Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

With countless beaches, excellent cycling and hiking trails, water slides and rollercoasters, and plenty of chances to get up close to native wildlife, the Gold Coast is the ultimate destination for holidays with kids.

Here’s how to spend a week exploring the sun-kissed region.

Day 1

No trip to the Gold Coast is complete without a jaunt through iconic Surfers Paradise. Snap a family selfie under the Surfers arch before strolling down the pedestrian Cavill Avenue and grabbing some new surf gear and souvenirs.

There are a tonne of places to eat here and the best family options include Hard Rock Café and Betty’s Burgers. If by night fall you’re still buzzing from the start of your trip, head along to Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, where you’ll find plenty of quirky stalls to entertain everyone. The markets are held every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 4-9pm.

For more foodie spots, check out our recommendations for the best Gold Coast restaurants by precinct and this guide for where to eat with kids.

It will take you…

As long or as little as you like on foot. Surfers Paradise makes a great base for holidays with kids, with plenty of child-friendly accommodation.

Day 2

Dreamworld Gold Coast | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

Photo via @dreamworldau

Now you’ve got your bearings, it’s time to go full throttle with a day at one of the region’s awesome theme parks. There are a handful to choose from, but as Australia’s largest theme park, you can’t go wrong with all-encompassing Dreamworld.

One of the newest attractions is the Sky Voyager, a flying simulator that whisks passengers to some of the country’s major attractions, including Surfers Paradise and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other attractions include ABC KIDS WORLD, where there’s a Bananas in Pyjamas maze, a Wiggles tea cup ride and Play School art room.

There are plenty of thrilling rides, too, for big and small kids – we even wrote a guide on how to maximise them.

It will take you…

Located on the Pacific Highway at Coomera, Dreamworld is about 20 minutes north of Surfers Paradise.

Day 3

Wet n Wild Gold Coast | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

Back up day two with another fun-filled adventure at the all-time favourite destination for holidays with kids, Wet ‘n’ Wild. Catering to all ages, you can expect a giant wave pool and tube rides on a “lazy river”.

There’s also a junior zone with eight kid-friendly water slides and a shallow pool, as well as other more daring rides for teens and parents. If you’ve got cash to splash, book a junior or wave-pool cabana so you can enjoy time out in your own private space – away from any crowds.

Buy your tickets online to score savings and read our Wet ‘n’ Wild guide before you go.

It will take you…

About 15 minutes’ drive to the Oxenford park from your accommodation.

Day 4

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

After two hectic days slipping and sliding, you’ll want to relax. What better way to do so than at one of the Gold Coast’s stunning beaches. Throw some towels, sunscreen, water and snacks into a backpack and go for a fun bike ride along the beachfront esplanade. Stop for a dip when you see Surf Life Saving’s red and yellow flags or when the lure of the ocean proves too strong.

Burleigh Heads is a fantastic spot for holidays with kids where you can enjoy a picnic on the grass, play on the rocky foreshore and watch the surfers on the point. If you’re visiting in spring, keep a lookout for whales.

Not satisfied with visiting just one beach? Read our guide to the Gold Coast’s best beaches to do them all.

It will take you…

As long as you let it on two wheels. The Gold Coast Oceanway is 36 kilometres and goes from The Spit to Point Danger. Tackle as little or as much as your tribe allows.

Day 5

Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park, Gold Coast Hinterland | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

Fully rested, it’s time to set off on another adventure, this time into Lamington National Park, in the Gold Coast Hinterland. The park has two sections, with the Binna Burra great for holidays with kids and families who love hiking. The 1.2-kilometre Rainforest Circuit and the 2-kilometre Bellbird Lookout track are both suitable for young children.

Arrive early, before the day warms up too much. Afterwards make a detour to The Fudge Shop in nearby Springbrook to reward your mini hikers with some of the “best fudge on the Coast”.

It will take you…

Lamington National Park is a one-hour drive from the Gold Coast. The Rainforest Circuit will take approximately 30 minutes and the Bellbird track about an hour. If you have a toddler, double the time to be on the safe side.

Day 6

David Fleay Wildlife Park, Gold Coast | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

It’s time for another down day so call into David Fleay Wildlife Park, near Burleigh Heads, for the ultimate spot for holidays with kids. Time your visit to meet some of the locals with the daily wildlife shows and get up close to some of the park’s scaly and soft residents.

Set up in 1951, a visit is a good way to introduce children to conservation and some of Australia’s native animals, such as crocodiles, koalas, bilbies and dingoes. If you have a bub, you’ll be happy to hear that most of the park is suitable for prams.

Make the most of the onsite barbecues by enjoying a DIY lunch among nature. In the afternoon, go for a stroll along the mangrove boardwalk, a splash in the gentle water or a paddleboard on Tallebudgera Creek.

It will take you…

The park is 25 minutes’ drive south of Surfers Paradise.

Day 7

Gold Coast Surf School | Why the Gold Coast is the best destination for holidays with kids

Make the most of your final day of your holidays with kids on the Gold Coast by signing everyone up for a surf lesson. With 57 kilometres of beaches and more than a dozen surf schools, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by options.

One of the best family operators, however, is Get Wet Surf School, which runs lessons at Southport’s Spit. A rock wall and sandbank help keep the waves gentle, and the shallow water is also a plus for when you inevitably fall off.

All that exercise will make you hungry, so pull up a seat at Southport’s Blendlove. You can let the kids go nuts with treats such as smoothies, pancakes and burgers all the while knowing that it’s all wholesome and refined sugar-free.

It will take you…

Southport on the Northern Gold Coast is only 10 minutes’ drive north of Surfers Paradise, and Get Wet Surf School offers transfers when possible.

Haven’t quite had enough of the Gold Coast just yet? Read this:

What’s your favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast with kids? Share with us below.