Free Things To Do On The Gold Coast



Life gets more expensive every year, and as the cost rises, the product reduces in size and value. When you don’t have the funds to spend on doing all the tourist-driven adventures, or you spent your budget having already done them, we appreciate the need to find some FREE or exceptionally cheap options to pad out your stay on the Gold Coast.

So here’s our Top 9 Free Things To Do On The Gold Coast:

1. Art Galleries

HOTA Gallery

If you’re looking for free things to do on the Gold Coast as well as a bit of Art and Culture in your life, you can’t go wrong with art galleries. Here you can while away some hours perusing the artworks on offer in the surprisingly large number of galleries on the Gold Coast.

The first one to check out would be the brand new HOTA (Home of the Arts) which has created a home for the Gold Coast’s collection of art. The building has a rooftop bar with great food and a fine dining restaurant on the ground floor so there’s plenty to eat. The exhibits themselves however are totally free and can be perused as many times as you like. Take a wonder through the three floors of exhibits and then enjoy a walk in the surrounding park area for a wonderful free afternoon.

2. Whale Watching From The Shore

whale watching

May to November is whale migration season, and you can fritter away hours between 8 am and 4 pm starting at the ever-changing range of blue water to spot these elusive and majestic giants of the deep as they frolic and make their way north, and then turn around and reverse the course come springtime.

The Gold Coast has hundreds of locations to pull up and take in the FREE nature show of Mother Nature’sNature’s Creation. Point Danger, Burleigh Hill, and The Spit are three vantage points high enough to give you breathtaking views of humpback whales at play.

3. Beach Your Body On Golden Sands

beach and sand

When we’re talking about Free Things To Do On The Gold Coast, it’s harder to get any freer than the beach.

We’re lucky because every single beach in Australia is Free! There are no entry fees, and parking in 99 per cent of cases is also FREE! That gives you three hours to work on your tan, take a dip between the flags in tumultuous waves as you master using only your body to body surf the sets, without the cost of purchasing a boogie board or a surfboard to be had.

If you have artistic inclinations and already possess the supplies, take your paints, brushes and medium to the beach, throw up an umbrella and get to painting or drawing the hours away as you relax to the sound of Gulls, waves, and Nature in her element!

4. Run Forest Run

Forest Gold Coast

Are you one of those people for whom jogging is a pleasure? A trip to the Gold Coast was made for you with wide, specifically designed boardwalks that hug the beaches in a continuous strip from Danger Point, past Kirra Beach, through Coolangatta, Main beach and all the way up to Currumbin, where the path meets its end in the car park on the Currumbin side of the Currumbin Creek.

Those happy to take the plunge can (weather and tides depending) swim across the gap to restart a new stretch from Palm Beach to Burleigh Hill and down along Burleigh Beach. There are plenty of places to take a pit stop along the way or stop for refreshments in the multitude of cafes and indie food nooks.

For free things to do on the Gold Coast, consider taking a jog!

5. Pack A Picnic

Picnic on the beach

So, if we remove the cost of petrol and purchasing the picnic food, the act of having a picnic in a scenic location is in itself a FREE adventure. The Gold Coast beaches, the Hinterland, Tamborine Mountain, Springbrook National Park, Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay, Broadwater Parklands, Currumbin Rock Pool, or Currumbin Valley, are all worthy of a visit.

Burleigh Hill is the perfect place to pull up a patch of grass and watch the surfers, the waves and the very thing that makes every human different as you people watch your heart out while enjoying your picnic goodies.

For those not pinching the pennies, there are several places you can obtain good eats and drinks for an impromptu picnic. To wash it down as you tease the ever-watchful gulls eyeing off your good eats, who doesn’t hunger for hot chips and a side of seafood with something ice cold!

This is one of the best and most fun free things to do on the Gold Coast that we can think of!

6. Jellurgal Cultural Centre In Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads is a Gold Coast suburb with rich Aboriginal culture. On your free tour, you can browse the incredible Indigenous artwork and learn more about the native Yugambeh People while being inspired by their traditional customs. You can add this to your day and combine it with a swim in the sheltered and patrolled waters of the Tallebudgra Creek or hike the trail up to the top of Burleigh Hill and take in the waves!

7. Markets Are The Way To Go

local markets

When talking about free things to do on the Gold Coast, a good one to mention is the plethora of local markets that we boast here.

Combine fresh air and mild exercise with a meander around the plethora of family-friendly village markets that the Gold Coast has to offer. The act of entering the markets is FREE. You will receive the gift of being able to people watch, hear musicians sing or play instruments for FREE, there are plenty of play areas along all of the beaches for the children to utilise, and you generally have your mood and outlook on life lifted in a positive manner by simply breathing in the fresh salty ocean air!

The cost is incurred if you opt to purchase items from the stalls and vendors. You can negate that by taking food and fluid from home (or with you), and you are golden!

One suggestions is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Night Market.

If you are looking for things to do this Friday, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Market is where it is at. Soak up the incredible atmosphere as you roam around undercover in the lush sanctuary, bop your head to live music and grab a drink or two at the bar. Entry’s free, so hop to it.

When: Every Friday, from 4 pm to 9 pm Where: Village Green of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

A few more to google for times and locations are:

  • Miami Marketta, Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, Organic Gold Coast Farmers Market
  • Burleigh Farmers Market, Marina Mirage Farmers Market, Currumbin Community Markets
  • Bundall Farmers Market, Markets In The Meadow, Palm Beach Currumbin Farmers Market
  • Helensvale Farmers Market and Carrara Market Plant Warehouse Sale

8. Fins, Mask And Snorkel


There are so many locations to see, and every reason to borrow or treat yourself to a cheap set of snorkelling gear (under fifty dollars and some cheaper for the little people) picked up at any retail outlet like Big W, Kmart, Target, to name a few. Even if it is taking the little people and the four-legged babies to the sheltered waters of Currumbin Creek or Tallebudgra Creek, there is still plenty of sea life and sea creatures to see under the waves for free!

9. Botanic Gardens

botanic garden

The final one on our list of free things to do on the Gold Coast is the local Botanic Gardens.

The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens are a must-see for tourists and locals alike. The gardens have 31 hectares of land, 10 minutes from Surfers Paradise Parade Grounds. The Gardens are open year-round from 5 am to 7 pm, opening hours each day, including public holidays in Queensland. Visitors can park on-site in the Garden’s car park or alternatively you can use other local parking options nearby.

There is free entry into the garden each day it is open; all that is needed to enter is a driver’s licence or proof of residence for Queensland issued before 1 December 2017 (or an international passport).

The Botanical Gardens are located off Ashmore Road opposite Benowa State High School near Benowa Waters Shopping Centre. Visitors will find everything they need here, from lush green lawns intersected by winding paths where many native trees line the path like sentinels to ponds dotted with water lilies and surrounded by more than 50 species of palms. 


See, with a little imagination finding something free to do isn’t impossible.  

We hope this helped you to plan out some Free Things To Do On The Gold Coast so you can spend some time relaxing in our majestic neck of the woods!

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