Things to do in Surfers Paradise for families
Surfers Paradise is packed with exciting opportunities, making it an ideal family holiday destination. From entertainment venues offering unique and engaging experiences, to the gorgeous Surfers Paradise beach where you could spend hours lazing, swimming and splashing, your family is guaranteed to have a holiday to remember at this iconic location.
With its close proximity to Brisbane (only around an hour’s drive), even a one-night escape to Surfers Paradise is doable, and is enough to recharge those batteries and enjoy some time out as a family. We’ve put together this guide to some must-do experiences your family should try in Surfers Paradise – some you could even do on a day trip!
Family accommodation in Surfers Paradise
First thing’s first – if you’re going to stay in Surfers Paradise for one night or more, you’ll need to find somewhere family-friendly to stay. And, with so much fun to explore in Surfers Paradise, the best thing you can do is book in to a centrally-located hotel, park the car, and discover the local area by foot! Surfers Paradise is based around the Cavill Avenue pedestrian mall, and all the action radiates out from this central area. Within a couple of blocks of the mall and Surfers Paradise beach, there are dozens of accommodation options. This is one of our favourites –
Novotel Surfers Paradise
Catering very well to families is the Novotel Surfers Paradise. Not only is this hotel in the thick of all the action, and requires no crossing of roads to get to the Cavill Avenue mall and Paradise Centre shopping and entertainment precinct, but it has great views of the main Surfers Paradise beach (subject to room type)!
The Novotel Surfers Paradise was fully renovated in December 2017, and the rooms are all fresh, modern and bright. For families, we can personally recommend a Deluxe Family Room, which features a king bed, TV, bar fridge and small lounge area in the main space, separated from a second sleeping space, that features two king single beds and a second TV, by a bathroom with bath. Whilst not considered separate bedrooms as such, the spaces provide plenty of room to relax as a family, without all being on top of each other.
Other pluses for the Novotel Surfers Paradise for families include a beautiful pool area, the full-sized tennis court, and a fitness centre. You just can’t go past this hotel for its proximity to everything you could possibly want to do in Surfers Paradise, particularly all the dining options within a one block radius.
TIP: Add a buffet breakfast to your accommodation package and you’ll have plenty of energy for the day (and save by not having to eat lunch after such a big, yummy breakfast!).
Novotel Surfers Paradise is located at 3105 Surfers Paradise Boulevard (corner of Hanlan Street), Surfers Paradise. Find out more at www.novotelsurfersparadise.com.au.
Surfers Paradise fun centres
No matter what the weather, Surfers Paradise offers up dozens of fun options for families to have a good time indoors or out. These are our top suggestions that our own families have enjoyed doing in Surfers Paradise –
Padlock’d Escape Rooms
If you’ve never visited an escape room as a family, then this is your chance! Padlock’d Escape Rooms in Surfers Paradise have several themed rooms to choose from. There is no minimum age, with kids under 7 years being free of charge to enter, however we highly recommend speaking to the Padlock’d staff, who will help you choose which room is most suitable for your family’s ages and abilities. A great starting point (and one that we tried ourselves!) is ‘The Pipeline’.
If you’re not too familiar with escape rooms, the premise is your team is placed in a room with many hidden clues that you need to find to navigate your way out (usually by working out the final code to unlock the exit door). You are given a time limit to ‘escape’ – generally one hour (which goes surprisingly quickly!). Escape rooms can vary greatly in their themes, with the aim being to challenge players mentally. It’s an amazing sense of achievement to find your way out, and an awesome family bonding exercise where you all have to work together to crack the clues. Padlock’d was our first family escape room experience and we’re ready for more!
TIP: If any of your family members are a bit anxious about being ‘locked’ in a room, please reassure them that the entry door is never locked and you can leave at any time. The feeling of the door being closed on you can make your heart beat a little faster, however, if you are scared, you absolutely DO NOT have to stay in the room. This reassurance in itself helped our younger Brisbane Kids significantly and enabled them to stay and experience all the fun of working out how to escape the room (with 15 seconds to spare!).
Padlock’d Escape Rooms are located at 36 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise. Bookings are required. Find out more at padlockd.com.au.
Strike Bowling + Holey Moley Golf Club
With so many activities under one roof, Strike Bowling and Holey Moley Golf Club are a must-do for families visiting Surfers Paradise! This one mega-venue not only has bowling lanes and super fun novelty putt putt set to awesome background music, but some escape rooms too!
The Strike Bowling lanes are ultra-cool, with neon lighting, ambient visuals playing on big screens, and the music pumping. Strike Bowling offers a great set-up for families, with the inclusion of a lounge area for each lane where families can really relax and get into the game. Food and drink can be ordered and enjoyed in this area, however there is also an adjacent space with tables and chairs for sit-down dining or snacking. There is a huge range of different weighted and sized bowling balls for each family member to choose from, and bumper bowling is also available on request.
