gold coast skyline

100 Best Things to Do on the Gold Coast with Kids (Updated 2022)

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If you’re looking for a fun family holiday destination, look no further than the Gold Coast! With its stunning beaches and an endless list of things to do on the Gold Coast with kids, it’s the perfect place for families! This beautiful region of Australia is jam-packed with kid-friendly activities and family attractions galore!

And this guide isn’t just for visiting with kids! The Gold Coast is a great destination for all ages so everyone will love these fun things to do on the Gold Coast, whether young or young at heart!

So pack your sunscreen and grab your hat – it’s time to explore everything the Gold Coast has to offer!

kids with commonwealth games statue on gold coast
In This Guide:
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The Ultimate Guide To Visiting The Gold Coast With Kids

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations and it’s easy to see why! With its stunning beaches, world-class theme parks and endless activities, the Gold Coast is the perfect place for a family holiday.

Before we get to the fun stuff, let’s plan the basics!

Where Is The Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast is located in the southeastern corner of Queensland, about an hour’s drive south of Brisbane. It’s a large city, spanning over 40 kilometres of coastline.

How To Get To The Gold Coast?

The best way to get to the Gold Coast from Brisbane is by car. It’s a pretty straightforward drive down the Pacific Motorway. There are also regular trains between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

If you’re coming from further afield, there are plenty of domestic and international flights that land at Coolangatta Airport on the Gold Coast. Once you’re here, getting around is easy with plenty of public transport options available.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Gold Coast?

gold coast skyline

The Gold Coast is a great place to visit all year round! However, the best time to visit really depends on what you want to do while you’re here. If you’re looking to spend your days lounging on the beach, then the months from November to March are perfect as they offer the warmest weather and water temperatures.

The Summer school holidays are extremely busy and run from around mid-December to late January so if you want to avoid the crowds (and higher prices), visit outside of this time.

However, if you’re looking to visit the theme parks, then the months from April to October are ideal as they offer cooler weather which is perfect for riding those roller coasters! But with around 300 days of sunshine a year, there isn’t a bad time to visit!

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the fun stuff! Here are the top things to do on the Gold Coast with kids:

Best Things To Do In Surfers Paradise With Kids

When planning a Gold Coast vacation, most people think of Surfers Paradise. This beachside city is one of the most popular places to stay on the Gold Coast due to its close proximity to many of the most popular attractions!

With its beautiful beaches, the bustling Cavill Avenue and an endless array of things to do, Surfers Paradise is a great place for families who want to be in the centre of activity.

While this is just one of the many popular areas to visit, we thought it would be helpful to start with all the best things to do in the heart of Surfers Paradise with kids, before exploring more of the best Gold Coast attractions.

Here are some of the best things to do in Surfers Paradise with kids:

Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Surfers Paradise

world's tallest man statue at ripleys believe it or not gold coast

One of the most famous Gold Coast attractions for families has always been Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Located in the centre of Cavill Avenue, this attraction is perfect for kids of all ages as it’s packed with bizarre and interesting exhibits that will amaze the whole family. From shrunken heads to artwork made of food, interactive activities and hilarious facts, Ripley’s has something for everyone!

Ripley’s Surfers Paradise is part of the franchise of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions around the world, originally created by Robert Ripley to showcase unusual things he discovered on his travels.

We have visited this attraction many times as kids, growing up in Queensland, and now visit with our own kids, as there is always something new to see, with exhibits changing often and some favourites staying the same for some great nostalgia. They also have a 7D cinema that combines a ride with a short 3D film experience.

Ripley’s is open daily from 9 AM until 10 PM making it a great attraction for a rainy day on the Gold Coast or even if you are looking for things to do on the Gold Coast at night!

Infinity Gold Coast

Infinity attraction is one of the coolest things to do in Surfers Paradise with kids if you want to have a unique experience exploring their 20 multi-sensual play zones filled with special effects, emotive atmospheric sound fields, and unique aromas, music and illusions.

This interactive experience is suited to ages 8 and above. Younger kids can visit, however, they may find some of the illusions and sensory overload quite overwhelming.

Infinity Gold Coast is open from 10 AM until 10 PM daily and is located within the Chevron Renaissance Centre.

Book your Infinity Gold Coast tickets online

Holey Moley Putt-Putt Surfers Paradise

holey moley golf buggy gold coast

Located in the centre of Surfers Paradise, in Circle On Cavill Shopping Centre, Holey Moley is a fun-filled mini golf course that has quickly become one of the most popular places to visit on the Gold Coast.

With its 27 holes of mini golf spread over two levels, themed around pop culture with music, television shows, art and movies, this is a great activity for families. You can play 9, 18 or 27 holes. There is also a bar and karaoke.

