Are you looking for the best Gold Coast experiences? Well, keep reading as the below list is a local guide of the very best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids.
Even if you have never visited the Gold Coast, you would have seen images from social media or magazines showcasing bright blue skies, pristine beaches, and lush green hinterland. It is these features plus many more that draw around 13 million visitors per year. It is a destination that has outgrown its reputation of the glitter strip on the beach, to a diverse haven for holidaymakers.
This guide includes free things to do in the Gold Coast and also the best attractions for families.
An undeniable appeal of the Gold Coast is the glorious weather that you can experience year-round. The balmy temperatures mean you can spend more time outside basking in the outdoors, which is also where you will find many family activities.
Whether you are a local searching for a new adventure, or a visitor wanting to experience the Gold Coast, continue reading to discover some of the best things to do with kids on the Gold Coast.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclaimer for more information.
Article was updated in September 2022
Featured Image: Dreamworld © Tourism & Events Queensland
Table of Contents
Things to do on the Gold Coast with Kids
Hit the Gold Coast Beaches
An outing to the beach is one of the best family activities on the Gold Coast – and it’s free!
Visitors will be spoilt for choice with around 57 kilometres of pristine coastline available. Burleigh Beach and Surfers Paradise are two of the most iconic. The Spit, Main Beach is a perfect choice if you have a furry friend as there is a designated dog area.
The sparkling Tallebudgera Creek is renowned for its calm waters and is ideal for families. While Coolangatta and Greenmount Beach are idyllic spots for swimming on the southern end of the Gold Coast.
Have Fun at the Playgrounds
Are you searching for fun kids’ activities on the Gold Coast? Scattered all over the Gold Coast from north to south if you have children, a playground is the most economical and sometimes the best outing you can provide kids.
If you have some downtime or want to enjoy a picnic in a park or time by the beach, you will be sure to find a playground nearby.
Scattered over the Gold Coast, you’ll find various playgrounds with sometimes different themes. Pirate Park Palm Beach is as the name suggests a pirate-themed playground on the southern end of the Gold Coast. An all-accessible playground can be found at Kurrawa Broadbeach.
Justin’s Park overlooks the beautiful Burleigh Heads beach. Labrador’s Harley Park gives visitors access to not only a playground but a swimming area as well. While north Gold Coast Bim’bimba Park in Pimpama has entertaining features for all ages.
Discover the National Parks
Suppose you are searching for an escape from the Gold Coast city. In that case, you will uncover a completely different world of unspoilt scenery, easy walking trails and cascading waterfalls in the Gold Coast National Parks.
The Natural Bridge is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area that features an incredible rock formation; carved over time by the force of the water over the cave.
The hikes in Springbrook National Park require a little more effort to see the impressive waterfalls in the area. At Twin Falls you can feel the mist hit your face as you follow the track behind the two waterfalls, and the descent to the forest floor is worth the effort to see Purlingbrook Falls, one of the most impressive on the Gold Coast.
Take a Dip at Popular Swimming Areas
There are many things to do on the Gold Coast to cool off during the warmer months, and one of those is to take advantage of the swimming lagoons.
Southport Broadwater Parklands, Labrador and Paradise Point are three locations that offer calm waterways and a change of pace from the crashing waves of the Gold Coast beaches. Similar to Aquativity found at South Bank Brisbane, Southport Parklands also has popular man-made rock pools, perfect for younger kids. If you are searching for the natural kind check out Currumbin Rock Pools around 40 minutes from Surfers Paradise.
Bounce off the Walls
For a fun and active indoor activity make your way to Bounce at Burleigh.
There are several jumping areas including a free-jump area that has around 50 interconnected trampolines. A dodgeball arena where the aim is to outmanoeuvre your opposition. A high-performance area where kids and adults can practice their freestyle skills.
There are many other features including a mini bounce zone for kids aged 6 months to 6 years old. For something a little different strap back on your shoes and try the adventure challenge course including 15 different elements that any wannabe Ninja-Warrior will enjoy.
