9 Tips for Visiting the Gold Coast on A Budget

Gold Coast, Queensland is a really enjoyable and worthwhile place to visit on your travels in Australia.

There is only one problem with travel in Australia and that it is expensive in comparison to many other travel destinations.

I often look at the backpackers in Australia and wonder how they do it. Perhaps, I am just looking at it through the eyes of someone who has travelled extensively through Asia and Africa, and I know how far your money can go there.

Not so very far in Oz. We have a stunning country to visit and a unique culture to explore, so you really want to find ways to enjoy it without it equating to the price of a new car.

After spending some time recently on the Gold Coast we have discovered 9 ways you can visit this adventure land on the cheap.

Stay outside of Surfers Paradise

Surfers is the party place on the Gold Coast, which may suit you, but it’s going to make it awfully tempting to dig a deeper hole in your pocket.

Travel Photo: Coolangatta, Gold Coast, Australia
Coolangatta

You can find more budget accommodation options in places like Coolangatta, (my favourite) which will also offer you a much quieter and laid back experience. There are still plenty of night time options, but with a lot less debacuhery and escalating costs.

Stay at Hostels or Holiday Apartments

komune REsort
Komune- luxury at budget prices

Hostels are probably going to be your cheapest Gold Coast accommodation options. Make use of the kitchens to cook you food and drink your own alcohol in the common areas before you go out.

If there is a group of you, then I suggest looking into holiday apartment rentals. You can usually find a good apartment near the beach with all amenities that is clean and comfortable.

Hire Bikes

bike riding on the gold coast
Go for a bike ride

You can hire bikes and explore the coastline, riding the beach promenade trail from Surfers to Coolangatta. Pack your own lunch,plenty of water, your swimmers and camera. It is a fantastic way to feel invigorated with some fresh sea air and exercise while checking out magnificent coastal views. The climate allows for biking year round and the terrain is mostly flat.

The Darren Smith Cycle Route is 48 km in length starting in Coolangatta and finishing at Paradise Point. Don’t worry the gentle sea breezes will cool you down along the way. Bikes can be hired for around $25- $35 a day.

Aussie Animals and Adventure rolled into One

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary High ropes challenge
A wobbly tight rope start

If you want to learn more about aussie animals then it might be well worth your while buying a ticket to see them at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Not only can you cuddle a koala, watch croc feeding, and feed kangaroos, but you can also enjoy the high ropes challenge for an afternoon of adrenaline fun.

It is all included in the one ticket price.

Free Bird Feeding at Currumbin

Bird feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Fun feeding the lorikeets

If your budget does not allow for the Aussie animals and adventure side of Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, you can appreciate some natural wildlife there for free. They have free bird feeding twice a day. Now you think this might sound a little boring, but it is actually quite a treat.

Hundreds of rainbow coloured lorikeets will descend upon you from the surrounding trees to get a lick at the sweet honey nectar that you hold out in a bowl in your hands. They will climb up your arms, on your head and just sit on your hands drinking. It is worth an hour visit to see these beautiful birds of Australia up close and personal.

Be Smart with Your Gold Coast Theme Park preparations

Gold Coast Theme Parks
Plan your Theme Trip parks well

Visiting the Gold Coast Theme Parks are going to eat into your budget. It is not a cheap day out but it is a fun day out. To make it more of a budget experience, be smart in your preparation for them. Check their website for any special passes or deals they have going. You can get special 3 theme Park passes for unlimited visits to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet and Wild.

Strangely enough the opening hours for these parks are very short- late to open early to close. You can purchase an early bird pass for a couple of dollars more which will get you in the park and on those rides that attract the most people, before they enter the doors.

Consider spending extra money for the skip the queue passes for rides. Hours can be taken from your day justlining up for a ride. Spending an extra $10 on this pass may save you having to return the next day for an extra full price ticket just so you can get to those rides and events you missed.

Also see which parks allow you to take in your own food. Buying food at theme parks makes for an ultra expensive day.

Go on the Backpackers Big Night Out

Most young backpackers enjoy checking out the local nightlife. Surfers Paradise has plenty of pubs, bars, and nightclubs. So that you don’t blow your whole month’s budget in one night, Aquarius backpackers organizes a Big Night Out on Wednesdays and Saturday Nights.

For the price of $30 you get  4 free entry passes to nightclubs, 4 free drinks, 1 party bus, free pizza, live entertainment, free group photo $5.50 basic drinks all night long, the biggest club crawl of the Gold Coast, and the wildest staff in town.

