Top 10 Things to do on the Gold Coast during the Games | Experience Oz

Top 10 Things to do on the Gold Coast during the Games

If you’re beginning to worry that the Commonwealth Games are only weeks away and you still haven’t decided on what to do outside of the scheduled events, we’ve got you covered.

The Gold Coast is full to the brim with incredible experiences and attractions you simply can’t miss during your visit, so we’ve created a list of 10 of the very best to help you make the most of your holiday.

10. Dracula’s

Known for a devilish sense of humour and famously risqué antics, Dracula’s on the Gold Coast takes the classic dinner and a show to all new levels.

Experience all the fun, mayhem, and delicious food with a visit to Dracula’s latest side-splitting instalment, Terrorbyte. The show features everything from ghoulish vampires and a killer soundtrack, to epic acrobatic performances and hilariously entertaining acts that touch on a number of topical themes and events.

The show’s theming extends beyond the stage, with the staff, meals and even the building itself being fully immersed in vampire-esque décor, from props and paint schemes to staff attire and attitudes.

All visitors are seated in the auditorium and treated to full table service, with a three-course meal served before the show commences – although there are also a number of introductory acts and performances to entertain you throughout your meal. Beyond the food, you can also choose from a tantalising selection of cocktails and mocktails, helping to keep you going throughout the night.

There are two options when it comes to ticketing, B-Reserve and A-Reserve. B-Reserve includes a seat at one of the ground floor tables, a ride on the ghost train and a three-course meal. A-Reserve includes everything from B, with added priority entry, VIP seating on the upper tier of the auditorium, and wine and canapés on arrival.

Dracula’s provides a night of entertainment like no other. Combining comedic relief, acrobatic performances and musical numbers with a brilliantly in-your-face theme throughout, it’s the perfect experience for those of us who enjoy entertainment with no frills attached and plenty of bite…

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9. Restaurants and Bars

When the sun finally sets on a day spent soaking up some rays in between excess salt and sand, you can find solace in the Gold Coast’s many restaurants and bars, where you’ll be able to refuel and rehydrate.

In fact, the Gold Coast has a relatively underrated culinary scene, with anything from night bites, hatted restaurants, street-eats and breweries to satisfy even the rumbliest tummies.

Burleigh, positioned at the southern end of town, provides ever-popular rooftop bars that are perfect for unwinding after a long day. Alternatively, Palm Beach – just one suburb further south – features some of the best communal eateries on the coast.

Head just north of Burleigh, however, and you’ll stumble upon the many fine dining establishments Broadbeach has to offer, before eventually reaching Surfers and discovering a largely reinvented and resurgent food culture.

Standout features include the Burleigh Brewing Company, particularly a visit to their tap house for a frothy straight from the facility; the Seascape Restaurant & Bar, positioned conveniently at Surfers Paradise beach with views out to the ocean and a stunning open-air atmosphere; and Aloha Bar & Dining, where you’ll find some of the best cocktails on the coast complimented by a quirky and fun Hawaiian theme throughout.

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8. Jet Boat Ride

A visit to the Gold Coast isn’t complete without being soaked from head to toe on a heart-pumping jet boat ride.

Doubling as an exciting way to explore the stunning Gold Coast waterways, you’ll be catching your breath with picturesque views of the city skyline one minute and performing extreme 360 spins at high speeds the next.

Some of the sightseeing highlights include great views of the coast’s most popular landmarks, such as South Stradbroke Island, the Palazzo Versace hotel, and family favourite theme park; Sea World.

Most rides typically last between 30 minutes and one hour, allowing you to easily find time in a busy itinerary to strap in and experience the thrills of Gold Coast jet boating during your visit.

With boats that have been specifically designed for spinning and sliding across the water and in between sandbanks in dramatic fashion, jet boating on the Gold Coast is an unforgettable experience you simply can’t pass up during your visit!

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7. River Cruise

For those of us who prefer the slow lane – possibly with added buffet lunches and a glass or two of fine wine – then a cruise through the Gold Coast’s many scenic canals might be the perfect alternative to jet boating.

Boasting a canal system that is larger than both Amsterdam and Venice combined; the Gold Coast has plenty of waterways to explore throughout your visit. Cruises typically vary based on meal inclusions and total duration, with options ranging from one hour sight seeing cruises with coffee and cake through to a three hour a la carte dinner cruise serving anything from eye fillet to Gold Band Snapper.

With an emphasis on stunning views and delicious food, popular local operator Wyndham Cruises offers a luxurious rooftop terrace on their state-of-the-art vessel, providing 360-degree views of the city and surrounds, allowing you to take in all the best sights and sounds of the Gold Coast.