Holey Moley is open from 10 AM until 10 PM Sunday to Wednesday, staying open later on Thursday to Saturday nights. Note that anyone under 18 must leave by 8 PM, with nighttime reserved for adult fun.

Holoverse Surfers Paradise

This is a relatively new attraction to Surfers Paradise, located on Level One of Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre.

Holoverse is an immersive virtual reality experience that will take you into other worlds with over 30 different games and experiences to choose from. With options suitable for ages seven and above, this is a great activity for the family if you are looking for something a little different.

There is a holographic escape room, suited to older kids (although there is a kid-friendly version too), a Holoverse Aquarium, Holosports, Holographic Arcade and loads more experiences to enjoy.

Holoverse is open daily from 10 AM (9 AM on Saturday & Sunday) and until 5 PM (6 PM on Friday and Saturday night).

Timezone Surfers Paradise

child playing game at timezone gold coast

A classic favourite when it comes to things to do on the Gold Coast with kids, especially on a rainy day, Timezone is an arcade games centre that has been around for decades. When we were kids, it was called Grundy’s and it was a favourite place to visit, just as it is now as Timezone for our kids.

Filled with arcade games, bowling, dodgem cars and loads more. You can get a card loaded with credit that can be reloaded as often as you like and you use that to play all the games. Most of them give you tokens that can be redeemed in their prize store.

We often grab a $50 Arcade Credit when we visit which comes with a $20 bonus and it keeps the whole family busy for an hour or more. You can also grab hourly passes instead.

There are several other attractions within Timezone:

  • Bumper cars
  • Mini bowling
  • Glow putt putt
  • An escape room
  • Laser tag

Timezone Surfers Paradise is located in the centre of Cavill Avenue and is open from 9 AM to midnight daily.

Strike Bowling Surfers Paradise

Located in the same building as Timezone, Strike Bowling brings ten-pin bowling, a karaoke room and 2 escape rooms to the family fun.

There are 10 bowling lanes, great food, projectors, pool tables and atmospheric lighting. The bowling alley gives nightclub vibes at night.

They have a great deal of $10 per game for kids before 4 PM daily or family packages. There are restrictions after a certain hour where Strike Bowling becomes an adult venue, due to being a licensed venue so jump on that daytime deal!

Strike Bowling is open daily from 10 AM until 10 PM or until midnight on Friday and Saturday night.

Q1 SkyPoint Observation Deck

Nearly every major city around the world has that one spot with the best views and for the Gold Coast, that spot is the SkyPoint Observation Deck – the Gold Coast’s highest attraction!

With panoramic views of the Gold Coast, sitting 230 metres above sea level and located on top of the iconic Q1 building in Surfers Paradise. Not only can you enjoy the epic views, but you can also dine or enjoy a drink 77 levels up at the highest restaurant and bar on the Gold Coast.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping experience, there’s always the SkyPoint Climb! This is Australia’s highest external building climb! You have to be at least 12 years old to experience the climb though! A great family experience if you have daredevil teens!

SkyPoint Observation Deck is open from 7:30 AM to 6 PM every day except Tuesday. A 1-day entry ticket starts from $29 for adults and $21 for kids, but if you have a Dreamworld 3-day pass or an annual value pass, SkyPoint is included in your package!

Book a combined Aquaduck Tour & Skypoint Deck and Dine Tickets

Take A Duck Bus Tour

You’re likely thinking what the heck is a duck bus. Well, one of the coolest ways to go sightseeing on the Gold Coast is taking an amphibious bus tour from Surfers Paradise. That’s right – a bus that converts into a boat!

There are 2 options in Surfers Paradise – Aquaduck and Quack’r’Duck. While Aquabus has been around longer, there is no bad option. We have taken both of these tours and they are a lot of fun, even for anyone who has visited the Gold Coast often.

These tours are especially fun activities to do with kids who might find a typical city tour boring! Especially if they get the chance to help ‘drive’ the boat!

The tour is around an hour, taking you past some of the most iconic Gold Coast landmarks and attractions and then a unique perspective from the Gold Coast Broadwater to see homes of the rich and famous and then out to sea for a ride on some waves.

Both Aquaduck Tours and Quack’r’Duck operate tours throughout the day, although its a good idea to book ahead as they are very popular and do book out!

Gold Coast Wax Museum

The Gold Coast Wax Museum is a fun and interactive attraction for the whole family! With a collection of authentic wax figures in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re sure to find plenty of icons you know and love. From movie stars to historical figures, Aussie favourites and more.

Established back in 1968, this is one of the earliest attractions in Surfers Paradise. There is also a Chamber of Horrors exhibit that tells the more harrowing history of torture and bizarre human rituals. Some of the featured displays may be a little scary for little kids, but you can skip this section.

The Wax Museum in Surfers Paradise is located on Ferny Ave and is open 10 AM until 6 PM daily.

