Visiting the Gold Coast on a shoestring budget
Let’s face it – travelling can be quite expensive at times, especially if you have exotic tastes like me. Last year, I took a few months out and travelled Australia’s gorgeous Gold Coast. And what’s more, I did it with nothing in my suitcase but my passport, some backpacker travel insurance and a few clothes. Here are a few tips that might help you do the same:
Check out the Gold Coast itself
With over 35 miles of coastline, the Gold Coast has plenty of gorgeous beaches to choose from, and there’s no shortage of beachside activities to indulge in too. It may sound somewhat clichéd but a traditional Australian beachside BBQ is a nice way to spend an evening, especially if you’re with a partner or some friends. You’ll also get the chance to see some of the Gold Coast’s spectacular sunsets. During the day, swimming or surfing are popular activities to try, and there’s always the opportunity for a bit of sunbathing.
Cascade Gardens Park
During my stay, I spent a number of afternoons in the stunning Cascade Gardens, a park in Broadbeach between the Little Tallebudgera Creek and the Gold Coast Highway. The gardens contain several rainforest walks, a playground, an enclosed water bird sanctuary and plenty of space for BBQs, with covered picnic shelters available too. The park is open from 6am and entry is free all year round.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
A wander round the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Surfer’s Paradise is a great way to spend an afternoon. It’s open every day from 9am to 11pm, and is packed full of loads of, well, unbelievable exhibits. There’s everything from a two-legged pig to rare shrunken heads. Now the tickets aren’t free – they’re about $20 for an adult, but I’d say it’s definitely worth it.
Gold Coast Multicultural Festival
If you visit the Gold Coast over mid-September, then I definitely recommend you check out the Gold Coast Multicultural Festival at Evandale Parklands in Bundall. The festival is held every year and gives you the chance to experience a range of cultures with food, entertainment and arts and crafts. It runs from 10 in the morning until 4pm and it really is a great day out. And what’s more, it’s completely free.
The Gold Coast hinterland
The Gold Coast hinterland is definitely my favourite part of the Gold Coast, above all else. It’s home to a number of beautiful national parks, all of which are completely free to visit. Lamington National Park is perhaps the Gold Coast’s best and also happens to be the one I liked most too. Some of the vistas really will take your breath away – there’s everything from mountains and caves to rainforests and heaths. The park is also covered by over 90 miles of marked trails which are perfect for a bit of bushwalking. The hinterland is spread over a very large area so you’ll need to set aside several days to explore it all. When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of options, with everything from campsites to lodges and guesthouses.