1. Paradise Point Parklands
Paradise Point is closer to the northern end of the Gold Coast, across the channel from the affluent Sovereign Island. It has all the facilities needed for a perfect outing. It is an easy 40-minute return stroll from the Paradise Point Sailing Club to the Sovereign Island bridge. However, the boardwalk does continue on further north. Watch the luxury boats and jet-ski’s cruise over the glistening water, stop at any of the three playgrounds dotted along the esplanade path, make use of the public barbecue and shaded picnic areas, try your luck fishing and enjoy the enclosed swimming area and sandy white beach.
Paradise Point Parklands is a great place for families and locals and is a hive of activity on the weekends and public holidays. There are many cafes and restaurants along the esplanade for dine-in or takeaway options. New public amenities, barbecue facilities and picnic shelters are a welcomed addition to this popular area.
There are a few playgrounds along the esplanade, with the main playground featuring climbing equipment, slides, swings and much more to keep the children entertained.
The open grassed area near the playground and jetty host some of the Gold Coast’s major events such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. It is the perfect place for a picnic or fun family activity.
2. Labrador Broadwater – Harley Park
There are some fantastic areas along the Broadwater to enjoy water activities, take a stroll, relax or just have fun. Harley Park in Labrador is one of those places that has it all. Fabulous Broadwater views, a sandy beach along the foreshore a lagoon perfect for swimming and fantastic children’s playgrounds. There are also many cafes and restaurants for dining in or choose a takeaway and dine at one of the many picnic tables or bring a picnic rug to sit under the shady trees.
A highlight for children is the daily pelican feeding along Marine Parade (in front of Charis Seafood) at 1.30pm. Hundreds of pelicans gather onto the footpath and the beach waiting for the staff of Charis Seafood to throw out their leftover fish.
There are two main playgrounds to keep the children occupied; both are fully fenced and sheltered. One of the playgrounds has a nautical theme and features slides and swings. The northern playground is for those who love climbing, with many poles, ropes and ladders for enjoyment. Further along, there is also a large flying fox.
Fitness along the Esplanade
Another marvellous part of this area is its long stretch of footpath following the Broadwater from Runaway Bay to Southport. Walk, run or ride a bike while being invigorated by the sea air and admiring the glorious views towards Surfers Paradise.
3. Emerald Lakes
Emerald Lakes is central Gold Coast, only 15 minutes from Broadbeach and just up the road from Metricon Stadium. It is one of those best-kept secrets (that I’m about to share with you) that most locals only know about.
Emerald Lakes community is easily recognised by its European style. It is based around a large lake and offers 13kms of cycling and walking tracks, mostly easy grade.
As you drive into Emerald Lakes, you will notice the well-maintained gardens and water features that spring from the lake. Take a left at the first roundabout, and there is ample parking near open parkland. Just near the small beach area and undercover barbeque seats is a great starting base. This is where you normally find the boating or aeroplane enthusiasts (miniature versions of both) making use of the open grounds and calm lake waters.
Run, ride or take a stroll and enjoy the views of Surfers Paradise, the colourful European style units’ that sit lakeside and the glistening waters as the sun sets. The pathway will take you on a loop around the lake stopping in the village where you can grab a coffee or bite to eat.
Emerald Lakes is a community offering prestige Gold Coast living. Underneath the residential units within the main street are some fabulous cafes and restaurants for all meals options of the day. With public amenities in the area, it’s a great place to stop to relax after you have walked the loop.
4. Rosser Park Botanical Gardens
Another great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors is only a 15-minute drive (towards the hinterland) from central Surfers Paradise.
Something for everyone, the Botanical Gardens is a popular spot for many families. There are a couple of walking and bike riding pathways. Stroll around the central lake on the wooden boardwalks, over the bridges while stopping to smell and admire the plants and flowers on display. The kids will love to watch the swans, ducks, eels and other bird life that call the lake home.
Across the other side of the gardens is plenty of open grassed land to enjoy with a track right around the outside perfect for the long bike ride or walk. It is mostly a flat path and would take us about half an hour at a casual walking pace.
There is a Cafe, situated on a slight rise in-between the two areas, giving it a wonderful outlook over the gardens. Grab a coffee, light snack or ice cream.
The Botanical Gardens is also the perfect place to pack a picnic, ball or frisbee, find your perfect spot under a beautiful shady tree and let time slip away. The kids will also love the brand new playground, with a large climbing apparatus, large slide, two swings, walking beams, see-saw and a little slide for the toddlers.
5. Evandale Park
Located behind the Gold Coast Arts Centre and bordering the Nerang River is Evandale Park. With a Surfers Paradise skyline as the backdrop, it is the perfect place to exercise with free exercise equipment stations located around the 677-metre loop. There are also many shady picnic areas with barbeques and seating in the parklands making it extremely popular for parties or special occasions.
The lagoon in the centre of the park is a popular spot to cool off for those wanting a sheltered swimming environment or a place for non-motorised water activities.
The children’s playground is fully fenced and covered, featuring two separate slides and climbing spaces.
6. Broadwater Parklands
Broadwater Parklands stretches for three kilometres along the Broadwater in Southport and offers some of the best free entertainment for families on the Gold Coast. The great lawns in the middle of the parklands (near the jetty) host some of the Gold Coast’s major events such as the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Carols by Candlelight and the World Championship Triathlon. It is also well known to be the hub of many activities, such as movie nights and concerts.
The first of its kind on the Gold Coast, the rock pools are a major attraction for children. It caters especially well for the younger age group as there are many shallow areas and a life guard on duty at various times. The rock pools are a man-made creek that twists and turns with a current of water cascading down to one end. It features water fountains, pop jets, wading pools, and a giant water bucket. Around the rock pools are concrete steps to sit on and large shade umbrellas dotted over the grassed areas.
Adjacent to the rock pools is a café perfect for a light snack, drinks or ice-cream on that hot Gold Coast day.
The Broadwater Parklands would be rated as one of the best playgrounds on the Gold Coast with a large variety of play equipment spread out over a large area at the southern end of the park. Swings, a huge bouncy pillow, slides, monorail pedal bikes, a flying fox, a special Liberty swing for children of all abilities and much more.
Beach and Swimming area
Across from the playground is another place to enjoy the water. Take a dip within the Broadwater swimming enclosure, where the older children can make use of the jumping pontoon and enjoy the sandy beach.
What are your favourite outdoor activities to do as a family?