5 budget friendly things to do on the Gold Coast this mid-year break


You walk out of your last exam and a sense of excitement grows within you. You stop to take a breath and realise, “I made it through another semester”. Getting through those last few weeks of semester can be tough. That is why today you are reading this blog post; because below you will find a wonderful assortment of things to do this mid-year break.

There is nothing like having something amazing to look forward to to get you through the final weeks of semester. No matter your budget, schedule or transport methods the Gold Coast has something for you.

What is a poor university student to do on the Gold Coast? Absolutely anything they want. As the saying goes, the best things in life are free, so here are my top five (almost) free things to do on the GC.

  1. Picnics and BBQ’s anywhere with friends or family

    Having a picnic or BBQ is one of the greatest things you can do on the Gold Coast. There is literally kilometres of pristine beaches and parks filled with BBQ areas for you to set up at for the day. Bring some sausages, bread, a picnic blanket, your friends and maybe a football or cricket set and you are set for a relaxing and fun day out. Check out my other blog, What to bring to an Aussie BBQ for some ideas on what to bring to a BBQ. On weekends be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot, because they go fast and some people aren’t so great at sharing once they have secured a BBQ.

  2. Take a drive to Springbrook or Mount Tambourine

    If you have a car or know somebody who does, pack a bag full of water and snacks and make your way to either Springbrook national park or Mount Tamborine for a day of adventure. There is an abundance of different hiking tracks for you to choose from all of which are different difficulties and lengths. If you are feeling adventurous and have a spare $16.50 (student price) you can walk amongst the tree tops of Mt Tamborine on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk – trust me the views are well worth the price. After your trek, find a nice shady picnic spot to share your snacks and photos. Always be careful when going for a hike to stick to tracks that suit your ability, take plenty of water and always tell someone where you are going.

  1. The NightQuarter at Helensvale

    The NightQuarter is a fairly new edition to the Gold Coast and is located in the northern suburb of Helensvale. It only costs you $3 entry and the majority of the entry fee goes towards the Starlight Foundation. Once inside you are offered a diverse range of food and drink and a great variety of local market stalls. If you are strapped for cash eat before you go and spend your time listening the free music which is generally great local bands, whilst lounging on a comfortable giant beanbag.

  1. The Beach (of course)

    What would a list of the top free things to do on the Gold Coast be without the beach? The Gold Coast is home to so many beautiful beaches. If you are new to the Gold Coast ask around to find out the best beaches from locals. Believe it or not there are much more beautiful beaches than Surfers Paradise. Some are quite secluded and make you feel as though it is your own private paradise. But beware, if someone shares their secret beach location with you, keep it a secret, because otherwise it won’t be so quiet anymore.

  1. Take a road trip and go camping

    This has got to be one of the best ways to get away from it all after the semester has finished. There is nothing better than waking up surrounded by the smells of nature and not living on a time schedule for the first time in 13+ weeks. The great thing about camping is that it can be whatever you want it to be in terms of price. Pack your tent, an esky full of basics, drinks, lots of water, mozzie spray and appropriate clothing and you will be good to go. During the mid-year break it is probably best to book a camp ground before you leave, this way you won’t arrive to find the place full. It is also a great way to find out whether the camp site has fresh water, BBQs, electricity, tables, bathrooms and washing areas etc. For more info on camping check out my Uni student’s guide to accommodation. Personally I believe the best places to go camping are on the Sunshine Coast, but I am sure there would be plenty who argue that road tripping down south to Byron Bay is better.

I hope this list has provided you with some inspiration to plan your mid-year break. Remember that it is important to have at least a few days of actual break during this time. You have worked so hard for an entire semester, so take some time to sit back and relax.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a budget on the Gold Coast?

– Hayley
View from the mountains of Springbrook

View from the mountains of Springbrook


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