If your children love jumping castles the other option for some indoor fun is Inflatable World, located at Burleigh and Arundel. Inflatable World is home to the biggest inflatable playground and has hours of fun under one roof.
Action Packed Gold Coast Activities
If you love sport, adventure, and action many activities will get the adrenaline pumping on the Gold Coast.
- Tee off at Topgolf – a fun group activity where the aim is to accumulate points by hitting your ball into several targets.
- For a mini golfing experience Putt Putt Mermaid Beach has three themed 18-hole courses that incorporate colour, obstacles, water and a “hole” lot of fun!
- If you don’t mind heights and are wanting a heart-pumping outdoor adventure the Treetop Challenge may be the activity for you! There are two locations on the Gold Coast. One is located at Mount Tamborine inside Thunderbird Park and the other is at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Both parks have epic features so the hardest part will be deciding on which to visit. At Currumbin, there are over 80 elements, 11 ziplines and 4 levels to tackle. Tamborine Mountain has 140 elements, 14 ziplines and 4 levels spread over 12 acres of rainforest.
- In the warmer months, the Southport Broadwater Parklands is home to an amazing Aqua Splash Park where giant inflatables are set up in the Broadwater creating an obstacle course. Kids as young as 5 can enjoy this activity if they are accompanied by an adult and it is a fun place for all members of the family to cool off.
- The Gold Coast is renowned for its beaches and one of the ways to enjoy the water is by taking a surfing lesson. Many locations provide surf lessons, one being the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach and another at Currumbin Alley.
- For an exhilarating ride around the Gold Coast waterways book a jet boat tour. The heart-pumping ride offers lots of fun mixed with sightseeing and spectacular scenery.
- For another thrill ride but on land this time venture to one of the Go Kart tracks on the Gold Coast. Slideways Go Karting in Nerang is a multi-level venue that offers an indoor track making it the perfect entertainment place for all weather scenarios.
- One of the ways to enjoy the Gold Coast outdoor lifestyle is by exploring the waterways on a stand-up paddleboard. There are several places perfectly suited for a relaxing day on the water including, Tallebudgera Creek, Budds Beach, Cudgen Creek in Kingscliff and Currumbin Creek Estuary.
- iPlay Adventure in Coomera Westfield is another indoor activity that the kids will enjoy. There are two adventures to choose from including a 2 tier high ropes course and a clip and climb challenge. There is an arcade and it is located in a shopping centre with lots of dining outlets.
Family Activities Gold Coast
Visit the Theme Parks
Can you even say you have been to the Gold Coast if you have not visited at least one if not all of the theme parks? Without a doubt, theme parks are one of the most popular family attractions on the Gold Coast.
With all these Gold Coast attractions for families located in one place and boasting the most theme parks than any other state, you could call the Gold Coast Australia’s entertainment hub.
- Meet your favourite superhero or looney tune character at Movie World.
- See some cute, playful, and luminous marine life at Sea World.
- Cool off at Wet and Wild’s mega water park.
- Get up close and personal with Australian farm animals at Paradise Country.
- The choices don’t end there; Dreamworld has the biggest thrill rides, many animal experiences, (tiger island is a firm favourite) dedicated kid’s area, plus all ticket holders receive an entry into the adjoining Whitewater World.
Theme Park Tickets: Find different ticket options here.
Enjoy a day at the Local Farms
There are many local working farms around the Gold Coast district that are open to the public. The farms can sometimes be overlooked by the glitz and glamour of other activities, but they are one of the best family things to do on the Gold Coast.
For animal lovers, the Historic Rivermill may be the perfect place to visit. After a leisurely meal in the café feed the local farm animals or pop down to the river to admire the many turtles and ducks that call this beautiful place home.
Located at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards is Mountview Alpaca Farm. Purchase some alpaca food or book an alpaca experience where you can lead an alpaca around the grounds.
Not far over the border is Tropical Fruit World, known for its delectable fruit and an overall fun day out with the family. Farm and Co Kingscliff is where you can travel home with a bunch of sunflowers and deliciously fresh food.
