There are so many things to do on the Gold Coast with kids that you’ll either need to stay for a few months or come back for multiple Gold Coast family holidays! Home to the best theme parks Australia has, stunning beaches and gorgeous hinterland you won’t be short of fun things to do on the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast is a massive place, stretching from the northern end of the Spit to the southern beach of Rainbow Bay just north of the New South Wales border. There are multiple beaches that make up the area with some of the more popular Gold Coast tourist destinations being Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Burleigh and Currumbin. The entire region is made up of long sandy beautiful beaches, inland canals / waterways, surfing spots, theme parks, hiking trails and national parks. Not to mention shopping centres, boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and sporting events.
Whether you’re looking for a jammed packed holiday filled with all the best Gold Coast activities or looking for some of the quieter Gold Coast experiences, we’ve got it all covered in this comprehensive kids holiday Gold Coast guide. Regardless of whether you are heading to the Gold Coast with toddler in tow or teenagers, we’ve got the details you need.
In this guide we cover:
- When to visit the Gold Coast;
- Details on the various Gold Coast beaches so you can decide where to stay;
- How to get to the Gold Coast from the Brisbane or Gold Coast Airport; and
- All the top Gold Coast attractions for kids, including the Gold Coast natural attractions.
When to Visit the Gold Coast
The short answer is anytime is the perfect time to visit the Gold Coast. With an average of 300 sunny days a year, you will generally experience gorgeous weather year round.
If you want to come when it’s nice and warm and perfect for swimming, visit during the Spring (September to November) or Summer (December to February). In fact even March and April can be warm enough for swimming. People from colder climates may even find the weather warm enough to swim year round.
Keep in mind the Gold Coast can get super busy during both the Queensland and New South Wales school holidays, particularly from the end of December to mid January. During this time expect long queues at attractions and higher prices on accommodation.
For me, my favourite time of year to visit the Gold Coast is during February where the ocean is at its warmest, the days are warm and there are no school holidays.
Which Area for your Gold Coast Family Holidays
As mentioned above, the Gold Coast is a vast region and so you will have to decide where to base yourself for your family adventure.
Below I have provided some brief details of the various areas to help you choose the perfect base for your Gold Coast family holidays. This is not an extensive list of all the Gold Coast beaches, but it does cover the more popular beaches where families usually like to base themselves.
This area is a fantastic for families with young children given the large lagoon like body of water here is calm. This Broadwater Parklands are located here, which include the most innovative and imaginative kid’s playground that you have ever seen and the Rockpools which is a great water park for small children. The parklands are completely free. There is a great range of hotels and apartments perfect for families as well as a shopping centre (with shops, supermarkets and cinemas) and Sea World is also just across the Broadwater.
I’d highly recommend this area of the Gold Coast for toddlers or young children.
2. Main Beach
Located on the other side of the Broadwater, Main Beach stretches 2km long from Surfers Paradise to the Spit. Main Beach is a perfect spot for swimming, surfing, fishing and general beach activities. This is also where Sea World and Marina Mirage is located.
3. Surfers Paradise
The most touristy spot overall on the Gold Coast, there is a stack of family friendly things to see in Surfers Paradise, so this is the ideal location if you want to be in the heart of it all. There are a stack of fantastic family friendly restaurants (we recommend Hurricane’s Bar & Grill, Pancakes on the Rocks and Liv Eat) and shops and a gorgeous stretch of beach for swimming. Surfers is also home to some of the best hotels for kids, Gold Coast has to offer. If staying here, we highly recommend the Novotel Surfers Paradise for families (read our post on Surfers Paradise with kids for our full review on staying at the Novotel).
There are so many things to do around Surfers Paradise for families that I have written a completely separate post on everything you need to know about a family trip to Surfers Paradise, including full reviews on staying at the Novotel Hotel, various family friendly restaurants and of course all the awesome family attractions. Click here to read our full guide on Surfers Paradise with kids.
Similar to Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach is a very popular area for tourists. Home to the Broadbeach Mall full of shops, restaurants and family friendly hotels as well as Jupiter’s Casino, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, the largest shopping precinct on the Gold Coast. There is also an excellent swimming and surf beach at Broadbeach with a fantastic playground, one of the best kids playground, Gold Coast has.
5. Burleigh Heads
The area of Burleigh Heads is a very popular spot for families. Here you will find a gorgeous beach for swimming and surfing, plenty of restaurants, shops, playgrounds and family friendly hotels and apartments.
There is also the Burleigh Heads National Park which has a range of walking tracks including the 2.5km coastal walk around the headland to Tallebudgera Creek. You can catch views of Palm Beach about half way through the track at Tumgun Lookout.
6. Tallebudgera Creek
In my view one of the best kid friendly beaches, Gold Coast to offer and one of my all-time favourite places to swim on the Gold Coast. In fact, not technically a beach but a creak, although don’t let the word “creek” put you off, this creek is absolutely stunning with bright turquoise coloured calm water, perfect for little ones. This is a popular spot for SUP and kayaking.
There isn’t a great deal of accommodation here except the Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park and it may well be best for a day trip, unless you plan on spending the majority of your time in the water.
7. Palm Beach
Another great choice if you’re looking for the best beach for kids Gold Coast has is Palm Beach, also another personal favourite. Palm Beach has the benefit of having both a surf beach as well as being situated on one side of the Currumbin Creek. Currumbin Creek is perfect for the kids as the water is calm. Whilst a fairly quiet area in terms of shops and restaurants, there are plenty of great family apartments available as well as an excellent playground, another one of our favourite kids parks, Gold Coast has on offer.
Similar to Palm Beach, Currumbin has the advantage of having both a surf beach and the stunning Currumbin Creek, yep you guessed it another one of my favourites! This is a popular spot for families to enjoy a variety of water sports such as surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
There’s not a great deal of accommodation here, but what is here is certainly family friendly and there are a few cafes sprinkled throughout the area.
