You might think in order to get involved in the arts and culture of a place you're visiting, you have to spend a lot of money. This isn't the case! Wherever you are, there are bound to be attractions and things to do that are free of charge.

Take the Gold Coast, for instance. Here there are a variety of things to do that won't have you reaching for your wallet, and you can get stuck in as soon as you get off the plane. Just rent a car at the Gold Coast Airport, and you'll have the freedom to explore to your heart's content.


The Gold Coast is known for its many theme parks, but it's also quite well known for it's Arts and Crafts Markets on the beach front. These sprawling stalls have been a highlight for both people who live here and those who are visiting from overseas. 

Dotted along the coast – at beaches such as Burleigh, Broadbeach, Coolangatta, Carrarra, Miami, Hope Island and Runaway Bay – these markets encompass many tastes and themes.

The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets are a treasure trove of bargains, handmade goods, premium products, unique gifts and live entertainment across more than 100 stalls.

Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening, this stretch of beach is transformed. Aglow with lights, smells, bustle and hubbub, the market is enjoyable even if you don't buy anything. Some places will offer samples so you can get a taste of different sweet and savoury cuisines.

If you do want to splash out and buy an after-dinner treat, head over to Whacky Whistles for a selection of sweet delights and baked goods – the caramel slice is a favourite. If you're into clean eating, Good Mix will serve you up a fruit-filled smoothie in a variety of flavours.

Galleries and museums

Every year, the Gold Coast City Gallery welcomes more than half a million visitors. Those who show up get to see some of the 20 plus exhibitions, from international and local artists, the gallery hosts every year.

The gallery's selection has both contemporary and historical artworks. Many themes play out across the gallery walls, including those that relate to indigenous Australian culture and societies across the globe.

A major touring exhibition is coming to the gallery this year. "Saltwater Country" is a look into Aboriginal culture through art. The artists' identity and connectedness with the land and country, water and sea, is palpable in the selection of paintings, sculptures and photography. And these artworks don't shy away from the environmental, cultural and political issues that have arisen over the years. 

The strength and power of these people is boldly displayed. The exhibition ties together the past and present in a vivid array of colours and styles, including a lot of contemporary art. 

Events and festivals

The Gold Coast is home to an abundant array of events and festivals that take place every week and are either completely free or ask for just a small admission fee. No matter when you're there or how much money you have, there will be something fun for you to do.

The Broadbeach Jazz Festival is on this August. The free event has become popular in its own right and now has thousands of people showing up for it. The musical magic from Australia's best jazz artists is combined with food from local award-winning restaurants – add in its prime location at the beach and you're sure to have a sensuous and relaxing experience!