner and drinks at Dracula’s Cabaret Dinner and Show. One day I will do all 3 of these things in the one day for the first time.

Sandy @adventures.with.sandy

Sandy is an avid traveller with years of globe-trotting experiences under her belt. She’s currently based on the Gold Coast converting a 4WD Campervan (@delta.the.delica) to take around Australia, and meanwhile sharing her passion for the environment, travel tips and personal stories over on Instagram and her blog. You’ll most likely find her roaming the streets with a keep cup in hand, out on the water or on yet another road trip.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Sandy: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast is to be out on the Broadwater, whether it’s cruising on a sailing boat, stand up paddleboarding, zooming around on a jet ski, or my absolute favourite high adrenaline adventure – jet boating!

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Sandy: Working in the tourism industry I have been lucky enough to have experienced many of the Gold Coast attractions, though still on my bucket list is:

The new Pink Flamingo Show

High Ropes Treetop Adventure Challenge

Winery Tour to the Hinterland

Anything else you would like us to know?

Sandy: A hidden gem for me are the Miami Rainbow Stairs. I also like to hang out at Budds Beach, Burleigh Head National Park and the Currumbin Rock Pools.

Sheldon @sheldon.greyling

When Sheldon isn’t managing the marketing of Experience Oz he’s a travelling hobbyist photographer.


What is your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Sheldon: My favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast has to be anything that involves photography; whether it’s a Hinterland Hot Air balloon flight, a trip to the top of the Q1 or just a nice sunrise – I can’t get enough.

Which experiences are on the top of your bucket list?

Sheldon: I’m lucky enough to have crossed off a majority of my Gold Coast experiences bucket list, but if I have to share the 3 I’d recommend then

#1 would have to be the day trip to Lady Elliot Island – the flight there is amazing and the Island is paradise.

My #2 is, as mentioned previously, a hot air balloon tour over the Gold Coast hinterland, floating calmly in the air as the sun rises has a sense of bliss that is hard to replicate.

Finally, my #3 recommendation is The Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub, a really fun night out for anyone 18+.

Anything else you would like us to know?

Sheldon: The Gold Coast has a lot more than just beaches on offer. Go out and explore the hinterland – if anything it’s even more breathtaking than the beaches.

The biggest thank you to all Gold Coast content creators for giving their insights. For more ideas and inspiration, follow us on Instagram or check out our other experiences on the Gold Coast.


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