There's a lot to do around the Gold Coast and it's not just about beaches. If you are spending some time here before or after the conference, or your family are looking for activities, here are some suggestions below
Good start https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com/
- Kurrawa Surf Club - a nice surf club on the Gold Coast, recently renovated. Great food and nice place to hang out (even has cool cocktails!). https://www.kurrawasurf.com.au/
- Dracula's Cabaret - looks super cheesy I know - but is a really good show https://www.draculas.com.au/gold-coast/
- Learn to surf! https://www.broadbeachsurfschool.com.au
- Pacific Fair Shopping Centre - Shopping is a sport and/or religion here on the Gold Coast - Pac Fair has been around a long time, but recently renovated and apparently a great place to shop.
- Cascade Gardens - nice park just north of Broadbeach. There is an interesting Korean War memorial and it's a great place to have a picnic with family (check out the fire engines at the Fire Station on the way)
- Broadbeach Art and Craft markets (1st and 3rd Sunday of every month)
- Kurrawa parklands and kids park - right next to the surf club there is a really awesome park for those with families.
Around Gold Coast Metro
- Theme Parks:
- Wet and Wild
- Whitewater World
- Paradise Country
- HOTA (Home of the Arts - at Bundall precinct west of Surfers Paradise through Chevron Island). Lots of shows on and has an awesome ampitheatre for outdoor concerts - https://hota.com.au/. As it's the school holidays - there are a lot of things on for kids, so if you have family with you - check it out. The sculpture walk is also quite good. Some things on around LCA time:
- 10 Minute Dance Parties - https://hota.com.au/dance/10-minute-dance-parties/
- Air Play (all ages!) - https://hota.com.au/theatre/air-play/
- Laser Beak Man (highly recommend!!) - https://hota.com.au/theatre/laser-beak-man/
- Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre - great Cultural centre on the Gold Coast fully owned and operated by the local Yugambeh Aboriginal community (group of Gold Coast Clans that all speak dialects of Yugambeh language). In term time do a lot of work with schools but there are also some good walkabout tours that anyone can do - check out the website for details.
Plenty of dive sites around the Gold Coast. Water is nice and warm at the moment. Here's a good start to find best places: https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com/blog/gold-coast-best-snorkel-and-dive-spots/
Gold Coast Hinterland
Many people are not aware that the Gold Coast has some of the most excellent World Heritage rainforest within easy reach of the Gold Coast by car or you could take a Tour Bus. We had a lot of fires earlier in 2019 but after recent rain it is quite safe to explore and local communities would very much appreciate the support of tourists.
- Springbrook National Park (lots of great walks - see https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/ for details). Best of All Lookout has a particularly good view over the Mt Warning Caldera.
- Natural Bridge (or sometimes also called Natural Arch) - https://www.queensland.com/en-au/attraction/natural-bridge-springbrook-national-park
- Hinze Dam - nice visitor centre, cafe, picnic area and you can also cycle around the dam
- Lower and Upper Beechmont (good lookout over Hinze Dam and Hinterland at Lower Beechmont)
- O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
- Thunderbird Park provides bush walks, rocks and mineral mining activities, and Cedar Creek Falls. The gateway to Tamborine Mountain.
Note: Binna Burra lodge area is closed as it sadly burnt down in the fires and will slowly be rebuilt. You can still get up almost as far as the lodge - the Headmasters Cafe at Upper Beechmont has great views of the Valley
Lots more - this list really doesn't do it justice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Coast_hinterland has some good info and of course https://www.destinationgoldcoast.com/
- Mount Warning - Sunrise climb is amazing (Wollumbin (Mount Warning) summit track is a sacred place to the Bundjalung People, and was declared an Aboriginal Place in 2015. Visitors are asked to respect the wishes of the Bundjalung Elders and avoid climbing this very difficult track.)
- Uki - nice NNSW town near Mount Warning
- Border Ranges National Park - bit more off the beaten track (warning - some unsealed roads). The Pinacle lookout is particularly good (Mt Warning view without the climb!)
- Murwillumbah Valley (can link up to the Gold Coast hinterland via back road at Chillingham - great loop drive)
- Many cool towns all down the coast.
- Byron - Everyone wants to go to Byron, but parking is a nightmare so would highly recommend parking at North Beach (free) and take the World's First Solar Train into town - https://byronbaytrain.com.au/