Also a 15 minute drive inland you will find the gorgeous Currumbin Rock Pools. There are varying pool depths, rope swings, rock slides and ledges to jump off providing plenty of fun for the whole family.
Another fantastic spot for families that want to be in a central location to shops, restaurants, gorgeous beach and playgrounds is Coolangatta. This stretch of beach is 800 metres long, north facing and also protected by the headland. This beach is generally safe and has low waves making it fun for the whole family to enjoy.
Included in Coolangatta are the two smaller beaches of Greenmount and Rainbow Bay – both absolutely stunning beaches and my favourite stretch of beach on the entire Gold Coast, Rainbow Bay. As well as plenty of family friendly accommodation and a shopping centre there is also a lovely walking trail that wraps around Greenmount Hill. You can walk right up to the New South Wales border here.
Getting to / From Airport
You can easily reach your Gold Coast accommodation from either the Gold Coast or Brisbane Airport.
From Brisbane Airport
From the Brisbane Airport the best ways to reach the Gold Coast is either by car hire, shuttle or public transport.
If you are going to be renting a car whilst you visit the Gold Coast, I recommend you pick up your car from the Brisbane Airport as a shuttle can be quite expensive for a family. However if you are spending your time just around the Gold Coast beaches, or with a few additional day tours, it is not necessary to rent a car as the G:Link train is great to get you around – see more information below. A car is handy however if you want to explore the Gold Coast hinterland on your own, but just remember that often you have to pay for parking at your hotel.
There are numerous different operators that provide transport from the Brisbane Airport to the Gold Coast.
Con-X- ion provides return transfers from the Brisbane airport to your Gold Coast accommodation from $99 per adult, $50 per child or $248 per family. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
If you are intending to visit some of the theme parks during your visit you can save money on transfers by booking return airport and Gold Coast theme park transfer ticket.
- 3 theme parks transfers: are from $143 per adult, $72 per child or $358 per family;
- 5 theme parks transfers: are from $169 per adult, $82 per child or $420 per family; or
- 7 theme parks transfers: are from $185 per adult, $92 per child or $462 per family.
The tourist attractions covered are Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, Sea World, Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Harbour Town Shopping Centre
The cheapest way to get from the Brisbane Airport to the Gold Coast is by train, but it will also take the longest time.
The Air Train stops right outside both the International and Domestic Brisbane Airports. The train departs every 15 minutes during peak hour and 30 minutes during off peak.
Take the Air Train all the way to the Helensvale Station, this journey will take around 90 minutes. From Helensvale Station take the G:Link train to the Gold Coast, this journey will take around 40 minutes. There are stations at Broadwater, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. If you are staying at any beaches furter than this you be better off using one of the other above options.
If you purchase a Go Card at the Airport station the entire trip will cost $32.22 per adult and $25.37 per child. Without a Go Card it is $38.40 per adult and $28.50 per child. If you decide to purchase a Go Card you will need to purchase one for each person in your group, which will cost $10 per adult and $5 per child, which is refundable when you return.
I’d recommend purchasing a Go Card if you won’t have your own car as you can then use this on the G:Link for discounted tickets.
From Gold Coast Airport
Depending upon which Gold Coast Beach your accommodation is at, the Gold Coast Airport is about a 5- 30 minute drive away. The best way to reach your accommodation is via hire car, shuttle or taxi.
If you are going to be renting a car whilst you visit the Gold Coast, it may be best to pick it up from the airport and save money on transfers. However if you are spending your time just around the Gold Coast beaches, or with a few additional day tours, it is not necessary to rent a car as the G:Link train is great to get you around – see more information below. A car is handy however if you want to explore the Gold Coast hinterland on your own, but just remember that often you have to pay for parking at your hotel.
There are numerous different operators that provide transport from the Gold Coast Airport to Gold Coast hotels.
Con-X- ion provides return transfers from the Gold Coast airport to your Gold Coast accommodation from $41 per adult, $22 per child or $110 per family. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
If you are intending to visit some of the theme parks during your visit you can save money on transfers by booking return airport and gold coast theme park transfer ticket.
- 3 theme parks transfers: are from $79 per adult, $39 per child or $197 per family;
- 5 theme parks transfers: are from $105 per adult, $55 per child or $265 per family; or
- 7 theme parks transfers: are from $129 per adult, $65 per child or $323 per family.
The tourist attractions covered are Movie World, Wet’n’Wild, Sea World, Dreamworld, WhiteWater World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Harbour Town Shopping Centre.
In my view the best way to get to your Gold Coast accommodation is by taxi. Provided you collect a special fare voucher from the rank supervisor at the airport it will cost you a flat $55 for Broadbeach hotels, $65 for Surfers Paradise hotels or $75 for Main Beach hotels. The rank supervisor are easy to spot as they have high visibility vest on at the taxi rank.
Getting Around the Gold Coast
You could easily spend a week on the beach where your accommodation is and never leave, but if you do want to visit nearby beaches or attractions, the easiest way to get around is by the G:Link Train. However keep in mind that there are only stations at Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. If you are staying at the other beaches you will need a car to get around.
As mentioned above for discounted tickets on the G:Link you will need a Go Card. If you have travelled from the Brisbane Airport by the Airtrain, you should already have one of these cards.
If you decide to purchase a Go Card you will need to purchase one for each person in your group, which will cost $10 per adult and $5 per child, which is refundable when you return. Use the Journey Planner on TransLink for more information about timetables and journey times for the G:Link.
If you want to venture further a field you will need to have a hire car.
Things to do on the Gold Coast with Kids
Throughout the Gold Coast sightseeing section, I have tried to provide as much information as possible to make planning for the places to visit in Gold Coast super easy. I have provided locations, opening hours and ticket prices.