Beyond sightseeing, you can also take the opportunity to embrace your inner fisherman on a crab-catching cruise. You’ll be able to experience pumping for yabbies, feeding wild pelicans, fishing for dinner, catching delicious mud crabs and enjoying Queensland’s beautiful outdoors.

Whether for the food, the views, or the fishing experiences, going on a river cruise during your visit to the Gold Coast is well worth putting aside a full day in your itinerary.

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6. Australian Outback Spectacular

Australian Outback Spectacular makes for an unforgettable evening of great food, gorgeous animals and a brilliantly told Australian story, perfect for international, interstate, and local visitors alike.

Combining the iconic ocker Aussie stockman, impressive acrobatic performances, a collection of talented animals, and a storyline that is guaranteed to tug on the heartstrings, Australian Outback Spectacular will take you on an extraordinary journey through some of Australia’s greatest legends over two and a half hours of non-stop entertainment.

The show’s current instalment, Return of High Country Legends, features the fabled stories of some true blue Australian historical characters, packed with plenty of drama, action, humour and excitement.

Australian Outback Spectacular also offers a genuine spectacle of death-defying stunts, animal performers, a stirring musical score and some truly captivating special effects to go along with a hearty three course meal, making for a dining experience that offers the complete package.

With 40 stockmen and women on hand to serve up three courses of gourmet Aussie cuisine, with your choice of beer, wine or soft drinks, the service is surprisingly quick and the meal pleasantly filling.

If you’re looking for an authentic Aussie experience to fill an evening on your Gold Coast itinerary, it would be difficult to go past Australian Outback Spectacular. With a mouth-watering combination of food, entertainment and convenience, you’ll be coming back in no time.

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5. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

If you’re an animal lover, enjoy a day in the outdoors, or just want to check off all the top attractions during your visit to the Gold Coast, then a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary should be right at the top of your to-do list.

Built in 1947 and added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 2009, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a zoological garden complete with hundreds of native and exotic animals, stunning gardens and regular shows and events throughout the day.

Beyond being one of southeast Queensland’s most popular animal-based attractions, Currumbin Sanctuary also offers one of the best value days out for families, couples and even solo travellers.

Get up close to some of the cutest native and exotic wildlife at one of their many interactive displays and open enclosures, where you’ll be free to take part in various feeding presentations and talks throughout the sanctuary. Headlining these events is the morning and afternoon Rainbow Lorikeet Feeding demonstrations, which has become one of the sanctuary’s main attractions and makes for some incredible photo opportunities.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary provides more than just animal encounters, however, with a number of scenic walking tracks between gardens, eucalyptus trees, and even through lush rainforest environments throughout the sanctuary, offering yet another element of relaxation and enjoyment to your visit.

Located on the Gold Coast Highway at Currumbin, around 5 minutes from the airport, and open 364 days a year, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a convenient attraction you simply can’t miss!

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4. SkyPoint Climb

If experiencing 360-degree views of the Gold Coast from 270 metres above sea level and perched atop the tallest building in Australia sounds like a good time to you, then Q1’s SkyPoint Climb might be just what you’re looking for!

If, on the other hand, reading that alone has made your palms sweat, don’t give up just yet. The climb includes an experienced Climb Leader who will guide you every step of the way and you’ll also be connected to an internal handrail for added safety, ensuring a safe yet exhilarating experience.

The climb takes place along a purpose built staircase and path above the glass crown, which frames the top of the Q1 building. Once atop, you’ll be able to walk along the edge of the building and experience the thrill of a 270-metre drop just beneath your feet!

While you’re taking in the incredible views, your Climb Leader will take the time to point out some of the region’s most popular landmarks, along with sharing some of the Gold Coast’s best-kept secrets.

Whether you’re exhilarated or terrified by heights, you won’t want to miss out on the unforgettable views from a SkyPoint Climb during your visit to the Gold Coast!

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3. Hinterland Tours

Less well known than the stunning coastline – but no less beautiful – is the Gold Coast’s largely untouched hinterland.

Combining panoramic lookouts, natural waterfalls, a plethora of native wildlife and a number of stunning natural attractions – such as vast valleys, volcanic mountains and natural archways – to create an incredible full-day experience on the Gold Coast.

Often referred to as the green behind the gold, the various Gold Coast hinterland tours provide incredible insight into one of the world’s oldest surviving forests, home to many of Australia’s rarest animals.

See anything from Antarctic Beech Trees that are over 2000 years old, to the massive caldera of an extinct volcano during an eight-hour tour through this ancient wilderness.