Sling Shot Gold Coast

The Sling Shot in Surfers Paradise has been an icon for as long as I can remember (although I can admit I have never dared go on it). The Sling Shot is one of the most extreme Gold Coast attractions and a great option if looking for things to do on the Gold Coast with teenagers!

You are strapped into a seat and launched at over 160 kilometres per hour speeds, especially like a giant slingshot! It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re at least 125 cm tall, you’re old enough to ride!

The Sling Shot is open from 10 AM until 10 PM, with no bookings required.

iFLY Indoor Skydiving Surfers Paradise

ifly queenstown indoor skydiving

While there are plenty of incredible skydiving locations in Queensland, if you want a more controlled experience, and one that is kid-friendly, IFLY Indoor Skydiving is a fun activity for families!

iFLY takes the fear out of skydiving by letting you experience it in a safe and controlled environment. You’ll be with an experienced instructor at all times as you float on a column of air inside the iFLY chamber.

This is one activity where kids as young as three years old can take part! iFLY Gold Coast is open from 9 AM until 6:30 PM daily.

Book your indoor skydiving experience online

Planet Chill Ice Skating Rink

Take a break from the golden sand beaches and experience some winter fun on the Gold Coast! Planet Chill is an indoor ice skating rink that is perfect for a few hours of family fun.

Even if you’ve never been ice skating before, the rink has skate aids available to help you balance.

Planet Chill is located at one of the best family resorts on the Gold Coast – Paradise Resort. And you don’t have to be a resort guest to book an ice skating session. Many of the accommodation packages at Paradise Resort do come with complimentary ice skating passes though.

There are sessions running throughout the day. It is very popular though so you definitely need to book ahead!

Mini Golf

There are many different places you can enjoy mini golf on the Gold Coast, not just limited to Surfers Paradise!

If you’re staying in Surfers Paradise, there are also several options including King Tutt’s Putt Putt on Surfers Paradise Boulevard. This is an indoor mini-golf attraction with different themed areas, including a glow-in-the-dark zone, Ancient Egypt, King Kon and a Jurassic course. They also have an outdoor course if you want to try both!

Surfers Paradise Mini Golf is entirely outdoors, with an 18-hole mini-golf course. They also have other fun activities for families in their Funzone, including table tennis, a basketball hoop, an inflatable dart board, a giant Jenga and connect four and a bocce pit for extra fun outdoors!

And of course, Holey Moley mentioned above.

For more mini golf locations on the Gold Coast check out:

  • Putt Putt Golf – Mermaid Beach
  • Boulders and Badlands Mini Golf – Parkwood
  • Carrara Mini Golf – Carrara
  • KDV Sport – Coomera
  • Lilliputt Mini Golf – Inside Robina Town Centre

HOTA – Home of the Arts Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is not just about the beaches and the theme parks! HOTA, Home of the Arts is a great place to take the family for the day. With regular art exhibitions, theatre performances, music concerts by international artists and markets, there’s sure to be something everyone will enjoy.

But you don’t have to wait for a special event to enjoy visiting HOTA. The grounds are beautiful to explore, with plenty of open space to run around, with beautiful Evandale Parklands, playgrounds and Evandale Lake which is popular for swimming in the summer months.

The HOTA Bridge offers fantastic views of the Gold Coast skyline. There is also a sculpture walk and adventure trail within the parklands.

HOTA Gallery has a dedicated Children’s Gallery for some added fun and culture.

And if you’re looking for free things to do on the Gold Coast with kids, HOTA also has regular free movie screenings in the park, depending on the time of year! You can bring your own picnic blanket. Or outdoor music performances, farmers markets and plenty of other regular events that are perfect for free family fun!

Surfers Paradise Beach

gold coast beach

You can’t come to the Gold Coast and not spend at least a day at the beach! We will share more about the best beaches on the Gold Coast below, but if you want a beach right near the heart of the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise Beach is a great place to enjoy the sun, sand and waves.

With its wide golden sand beaches, it’s easy to find a spot to lay your towel and relax although expect it to be popular during the summer months and especially during school holidays!

There are 3 lifeguard towers along Surfers Paradise Beach, making it a great safe swimming spot for families before you head back along the Esplanade for lunch.

Best Things To Do On The Gold Coast With Kids

We’ve explored the best things to do in Surfers Paradise, but the Gold Coast is much more than just Surfers Paradise!

Here are some of our favourite things to do on the Gold Coast with kids, no matter where you’re staying.

Gold Coast Theme Parks

The Gold Coast is world-famous for its theme parks and it’s easy to see why! With so many different options, there really is something for everyone.

When it comes to deciding which Gold Coast theme park is best to visit, well, that’s no easy decision! They are all great in their own way and all offer something a little different. Each of them has attractions to suit all ages and interests.