You’ll see that that I often recommend you purchase your tickets in advance from Experience Oz or Klook. Yes, I will receive a small commission if you do purchase from either of them – but as you will see in most cases you will save yourself a stack of cash if you book through them. I use them myself to book tickets – sometimes I have been known to sit outside the ticket booth of an attraction and book tickets on my phone from them as they often have some great Gold Coast activity deals. Doing lots of the kids activities Gold Coast has on offer can be expensive so any savings you can make is well worth it.
Sometimes it is cheaper to book tickets else where and I will let you know under each attraction if that is the case.
Of course all the prices and information in this post are correct at the time of publishing and are in AUD.
1. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the favourite Gold Coast attractions for families who love Australian wildlife is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you get the opportunity to get up close with a range of animals.
Be sure to arrive nice and early for the 8 am lorikeet feeding where you may be lucky enough to have a lorikeet or two sit on your arm whilst they eat breakfast. Then wander through the park checking out a range of Australian wildlife as well as other exotic animals from across the globe.
Of course the Australian favourites are here including the cute and cuddly koalas as well as kangaroos and emus. You can even hand feed the kangaroos and emus, a Gold Coast must do!
There are a range of shows throughout the day where you can learn more about the animals. Shows include the pelican and eel feeding, snakes, crocodiles, birds, Australian show (see sheep shearing) and the Blinky Bill show. One of the best shows would have to be the bird show. It fantastic seeing a range of different birds as they fly right above the heads of the audience. So close in fact that the wedge tail eagle had its tail feathers brush across my head!
The shows are definitely the highlight, so I recommend checking out the show times either online before you arrive or as soon as you get there and making a plan to you ensure you see all the shows you want to see. Then just fit the animal enclosures around this. For a good spot, arrive 5-10 minutes before each show start time.
The wildlife park offers some of the best Gold Coast toddler activities, as the park is the perfect size for a family with young children as you can easily get through everything in the park within the day. There are also plenty of playgrounds scattered around the park so the little ones can have a break throughout the day to play.
At the time of publishing tickets at the gate were $49.95 per adult, $39.95 per child and $149.95 for a family pass (2A+2C). Kids under 4 are free. You save by purchasing your tickets online from Experience Oz. Online tickets are $39 per adult, $39 per child and $125.93 per family pass. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Currumbin Sanctuary is located at 28 Tomewin Street Currumbin and you will need a car to reach it. Alternatively you can book transfers starting at $22 per person – click here for more information.
2. Sea World
No family trip to Gold Coast is complete without a visit to Sea World. Sea World is one of the Gold Coast theme parks that the whole family to enjoy. Here you will see some of Australia’s most beautiful marine life including Polar Bears, Stingrays, Dolphins and Penguins. There are rides and shows as well as educational presentations and an interactive splash zone for the little ones, hands down one of the best things to do in Gold Coast with the kids.
Whilst this Queensland theme park does seem to cater best to families with young children, there are a few thrill rides that the older kids will love and come on who doesn’t love seeing a cute Polar Bear! Older kids will love rides such as Jet Rescue and the Storm Coaster, whilst little ones will love seeing Dora the Explorer and Spongebob.
One day Sea World tickets start from $79 per adult and $69 per child with children under 3 free. If you plan on visiting other theme parks such as Movie World and / or Wet’n’Wild, it’s recommended you purchase one of the combined Gold Coast attraction deals to save money. A 3 park super pass start at $129 per person at the gate or buy online from Experience Oz and save $10 per ticket. Click here to book your discounted Seaworld Movieworld Pass.
Sea World is open 7 days a week from 9.30am to 5pm and rides begin operation from 10am. Certainly, one of the top 10 Gold Coast tourist attractions.
Sea World is located on Seaworld Drive, Main Beach in Gold Coast, Queensland and is also accessible by public transport. Alternatively you can book transfers starting at $16 per person – click here for more information.
Tip: Check out the times of the shows first and plan your day around these so you don’t miss any.
3. Movie World Gold Coast
Movie World is another one of the awesome Gold Coast amusement parks with many rollercoasters and rides but also has some great shows such as the fantastic stunt shows and the superhero parade where the kids can meet their favourite characters. Said to be like a Universal Studios Gold Coast, there are rides suitable here for all ages from toddlers through to teenagers.
Rides for the thrill seekers include the DC Hypercoaster, Superman Escape, Batwing Spaceshot, Green Lantern Coaster and Arkham Asylum. Whilst the younger kids will love Looney Tunes 4D show, the Scooby Doo Coaster and the Road Runner Coaster.
One day Movie World ticket prices start from $89 per adult and $79 per child with children under 3 free. If you plan on visiting other theme parks such as Sea World and / or Wet’n’Wild, it’s recommended you purchase one of the Gold Coast theme park deals to save money. Passes for the 3 parks start at $129 per person at the gate or buy online from Experience Oz and save $10 per ticket. Click here to book your cheap Movie World tickets.
Movie World is open 7 days from 9.30 am to 5 pm daily but access to the rides starts from 10 am.
This Gold Coast theme parks location is on the Pacific Motorway at Oxenford, Gold Coast, South East Queensland and is accessible by public transport as well. Alternatively you can book transfers starting at $22 per person – click here for more information.
Tip: Check out the times of the shows first and plan your day around these so you don’t miss any.
4. Wet and Wild Gold Coast
If your visiting the Gold Coast during the peak of Summer a visit to Wet’n’Wild is an absolute must! This Gold Coast water park is suitable for families with children of all ages you will find some of the tallest and fastest waterslides as well as the Wet’n’Wild Junior area and family favourites such as the Wave Pool and Calypso Beach.
