48 Hour Guide to Art + Culture on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is renowned for its stunning beaches and great climate, but did you know about its thriving arts and culture scene? Thanks in part to its Cultural Strategy 2023, the city is experiencing a cultural revolution. So if you’re visiting for 48 hours, what should you include on your itinerary so you can immerse yourself in the local arts and culture? Here’s how to fill your mornings, afternoons, and nights on a short trip.
Spend a morning or two exploring galleries and enjoy a relaxing brunch in the one of the many modern cafes and eateries.
- The Arts Centre – The Arts Centre is the Gold Coast’s premier cultural precinct and a must-do on your 48-hour trip. Exhibiting the work of a huge variety of visual and performance artists since 1986, the centre is also home to a cinema and dining and bar facilities.
- Sean Scott Photography – If photography is up your alley, check out Sean Scott Photography in Burleigh. Scott is one of the most in-demand photographers in the city and his gallery and store features high definition glass artwork along with small fine art canvas prints.
- Cafe D’Bar – Located on Boundary Street, Coolangatta, Cafe D’Bar has an eclectic, modern Australian menu. Enjoy breakfast or brunch in its panoramic dining rooms looking out from Point Danger before heading next door to pick up some local art and handmade goods.
- Maverick Hair & Art Space – Based in Coolangatta, Maverick Hair & Art Space is an intimate, cosy space exhibiting local artists and hosting other arts and culture events throughout the year. Visitors can pick up some beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts made by local and other artists.
- Dust Temple – Dust Temple hosts local and other artists in its creative space Hinge Gallery, and its exhibitions and shows feature musicians and poets as well. Recharge with a coffee and refreshments in the cafe after you’re done exploring.
- Capanart Gallery – Gapanart Gallery is located in Mount Tamborine in the hinterlands, so it’s the perfect destination if you’re going to make some time for a short drive out of the city. The studio and gallery features local artists focusing on Australian landscapes as well as the highly sought-after sculptures of award-winning artist Ivan Lovett.
- The Craft Parlour – If you’re looking for some hands-on activity, try the Craft Parlour on Palm Beach. This craft and art workshop and studio offers Shibori tie-dying, extreme knitting, water colouring, cake decorating, and other sessions.
After a break, you’re probably ready for some more action. Explore these galleries and creative spaces.
- The Walls Art Space Miami – For something different, visit The Walls Art Space Miami, an interactive space envisaged as a hub for creative practice and innovative thinking about contemporary art. Experience its monthly curated exhibitions, check out its local artists in residence program, artists talks, and publications.
- Anthea Polson Art – Anthea Polson Art in Main Beach specialises in contemporary emerging art and sculpture by Australian artists. It runs a regular exhibition program and you can pick up some stunning artwork on your visit.
- Desert Art Centre – Desert Art Centre features mainly artists from central Australia who have achieved a level of global recognition for their work.
- 19Karen Contemporary Artspace – 19Karen Contemporary Artspace, located in Mermaid Beach, specialises in bold new art by Australian and international artists. Check out its rotating exhibitions, which can range from pop culture and surrealism to abstraction and street art in theme.
- Urban Paradise Gallery – Urban Paradise Gallery in Surfers Paradise is run by artists. Experience the work of local photographers, sculptors, painters, potters, and much more. The gallery also features special exhibitions such as the work of remote Indigenous artists
- Jellurgal – Experience the beauty of Indigenous arts and culture at the Jellurgal Cultural Centre. You’ll get to see native song and dance performances, enjoy traditional bush tucker, and listen to Dreamtime stories of the Yugambeh people.
As the sun goes down, you might be getting ready to explore the city’s live music events and other arts and culture offerings.
- Bleach*Festival – If you’re visiting in March, don’t miss the Gold Coast’s signature arts and festival, Bleach*. Bleach* showcases a wide variety of performing and visual arts, including circus, music, theatre, dance, cabaret, and visual arts.
- Blues on Broadbeach – If you’re into live music, you might want to schedule your trip for May, which is when the Blues on Broadbeach festival transforms Broadbeach for three days. This street festival is one of the biggest non-ticketed music festivals in the country. Check out the live music and gigs before sampling the local cafes and bars.
- Home of the Arts – Spend an evening wandering through Home of the Arts, an artistic precinct with live theatre, art exhibitions, indie films, dance, and stand-up comedy.
- Sound Lounge – Currumbin’s Sound Lounge, with its picturesque creek-side setting, is a great spot for enjoying live music. The busy venue features local musical acts and performers.
- Swell Sculpture Festival – If you’re visiting during September, schedule time for the Swell Sculpture Festival, a 10-day festival featuring more than 50 artists in an outdoor exhibition. You can sign up for one of the hands-on masterclasses to learn from the featured artists, buy a sculpture, and watch as the sculptures light up at night.
From galleries, installations, and murals to photographic exhibitions and live music, the Gold Coast is rich with arts and culture offerings to explore on your next trip. Check out the Cooly Hotel’s live music program and don’t miss the opportunity to see some of the best local artists perform in person.