The 10 Best Museums In Gold Coast

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Best museums in Gold Coast

Located south of Brisbane on the East Coast of Australia, the city of Gold Coast is a haven for lovers of the outdoors. With great access to beaches, mountains, and national parks, Gold Coast is the perfect place to experience the Australian outdoors and the Queensland rainforest.

What often gets less attention is the cultural highlights of Gold Coast. But creative minds have left an indelible mark on this popular vacation destination, and you can find dozens of museums and art galleries in the city, many of which are hidden gems. The exhibits in the best museums of Gold Coast will give you a better understanding of the arts and history of Queensland and of Australia as a whole. Plus, exploring collections of the work of local artists is a fun way to spend a rainy day while visiting Gold Coast.

Many of the museums and galleries in Gold Coast don't allow large bags inside, for obvious reasons. Make your trip easier on yourself by dropping off any unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Gold Coast. Without unnecessary bags to worry about, you'll be able to more fully enjoy the artistic and historical heritage of this vibrant community.

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Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Gold Coast Historical Museum

When visiting a new town, it's often fun to get to know a little bit more about the history of the place. Gold Coast occupies an important position in Australian history, and you can learn more about the story of the town at the Gold Coast Historical Museum. This museum, located in Surfers Paradise, has been in operation since 1972. However, it's thought that the site it occupies has been used for far longer, and was once a gathering place for aboriginal Australians. Following European settlement, it became a sugar mill, and the grounds of the museum still hold the graves of former workers.

This museum holds an eclectic collection of artifacts that illuminate the history of the region. You'll see a replica of a cottage from 1861, equipment used in the cultivation of sugar, the wreckage of a ship from 1887, and a variety of art and artifacts by local aboriginal people. In short, this is the perfect place to get a crash course in the history of Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Wax Museum

Located in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast Highway, the Gold Coast Wax Museum is a place that, in true Australian fashion, doesn't take itself too seriously. As a result, it's a great attraction to bring the family to. The museum contains lifelike wax replicas of famous celebrities including former prime ministers and members of the royal family. The Wax Museum is Australia's largest museum of its kind, so you'll find a broad range of celebrities on display here, making it the perfect place to get unique holiday photos. The Wax Museum also contains a replica of the British crown jewels and a Chamber of Horrors that re-creates tortures and executions from different periods of history for a morbid thrill.

Gold Coast War Museum

The Gold Coast War Museum is one of the finest collections of military history artifacts in all of Australia. The exhibits here tell a story of the conflicts Australia has been involved in over the years, and include impressive specimens like intact fighter planes, tanks, jeeps, and other military vehicles from around the world. Nothing brings home the tragedy and heroism of war like seeing the weapons, uniforms, and other items used in conflict. Plus, kids will have a great time exploring the military vehicles. They'll have an even better time in the attached paintball facility, which lets you get a taste of armed conflict without any of the danger.

Forest of Memories

Located in Logan Village, the Forest of Memories is a stunning outdoor museum that honors the history of Gold Coast. Fifteen large totems set up on a grassy mound display the pictures and tell the stories of local pioneers and important figures from the past. At night, the totems are lit up, making this a beautiful and somewhat haunting place to visit as you learn more about the history of the area.

Museums in Gold Coast

Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum

Also located in Logan Village, the Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum will teach you more about how the Hinterland region was developed. This striking museum contains original buildings from the Queensland Hinterland's earliest period of European settlement, including Franklin House from 1956 and Okey House from the 1930s. You'll also see the original Nerang Railway Station and Tallebudgera Police Station Gaol, giving you a real insight into pioneer life. Visiting this museum is the closest you're likely to get to a real-life time machine, and wandering from one well-preserved building to the next will make you feel like you've left the modern world far behind.

Gold Coast Motor Museum

For something completely different, check out the Gold Coast Motor Museum. This entertaining museum displays vehicles ranging from an antiquated horse and buggy right up to today's modern supercars. There are around 75 cars and bikes to drool over here, and together, they tell the story of innovation and industrial progress through the whole of the 20th century. Car lovers won't want to miss this fascinating museum, but even if you're not particularly mechanically inclined, chances are good you'll still enjoy marveling at how far the transportation industry has come. Plus, some of the vehicles on display are practically works of art in their own right. The Gold Coast Motor Museum also has an excellent on-site restaurant, so it's a great place to go for lunch or dinner and make a day of it.