Hike in the Hinterlands

Hinterland Gold Coast Queensland
The Hinterland Photo: Tourism Queensland

Within 30 minutes beyond the bustling Gold Coast beaches lies the Gold Coast Hinterland. Farmland, vineyards, quaint villages, sprawling National Parks and rainforest reserves are there for you to explore.

There are plenty of tree top walks and hiking trails which will give you a low budget day spent enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature and some incredible views.

Bludge on the Beach

Gold Coast Beaches
Bludging on the beach

Really Australia is known for its beaches, and there is no better budget activity to do while you are on the Gold Coast. Pack a picnic lunch, grab your towel and swimmers, maybe a Frisbee or two, and bludge (that’s Aussie for do nothing) all day.

You could play beach cricket, swim, take a surfing lesson, go for endless walks, catch up on reading or just plain enjoy the view both of the scenery and the bronze barely clad bludgers surrounding you. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

What are your best tips for visiting the Gold Coast on a budget?

 

Caz
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

17 Comments on “9 Tips for Visiting the Gold Coast on A Budget”

  1. Great tips! Gold Coast is also a great place to park a campervan… loose parking policies right off the strip and beach in Surfer’s Paradise. We made breakfast on the beach!

    JC
    jmcressman.blogspot.com.

    Reply
  2. [...] travel articles about how to travel to specific locations on the cheap? Shouldn’t there be? This article by Caz over at YTravelBlog and this post by Adam at Vagabondish prove the [...]

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  3. All sound tips. I can vouch for the awesomeness of Currumbin, although I haven’t been since I was 7 or 8.

    Reply
  4. Awh man I miss the Gold Coast so much! Still upset I couldn’t get out of work to meet you guys when we were there at the same time :-(

    Reply
  5. Mark Walters

    Awesome tips Caz thanks, we managed to do a short 3 day weekend trip last week starting in Cooli then up to GC then back down again.

    We managed to get cheap rental car from http://comparecarrental.com.au which ment were good for travel for the 3 days. I really wanted to get a bike out, but since doing my knee in I haven’t been riding in nearly 2 years!

    Feeding the birds was an awesome tip by the way, my little girl loved it!

    Reply
  6. We love the old Coast and visit often, courtesy of now living in Brisbane and having grandparents at the Gold Coast (the ultimate free accommodation…)

    We purchased the three theme park ticket which gave us six months of entry, which the kids loved. The only problem was because we spent so much money on the tickets it felt like every time we went to the Gold Coast we were always going to theme parks. They have expired now so we plan to do a lot more beach time and visiting the hinterland!!
    Pretraveller recently posted..First Trip to Europe: Igniting My Passion for Travel
    Pretraveller recently posted..First Trip to Europe: Igniting My Passion for Travel

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    • We left today from a short break on the Goldie. WE decided to skip the Theme parks this time and just relax. It was so worthwhile!

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  7. Amanda Goh

    Hi Caz,

    Will be bringing my 2 girls(8 yrs) to Gold Coast March 2013, May I know where to buy the 3 theme park passes?
    Is it safe? which is advisable? Any place should we check out.Is there a public transport there can get to the park.
    Will be staying in Mantra Legend.Tks

    Reply
  8. Great Tips.. I hope some day I can go there
    Ali Mustika Sari recently posted..Top 10 Aplikasi Gratis Di Iphone Dan Ipad 2013
    Ali Mustika Sari recently posted..Top 10 Aplikasi Gratis Di Iphone Dan Ipad 2013

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  9. Hi all!
    If you are travelling on a shoestring (like we did) you might be interested in relocating cars. We did it twice – the first time from Perth to Broome and the second time from Byron Bay to Sydney. You pay like 5 dollar a day and get a normal rental car, in our case it was a car from Britz. We even had a bed and a kitchen, so accommodation was included as well. For travelling Australia I can recommend the website Hi all!
    If you are travelling on a shoestring (like we did) you might be interested in relocating cars. We did it twice – the first time from Perth to Broome and the second time from Byron Bay to Sydney. You pay like 5 dollar a day and get a normal rental car, in our case it was a car from Britz. We even had a bed and a kitchen, so accommodation was included as well. For travelling Australia I can recommend the website http://www.coseats.com/campervan_relocation. On the website you search for “relocation offers”. You book the deal and coseats contacts you. Very easy and cheap.

    Have a good trip and save travels!

    Reply
  10. […] 9 tips for visiting Gold Coast on a budget […]

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