Dreamworld Australia

dreamworld winterfest

The Gold Coast theme park closest to Brisbane is Dreamworld, located in Coomera. With over 40 rides and attractions, there is definitely something for everyone here.

For thrill-seekers, there is the Steel Taipan rollercoaster with the first triple launch system in the Southern Hemisphere, launching forwards, backwards, and then forwards again. There are plenty of other thrill rides too!

For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there are plenty of options, including Australian wildlife encounters and Tiger Island. ABC Kids World has plenty for the youngest visitors too!

Sea World Gold Coast

seaworld australia dolphin show

If you love marine life, then Sea World is a must-visit! Located in Main Beach, Sea World has plenty of fun things to see and do. There are plenty of thrill rides and family rides, including Nickelodeon Land and a splash park in Castaway Bay.

There are also dolphin shows, seal presentations, and other incredible sea animals to see up close. The wildlife encounters and character shows make Seaworld a great choice for visiting with toddlers!

We recommend staying at Sea World Resort next door. You can often get a package deal that includes park entry for SeaWorld and other Village Road Show theme parks.

Book a 7-day combined theme park ticket

Warner Bros. Movie World

child riding carousal at movieworld

Movie and DC superhero fans will love Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast! Located in Oxenford, this theme park has rides and attractions based on all your favourite movies and TV shows.

Some of the thrill ride favourites include Superman Escape – a high-speed rollercoaster inspired by the Man of Steel, the DC Rivals rollercoaster and the Batwing Spaceshot.

There are also plenty of family rides and live shows, making it a great day out for everyone. The Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 show is fantastic! Even the kids love it. And don’t forget to stay for the Star Parade in the afternoon, with all your favourite characters and their floats!

Book a 7-day combined theme park ticket

Gold Coast Water Parks & Swimming Centres

It would hardly be a visit to the Gold Coast without a chance to cool down on some waterslides! There are plenty of options when it comes to Gold Coast water parks.

Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast

kids water park at wet'n'wild

Wet’n’Wild Water World is located in Oxenford and has over 40 slides and attractions, making it the biggest water park in Australia. There are thrill slides, family slides, a kids zone and the family favourite wave pool. Or just relax as you float your way along Calypso Bay in a tube.

Wet’n’Wild is located next door to MovieWorld and stays open all year round with heated pools and slides during winter.

Book a 7-day combined theme park ticket

WhiteWater World

white water world water slides

WhiteWater World is another great option for a day of water fun! Located in Coomera, next door to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World has water slides and attractions to suit all ages.

For thrill-seekers, there are plenty of extreme slides that will have your heart racing, with lots of fun for younger kids too, including Wiggles Bay featuring their favourite Wiggles characters.

White Water World is a seasonal attraction and closes during the cooler months.

GC Aqua Park

If you’re looking for something a little different to the big water parks, then how about the GC Aqua Park? This is an inflatable water park that is located in the water near Broadwater Parklands, with over 600 metres of obstacles to conquer.

The course has slides, climbing challenges and bouncing obstacles for loads of fun and laughs for the whole family.

GC Wake Park

Just like GC Aqua Park, you can have a whole different type of water experience at GC Wake Park. Located on the lake at Oxenford, next door to GC Aqua Park, this water sports complex has cable skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and an Inflatable Aqua Park for those looking for the ultimate day of outdoor family fun.

Wake Park is more suited to older kids who are stronger swimmers and with better agility and endurance, however, they do run a kids club on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8:30 AM to 10 AM. During this time, the cable runs much slower making it perfect for kids and beginners.

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

And finally, for those who just want to cool down with a few laps of swimming, the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is perfect. Located in Southport, within Broadwater Parklands, this impressive swimming centre was developed for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

It has 50-metre Olympic-size pools, a fitness centre, training facilities and a splash pool for young kids that has tipping buckets, water jets and shallow wading areas.

There are also aquatic centres located in Upper Coomera, Pimpampa, Helensvale, Miami, Mudgeeraba and Nerang, which offer leisure swimming pool access outside of special events and swimming carnivals.

Best Gold Coast Wildlife Parks

The Gold Coast is home to some amazing wildlife sanctuaries and there are plenty of opportunities to see native Australian animals up close.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

child holding koala at currumbin wildlife sanctuary

Located in Currumbin, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Gold Coast. It’s a great place to see Australian animals, with plenty of opportunities for close encounters and hands-on experiences.

You can cuddle a koala, feed the kangaroos, get (safely) up close to a crocodile and see lorikeets, echidnas, emus and more! There are also a few international favourites, such as red pandas, lemurs and tamarins, with daily wildlife presentations throughout the sanctuary.

Kids will love Wild Island Adventure Playground plus there are lots of other activities for families within the park. Or do a special experience such as breakfast with koalas or a Twilight Tour.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there is also a TreeTop Challenge course located within Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for ages 8 and up. There are 80 challenges, including 11 ziplines. It operates on weekdays from 9:30 until 12:30 daily or until 2:30 PM on weekends.