One day Wet’n’Wild tickets start from $74 per adult and $69 per child with children under 3 free. If you plan on visiting other theme parks such as Movie World and / or Sea World, it’s recommended you purchase combined Gold Coast theme park tickets to save money. Passes for the 3 parks start at $129 per person at the gate or buy online from Experience Oz and save $10 per ticket. Click here to book your discounted tickets.
Wet’n’Wild is open 7 days from 10 am and closing at 5 pm during the warmer months. At other times of the year it closes at 3.30 pm or 4 pm.
Wet’n’Wild is located on the Pacific Motorway at Oxenford, Gold Coast, South East Queensland and is accessible by public transport as well. Alternatively you can book transfers starting at $22 per person – click here for more information.
5. Tropical Fruit World
Whilst not technically on the Gold Coast, Tropical Fruit World is great attraction for the family which is located just over the New South Wales border in the gorgeous Tweed Valley.
At Tropical Fruit World families get the opportunity to taste a range of different tropical fruits from around the world. I hadn’t even heard of most of these fruits – including Black Sapote which is basically chocolate mousse in a fruit!
Entry into the attraction also includes a tractor tour around the gorgeous property, where along the way your guide will share interesting facts about the various fruits as well. Its all about fruit either, here are some great family friendly activities:
- Crack macadamia nuts straight from the tree;
- Feed and pat the animals at Old McDonald’s Farm;
- Ride the miniature train around Treasure Island;
- Take a boat cruise down the property’s stunning river;
Of course, you mustn’t leave without having some delicious fruit ice cream. Choose your own fruit and the guys in the café will turn it into the most delicious ice cream you have ever had!
The fruit tasting, and tractor tour takes 2.5 hours, but you’re quite welcome to spend as long as you like at the property. The kids might enjoy playing at Treasure Island a little longer than what’s allowed for during the tour as there is a variety of games here, putt putt, playground and flying fox.
Located on Duranbah Road, Duranbah you will need a car to get to Tropical Fruit World. The attraction is open daily from 10 am to 4pm.
Other nearby attractions which you might like to visit include Cabarta Beach which is only a 12 minute drive from the attraction. There is also a great playground at Norries Headland, as well as the headland walk where you may even spot a whale or two during whale season.
Entry into Tropical Fruit World is $47 per adult, $25 per child and $115 for a family pass (2A+2C). Click here if you wish to purchase your tickets online.
Surfers Paradise Attractions
There are so many places to visit in Surfers Paradise that I have a completely separate post on things to do in Surfers Paradise with the kids. Click here to read my full guide. The guide provides further detail (such as locations and opening hours) on the below Surfers Paradise attractions.
6. Infinity – Surfers Paradise
Infinity is an absolute mind blowing experience into a futuristic and spectacular maze-like world of wonder and fun. It is made up of around 20 multi-sensual environments where you’ll be transported into world altogether. This is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in the Gold Coast with the family.
At the time of publishing tickets were $26.90 per adult and $17.90 per child with family passes being $75.90. However for discounted tickets, purchase through the Experience Oz website where tickets are $26.90 per adult, $17.90 per child and $75.90 for a family pass. Click here to buy your discounted tickets through the Experience Oz.
7. Gold Coast Snow Park – Surfers Paradise
At the Snow Park there are various slides and an icekart track made from a product which replicates gliding along actual snow. So you can snow toboggan and drive karts across the ice even in the middle of Queensland’s hot summers! You can buy an hour pass for $30 which includes 1 go on the icekarts or $55 for 2 hours which includes 2 goes on the icekarts. Alternatively, you can pay per ride which is $3 for the small slide, $5 for the mid slide, $7 for the massive slide and $9 per ride on the icekarts.
8. King Tutts Putt Putt Golf – Surfers Paradise
At King Tutt’s there are three different courses you can play – the Egyptian, Jurassic or the outdoor course. One round of putt putt is $15 per adult and $10 per child with a family pass being $35. Its only $5 per person for 2 rounds and parents don’t need to pay to go on the course if just the kids are playing – but it’s highly recommended that Mum and Dad get in on the fun too!
9. Time Zone – Surfers Paradise
At Time Zone you will find the latest interactive games and rides. Games include old favourites such as pinball machines and Pac Man as well as car racing games, dance games, air hockey, shooting hoops and a zillion more! There are also dodgem cars, ten pin bowling, mini golf, laser skirmish, and a little kiddies area. There are heaps of options to play (click here for the various options). You can pay as you go or purchase a package deal.
10. Ripely’s Believe it or Not – Surfers Paradise
Ripley’s is full of amazing stories of history and adventure, magic, illusions, mystery and life-size figurines. There are over 400 hundred exhibits and there are plenty of interactive displays as well that the kids can get involved in. You can compare your height to the tallest man, walk through the spinning vortex or just like the movies make your way through the laser room without being touched by a laser beam. Ticket prices are $26.90 per adult and $16.90 per child with children under 5 free. Click here to purchase tickets online via Experience Oz.
11. Sky Point – Surfers Paradise
Top things to do in Surfers Paradise include a visit to the top of Q1 at the SkyPoint Observation Deck. Here you can stand on the Gold Coast’s highest building at 77 floors and 322 metres in the air to get the best possible view of the city. For those that are super brave and want to their Gold Coast adventures further, you can even get outside level 77 and climb even further to a peak height of 270 metres above sea level.
Entry to the observation deck is $25 per adult and $15 per child with under 3 free. You can purchase discounted tickets through Klook with adult tickets $22.00 and child tickets $14.00. Click here to purchase your tickets through the Klook website.
The SkyPoint Climb starts at $75 with options for a sunrise or sunset climb or various climbs including a meal at the SkyPoint Bistro. Click here to purchase your tickets online from Experience Oz.
