See & do
24 must-do Gold Coast experiences to tick off your bucket list this summer
Dominica Czaczka | December 21, 2021
Quick, pop the out of office on and slather on some SPF 50+ – summer has arrived on the Gold Coast.
Some may argue summer never truly leaves the Gold Coast, but if you’re keen to make the most of the warmer weather we’ve got you covered with our must-do bucket list.
Fire up the group chat and get ready to tick off 24 epic experiences before the summer ends.
1. Let loose to some live music
[SOLD OUT] Gold Coasters are in for a treat this summer, with the inaugural Coolangatta SummerSalt Festival taking place on Sunday 20 February 2022. Music lovers are set for a stellar line-up of artists, featuring MISSY HIGGINS, JOHN BUTLER, XAVIER RUDD, BIRDS OF TOKYO, THE WAIFS and TULLIAH, by the ocean breeze at Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta. Don’t forget to keep an eye on legendary local venues BBQ Bazaar, Miami Marketta, Dust Temple, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse and Vinnies Dive, for your fix of live tunes throughout the festive season and beyond.
2. Settle in for a craft-ernoon
From paint and sip classes, pottery, floral arrangements to mastering macramé, you’ll be able to get your creative juices flowing at Craft Parlour’s workshop studio. Unleash your inner Picasso or at the very least, have a giggle over your lack of artistic ability.
3. Cheers to some cold beers
You’ll find liquid gold in every corner of the coast as the Gold Coast continues its love affair with craft brews. Whether you’re fond of pale ale, lager or an IPA, there’s nothing quite like an icy cold beer on a balmy Sunday afternoon. With a stash of award-winning breweries sprinkled along the coast, we’re confident you’ll discover the perfect pint at Lost Palms, Balter, Black Hops and Burleigh Brewing Co.
4. Master the art of gin making
Mastering margaritas is so 2019. Up your booze game with a gin making masterclass and learn the tricks of the trade at new kid on the block Wildflower Gin or local favourite Granddad Jacks. Best part? You get to take home your own bottle of lovingly crafted gin.
5. Drag Queen bingo at Miami Marketta
Calling legs eleven! If you prefer your bingo served with a side of sequins and a dash of drama, you won’t want to miss Miami Marketta’s monthly Drag Queen bingo. Forget crossing off numbers at your local RSL; you’ll be in for a night of fabulous, belly-aching laughter.
6. Get #cultured at the coast’s coolest galleries
If you’re looking for a more #cultured way to spend your Saturday, why not browse through paintings, sculptures & photography by local artists, as well as national and even international exhibits at a number of any of the coast’s art galleries? 19 Karen boasts around 70 Australian and International artists, Dust Temple is a creative hub and café which also runs life drawing classes, Gallery One has you covered with a mix of contemporary and fine art, and of course HOTA – the largest public gallery in the city.
7. Roll out the picnic rug
The Gold Coast is #blessed when it comes to outdoor spaces. Pack a picnic basket and settle in for a lazy afternoon grazing on cheese platters and sipping on cider. While there are literally hundreds of Instagram worthy picnic spots on the Gold Coast, check out our top 7 here.
8. Learn to surf
Learn to surf this summer. And actually stick to it. Yes we’re looking at you, Mister ‘I might buy a board this year aye’. There’s plenty of surf schools operating along the coastline or hire a board and enlist the help of a surfer mate to get you from grom to pro. Check out our top pick surf breaks this summer.
9. Take me to the ball game
If days at the cricket, a spot of golf and some AFL action tickle your fancy, we have you sorted this summer my friend. The Gold Coast is set for a cracking summer of sport, with everything from the Big Bash, Magic Millions racing carnival to the Gold Coast Suns AFLW on the cards. Check out our summer of sport must-see guide.
10. Wine not
Rosé all day, every day – amiright? Don your best linen and hustle up some girlfriends for an afternoon of wine-tasting at our hinterland vineyards. Last one in the car is the designated driver!
11. Scout out your favourite film locations
Go behind the scenes of your favourite blockbusters and take yourself on a tour of the Gold Coast’s film locations. A major film making hub, the Gold Coast has had a starring role in everything from The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of Dawn Treader, San Andreas, Thor: Ragnarok to Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Buckle up for a weekend drive and check out shoot locations in the hinterland, cane-fields, along the coastline and more.
