Splurge Or Save: The Gold Coast On Any Budget

Splurge Or Save: The Gold Coast On Any Budget

12 Apr 2022

Champagne taste on a beer budget? Or maybe you've got some cash to splash and you're in the mood to splurge? Whichever way you roll we've got some great Gold Coast suggestions to suit your budget, covering all the essentials - accommodation, eating out, looking after yourself, shopping and luxe to less activities.


Splurge: Rick Shores

Almost as famous for their delectable bug rolls as they are for hovering as close to the sea as you can get without getting wet. But aside from soaking in million dollar coastal views, Rick Shores is also renowned for its curated Asian fusion cuisine. Their signature is fresh local seafood; the soft shell crab with lemongrass, coconut and Thai herbs is a stand out and leave some room for dessert – Thai street coconut ice cream, sweetcorn and maple crumble will have you saving your pretty pennies to return for more.

Save: Fish ‘n’ Chips on Burleigh Hill

Stroll a couple of hundred metres from the swanky seaside into James Street, and pick yourself up a parcel of piping hot fresh fish and chips from Fishmongers. The snapper is as good as it gets either battered, crumbed or grilled as you prefer. Return to the grassy knoll known locally as Burleigh Hill where you can spread out your frugal feast, while enjoying the same killer view as Rick Shores.


Splurge: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

With Hugh Jackman as a part owner and a clientele sprinkled with stars, Gwinganna is a luxe health retreat offering stays with the goal of achieving optimum health and wellbeing. A range of seminars will tune both body and soul, cuisine is designed by nutritionists and decadent rooms cocoon and nurture in a soothing five-star embrace. Well worth the splurge to honour yourself, there’s luxurious treatments a delicious spa cuisine and exercise programs guided by experts. 

Save: Greenhouse Bath House

You need some me time, but the bank balance is not showing enough for the full health farm fix? Take yourself to Greenhouse Bath House where you can soak your cares away for as little at $45 for a 90 minutes. You’ll share the space with as many as 10 others, rotating through the hydrotherapy spa, steam room, sauna and magnesium plunge pool at your own pace. Spend some time basking on the sun deck or relaxing in the lounge to conclude your savvy saving soak session. Same time next week?


Splurge: Pacific Fair

If you’re in the market for something special, Pacific Fair is where you’ll find a collection of world’s most notable designer brands. From Chanel and Louis Vuitton to Prada, Gucci and Hermes. Add some sparkly trinkets from Tiffany & Co and perhaps a handbag from Celine or purse from Prada – whatever you desire, your shopping dreams can become a reality right here at the place locals refer to “Paccas”. And if you’re looking for Australian fashion luminaries, think Camilla, Zimmerman and Scanlan & Theodore to name but a few. They rub fashion forward shoulders with a procession of stores featuring some of the freshest high street brands on the market too.

Save: Harbour Town Premium Outlets

When it comes to popping tags, you’ve found the right place. Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre offers as much as 70% off regular retail prices across a range of fashion, homewares and quality speciality goods. Stock up on sportswear including Nike, Adidas, Lorna Jane and Rockwear or shop designer without the price tag at Ralph Lauren, Coach, Hugo Boss and more.


Splurge: Yot Blu

There is nothing quite as exhilarating as cruising the Gold Coast’s myriad waterways with the sun on your skin and the breeze tousling your hair. But if you want to turn heads also, hire one of THE most luxurious boats to grace the GC waters – the 80-foot super-yacht, Yot Blue. Invite your wide-eyed mates to join you or keep it all to yourself. You’ll have four bedrooms to fill if you stay over, or host a soiree for up to 50 people with every conceivable whim catered for. Minimum charter is 4 hours for $6990 and each hour thereafter is $1250.


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Save: Duffy Down Under Boat Hire & Cruises

Pop on your captain’s hat and pack the picnic provisions, Duffy Down Under Boat Hire & Cruises is the affordable option to get yourself out on the glorious Gold Coast waterways. Prices start from $165 an hour and considering you can have 10 people on board, that works out at $17pp – what a steal! No boat license is required to skipper one of these electric vessels – they’re eco-friendly and whisper quiet while you glide across the water. Bring the kids or a group of mates and pack your sunscreen. Create your dream day on the water with the freedom to explore the Gold Coast at your own pace with BYO drinks, food and music. Embark your private vessel at Marina’s Cove Marina in Main Beach and set sail!


Splurge: Palazzo Versace

Step inside the palatial surrounds of Palazzo Versace, where decadent designer dressed boudoirs and couture-inspired cuisine awaits. You can relax by the pool in your own private cabana sipping cocktails between swims or feast at one of the three awarded restaurants, with a choice of fine dining, exquisite al a carte or indulge in a seafood extravaganza. Return to your room, suite or condominium to nestle luxuriously and be treated to waterfront views. There’s also moorings for your luxury yacht, the option of an opulent spa treatment and even a Versace boutique to top up your wardrobe. Rates start from $399 per night.

Save: Little Camper Co

The cutest little tiny homes on wheels will take adventure to the next level with a fully self contained van imbuing the ethos of “home is where you park it”. Snuggle into one of the many seaside caravan parks that dot the coast or head for the hinterland to enjoy some time off the grid. You’ll find a well-equipped kitchen, a fridge to fill with road side provisions, a sustainable solar power system and everything you need to cruise, cook and sleep in cosy, compact comfort. Unlimited kms and insurance is included in your hire fee with prices starting from just $79 a night. 


Splurge: Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk

If you have been wanting to get back to nature, but don’t want to do it alone, join the party to hike the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk. You’ll be in great company with two experienced guides, walking 80kms over six days traversing ancient Gondwana Rainforest, the largest protected subtropical rainforest in the world. Pass by hundreds of species of vines, palms and ferns, stop to admire waterfalls, get up close with wildlife and immerse yourself in breathtaking country very few get to see. At night you’ll sleep soundly in quality lodge style accommodations, enjoy chef prepared meals and revel in an immersive, guided nature experience that will not only awaken your senses but leave a lasting imprint on your soul. Prices start from $2995 twin share.

Save: Whale Watching

During whale season from July to November, the Gold Coast’s headlands become prime lookouts to watch whales cruise the “Humpback Highway” on their way further north to birth their calves. Pack a picnic rug and a pair of binoculars and find yourself a shady spot on one of five lookouts starting at North Burleigh and spanning Burleigh, Kirra Hill, Rainbow Bay or Point Danger Lookouts. High on the hill you’ll easily spot water spouts, and then watch closely as the males breach and tail splash to attract mates. With as many as 40,000 whales set to pass by close enough to observe from shore, you’ve got a pretty good chance of staging your own David Attenborough moment and it won’t cost a cent.

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Narelle Bouveng
Narelle Bouveng

A local Gold Coast mum and well-travelled Australian travel writer, Narelle has over 21 years’ experience wandering and chooses to call Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast home. A sunrise and sunset regular, you will often find her juggling a coffee and her camera, snapping for her blog and family travel inspired Instagram @alittleatlarge while youngest daughter Tiah frolics alongside.


Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. 
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.