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15 Things To Do On The Gold Coast That Aren't The Beach

Because sand-filled swimmers aren't everybody's cup of tea.

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1. Go chasing waterfalls

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The Gold Coast and surrounds is truly #blessed when it comes to scenic watering holes. Even the ones that you can't swim in are still worth a visit. If you go gaga at the sight of a waterfall, you're in luck. Witches Falls is less than 45 minutes from Surfers. A little further afield there's also Twin Falls in Springbook National Park and Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park. And that's just for starters.

2. Do the SkyPoint Climb

Want to test your adventure chops with the country's highest external building climb? Hell yeah, you do! Buckle yourself in as you scale the Q1 building to take in the epic 360-degree views from a dizzying height of 270 metres.

3. Or check out the view from inside Q1

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If heights get your knees quivering but you don't want to miss out on all the action, never fear – you can still view the Goldie from above. The SkyPoint observation deck, on the 77th level of Q1, offers unparalleled views of the beaches, hinterland, and signature high rises. Hot tip: Every Friday and Saturday night it transforms into a lounge bar with tunes, and Sunday afternoons are all about the Sunset Sounds.

4. Picnic at Burleigh Hill

There are some cracking picnic spots on the Goldie, but nothing beats the festive vibe and killer views at Burleigh Hill. So, grab your besties, blanket, and fave snacks and hotfoot it over there! Good weather's almost guaranteed, but you might want to pray for a parking spot.

5. Splash some cash at Pacific Fair

After a $670-million reno, the GC's iconic Pacific Fair centre is still luring shoppers to Broadbeach four decades on. Whether you want to lose the chump change at H&M, drop some serious dollies at Gucci, or lounge like a lizard in The Resort precinct, Pac Fair ticks all the boxes with over 400 stores. Plus there's a heap of great dining options to fuel your spree.

6. Chill out at Wet'n'Wild

Just because you don't want to hit the surf, it doesn't mean you can't ride some waves. Head to the Giant Wave Pool or Calypso Beach at everyone's favourite water park, or hit up the Extreme H20 Zone for the gnarliest slide rides, like the Kamikaze and Blackhole.

7. Do the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

If you haven't scoped out the Gold Coast Hinterland, you're missing out on some serious fresh air and back-to-nature vibes. Mount Tamborine is well worth a lazy 50-minute drive. Take a scenic stroll along the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, which takes you over Cedar Falls and among the birds above the rainforest canopy. Wear comfy shoes and allow around an hour. And make a lunch booking at the award-winning Songbirds for afterwards.

8. Check out the Glow Worm Caves

While you have your Hinterland exploring hat on, why not check out Glow Worm Alley? At Cedar Creek Estate Winery on Mount Tamborine, you can tour a man-made cave full of the luminescent critters. Glow worms and wine tasting... a weird combo but it's kind of wonderful.

9. Kayak to South Straddie

A half-day kayaking tour to South Stradbroke Island with Australian Kayaking Adventures is about as much fun as you can have on the water. You'll enjoy a picnic brekkie, leisurely kayak and snorkel, and spot a few friendly sea creatures along the way.

10. Or spend an entire day on Stradbroke

It's a bit of a mission to get there – an hour drive followed by a ferry – but it's well worth a day trip. Whether you're there to dive, bird-watch, fish, walk, or just chill out and explore, it's truly a slice of paradise. Keep an eye out for the local kangaroos and koalas hanging around the island.

11. Coo at the cuties at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

With a focus on conservation, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is an awesome day out, no matter your age. Get up close and personal with our indigenous animals – furry, feathered, and scaled – and book in for one of the many wildlife experiences on offer. It's one of the few places where you're allowed to cuddle a koala, so don't miss out.

12. Cycle your little heart out

With a variety of challenging hinterland rides as well as cruisy coastal tracks, the Gold Coast is a fave with the lycra brigade. A popular option is the Currumbin Valley 20.5km loop, which takes you through some eye-poppingly good scenery.

13. Browse the local markets

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There are lots of options for market lovers on the GC, including the Burleigh Farmers Markets, where you'll find the freshest of fresh produce, yummy baked goods, arts, crafts, and more. It's on every Saturday from 7am 'til midday. Pack your appetite and stretchy pants.

14. Hike Mount Warning

After all that indulgence, you're going to want to work it off. And there's no better way to work out on the GC than with a hike. If you have a spare five hours to tackle your spare tire, the 8.8km return hike to the Mount Warning summit is worth every single drop of blood, sweat, and tears.

15. Get as close to the beach as possible

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Sometimes it's nice to sit back and watch the waves roll in, but you just don't want to have to deal with the sand and rising tides. There are heaps of vantage points for you to stake out, with amazing beach views. Whether you go for a surf club like the one in Currumbin, or you perch on the rocks at Burleigh Heads, you're sure to be treated to a lovely view in the sun.