12. Gold Coast Wax Museum – Surfers Paradise
This Wax Museum is home to the largest collection of authentic wax figures in the Southern Hemisphere and include wax figures of famous faces that the whole family will recognize as well as other features like the gruesome and gory Torture Chamber. Prices are $32 per adult, $25 per child or a family pass (2A+2C) for $96.00. Click here to buy your tickets in advance from the Experience Oz website.
13. Aquaduck Tours – Surfers Paradise
Aquaduck tours are one of the perfect Gold Coast tourist activities for the whole family. On this tour you will experience the Gold Coast on both land and water! Tours last an hour and during that time you will be able to see gorgeous views of the Gold Coast from every possible angle. Tickets are $38 per adult and $30 per child. At the time of publishing you can get discount tickets from Klook with adults being $34.20, children $23.75 and under 3 free. Click here to purchase your tickets through Klook.
14. IFLY Indoor Skydiving – Surfers Paradise
iFly Indoor Skydiving offer one of the awesome Gold Coast adventure activities where you can experience the thrills of skydiving without having to actually do the terrifying jump! You will basically get to experience what it feels like jumping 14,000 feet free fall only you are in the safety of a glass wind tunnel with experienced and talented flight instructors. At the time of publishing prices started at $69. Click here to purchase your tickets through the Experience Oz website.
15. Sling Shot & Vomatron Rides – Surfers Paradise
Get strapped into the Sling Shot and sling shot at 160 kilometers per hour or enter the Vomatron and be spun around at crazy quick speeds in borth forward and backwards motion, whilst reaching a velocity of 120km per hour and an altitude of more than 45 metres plus 4g acceleration. Ticket prices for the Sling shot ride are $30 per person, and the Vomatron is $20 per person.
16. Holey Moley Putt Putt – Surfers Paradise
The whole family will love having a game of putt putt with these 18 unique and crazy holes. Swing your club through shark infest waters and have fun identifying the pop culture references such as the Sampsons Couch and the Nine Iron Throne. Prices start at $20 per person.
17. Checkpoint – Surfers Paradise
This is a great place for the whole family where the kids get to play the latest computer games, whilst Mum and Dad can relax with a drink or two. Here they have gaming PCs, Xbox and PS4 consoles, retro arcade games, board games and racing simulators. For the sports lovers there are several large screens where the latest games from around the world are broadcasted.
18. Strike – Surfers Paradise
Strike down at Surfers Paradise is so much more than a tenpin bowling alley. The bowling alley has the lights turned down and the music turned up as well as cocktail bar and pizzas available. Children are welcome too but not after 8pm. Bowling starts at $12 per person per game. There are also multiple escape rooms and karaoke rooms too.
19 . 7D Cinema – Surfers Paradise
This awesome cinema brings you the newest technology in virtual reality, where tou strap on 3D glasses as well as having 7 different special effects kick in so instead of just feeling like you are watching a movie, you actually feel as if you are part of it. Tickets at the gate are $15 per adult, $13 per child and $56 per family or save and book online with tickets being $13.50 per adult, $11.70 per child and $50.40 for a family pass. Click here to purchase your discounted tickets.
Top 10 things to do in Gold Coast include a visit to the various theme parks and Dreamworld is arguably one of the best theme park Gold Coast has. Dreamworld is a fantastic theme park with so many activities such as rollercoasters and rides suitable for the whole family and even toddlers will enjoy all that there is to see.
Dreamworld offers some of the most exciting rides on the Gold Coast and is home to the Big 9 Thrill Rides including the BuzzSaw, the Giant Drop and the Tower of Terror II. But there is plenty for the little kids too including ABC Kids World and Tiger Island.
At the time of publishing one day Dreamworld tickets (which also includes entry to WhiteWater World start from $95 per adult and $85 per child with children under 3 free. You really do need a full day at both Dreamworld and WhiteWater World though, so if you do this its best to get a multi-day pass which starts at $109 for adults and $89 for children with under 3 free. A multi day pass also includes entry to SkyPoint Observation Deck. Click here to book your tickets.
Some other options to save money on Dreamworld tickets include:
- 1 day pass with buffet lunch – $100 per person via Klook – this fantastic it’s basically a buffet lunch for $5 – click here to purchase.
- 1 day pass with buffet lunch and SkyPoint entry – $105 per person via Klook – click here to purchase.
Currently Experience Oz as a special on where you can get a 3 day pass to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint for $95 per adult and $85 per child, plus get a free digital photo pass which is valued at $69. Click here to book these discount tickets from Experience Oz.
Dreamworld is located in South East Queensland at northern end of the Gold Coast on the Pacific Highway (M1) at Coomera, which is 17kms north of Surfers Paradise and 48kms south of Brisbane. It is much easier to drive yourself, however there is the option of public transport. Alternatively you can book theme park transfers starting at $22 per person – click here for more information.
Dreamworld is one of the Gold Coast top attractions and is open 7 days a week between the hours of 10 am to 5 pm.
21. WhiteWater World
Another kid friendly Gold Coast attraction during the warmer months is WhiteWater World. There are water slides and activities suitable for all ages so the whole family can enjoy the day. From Wiggle Bay for the little ones to the Triple Voretex for the older thrill seekers, whilst the entire family will love the massive wave pool.
I’d recommend to save money you pack yourself an esky full of food as food and drink prices tend to be expensive. However, food and drinks are available inside the park to be purchased.
WhiteWater World entry is included with your Dreamworld ticket – so see above on ticket prices and how to purchase discounted tickets.
WhiteWater World is located together with Dreamworld, in South East Queensland at the northern end of the Gold Coast on the Pacific Highway (M1) at Coomera which is 17kms north of Surfers Paradise and 48kms south of Brisbane. It is much easier to drive yourself, however there is the option of public transport. Alternatively you can book transfers starting at $22 per person – click here for more information.