TreeTop Challenge bookings include entry into Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary if you want to make a full day of fun for the whole family.

Click here to book your Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary tickets online

David Fleay Wildlife Park

Located in Burleigh Heads is David Fleay Wildlife Park. This smaller wildlife park has a focus on Australian wildlife. From reptiles to possums, birds and wallabies, there are plenty of animals to see and it is a lovely place to stroll around.

Fleay’s Wildlife Park is open from 9 AM to 4 PM daily.

Paradise Country

kids on motorbike statue at paradise country

Paradise Country is a farm stay and working farm that gives visitors the opportunity to learn about and get up close to farm animals and some of the Aussie wildlife icons.

Located in Oxenford, situated behind Movieworld and Wet’n’Wild, this is a wonderful alternative to the big theme parks on the Gold Coast. Plus if you get a multi-park pass for Village Roadshow, you will get entry into Paradise Country, Sea World, MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild!

There are daily sheep shearing demonstrations, milking, animal feedings, pony rides, tractor rides and more. For something different, try gold panning or sample some billy tea. Kids will love the Shaun The Sheep-themed attractions and photo opportunities throughout the park, including a themed playground.

Paradise Country is open from 10 AM to 03:30 PM daily. Or for a unique accommodation experience on the Gold Coast, book an overnight farm stay in an eco tent or by booking a campsite with your own caravan or tent.

Book a 7-day combined theme park & Paradise Country ticket

More Fun Things To Do On The Gold Coast

If those family activities haven’t got you inspired, these fun things to do on the Gold Coast and activities for kids are sure to keep everyone entertained!

Australian Outback Spectacular

One of the most popular attractions on the Gold Coast is the Australian Outback Spectacular. This live show is a must-see, especially for first-time visitors to Australia.

The one-hour show celebrates Australian culture and heritage with music, dance, theatre and equestrian skills set against a simulated backdrop of the stunning Australian outback. This show and dinner experience is a lot of fun for all ages, with great food while you watch horse riding stunts and follow along with the story.

Click here to book your tickets online

Superbee Honeyworld

For something a little different, head to Superbee Honeyworld in Currumbin. This is a working honey farm, where you can learn all about bees and the process of making honey.

The kids will love the interactive displays, live bee hive show (held every hour), free tastings and the chance to buy some delicious honey products to take home.

Superbee Honeyworld is open from 9 AM until 5 PM daily, located near the entrance to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Experience Jet Boating

jet boat leaving the gold coast

Get the adrenaline pumping with a high-speed jet boat ride. There are plenty of operators offering rides, including Paradise Jet Boating, Jet Boat Extreme and GC Jet Boat & Parasailing, to name a few.

This high speed boating experience is definitely a fun way to spend your time enjoying the Gold Coast weather and is perfect for bigger kids, teens and adults, although most jet boats are suitable for ages 4 and up! And the ideal way to cool down during a hot summer day too.

Go Horse Riding

Horse riding is a great activity to do as a family, especially if you have bigger kids. Head out for a trail ride or beach ride with one of the many operators offering horse riding on the Gold Coast.

Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride

hot air balloon over gold coast hinterland

Take to the skies for a unique perspective of the Gold Coast. A hot air balloon flight is the perfect activity for a special occasion or to simply enjoy a luxury experience viewing the different environments below. Why should a hot air balloon flight just be for couples?

Flights operate daily, weather permitting, and there are several operators offering flights from different locations across the Gold Coast, giving you 360-degree views of the Gold Coast hinterland.

Book your hot air balloon experience online

Browse The Markets

cararra markets sign gold coast

If you love visiting the markets, you will have no shortage of great options on the Gold Coast, from farmer’s markets to craft markets and everything in between.

Our personal favourite is the Carrara Markets which are the largest on the Gold Coast, open every Saturday and Sunday. There are a few great family attractions within the markets too, including a Butterfly House, mini golf and the family fun lane with pony rides, farm animals, a Bungy trampoline and more.

Some of the other popular markets include:

  • Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets – Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4 PM until 9 PM along the Surfers Paradise Esplanade.
  • Miami Marketta – Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 5 PM until late with food and drink stalls, music plus regular ticketed events too.
  • HOTA Farmers & Artisan Markets – Every Sunday morning from 6 AM until 11:30 AM with fresh produce and artisan-made foods, making it perfect to lay a picnic rug down on the grassy areas for breakfast or brunch.
  • Gold Coast Arts & Crafts Markets – The location for this market changes with it held at Broadbeach on the 1st & 3rd Sunday of a month, Burleigh on the 4th Sunday and Coolangatta on the 2nd Sunday, running from 8 AM until 2 PM.