12. Plan an epic BBQ with your mates
Pop the beers on ice, get the meat marinating and the tunes cranking for an afternoon of feasting with your best mates. There are almost 400 free to use public barbecues in parks and reserves across the city so you have no excuse to not sizzle some snags this summer. Looking for the best BBQ spots on the Gold Coast? Check this out.
13. Tee off at Top Golf
Think golf meets bowling; add in some beats and you’ve got yourself Top Golf. Geared towards all ages and abilities, you don’t have to be Tiger Woods to enjoy a putt on this driving range.
14. These boots were made for walking
Strap on a sturdy pair of walking shoes, pack a daypack and head to the hinterland for a spot of bushwalking. Chase some waterfalls, test yourself with some seriously challenging hikes or take yourself for a stroll; the Gold Coast is your oyster. Inspired to start an active hobby this year? Look no further!
15. Get risqué at Pink Flamingo
Get cultured (in a saucy way) and check out the Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub in Broadbeach. Get cosy in a plush velvet booth as you watch a mind-blowing blend of cabaret, burlesque and cirque. We didn’t know people could bend that way either.
16. Try a trendy new watering hole
The Gold Coast has gained some serious street cred when it comes to the city’s nightlife scene. More than just pubs and clubs, the Gold Coast is also home to a huge variety of funky hole-in-the-wall bars and insta-worthy hangouts. Have a sip in the dimly lit rum bar Suga, check out laneway bar Fig + Frankies, and indulge in Asian fusion share plates and cocktails with a twist at Maggie Choo.
17. Pitch a tent at South Stradbroke Island
Switch to island time and make your way to Straddie for a weekend underneath the stars. With calm waterways on one side, untouched native bushland in the centre and 22 kilometres of pristine surf beach on the other side, you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to a (relatively) deserted island. Tipplers Campground is located to the north of the island, whilst North and South Currigee are towards the southern end.
18. Visit one of the theme parks
Brave the screaming hordes of children and set aside a day to visit one of the Gold Coast’s theme parks. Scream your lungs out on the Steel Taipan, experience a White Christmas at Movie World or splash yourself silly at one of the water parks.
19. Barefoot bowls
Nanna knows what the cool kids are up to these days. No longer just a pastime of retirees, the humble game of bowls has been reinvented sans shoes to encourage young whipper snappers to give it a whirl. Reacquaint yourself with your local lawn bowls club and hit the green with a bevvy in one hand and a ball in the other.
20. Visit a library
We know visiting a library probably doesn’t rate highly on your list of must-do things this summer, but hear us out. Our libraries are treasure troves of workshops and seminars to arm you with new skills (just in time for the New Year). Oh and they’ve got a bestseller or two as well. Get a membership stat; you’ll thank us later.
21. Get a crab sandwich at The Spit
Home of the famous crab sandwich, the unassuming Seaway Kiosk has been a hit with locals and tourists alike for decades. Take a drive along the Seaway and savour this tasty treat on The Spit as you watch the sun go down.
22. Dip your toe in at a different beach
If you’re not spending your summer days at a Gold Coast beach, you’re doing summer wrong. While we Gold Coasters all have our go-to favourite, why not mix things up and venture to a part of the coastline that you wouldn’t normally head to. Check out our 12 Beaches of Christmas for some inspiration.
23. Indulge in a fine dining experience
Treat yourself and swap tupperware containers and an Uber Eats bag for a night of linen tablecloths and polished cutlery at one of the Gold Coast’s many sophisticated dining options. Gone are the days when eating out on the Gold Coast was synonymous with the greasy takeaway shop down the road. The Gold Coast has thrown its chef hat into the foodie ring and emerged with a plethora of options to keep your palate satisfied. Enjoy a degustation at Little Truffle, savour an Aperol Spritz and bug roll at Rick Shores or unwind with sweeping views of the marina at Glass Dining & Lounge
You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a flamingo shaped inflatable ring and that’s kinda the same thing. Pack an esky and head to Currumbin or Tallebudgera creek for the day and let your troubles float away.