Important Note: Many farms are fully licenced and are not BYO food or beverages. All the above have the option to purchase food and drinks at the farm. Please view their websites for more information on dining.
Discover Lamington National Park
Only a 90-minute drive from the Gold Coast is the World-Heritage-listed Lamington National Park which is known for over 320 kilometres of hiking trails immersed in sub-tropical rainforests. One of the most popular attractions is O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk whereby you will walk around 15 metres above the forest floor on suspension bridges surrounded by picturesque rainforests.
This area has an abundance of bird life and you can purchase bird seed at the gift shop and feed the wild birds including the beautiful Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots.
Take a Drive to the Scenic Rim
One of the popular day trips from the Gold Coast is to the village of Mount Tamborine nestled in the picturesque area of the scenic rim. After a 40-minute drive, there are many ways to connect with nature in this area. Curtis Falls is one of the easy walks which offers a reward of a waterfall at the base of the forest floor.
On a warm day, you will find many people taking advantage of the cool waters at Cedar Creek Falls or basking under the shady trees at the serene Mount Tamborine Botanical Gardens. Once you have worked up an appetite, you will find something to satisfy your craving along the quaint main street that’s filled with cafes, restaurants, and cheese and fudge stores.
For a unique perspective of the rainforest visit the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk which has a combination of forest floor trails and steel bridges that ascend 300 metres into the upper canopy at their highest point. The entire walk totals 1.5 kilometres.
Another activity is Thunderbird Park which has various activities from a treetop challenge (mentioned above), laser skirmish, mini golf and a thunderegg crystal mine where you can go fossicking or panning for unique treasures.
Experience the Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture
Embark on a guided walk around Burleigh Head National Park. Along the walk, you will hear dreaming stories associated with the creation of Jellurgal as well as learn the Aboriginal history and culture of the Gold Coast. Visit the Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre for more information on the tours and visiting the centre.
Board a boat for Whale Watching
If you are visiting the Gold Coast during whale season (late May to early November) take to the seas to watch the wondrous creatures of the ocean.
The Gold Coast is located on ‘Humpback Highway’, the migration track for whales heading from the Antarctic waters to warm waters in Queensland. Witnessing whales or any ocean animals in their natural habitat is an incredible experience and many tour companies offer this day trip from the Gold Coast.
If you would prefer to stay on land there are several locations on the Gold Coast where you may catch a glimpse from the shoreline. Point Danger in Coolangatta offers clear views of the ocean and is also a great spot for a picnic lunch.
Throw down a Picnic Rug
The Gold Coast’s sensational weather means your picnic gear should always be ready to go!
Pack your favourite rug, stock the esky full of local produce and enjoy a day at one of the Gold Coast’s famous picnic locations. Burleigh Hill is one of the prime picnic locations. You are close to Burleigh Heads National Park if you fancy a walk to stretch your legs. Watch the surfers catch the waves and keep your eyes open for whales during whale season. With Burleigh Beach nearby, playgrounds, and many cafes and restaurants this location has everything you need.
Read More: The best picnic spot on the Gold Coast
Things to do in Surfers Paradise with Kids
There are many fun things to do in Surfers Paradise and no shortage of family-friendly Gold Coast experiences. Find a list below of all the activities and attractions you can find in Surfers Paradise.
- Challenge your senses at Infinity; a maze-like world.
- An attraction you need to see to believe is Ripleys’ Believe It or Not. There are over 300 exhibits and artifacts that are amazing, astonishing and entertaining.
- For a 360-degree view of the Gold Coast take the lift up to Q1’s Skypoint Observation Deck.
- For a little fun competition book a lane at Strike Surfer Paradise. Who will be named bowling King?
- Experience the thrill of indoor skydiving at iFLY Gold Coast
- For a unique sightseeing experience hop onboard the Aquaduck for a land and sea adventure.
- With over 300 arcade games visit Timezone; an iconic attraction in Surfers Paradise.