Gold Coast City Art Gallery

Many of the best museums and art galleries in Gold Coast are located in the suburb of Surfers Paradise, and this one is no exception. The Gold Coast City Art gallery houses the city's collection of art and has recently been merged with Gold Coast's HOTA, or Home of the Arts. This cultural precinct is more than just an art gallery, combining as it does the city's art collection with performance spaces, movie theaters, parks, and everything else you need to have a good time. HOTA is also a great place to try some of the best street food in Gold Coast, and you could easily spend an entire day or more here dining and enjoying art in all its forms.

HOTA's art collection displays everything from work by local artists to temporary exhibits of internationally renowned creators. A lot of art celebrates the indigenous roots of the area, and you can often attend special events where you get to meet the artists and learn more about their work. For art lovers, this is a truly unmissable destination in Gold Coast.

Streets of Gold Coast

ArtVo Gold Coast

This unusual attraction may not fit the standard definition of an art gallery, but it is a lot of fun and is undoubtedly one of the best things to do with kids in Gold Coast. ArtVo is an immersive gallery that lets you become part of the art with larger-than-life murals. You can battle a dragon or surf towering waves and get incredible pictures that your social media followers won't be able to believe. The staff here are experts in trick photography and can make you part of the art in a very convincing way, so this is definitely a great place to bring the family and enjoy art in a much more interactive way.

19 Karen Contemporary Artspace

This trendy art gallery focuses on contemporary art and is definitely one of the city's hidden gems. Spread over six interconnected exhibition spaces, this unique gallery is privately owned but can be visited via a prearranged guided tour. You'll see the unapologetically personal modern art collection of the owner and a rotating selection of temporary and traveling exhibitions that cover street art, outsider art, installations, and just about every other facet of the modern art scene. If your travel budget covers it, you can even buy many of the contemporary works on display at this gallery and take home a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir of your trip to Gold Coast.

Queensland Art Gallery

Although not technically in Gold Coast, the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane is such a draw for fans of art museums that you really can't afford not to go. One of Australia's premier art galleries, the Queensland Art Gallery is home to work by some of the most famous artists in history, including Pablo Picasso. It also holds a stunning collection of aboriginal art, making it the perfect place to explore the ancient side of Australian culture. Only an hour from Gold Coast, this impressive collection is well worth making the journey to Brisbane for any true art lover and is a great rainy day activity while you're in Gold Coast.

Beaches in Gold Coast

What are the best free museums in Gold Coast?

If you're looking to stretch your travel dollars a little further, taking advantage of free entry to museums in Gold Coast is a good idea. On the first Sunday of every month, the Gold Coast Historical Museum is free to visit, making it a great place to explore history on a budget. Karen 19 Contemporary Artspace is also free unless you decide to splurge on one of the artworks on sale there.

The Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame is also free to visit, making it a great destination for sports fans and an intriguing free thing to do in Gold Coast. And if you don't mind the drive to Brisbane, the Queensland Art Gallery is always free to visit, and given the stunning collection it holds, this represents one of the best bargains for tourist attractions in the area.

Which are the best museums in downtown Gold Coast?

Gold Coast is in many ways a city of suburbs, and so the Central Business District or CBD isn't necessarily the best place to find the city's top cultural attractions. Instead, the suburb of Surfers Paradise is the place to go for a good selection of museums. You'll find the Gold Coast Wax Museum, the Goal Coast Historical Museum, and HOTA here.

Are there any cheap museums in Gold Coast?

Gold Coast isn't anyone's idea of a cheap vacation destination, and in this glitzy area, it can be a real struggle to find bargains. However, along with the free museums mentioned earlier, you can find a few bargain museums that will help your dollars stretch further. For instance, the Gold Coast War Museum costs a very reasonable AU$10 for admission, which is an absolute bargain considering everything you get to see here. However, paintball costs extra. The Gold Coast Historical Museum is even more of a bargain, with a single ticket costing only five Australian dollars.


Gold Coast is a relatively young city in a relatively young country, and so you might not expect it to have the impressive range of museums you'd find in other cities throughout the world. However, this popular tourist destination does have an eclectic range of cultural attractions to visit that will help you understand more about the city and Australia as a whole. Plus, some of the quirky museums here are great places to bring the family for a fun day out.

Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and you'll be free to explore the best museums Gold Coast has to offer. Traveling light has never been so easy.

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