WhiteWater world is open 7 days a week from 11am – 4pm and is one of the perfect Gold Coast attractions for toddlers or teenagers.
22. Paradise Country
Paradise Country is full of animals and shows that the whole family will enjoy. There are a variety of farm animals you can come face to face with as well as a range of glorious Australian Wildlife that you are able to get up close with. You can also see the very cute babies in the Animal Nursery, one of the best kid friendly activities Gold Coast has.
The cost of getting into Paradise Country for admission is $27 per adult and $17 per child or you can select the option of having lunch included which makes the prices $39 per adult and $29 per child. Click here to purchase your tickets online via Experience Oz.
The park is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily and is located on Production Drive in Oxenford in South East Queensland. It is also accessible via public transport.
23. Outback Spectacular
Outback Spectacular is a fantastic place to visit for the whole family to enjoy a captivating journey to the high country with a dinner and show package that features Australian animals, stunning effects, songs and bush tucker. This is the perfect experience for families wondering what to do in Gold Coast with kids for a real Australiana experience.
Included in the show and dinner ticket is a 3 course meal, beer, wine and soft drink throughout the show, bush billy tea and an Australian Outback Stockman’s hat.
Shows are on nightly from Tuesdays through to Saturday with pre show entertainment starting at 3.45pm. There is also a Sunday matinee.
At the time of publishing, prices for an adult meal and show ticket start from $99.99 and children tickets start from $69.99. Children under 2 years old are free but do not get a meal so you will have to pack food for them. Click here to buy your tickets online.
Outback Spectacular is located between Movie World and Wet’n’Wild at Oxenford on the Gold Coast.
24. Learn to Surf
Outdoor activities Gold Coast has to offer include loads of water sports, with surfing being an Aussie favourite. What better thing to do while on the Gold Coast than learn to surf at one of the beautiful beaches the Gold Coast has to offer from a qualified professional surf instructor.
There are a variety of places in Gold Coast where you can learn to surf and there is sure to be one near wherever you are staying. Here a few options to check out:
- Surfers Paradise: From $69 for 2 hours of surf lessons. Click here for more information or to book.
- North Burleigh: From $49 for half day of surf lessons. Click here for more information or to book.
- Kirra: From $62.10 for 2 hour surfing course. Click here for more information or to book.
25. Jet Boating
Jet Boating tours will take you through the Gold Coast’s beautiful waterways in the most thrilling and exciting way possible. Experience reversing, turning and spinning on the water at a high speed all while soaking in the scenery at the same time.
Prepare yourself for a wild ride of wave-hopping aboard a super powerful machine all while enjoying an exciting adventure suitable for all age groups.
There are a variety of places on the Gold Coast where you can do jet boating and there is sure to be one near wherever you are staying. Here a few options to check out:
- Paradise Jetboating: 55 minute ride on the Broadwater. Prices from $60 for adults, $45 for kids (4-12) and $169 for a family pass Tickets include transfers from local hotels. Click here for more information or to book.
- Jetboat Extreme: 55 minute ride on the Broadwater. Prices from $58 per adult, $42 per child (5-14) and $165 per family and includes transfers from local hotels. Click here for more information or to book.
- GC Jet: 40 minute ride on the Broadwater. Prices from $58 for adults, $40.50 for kids (8-12) and includes transfers from local hotels. Click here for more information or to book.
26. Sky Diving with Gold Coast Skydive
If you are after a truly unique way to experience the magnificent views of the picturesque Gold Coast, then Sky Diving over the region will be worth every cent.
The guys at Gold Coast Skydive have got you covered. You will meet your instructor at their office where you be fitted with your harness, followed by training to get you ready for your jump.
These guys are located at 1/78 Musgrave Street, Kirra, and the price of your jump includes transfers.
At the time of publishing prices were from $375 per person. Click here to purchase your tickets via the Experience Oz website.
27. Game Over – Go Karting Racing
Game Over is the Gold Coast’s largest indoor family entertainment center and caters for all ages. There is just so much to do for the whole family to enjoy including a range of arcade machines, laser tag, climbing and even a Zip Coaster which is an exciting ride that will let you soar above the kart track while others are racing beneath you. Family activities Gold Coast – doesn’t get much better than this!
The go karts are suitable for children from 7 years of age whilst children from the age of 4 can join laser tag and the clip’n’climb with children from the age of 6 being able to join the zip coaster.
Located 88-108 Siganto Drive, Helensvale (20 minute drive from Surfers Paradise), Game Over is open Monday to Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm and 10am to 5pm on Sundays.
At the time of publishing the karting sessions start at $39.00 per adult and $34.00 per child. The other activities cost extra but if you are keen to spend a whole day there and try out all that is on offer you can buy a combo package too. Click here to see the range of packages available and to book tickets online.
28. David Fleay Wildlife Park
The David Fleay Wildlife Park is a wildlife park where you can see animals including crocodiles, emus, koalas, brolgas, dingoes, bilbies, kanagroos, dunnarts and platypus, in their most natural habitat. This park plays an important role in demonstrating the conservation initiatives of David Fleay, the founder of this park who established it in 1951.
You can explore the park on your own or join the rangers on one of the daily wildlife shows.
Tickets are super affordable at $23 per adult and $10.50 per child with family passes being $58.75. Children under 4 are free of charge. Click here to purchase tickets online.
This park is open all year round except Christmas day from 9am to 5pm and is located on Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, Queensland.
Holoverse is the first Holographic entertainment center in the world! This is an awesome activity for the family to enjoy as it is completely safe and fun for everyone. It uses advanced holographic technology to project many different objects that float all around you so it appears you are there, offering perfect Gold Coast entertainment for the entire family.
There are a variety of different experiences to try like visiting Africa, fly over the Gold Coast skyline or visit the planets.
