Things to do on the Gold Coast for Kids
Mention the Gold Coast and the first thought to pop in to most people’s heads, understandably, are its long, golden beaches. While these free natural playgrounds are the perfect way to spend any Queensland day with your family, there are also hundreds of other great activities and places to visit that your kids will love to explore too. Below are some we would recommend trying out:
This parkland spans an impressive 3km, and requires a full day if you want to take in all the attractions it has on offer. At one end is the impressive Washington Waters Park with its monorail peddle bikes, giant jumping pillow, bike education track, flying fox and liberty swing for children of all abilities. Further down you’ll find the ever-popular Broadwater Rockpools. This section is a water paradise for kids of all ages with its shallow pools and beds of water complimented by cascading waterfalls, shooting spouts, fountains and jets all set to timers. Other features of the parkland are the 100m pier for fishing, the stretch of beach with covered shades, a great café for unwinding and the Green Lawn which is full of lovely picnic spots. There are also special events like movies under the stars on offer, so make sure you check out their website for more information if you’re planning a day trip there soon: http://www.gcparks.com.au/parks.aspx?page=162, or check out our full review of Broadwater Parklands for more details.
Walk the Burleigh Hill
A fun way to burn some energy whilst taking in the sights is to head over to Burleigh. After strolling along the esplanade you can stretch the legs further by making your way around the hill. On one side the track is bordered by stunning views north to Surfers Paradise and south over Tallebudgera whilst on the other side there is the lush rainforest of Burleigh National Park. Just beware of the scrub turkeys who like to pop up out of nowhere along the way!! If you have time, the Gold Coast has hundreds of great walks and bike tracks that you can explore. Some good ones are listed here: http://www.southerngoldcoast.com.au/things-to-do/for-free/walks-and-lookouts.html.
Billed as being the largest indoor theme park in Australia, this is a lifesaver when beach weather turns gloomy at the last minute. The centre is open seven days a week from 9am until midnight, and, believe me, you will need that long. The 5000sqm centre is all lights, sounds, games and fun – so much so that you won’t know where to start. There’s dodgem cars, kiddie rides, laser skirmish, 4D arcade games, mini golf, bowling…the list is endless!!! Just make sure you check out the ‘Special Offers’ section on the website before you go. http://www.timezonegoldcoast.com.au/
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
For a more tranquil experience you can spend a few hours high in the rainforest canopies thanks to the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Situation at Mount Tamborine, your journey begins at the Eco Gallery where you are introduced to the local flora and fauna and given information on what you should look out for. From here you follow an elevated walkway that gradually ascends from the middle to the upper canopies before gradually heading back down to the lower canopy. There is plenty to look at along the way including pristine rockpools and butterfly lookouts but the real highlight comes as you reach the breathtaking 40 metre long span Cantilever which hovers 30 metres above the valley. The views from here are truly breathtaking. This pram-friendly walk only takes about an hour but make sure you bring comfortable shoes. Family tickets start at $44.00, with kids under 6 free! http://www.rainforestskywalk.com.au/index.html. Discover more about the Magic of Mount Tamborine for Families.
The Botantical Gardens, Benowa
Of course there are many beautiful playgrounds and parks on the Gold Coast and all are worth exploring if you have the chance. One definitely worth mentioning though is the Botantical Gardens, and with over 31 hectares to play in it’s not really one you can miss! Start your visit at The Friends Centre, open daily from 10-2pm, where you can pick up trail maps, look through displays and partake in some activities before heading out to the park. Along with the covered playground and well equipped picnic spots, other highlights include the Sensory Garden designed specifically for disabled visitors, a boardwalk and a beautiful butterfly garden. http://www.goldcoastkids.com.au/things-to-do/parks-playgrounds/picnic-spots-and-playgrounds/the-gold-coast-regional-botanical-gardens.html.
Picnic by the water
Famous for its long stretch of beaches and the fantastic picnic and bbq spots that line them (including BBQ pontoons at the Broadwater), there is no better place to set up for a picturesque family picnic than at the Gold Coast. If you haven’t had time to pack your own basket there are plenty of local seafood spots that will help you out with Fish n Chips being a hot favourite with kids all year round. To get your fix stop by Charis Seafood, Labrador or Peter’s Fish Market at Main Beach. Just make sure the seagulls don’t get to them first!!!
If you are after something a little different that takes in both the land and the water, then maybe consider the Aquaduck tours that depart hourly from Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise. The return journey waddles along the beachfront from surfers to the spit before diving in to the Broadwater. It is at this point that the land journey ends and the water cruising commences, taking in the sights like Seaworld, Marina Mirage, Australia fair, amazing millionaires’ homes and more. Family passes can be purchased for $95.00 with kids under four riding for free. Your kids will not only love the ride but will enjoy taking the driving seat too with each child offered a chance at the wheel and the opportunity to gain their own official Aquaduck certificate!! You can find more information about this unique experience here: http://www.aquaduck.com.au/
If you want a break from the beach and the kids are keen for a bit of light-hearted competition, then why not head to one of the many putt putt venues on offer? Always a great source of entertainment and excitement for kids (and let’s be honest – adults too), it’s a great way to spend a few family-fun hours late in the day. Courses are usually 18 holes and themed with bright, oversized characters that the kids will love and range from $10 – $20. If you are keen for a game then a couple of spots to choose from are Putt Putt at Mermaid Beach (www.puttputtgolf.com.au/), or King Tutt’s at Surfers Paradise (www.kingtuttsputtputt.com.au/).
Theme Parks / Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Of course, if we are going to list things for kids to do at the Gold Coast, we need to mention the large number of theme parks now on offer. Although once an expensive entertainment option, there are now many great weekly, six month or yearly passes to individual or multiple parks that almost work out cheaper than the original one-day pass. The truth is, whether it’s Dreamworld, Seaworld, Movieworld or WhiteWater World, the kids won’t care. Each park is full of rides, slides, shows and fun!
Alternatively, if you are after some fun alongside our native wildlife, then a day out at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary may be just what you need. Although famous for its Lorikeet feeds, you’ll also meet all the other native birds and animals including koalas, emus, lizards even crocodiles!! It’s not only wildlife though. The exciting Wild Adventure Playground is ideal for little kids whilst the Green Challenge high ropes course is fantastic for bigger kids and their parents. http://www.cws.org.au/
Of course, these are just a selection of what is sure to be hundreds of great things to do when you visit the Gold Coast. Ringed with beaches, parks and kid-friendly attractions, it’s always a great place to visit even when the sun isn’t shining overhead!