Lifestyle Study Abroad and Exchange Uni Life

How to Survive A Gold Coast Summer on a Budget

There are so many upsides to being a student; weekday sleep ins, long holidays, cheap drinks, student discounts, and a whole lotta freedom to travel.

However, being a student means our wallets generally aren’t overflowing, and there’s not always a disposable income at our hands. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean your potential for fun and social life has to suffer!

If you’re a bit tight for pennies this summer, here’s how to make the most of your four-month study hiatus and get bang for your buck on the GC:

Get Back to NATURE

  • Make the most of the unlimited surf, sun and sand the Gold Coast has to offer. Bring your friends, cricket stumps, a surfboard, walk your dogs, or get out your yoga mat; you could never be bored at the beach. The best part is it’s 100% free. Here’s my list of the top 10 spots for a beach crawl this summer. 

  • Don’t listen to TLC, go chase some Waterfalls. The Gold Coast is blessed with the best of both worlds; world class waves and world heritage national parks. Pack your walking shoes and swimmers and explore the Gold Coast’s hinterland. The best waterfalls for swimming are Currumbin Rockpools, Purling Brook Falls, Curtis Falls, Twin Falls, and Elabana Falls. 

  • Hike through the rainforest. For some coastal scenery, trek through Burleigh Heads National Park, or head to the hinterland trails of Lamington National Park, Natural Bridge or O’Reilly’s Rainforest. There’s a number of hiking trails to suit every fitness level, and if you’re really wanting a challenge, take a short trip south to Mt. Warning.

Image courtesy of @thegcbible


You can still upgrade your summer wardrobe and get your fix of retail therapy, just maybe not from the full priced section.

  • Head to Harbour Town for the best discounts and warehouse clearances all year round.

  • Go hunting for a vintage bargain at the op-shops on Railway Street in Southport.

  • The Village Markets hosts a pre-loved clothing rack-sale on the first Sunday of the month at Burleigh Heads Primary School. 

  • Her Wardrobe is another regular market on the Gold Coast that is great for scoring pre-loved bargains! 

  • Sign up for a UNiDAYS student account to get dollars off online and in-store.

Image courtesy of @thevillagemarkets


  • Nerang Cineplex is the cheapest cinema on the Gold Coast and Brisbane with student prices at $5.50 (which means more money to spare for snacks!)

  • Swap your expensive outings like bowling and TopGolf for a good old game of barefoot lawn bowls. It’s only $5 for non-members at Burleigh Bowls and Coolangatta Bowls Club.

  • If you’re in the mood for a night out on the town for a drink and dance, head into Surfers Paradise on a Thursday night for Ladies night for free entry and discounted drinks for guys and girls. This is offered by most of the night clubs.
  • Free entry to nightclubs before 10pm, so get out early to get your entry stamps!

  • And if you’re sick of petrol and parking prices costing you an arm and a leg, load up your trusty ol’ Go Card and get around by the tram! Each journey is only $1.63 and beats all the traffic, plus it’s eco-friendly too.

Image courtesy of @burlieghheadsbc


  • Swap out those expensive social catch-up brunches for a picnic with your friends. A whole basket of food from the grocery store will work out much cheaper! 

  • Miami Marketta has live music and an array of delicious foods, from 4pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Entry is free, just pay for whatever food your feeling!

And for dinner here’s the best daily deals on the GC:

  • Monday $5 sliders and fries at Bine Bar & Dining at Nobby Beach
  • MexiCali cheap taco Tuesday’s
  • Aloha Bar and Dining $1 dumplings on Wednesdays and $2 taco Thursdays
  • $1 oysters on Fridays at Burgster Palm Beach from 3-5pm

Image courtesy of @theburleighhill

I hope this have given you some summer activity inspiration that your bank account will thank you for.

Leave a comment of your favourite things to do during summer on the GC!


– Mira (Guest Blogger)

Mira is currently studying a double degree in Public Relations/Communications and Business majoring in marketing. She has a love for travel that has sent her on exchange to Paris where she plans on exploring Europe on the weekends whilst indulging in all the culinary delights on offer. Follow Mira on instagram @miragietzel.

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