The best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids
It’s hard to argue with the Gold Coast’s tagline “Famous for Fun”, especially when you have your littlies in tow. There are more pint-sized adventure options packed into this destination than almost any other in Queensland.
We’ve put together a list of the best things to do on the Gold Coast as a family… and there are some pretty cool things to do even if you’re not travelling with kids!
1. Mount Tamborine
More country than coast, a drive to this mountain village is a great day outing for families. You have your choice of hinterland hikes here, from the all-abilities-access Cedar Creek Falls track to the more advanced Witches Falls and Sandy Creek Circuits.
But, if you’re looking for less scenery and more shopping, hit the village where you’ll find antiques, artwork, cafes and boutique shopping amongst other offerings.
2. Tallebudgera Creek
This is the quintessential calm water spot on the Gold Coast. Although Tallebudgera Creek feeds out to the Coral Sea, the clear blue water of the creek is calm and inviting – perfect for small children to splash around to their heart’s content.
With a small beach and lots of shade, you can swim, SUP, kayak, picnic and more in this little paradise. You can access the other shore of Tallebudgera Creek from the Burleigh Heads National Park for even more privacy from other creek-goers.
3. Burleigh Heads National Park
Speaking of Burleigh Heads National Park, this lush green outcrop on the Gold Coast makes the list because of its accessibility and ease of the trails. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt and see who can spot the most critters.
From water dragons and other scaly lizards to kites and eagles and other feathered friends, it’s no wonder the wildlife likes to take refuge in this beachside national park.
4. Natural Bridge at Springbrook + glow worms
Just a few hours inland from the shoreline of the Gold Coast, Springbrook National Park is home to one of the most fantastic natural wonders in Queensland.
Surprise your mini waterfall-chasers when you show them a waterfall that goes underground to a glow-worm cave! Does nature get any more interesting than that?
It’s not suitable for prams, but the trail is easy enough that most two- and three-year-olds would be able to manage. And trust us, it’s worth it.
5. Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens in Benowa has experiences for all nature and garden lovers.
Stop and smell the roses in the rose garden, then let the kids go wild touching the plants in the sensory garden. There’s even a butterfly garden, a playground and an off-leash area for the four-legged members of the family.
6. Currumbin rock pools
If you’re keen to get away from the beach, but still want a spot to cool off and let the kids splash around, you might want to try out the Currumbin Rock Pools.
What used to be a secret locals’ spot is now a happening hinterland waterhole. Bring a picnic, nap (yeah right!) in the shade, or just let the kids wear themselves out.
7. Beach day
What kid doesn’t like a beach day?! Okay, I actually know a few who would prefer a different type of outing. But Gold Coast beach days are what dreams are made of! And how much more simple does it get?
Grab your beach towels, slap on the sunscreen, throw your water bottles in a bag and head to any one of the gorgeous beaches on the Gold Coast. Just be sure to choose a guarded beach for the best beach safety with the kids.
There are countless places to BBQ on the Gold Coast, but one of our favourites is Budd’s Beach. Complete with calm water for the kids to swim, toilets (score!), a café across the street and a playground, this location ticks the family boxes and then some.
9. Broadwater Parklands
The Broadwater Parklands are the free Disney World of the Gold Coast. If your kids need to burn off some steam, look no further. Complete with a jumping pillow, public pool, giant playground, beach with calm water and more.
10. O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk
Give the kids a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest! Located in Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk is 180 metres of boardwalk suspended 15 metres above the ground in a canopy of flowering and fruiting trees. Best of all – it’s free!
BRING YOUR WALLET
11. Theme parks
If you have adrenaline seekers in your family, you need to get yourselves to the thrill-seeker capital of Australia! The Gold Coast is home to not one, not two, but five large-scale theme parks and they have all the goodness you would expect: grand shows, roller coasters, fairy floss and furry, friendly animals. The most complicated part is choosing which one to visit first.
12. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
With a history of Australian wildlife preservation reaching back over half a century, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary could be the Gold Coast’s best spot for cute and cuddly encounters of the animal kind.
The animal sanctuary welcomes visitors year round and even hosts eco ranger programs for kids during the Queensland school holidays. Extra bonus: Kids under the age of four get free entry.
13. Outback Spectacular
Since 2006, Outback Spectacular has been wowing visitors from all over the world. With special effects like fog, snow, wind and fire your family will be entertained as you witness stories of Australian legends and characters come to life with live horses and live music.
You’ll even get a themed meal to keep little hands busy and little mouths fed.
14. David Fleay Wildlife Sanctuary
Often described as the father of wildlife conservation, David Fleay established his wildlife park in 1952, where he was the first person to successfully breed platypuses in captivity.
Today you can still see his remarkable legacy as you view Australian animals and learn about wildlife conservation. Take a leisurely walk along the Tallebudgera Creek boardwalk to get here from Burleigh Heads National Park.
15. Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre
Take a trip to the Dreamtime, courtesy of the Gold Coast’s Yugambeh people (one of the oldest living cultures in the world!) as they tell tales of Jellurgal (Burleigh Mountain) and its origin.
Tours walk you through picturesque Burleigh Heads National Park, where the family can learn about the cultural history of the Gold Coast. Afterwards, enjoy some bush tucker and tea at the café, and stop by the library or the in-house art workshop.
16. Wax Museum
Listed as a Great Wax Museum of the World, the Gold Coast Wax Museum in Surfers Paradise is Australia’s largest museum of its kind. Take your kids on a tour and introduce them to presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and members of the royal family
17. Learn to surf
It is the Gold Coast after all… and if you don’t think it can be done, check out this video!
18. Hire bikes and ride the Gold Coast bikeways
Follow the 36 kilometres of beachside trails on your bikes (hire some here) from The Spit in the north to Coolangatta in the south on the Gold Coast Oceanway.
Okay, all parents know that young kids won’t survive this whole bikeway in one go, but you can break it up into different segments depending on where you’re staying or what you want to see.
Along the path, you’ll come across mangroves, coastal vistas, beaches, and headlands. Make sure you pack plenty of water and your camera to snap up those family photos.
19. Carrera Markets
Known to be Queensland’s largest, permanent market place covering 10 acres with over 500 stalls, the Carrara Markets have been entertaining shoppers for over 30 years. Face painting, pony rides, buskers and treats will keep the littlies busy while you sneak in a coffee and maybe even some retail therapy!
20. Grab some gelato
The Gelato Shop in Broadbeach has been a gold and silver medal winner at the Royal Queensland Food and Wine show for the past four years. You won’t go wrong treating the family to a cool treat on a sunny day with flavours like Snickers, Ferrero Rocher and Lemon Meringue Pie!
While you’re cooling off, take a leisurely stroll down the Broadbeach Mall to help the bambinos burn off their sugar high.
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