Other Gold Coast Activities For Kids:

  • Escape rooms
  • Cinemas
  • Inflatable World Burleigh
  • Bounce Inc
  • Slideways Go Karting
  • Game Over (Karting, laser tag, climbing & more)
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre
  • Tropical Fruit World
  • Surfing lesson
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Snorkelling
  • Top Golf
  • Take a cruise
  • Whale watching (between May and October)
  • ArtVo
  • Indoor play centre
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Gold Coast Butterflies (Carrara Markets)
  • Bowling

The Best Gold Coast Beaches & Swimming Holes

kids in sand at gold coast beach

No visit to the Gold Coast would be complete without spending some time at the beach! With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a place where the kids can build sandcastles and splash in the waves, you will find it on the Gold Coast.

Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, and if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the water or sun, we recommend investing in some good-quality rashies too because the Queensland sun can be very strong!

Grab our free printable beach packing list before you go!

Some of our favourite beaches on the Gold Coast include:

Surfers Paradise Beach

As mentioned above, this is a really popular beach due to the proximity of the Surfers Paradise Esplanade and Cavill Avenue. It’s a great place to people watch, go for a swim and build sandcastles with the kids. Plus, there is plenty of food options close by when you need to refuel.

Main Beach

main beach gold coast

If you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, but still want to be close to all the action, Main Beach is perfect. With its own beachfront promenade lined with restaurants, cafes and bars, you can easily spend a day here swimming, sunbathing and enjoying the views. Main Beach stretches along Southport to The Spit.

Book a Main Beach surfing lesson online

Currumbin Beach

Currumbin Beach is a beautiful, wide and sandy beach located just south of Currumbin Creek. It’s definitely a quieter option and has been recognised as one of Australia’s cleanest beaches. Currumbin Creek entrance, known as The Alley, is the perfect place for beginners to have a go at stand-up paddle boarding, with calm waters making it a great starting location!

Palm Beach

palm beach parklands

Another of our favourites to visit with the kids is Palm Beach. It’s a great place for swimming, surfing and boogie boarding as well as building sand castles. There is a patrolled beach area at Palm Beach too.

The other best Gold Coast beaches include:

  • Burleigh Heads
  • Rainbow Bay
  • Nobby Beach
  • Coolangatta Beach
  • Kirra Beach
  • Broadbeach

Tallebudgera Creek

Tallebudgera creek gold coast

This is by far our favourite place to take the kids swimming on the Gold Coast and it is just a short walk to Tallebudgera Beach.

Framed by Burleigh Heads National Park on one side and Palm Beach on the other, you will find beautiful and calm blue water. It’s popular also for kayaking, snorkelling, paddle boarding and fishing, as well as camping and accommodation nearby.

Currumbin Rock Pools

Not too far from Currumbin Beach, in Currumbin Valley, you will find one of the best swimming holes on the Gold Coast. Currumbin Rock Pools are a series of freshwater pools fed by a natural spring. They’re perfect for cooling off on a hot day or after a bushwalk.

There are shallow areas for kids to paddle and deep pools for confident swimmers, along with picnic tables, bbq facilities and amenities.

Cougal Cascades

Cougal Cascades waterfall and swimming hole

Cougal Cascades is a series of waterfalls and rock pools located at the end of Currumbin Valley Road and on the edge of Springbrook National Park. It’s a great place to cool off on a hot day, with several swimming holes to choose from.

The walk to Cougal Cascades is an easy one and suitable for all fitness levels. The cascades are part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia’s World Heritage Area.

For more swimming holes near the Gold Coast:

  • Korrumbyn Creek – Mount Warning
  • Araluen Watering Hole – Tallebudgera Valley
  • Twin Falls – Springbrook National Park
  • Cedar Creek Falls  – Mount Tamborine

Best Gold Coast Playgrounds & Parklands

gold coast beach

There are so many great playgrounds and parklands on the Gold Coast that you will have no trouble finding somewhere fun to take the kids for some time outdoors.

They can burn off energy on the playground equipment, ride a scooter or kick a ball before you enjoy lunch at one of the many picnic tables or under a shady tree.

Visiting the Gold Coast parklands is one of the best free things to do on the Gold Coast with kids and there are some downright epic playgrounds to conquer!