- View the largest collection of wax figures in the Southern Hemisphere at the Wax Museum
- Sling shot will have you flying vertically in the air at over 160 kilometres an hour.
- For a mini golfing experience, Holey Moley Surfers Paradise is the place to tee off.
- Be surrounded by holographic images mini adventures at Holoverse. There are many adventures to choose from including a dinosaur and aquarium experience.
More Gold Coast Attractions for Families
Meet the Wildlife
Whether your preference is to see cute, cuddly, scaly or feathered, there are many wildlife parks on the Gold Coast to visit.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Possibly the most well-known tourist destination for animal encounters is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Travel around the widespread sanctuary on a miniature locomotive that stops at popular stations allowing you to see the animal enclosures and show with little effort.
The sanctuary comes alive at 8.00 am with lorikeet feeding near the main entrance. From then on, plan your day around the shows, (the wild skies free flight bird show is a must!) and animals you want to see. For when the kids need a change of pace, stop at the Wild Island Adventure Splash zone. A place for kids up to the age of 12 to run wild in an open playground and cool off under water jets and tipping buckets.
Tickets: Avoid the crowds at the gate and purchase your tickets to Currumbin Wildlife here.
David Fleay Wildlife Park
David Fleay’s Wildlife Park is a small park situated in the beautiful Burleigh Heads area. Home to many native animals and also some you may not see often such as crocodiles, cassowaries and eagles. It is also the only place on the Gold Coast where you can see the elusive platypus and a bridled nailtail wallaby.
During your visit, you learn more about the animals from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Park Rangers. The daily shows, talks and encounters with these park rangers are the best way to discover more about Queensland’s National Parks and the animals within the park.
Practical Information: Open 9 am – 4 pm, seven days a week. All entries must be booked online to guarantee admission.
Gold Coast Butterflies
On Saturday and Sunday between 9 am & 3 pm step into a garden oasis filled with vibrant plants and fluttering wings at Gold Coast Butterflies. Passionate about butterfly conservation visitors can learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and their importance to the ecosystem. Located at the Carrara Markets many plants on display are for sale along with a butterfly gardening kit that allows you to start your very own butterfly sanctuary at home.
Australian Outback Spectacular
Experience a live arena show at Australian Outback Spectacular.
Under the iconic red roof enjoy a delicious three-course meal and beverage as you are entertained by an Australian-themed show. The transformative arena with immersive technology brings the show to life as it encapsulates the ever-changing Australian outback. Witness magnificent animals, and special effects, while taking away great memories and a complimentary Australian Outback Stockman’s hat.
Don’t miss out: Purchase tickets online here
Do a Spot of Shopping
The Gold Coast is famous for its shopping. There is a style of shopping for all tastes and budgets including boutique stores, premium outlets, and large shopping centres that include iconic and global brands.
Gold Coast Shopping Centres
Some of the well-known shopping centres on the Gold Coast are:
- Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Broadbeach
- Harbour Town Premium Outlets, Biggera Waters
- Robina Town Centre, Robina
- The Oasis Broadbeach, Broadbeach
- Australia Fair Shopping Centre, Southport
Gold Coast Markets
The markets are a great outdoor activity year-round. Pick up some fresh local produce and browse the stands for some clothing or furniture. Hunt around for some craft items and your next beauty product. Many are located in some of the Gold Coast best locations luring visitors to stay a while.
Some of the well-known markets on the Gold Coast are:
First and third Sunday of every month, from 8:30 am to 1 pm, Burleigh Heads
Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 4 pm to 9 pm, Surfers Paradise
Every Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 3 pm, Carrara
Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 5 pm to 8 pm, Miami
Every Sunday 6 am – 11.30 am, Surfers Paradise
Every Friday, from 4 pm to 9 pm, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
We hope you found this Gold Coast with kids guide helpful! If you are travelling to the Gold Coast you may also be interested in reading about the best accommodation on the Gold Coast
Do you have any unanswered questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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