The novelty Holey Moley Golf Club putt putt arena provides non-stop entertainment; whether you are playing 9 holes or 18. Investigating the method for getting your ball from the tee to the hole is an adventure in itself, with each hole having its own unique and funny theme. Drop your ball into the giant ‘Teetris’ machine and see where it pops out, sit on The Simpsons’ couch, or navigate the wonky chessboard – part of the fun is in discovering new details at every turn!
Families could spend hours at Strike Bowling and Holey Moley Golf Club, and with a full menu of casual food and drinks, plus a bar for the grown ups, you could really stay all day!
Strike Bowling and Holey Moley Golf are located within the one venue at Circle on Cavill, Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise. Find out more about Strike Bowling at www.strikebowling.com.au/locations/strike-surfers-paradise and Holey Moley Golf Club at www.holeymoley.com.au/locations/surfers-paradise.
Family dining in Surfers Paradise
The central Surfers Paradise area is teeming with great, family-friendly restaurants and eateries, and just about every cuisine is covered. From burgers and fries and hot dogs, to authentic Italian and seafood, no matter how fussy your Brisbane Kids are you will find plenty of options. These are some places we recommend trying –
You may already know Vapiano from their Brisbane City and Garden City restaurants, and you may already love it as much as we do! Vapiano serves up delicious, generously-sized Italian dishes created right in front of you. Handmade pasta and pizza is their specialty, and the options are plentiful, including some great kids’ meals. As it’s all made fresh to order, you also have the freedom to choose your type of pasta and add or exclude ingredients as desired – perfect for fussy family members!
Dining at Vapiano is a bit of a novelty in itself. When you enter the restaurant, you are provided with a credit card-style card that you then take to either the bar, the pasta kitchen or the pizza kitchen to order your meals. As you order, the chef will swipe your card to register your purchase, then will get busy making your meal right in front of you. The kids love this bit, and the chefs often make an art out of preparing the food to entertain the patrons. Once cooked, you can take your meals back to your table to enjoy them, perhaps adding some fresh basil or rosemary from the pots growing at every table. After you finish your pasta, pizza, or salad (and maybe a dessert pizza to share) and you’re ready to leave, you simply present your card to the cashier and pay for everything you’ve enjoyed all at once.
TIP: Check out Vapiano Soul for a great view of the Cavill Avenue mall and just enjoy people-watching, or head there to take in the views when an event such as SeaFire is taking place.
Vapiano Soul is located in the Soul Boardwalk, off Cavill Avenue in Surfers Paradise. Find out more at vapiano.com.au/restaurants/gold-coast.
For a fresh, tasty breakfast or lunch in Surfers Paradise, check out Knox Dining. Located in the Circle on Cavill precinct, and with some great outdoor play equipment for kids located adjacent, this alfresco cafe is ideal for families. The menu at Knox Dining includes all-day breakfast favourites such as eggs and toast, smashed avo on toast, and a traditional big brekkie, alongside delicious Acai berry bowls and paleo granola. Lunchtime fare includes burgers, fish and chips, and chicken karage, as well as vegan options such as yellow coconut tofu curry. The meals are generously-sized and perfect for families craving something a bit healthier.
What we love about Knox Dining is the alfresco dining. Parents can sit and relax with a coffee or kombucha, whilst taking turns supervising the kids in the nearby communal play area. Knox Dining provides the opportunity for the kids to get out and burn off some energy after spending the night in a hotel room, and the whole family can enjoy a healthy meal that is often hard to come by when travelling.
Knox Dining is located at Circle On Cavill, Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise. Find out more at www.knoxdining.com.au.
Surfers Paradise festivals
Attending one of the many Surfers Paradise festivals held throughout the year makes for a great excuse for families to visit this fun-filled location. Some of the most family-friendly Surfers Paradise festivals include the Sand Safari Arts Festival (February/March annually), SeaFire (May/June annually), Surfers Paradise Kids’ Week (September/October annually), and Christmas in Surfers Paradise (December annually).
One of Surfers Paradise’s biggest events, SeaFire, takes place in late May to early June each year, and, with Queensland’s amazing weather all year ’round, it means there absolutely there’s no reason to avoid the beach in winter! Taking place across two nights, with multicultural performances, skydivers, jetskiers, and a massive international fireworks competition after dark, SeaFire is packed full of family-friendly entertainment and is definitely worth the drive from Brisbane to check it out on one or both nights. Pack up a picnic basket and blanket and get down to the Surfers Paradise beachfront early each evening for your prime spot to see the fireworks displays synchronised to music, or pick a vantage point anywhere along the Surfers Paradise boardwalk – there’s no such thing as a bad place to see this annual spectacular!
TIP: Check out Vapiano Soul for one of the best places for families to check out SeaFire and dine in comfort at the same time.
To find out more about Surfers Paradise festivals all year ’round, visit www.surfersparadise.com/whats-on/annual-events.
For more ideas about things to do in Surfers Paradise for families, check out www.surfersparadise.com.
Brisbane Kids was hosted in Surfers Paradise by Novotel Surfers Paradise. We were also invited to attend many of the venues mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions contained in this article are those of the writer. This article has not been sponsored.