Here are some of the best playgrounds to visit:

  • Broadwater Parklands & Rockpools Playground (Marine Parade, Southport) – This is our favourite with a jumping pillow, water play, pedal ride, scooter tracks and loads of playground equipment, plus it’s close to Australia Fair Shopping Centre.
  • Kurrawa Pratten Park (Esplanade at Broadbeach) – Plenty of shady trees to enjoy a picnic, bike tracks, play equipment plus you will find the Gold Coast’s first All Abilities Playground.
  • Palm Beach Parklands Pirate Park (Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach) – This is another favourite for our kids with the pirate ship theme making it great fun for imaginative play.
  • Justins Park (Burleigh Heads) – This playground is great for younger kids and perfect for spending a day or taking a break from nearby Burleigh Heads Beach.
  • Laguna Park (Laguna Avenue, Palm Beach) – The biggest drawcard for this playground is that it is fully fenced, making it great for younger kids who might like to wander. It is also further from the beaches so lesser known and therefore not as busy as some of the more central playgrounds.
  • Bim’bimba Park (Gainsborough Drive, Pimpama) – This fantastic playground has something for all ages with climbing platforms, suspension bridges, slides and plenty more to do.
  • Westfield Coomera Playground (Coomera) – Yes, this playground is in a shopping centre and it is another of our favourites. Not only is it full of really cool equipment that you don’t see in a lot of other playgrounds, but you can dine at one of the restaurants between plays.
  • Frascott Park Safari Playground (Varsity Lakes) – This is another wonderful modern playground with plenty of fun equipment and as an added bonus there is a dog park so it’s fun for your furry friend too.

Best Things To Do On The Gold Coast Hinterland With Kids

The Gold Coast Hinterland is a beautiful region to explore with kids, with plenty of things to see and do and perfect for a day trip from the GC. This is definitely one of the best places for outdoor Gold Coast activities for kids and families, with beautiful Queensland national parks.

Make sure you also check out our best things to do in Mount Tamborine guide too!

Take a look at our list of the best things to do in the Gold Coast Hinterland with kids:

Tamborine Glow Worms

Tambornine Mountain Glow Worm Caves

On the property of Cedar Creek Vineyard in Tamborine Mountain, you can take a guided glow-worm tour through the purpose-built cave. As the site is not a natural cave, you are guaranteed glow worm sightings up close. It’s a really cool experience and even our toddler loved it during our last visit.

There are other places to see glow worms on the Gold Coast. One of the most popular is the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park, although Tamborine Glow Worms is much easier with kids since you can visit during the day. You can take a night tour to see the Natural Bridge glow worms.

Thunderbird Park

There are so many activities to do with kids at Thunderbird Park! It’s definitely a family-friendly attraction where you can go fossicking for thunder eggs – cool spherical rocks formed from volcanoes that look incredible when cut in half.

You will also find plenty of other adventure activities for families here, including a high ropes course, ziplines, a funfair, mini-golf, laser skirmish and loads more. The two most popular attractions at Thunderbird Park are the Treetop Challenge and fossicking for thunder eggs.

At the adventure park, you will find a high rope course challenge, canyon flyer tour and kid-friendly high ropes course so the younger kids don’t have to miss out on the fun! There is definitely something fun here for the entire family.

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

tamborine skywalk

The Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk is an outdoor attraction consisting of 300-metres of elevated walkways that take you through the rainforest canopy.

There are also several lookout points along the way where you can admire the views of the lush rainforest and learn about the ecosystem and wildlife. The total walk is around 1.5km of paths, bridges and suspended trails, including a 40-metre cantilever bridge that sits 30-metres above the ground.

Mountview Alpaca Farm & O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards

child with alpaca at oreilleys Canungra vineyard

Want to hang out with an alpaca for a while? This is the place to visit! You can book your own alpaca for 15 minutes or for a whole hour if you so please and enjoy spending time with one of the very cute animals that live at Canungra Valley Vineyards.

Lead the alpaca on a walk (tempting them with the food in the bag you’re given will help) as they graze on grass and you enjoy the tranquil scenery alongside the creek.

Afterwards, head up to the vineyard for one of their delicious pizzas and a chance for mum and dad to sample some of the wines.

Lamington National Park

skywalk lamington national park

Lamington National Park is one of the most popular day trips from Brisbane or the Gold Coast and it’s easy to see why. This stunning World Heritage-listed national park is home to subtropical rainforests, waterfalls, birdlife and incredible views.

One of the best things to do in Lamington National Park is the Tree Top Walk, a 600-metre-long rainforest boardwalk that takes you up into the canopy of the trees. The walk consists of 9 suspension bridges that sit 16 metres above the ground. Best of all, this is a free activity!

The walk is located at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. There are also many other great walking tracks to explore in Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s and Binna Burra. They also offer daily bird feeding sessions at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

Natural Bridge

natural bridge in springbrook national park

The Natural Bridge, also known as the Natural Arch, is a rock archway formed by the erosion of waterfalls. It’s located in Springbrook National Park and it’s a great walk down to the arch, suitable for most fitness levels and ages. The walk will take around 30 minutes return.

At night, you will see the glow worms that live in the cave area under the arch although take care on the walk as it gets very slippery on the mossy, moist ground.