Learn about the ancient forests and it’s wild inhabitants from your nature guide, as you walk their tracks, visiting four cascading waterfalls on your journey. You will also be able to experience the thrill of walking along Mount Tamborine’s Skywalk, positioned securely amongst the treetops.

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2. Beach

No matter how unfamiliar you might be with the Gold Coast, one of the first things you’ll hear will undoubtedly be of its endless beaches.

Spanning over approximately 57 kilometres of pristine coastline, the Gold Coast is blessed with some of Australia’s most popular surf breaks and sandy shores, with a surfing reputation that reaches global audiences the world over.

During your visit you’ll almost certainly be planning regular trips to one or more of its many beaches for a swim, surf, walk, or sit after a long day at the games. With so many beaches to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. To help, we’ve compiled a list of both the most convenient and most worthwhile beaches to include on your to-do list during any visit.

For convenience, you’ll want to stick to relatively nearby beaches, but not so nearby that they’ve become inundated with visitors. Our best suggestions for convenience include anything south of the tram, such as Nobbies, North Burleigh, Tallebudgera Creek, Kirra and Snapper Rocks.

If you’re willing to travel slightly further in search of the best surf, you’ll want to make your way to Duranbah, South Stradbroke Island (you’ll need to paddle or ferry over), Burleigh Heads and Currumbin where you’ll be able to find the best waves.

If you’re travelling with your family, or you’re not much of a surfer, there are also plenty of great swimming beaches along the coast, along with a number of pleasant walking tracks just waiting to be taken advantage of.

For swimmers; Currumbin, North Burleigh, Main Beach and Narrowneck Beach are all excellent waveless beaches that provide a relaxing swimming environment that has comfortable conditions for most abilities.

Finally, the best walking tracks can be found at Burleigh heads, Kirra, Miami and Northcliff, with tracks varying significantly in length and difficulty along the coast.

However you intend to spend your time, make sure to take full advantage of the endless benefits of the Gold Coast’s stunning coastline during your visit!

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1. Theme Parks

The Gold Coast theme parks draw millions of visitors each year – many of which are travelling solely to take their families for a visit – and have become very much a part of the region’s identity.

Promoting a fun and carefree lifestyle full of entertainment, Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Dreamworld, and WhiteWater World have become some of the countries most cherished attractions for both young and old.

If you’re unsure exactly which theme park/s to visit during your time on the coast, or the number of rides and attractions has your anxiety levels peaking, we’re here to help!

To put it simply, there are no wrong choices when it comes to choosing a park, with each providing unique theming and experiences that cater to all ages and interests.

The easiest initial distinction to make between each park is whether you’ll need to bring your swimmers. WhiteWater World and Wet ‘n’ Wild are the two primary water-based parks, featuring water slides, wave pools, tidal pools and more, while Sea World features a number of popular under water experiences that will require you to get wet (at an additional price).

The next easiest distinction to make is whether you’re wanting to see more animals, rides or shows. Dreamworld and Warner Bros. Movie World are undeniably the rulers of rides and rollercoasters, with Dreamworld being the largest at over 40 rides and Movie World being home to the tallest, fastest and longest hypercoaster in the Southern Hemisphere; the DC Rivals HyperCoaster.

On the animal front, however, Seaworld is the clear winner with polar bears, dolphins, penguins, seals, sting rays, sharks, and jellyfish to name a few. An honorable mention in this category must go to Dreamworld’s Tiger Island, which recently welcomed Melati and Mya, two adorable tiger cubs who are a part of their Tiger Cub Experience.

The final and toughest destinction to make is on the number, variety and quality of shows on offer at each park. Seaworld provide a number of highly regarded shows, from Affinity, the highly acclaimed dolphin presentation, to Jet Stunt Extreme, an epic freetyle jet ski performance on purpose built Jet Skis made for speed.

Both Warner Bros. Movie World and Dreamworld also provide a number of entertaining kids shows, from Movie World’s popular Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 and daily Streets Star Parade to Dreamworld’s Dorothy’s Beach Party, Madagascar Live Show and Tiger Presentation.

No matter how you decide to go about visiting the many Gold Coast theme parks, you’re sure to come home with plenty of new and cherished memories!

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For more things to do on the Gold Coast, check out our full catalogue here:

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Mackenzie Burr

Experience Oz + NZ Travel Writer

Mackenzie loves exploring and is always up for new adventures. Born in New Zealand and living in Australia, Mackenzie considers himself a local of both countries and is a handy contact for experiences on either side of the ditch. For any ideas, questions or queries contact Mackenzie at

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