The Weekend Series: be a baller on a budget with these free and cheap activities
Sometimes, adulting is damn hard. Between the constant barrage of bills, living expenses and our penchant for eating and drinking, it’s easy to get caught short. If you’re keen to conserve cash without resorting to binge-watching Netflix (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we’ve round-up a few free and cheap weekend activities to keep you entertained without blowing the budget. Enjoy!
Hit up a local night market: Here on the Gold Coast, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to night markets. Kick back with a cheap meal and a side of sweet (free) live tunes at Miami Marketta, NightQuarter, BBQ Bazaar or Sanctuary Markets every weekend.
Dine on the el cheapo: Gather your penny-pinching mates and work your way through the Gold Coast’s best cheap eats or bring your own bottle (or sack – no judgement here) of wine to one of these top-notch BYO spots.
Go on a farm tour: Get a taste of the simple life at Freeman’s Organic Farm with a farm tour with Farmer David every Sunday morning at 10:00 am. It’s just $15 and you get to pick a few things along the way. Also, check out our round-up of local farm stalls where you can stock up on fresh goodies for less.
Go on a hike: Throw on the joggers and venture to the end of Currumbin Valley (follow the road past Camp Eden) and gaze at Cougal Cascades. Or head up Mount Tamborine to check out Curtis Falls and suck in some fresh mountain air … it’s free. They are both so close – yet you’ll feel like you’re miles away. Want a bit more hinterland inspo? Get your eyes on this.
Get your paddle on: If the sun’s out, head down to Currumbin Creek and hire a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) for $10. Just remember, while it’s all well and good to go with the current, you eventually have to turn around and paddle back. Ugh.
Jump on a bike: Unless you’ve been driving with your eyes shut (don’t do that) then you would have noticed Mobikes around town. Haven’t jumped on one yet? Do it. Grab a bunch of you and head along the coastal paths and do some exploring. You see so much more from a bike, plus it’s a cheap way to have some old-fashioned f.u.n. Did someone say pedal-powered pub crawl?
Have a picnic: Why wait for a special occasion to have a picnic? It’s a great way to explore different areas, chill out with friends and, well, stuff your face with cheese and hot salami and mortadella and Sicilian olives and creamy dips and bread and crisps and … okay you get the gist. Just don’t go too crazy at the deli and make this an expensive activity. Oh, and here are some top local picnic spots.
Check out some art: We’re pretty lucky that there are plenty of ways to treat your eyes and ignite your creativity in this fine city. Next time you’re on the hunt for something stimulating to do, check out the Gold Coast City Gallery at HOTA, Mermaid’s 19 Karen and Currumbin’s Dust Temple for a good dose of inspiration.
Go barefoot bowling: It’s a cheap activity that’s also fun and also involves cheap schooners of beer – what more could you want? There are plenty of local bowlos that will welcome you with open arms. The Burleigh Bowls Club is a good place to start – it throws Sunday sessions where you can bowl for just $8.
Check out the events at Broadwater Parklands: On any given weekend the City of Gold Coast hosts free and low-cost events at Broadwater Parkands, from food-truck feasts to fitness activities. You can check out the full list of events here.
Stop and smell the roses: Have you ever been to the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens? It’s in Benowa and it’s well worth a visit. Stop and smell the roses in the Rose Garden or visit the native Butterfly garden. Best of all, it’s completely free! Oh, and did we mention there’s coffee out there too? That’s not free, but still.
Catch a drive-in movie: If you’re up for something a little different this weekend, bundle your buds into the car and catch a movie at the Yatala Drive-In. The venue offers the true 1950s drive-in experience complete with an American-style diner. Tickets are $15 per adult for one movie but if you’re keen to hang around for both, it’s $10 per flick. Cheap as (hot) chips.