Best Day Trips From The Gold Coast

If you’ve got time to explore beyond the Gold Coast, you can easily enjoy more of the incredible places in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. There are so many options for day trips from the Gold Coast, of course with the most popular being the Gold Coast Hinterland but what about heading further.

Check these Gold Coast day trip ideas out:

Brisbane

If you aren’t coming from Brisbane, it makes for a great spot to explore by day trip from the Gold Coast. Check out our guide to the best things to do in Brisbane to help you plan your visit.

Scenic Rim

Stretching from Mt Tamborine to Aratula, the Scenic Rim is full of incredible national parks, wineries, farms and country towns. This makes it the perfect place to explore if you’re after a day trip with a difference from the Gold Coast.

South Stradbroke Island

Much easier to reach than North Stradbroke Island from the Gold Coast, a day trip to South Straddy is great for day trips (or camping trips) with lots of water activities – sea kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing. We actually visited via seaplane from the Gold Coast once. So fun!

Byron Bay

byron bay beach

A beautiful coastal town in Northern NSW that’s popular for its surfing, hippie vibes and some of the best beaches in NSW. Visit The Farm Byron Bay and the lighthouse, and enjoy coastal walks and beautiful beaches.

Kingscliff

A cute coastal NSW town located about 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast, Kingscliff is perfect for a chilled day by the beach with cafes and restaurants located right by the water.

Mt Warning (Wollumbin National Park)

This national park is home to the highest peak in the Tweed Shire and offers incredible views of the Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Northern NSW. The walk to the summit is challenging, so best with big kids and teens who enjoy hiking, but so worth it for the views!

How To Get Around The Gold Coast

g link light rail gold coast

The Gold Coast is a large place and getting around can be tricky, especially if you’re relying on public transport. The best way to get around the Gold Coast is by car as this will give you the most flexibility to explore all the different areas.

You can hire a car from either Coolangatta or Brisbane Airport or from Gold Coast city.

If you are planning on using public transport, there is a good network of buses and trains that can get you around. The G:link light rail runs along the coast from Broadbeach to Helensvale and there are also buses that operate between all the major areas and theme parks.

Best Places To Stay On The Gold Coast With Kids

When it comes to finding family accommodation on the Gold Coast, you are spoilt for choice, with some of the best family resorts in Australia! Here are our top picks plus you can watch one of our videos for most of the recommended resorts:

Sea World Resort

Seaworld Resort Youtube thumbnail

Sea World Resort is a fantastic family resort located in Southport, right next to Sea World and close to many of the other major attractions. Facilities include a kids club, waterpark, heated pool, restaurants and more.

Plus you can get packages that include theme park entry for SeaWorld, Movieworld, Paradise Country and Wet’n’Wild.

Check availability for Sea World Resort

Paradise Resort

Another great option for families, Paradise Resort has a huge waterpark with slides, several different kids’ play areas, a kids club, an ice skating rink, and family rooms.

They have fantastic attention to detail for catering to children, from little touches like stools in the bathroom to plastic cups and colouring activities in the restaurant. It’s located in Surfers Paradise so you’re close to most major attractions too.

Check availability for Paradise Resort

Big4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

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Big 4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is located in Helensvale, across the highway from Movieworld, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country, Top Golf and more, this is a great option for families wanting to stay close to the major theme parks. It’s also another of our personal favourites!

The holiday park has playgrounds, a jumping pillow, a heated swimming pool and kids’ activities during school holidays. But the best thing is definitely the water park! It’s massive and so much fun (even for grown-ups).

Check availability for Big 4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park

NRMA treasure island holiday park youtube thumbnail

Treasure Island Holiday Park is a great option for families wanting to stay on the Gold Coast but not right in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Treasure Island is located in Biggera Waters and has its own waterpark with slides, swimming pools, mini golf and more. They have accommodation packages to suit most budgets.

They have activities for kids and you can hire pedal buggies to ride around the park, with happy hour at the cafe each afternoon, while the kids enjoy the playground and jumping pillow.

Check availability for Treasure Island Holiday Park

  • Flights – We use Skyscanner or WayAway to research, set price alerts and book flights.
  • Car hire – compare the best car rental prices.
  • Trains & Buses – We book with Omio
  • Accommodation – We use Booking.com or Agoda to book most of our hotel accommodation when we travel.
  • Travel insurance – Protect yourself and your belongings with World Nomads Travel Insurance.
  • Tours & attractions – Our preferred attraction and tour booking sites are Get Your Guide and Viator. Booking ahead will mean you don’t miss out on popular tours!

The Gold Coast offers an incredible range of activities and attractions for kids of all ages, making it the perfect destination for a family holiday. From theme parks to beaches to national parks, there is something for everyone on the Gold Coast. Our picks for the best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids are sure to help you plan the ultimate Gold Coast family vacation!

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best things to do on the gold coast with kids

This article was first published in 2017 and updated annually.