Tickets for one experience start from $35 per person or you can purchase a family pass (2A+2C) for $100. Alternatively, you can save quite a bit from buying online via Experience Oz with tickets being $27 per person. Click here to purchase discounted tickets.
Holoverse is located at 59 Nerang Street, Southport and open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 10am to 2.30pm. Hours may vary on school holidays.
30. Whale Watching
Whale watching season runs from May to October and during this time you can see thousands of humpback whales that are migrating north from Antarctica, passing up and back down the coast. Whale watching is undoubtedly one of the best activities to do in Gold Coast.
There are several boats around the Gold Coast that offer Whale Watching tours, here are two to consider:
- Whales in Paradise: 3 hour cruise departing Surfers Paradise 4 times a day and includes morning or afternoon tea. Tickets start at $99 per adults, $69 per child or $267 for a family pass (2a+2c). Click here to purchase tickets online.
- Sea World Whale Watching: 2.5 hour cruise departing Sea World 10 am and 2pm daily. These guys have a great deal in that if you don’t see whales you get a full refund. Tickets are $99 per adult, $79 per child and $300 per family. Click here to purchase your tickets online.
Please note that children under 3 are not permitted on either tour.
If you don’t have money for a cruise, you can try your luck and spot whales from one of the elevated headlands along the coast as the whales do come in quite close to shore. Some of the most recommended spots to witness the whales ae Point Dangar, Greenmount, Kirra Hill, Currumbin Rocks, Tumgun Lookout within Burleigh Heads National Park and North Burleigh/Miami Headland.
31. Jet Skis
If you haven’t tried jet skiing before, the Gold Coast Broadwater is the best place to have a go. Either go around the Jet Ski circuit and or for the more experience jet skiers join a jet ski safari. Please note that the minimum age to ride a jet ski is 8 and 16 to ride a jet ski unaccompanied by an adult.
Circuits start at $85.50 per jet ski for 30 minutes or $157.50 for 1 hour. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
Jet Ski safaris start at $250 per jet ski for 1.5 hour tour. Click here for more information or to make a booking.
32. Gold Coast Cruise
Explore the tranquil waters of the Gold Coast canals. Pass glamour Gold Coast mansions and boats as well as see Gold Coast main attractions such as Sea World, Marina Mirage, the Palazzo Versace and more.
Choose from a range of different cruises including morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Cruises start at $29 for adults and $15 for children with under 3 free. Family passes are available for $69. Click here to purchase tickets through Experience Oz.
33. Aqua Splash
Aqua Splash is an inflatable water park on the Broadwater where kids can climb, jump and balance on a range of inflatable structures. Kind a like a jumpy castle but on water. Suitable for the entire family, there is even a mini zone only for kids aged between 1-9 years.
Entry is based on a 50 minute session with tickets costing $15 for 17+, $10 for 10-16 yrs, $5 for 5-9 yrs. In the mini zone 1-4 yrs are $5 and parents can go free whilst 5-9 yrs are $10.
Aqua Splash is only open during the warmer months, between 9 am and 7pm daily and is located at Marine Parade, Southport Broadwater Parklands, Southport.
34. The Best Playgrounds on the Gold Coast
Not everything has an entry free on the Gold Coast. Visiting one of the awesome playgrounds is one of the best things to do in Gold Coast for free! There are so many playgrounds scattered around the Gold Coast, too many too list them all, but here are some of the more popular and cool Gold Coast parks that your kids will love:
- Broadwater Parklands (Southport): This is the best playground in the whole of the Gold Coast – your kids will go nuts here! There is some great playground equipment here including a jumping pillow, flying fox, pedal power train, seesaw as well as BBQ facilities. Located on Marine Parade, Southport.
- Rockpools (Southport): Located within the Broadwater Parklands is the Rockpools a great man made splash area that the little kids will absolutely love. Located on Marine Parade, Southport.
- Justin’s Park (Burleigh Heads): This is a mid-size playground on the Esplanade at Burleigh Heads perfect for younger children. Here you will find swings, slides, monkey bars and BBQ facilities.
- Kurrawa Pratten Park (Broadbeach): Located on the Esplanade at Broadbeach this is a fantastic large playground with a stack of playground equipment including slides, swings, climbing equipment, flying fox as well as BBQ facilities.
- Pirate Park (Palm Beach): This is one of Myla’s favourite parks on the Gold Coast, most likely due to the pirate theme of the park. In the centre of the park is a massive pirate ship which the kids can climb on and slide down as well as keep an eye out for the bad guys. There are caves to explore for hidden treasures, swings and lots of tunnels to explore. Located at 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
- Queen Elizabeth Park (Coolangatta): A good mid-size park perfect for little kids. Here you will find swings, climbing equipment and slides.
Provided you can resist all the wonderful items on sale, a visit to one of the many Gold Coast markets, is also another one of the free activities Gold Coast has on offer, or at least one of the cheap things to do on the Gold Coast anyway!
Here are some of the more popular ones:
- Carrara Markets has over 500 stalls with plenty of locals and tourists looking to score a bargain. Open every Saturday and Sunday.
- Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets has over 100 stalls and is the perfect thing to do on a warm summers evening. Open every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night along the beach Esplanade at Surfers Paradise.
- Famous Beachfront Markets are on every Sunday and change their different beachside location from Broadbeach to Coolangatta to Burleigh each time.
- Marina Mirage Farmers Markets are located on Seaworld Drive on the Broadwater Spit, Main Beach, opposite the Sheraton Mirage Resort and are on every Saturday.
- Miami Marketta comes alive every Friday and Saturday with live music, street food, craft beer and boutique wine.
36. Go Shopping
If you are the sort of family who likes to shop whilst you are on holidays, there is no shortage of shops down the Gold Coast. There are shops absolutely everywhere, but below I have listed the bigger shopping centers with the biggest range of shops and restaurants.
