Gold Coast Budget Holiday Guide

Just because it’s called the ‘Gold’ Coast, doesn’t mean you need to be laden with the stuff to party like a prince. There’s a treasure chest of free and cheap activities, sights and eateries to enjoy - from aqua blue waters and dining for quids to quirky parks, museums and galleries.

Day 1: Markets and magic, beaches and pizzas:

  • Take the $1 courtesy bus from town to grab breakfast (with a beer if you’re up for it) at the Carrara markets. There also all day kid’s entertainment, buskers and over 500 stalls of arts, crafts bargains and food to explore.
  • At the Faerie Park in Merrimac, tots can toddle around the troll bridge, toadstool magic circle and goblin’s cave while the elders wander around the shady fig trees and take in the mountain views.
  • It’s almost illegal to visit the Gold Coast without taking a dip. You can hit endless white sandy beaches patrolled by lifeguards, or wade in the protected swimming enclosure lagoon at Southport.
  • Capri Pizza is arguably the best in town. It’s also very relaxed – the kind of place you wear little more than some boardshorts, thongs and Hawaiian shirt and bring along your own beers and stubby coolers for some laidback outdoor dining.

Day 2: Not even your piggybank will break a sweat over this one:

  • Buzz with excitement as you watch the bee show at the Super Bee Honey Factory in Currumbin (30 mins drive) —there’s also free honey tasting and lorikeet-feeding (free admission).
  • A free tour around the Gold Coast City Art Gallery offers a detailed insight into the many works of ceramics and prize-winning artworks, before a stroll along the riverside Evandale Sculpture walk.
  • When the sun goes down head to the Springbrook Observatory, where children can view the stars through telescopes for free while a small adult donation is encouraged.
  • Feed on a Beaches Grill & Coffee Bar in Coolangatta daily meal deal, starting with 'Barra-Munday' and ending with the Sunday burger deal, or take them up on a movie meal deal including dinner and film at the nearby cineplexes (under $20).

Day 3: B stands for budget holiday. Not to mention big brekkies, bushwalks, burly burgers and birthplace of the bronzed.

  • After a night on the town, refuel on the Aqua Restaurant & Bar Broadbeach $2.99 breakfast of bacon and eggs.
  • Breathe in some fresh air on a bushwalk in Burleigh Heads National Park (30 mins drive), splashed in scenic rainforest walks and wildlife. You may even spy some migrating whales off the point.
  • The Gold Coast is the home of many bronzed Aussie sporting champions, 33 of whom you can read about and see memorabilia at the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame in Southport. (Entry is free - gold coin donation most welcome)
  • Everything’s huge except the bill at Big Chief Burgers in Burleigh Heads, where for under $5 you can gorge on bunned feasts such as the Firecracker burger, filled with flame-grilled beef, cheese, sweet chilli sauce and more.

Recommended Gold Coast Budget Hotels:

  • Portobello Resort Apartments are a budget holiday nirvana. The kids will always be entertained in the games room and swimming pool, and you can choose to cook in your kitchen, around the BBQ or eat at one of the many nearby family restaurants.
  • The well informed staff at the Palm Beach Holiday Resort can help you organise tours and activities from their tour desk – which means less stress and more time for you to spend by the pool.
  • Night owls shoulld head to the Santana Holiday Resort , a hip-hop, skip and a krump from the party atmosphere of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. Recovery nights can be spent lazing by the pool or on the couch with DVDs and PlayStations.

See the list below for more Gold Coast Budget Hotels.


Mari Court Resort

3 self rated
23 Wharf Road Gold Coast 4217 Australia

Located in the beautiful tropical paradise of the Gold Coast, Mari Court Resort offers comfortable, self-catering, accommodation just 250 metres from the patrolled beaches of Surfers Paradise. Guests...more

4 star
3 Hill Street, Coolangatta Gold Coast 4225 Australia

Just 100 metres from the beach, Greenmount Hotel features an outdoor pool with a water slide and a hot tub. A private balcony or courtyard is standard in all rooms. Limited free parking is available o...more

3 self rated
64 The Esplanade Darwin 0800 Australia

Located on the beautiful Esplanade, Palms City Resort offers you a relaxing oasis surrounded by lush tropical gardens in the heart of Darwin’s central business district. The centrally situated Palms C...more

Quarterdeck Apartments

3 star
3263 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise Gold Coast 4217 Australia

Just 2 minutes’ walk from Surfers Paradise Beach, Quarterdeck Apartments offer self-contained apartments with a private balcony overlooking the beach. The complex boasts indoor and outdoor swimming po...more

4 self rated
3 Hanlan Street Gold Coast 4217 Australia

Paradise Centre Apartments is situated 20 metres from the beach in Surfer’s Paradise. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court and sauna. Apartments come with a kitchen and balcony. All apartm...more

3 self rated
2651 Gold Coast Highway Gold Coast 4218 Australia

Just 650 metres from the beach, Broadbeach Travel Inn Apartments features a swimming pool and barbecue area. A private balcony with city, garden or pool views is standard in all apartments. Free parki...more

3 self rated
2607 Gold Coast Highway Gold Coast 4218 Australia

Offer self-contained apartments with free Wi-Fi and a private balcony, Portobello Apartments are within walking distance of Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Jupiter's Casino and Broadbeach. Guests enjoy...more

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