For the most part shopping centres are open from 9am to 5.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 9pm on Thursdays, and 10 am to 4 pm on Sundays
- Pacific Fair Shopping Centre: With over 400 different stores, this is Queensland’s largest shopping, entertainment and dining precinct. You will find all the major brands here, restaurants, food outlets and cinemas. Located on Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach a short walk from the Broadbeach G:Link station.
- Australia Fair: This is a mid size shopping centre with over 200 stores, cinemas and a food court. Located at 42 Marine Parade, Southport.
- Harbour Town: This is Australia’s largest outlet shopping centre with over 240 clearance stores. There is even a free shuttle bus from Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise to get you there. Located at 147-189 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters.
- Robina Town Centre: With over 400 stores, this is the Gold Coast’s second largest shopping centre. Here you will find all the major brands, restaurants, food outlets and cinemas. Located at Robina Town Centre Drive (off Robina Parkway), Robina.
37. Go to the Beach
A visit to the beach has to be one of the top things to do with kids on the Gold Coast, right? It ticks so many boxes perfect for families with kids of all ages, perfect if you’re looking for things to do on the Gold Coast with toddlers or teenagers, and it’s free!
There are numerous of activities you can do at the beach, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, building sand castles, go for a beach stroll or read a book. Spend an hour here or spend the entire day. In fact visit here just one day or spend your entire holiday here and do nothing else! The choice is completely yours.
My top tip – no matter how calm the water looks or how excellent a swimmer your or the kids are, ALWAYS swim between the flags! And my second top tip – apply LOTS of sunscreen! You will burn fast, even on a shady day.
38. Explore the Gold Coast Hinterland
There are so many fantastic Gold Coast natural attractions in the Hinterland that it really deserves it’s own post (stay tuned for that one!). So in this post I will briefly mention some of the Gold Coast hinterland attractions for families.
- O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk – Lamington National Park: Part of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and is located just outside the guest house. This tree top walk consists of 9 suspension bridges that are up to 16 meters above the ground. You can enjoy a birds eye view of the rainforest from a deck 30 metres above ground in a fig tree over the walkway. This attraction is open to the public all day, every day and is free.
- Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls- Lamington National Park: Set deep in the Gold Coast Hinterland Green Mountains surrounded by lush rainforest with water gushing down shiny rocks making it a stunning sight. It is 3.3 kms each way to reach the picnic area and a total of 7.6 km to Elabana falls.
- Skywalk – Mount Tamborine: The entire walk is 1.5kms and is a combination of forest floor trails, 300 metres of high-tech steel bridges, and a 40 metre cantilever bridge that soars 30 metres above the creek and rainforest below. Ticket prices are $19.50 for an adult and $9.50 for a child with children under 6 free. Click here to purchase your Skywalk tickets online via Experience Oz.
- Glow Worms – Mount Tamborine: Experience an amazing Glow Worm tour in a purpose-built cave that is filled with thousands of glowing Glow Worms. This is the only Glow Worm tour available during the day in Queensland and in just 30 minutes you can see a Glow Worm up close and learn all about their life cycle and behavior. Ticket prices are $14 per adult and $6 per child with children under 4 years old free.
- Curtis Falls – Mount Tamborine: A moderate grade circuit of 1.5 kms return that trails through beautiful lush rainforest with towering palm trees and magical eucalypts. You can view the amazing Curtis Falls from a platform that overlooks an adjacent rock pool. These falls are best to visit straight after heavy rain but they do still run all year around so you can view them any time.
- Cedar Creek Falls – Mount Tamborine: A 3.2 kms track which will allow you to view the creeks various cascades, rock pools, flora and fauna.
- The Witches Falls – Mount Tamborine: Witches Falls is a 3.1 kms moderate grade walking track through lush rainforest that takes about 1 hour. 3.1kms. The start of the track descends down steep mountain side through open forest which will offer great views. When the track eventually flattens out, you’ll be tempted to jump into one of the many beautiful lagoons to cool down.
- Cameron Falls – Mount Tamborine: A 2.6 km easy grade return track, which takes around 1 hour. The track descends to the creek through beautiful rainforest with large flooded gums and Piccabeen groves to the stunning Cameron Falls waterfall.
- Thunderbird Park – Mount Tamborine: There is so much to do here including horse riding, zip line adventure, bird feeding, mini golf, bush walking, laser skirmish, rock pools, the famous tree top challenge and the little ones can hunt for ‘Thundereggs. Given there is so much to do here you may well just want to spend a night or two. You can camp or stay in one of the cedar creek lodges or bush lodges.
- Natural Bridge – Springbrook National Park: Located in the western part of the Springbrook National Park it is a little isolated from the other attractions but well worth the drive. It is an easy 30 minute return walk to see the Natural Bridge rock arch.
- Purling Brook Falls – Springbrook National Park: This is an easy waterfall view from the lookout just a few minutes walk from the car park.
- Canyon Look Out – Springbrook National Park: Gorgeous views across the valley towards Surfers Paradise. This is also the start of the Twin Falls walk.
- Twin Falls Circuit – Springbrook National Park: Its a short 30 minute walk to see these waterfalls. Here you can see lush rainforstest, rockpools and waterfalls.
- Best Look out of all – Springbrook National Park: Fantastic view across the southern edge of the Springbrook Plateau – the look out is located an easy 350m walk from the carpark.
Thank you to the Novotel, Hurricane’s Bar & Grill, Infinity, King Tutt’s Putt Putt, Gold Coast Snow Park, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Time Zone, Pancakes on the Rocks and Liv Eat for hosting our visit. Of course all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in anyway.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that should make any bookings using my links, I may be paid a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to provide this information free of charge – thank you for supporting our website.
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