Holiday Fun: Best Things To Do on the Gold Coast With Kids

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The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s premier holiday destinations and visiting the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks with kids is almost a rite of passage! But there’s plenty more than just theme parks to enjoy on a Gold Coast holiday including its long, sandy beaches, rainforests, hinterland and more. With so many attractions and things to do, it’s no wonder that a trip to this part of Queensland is on so many families’ bucket list.

Here’s our guide to visiting the Gold Coast with kids. It includes a roundup of theme parks, money-saving tips, kid-friendly accommodation and family-friendly activities.

Jump to a specific section to enjoy the Gold Coast with kids: Theme Parks | Family-Friendly Activities | Accommodation | More Info

Theme Parks

The Gold Coast’s number one attraction for families is, without a doubt, the theme parks. With so many to choose from, deciding which ones to visit can be overwhelming. Here are our tips for working out which theme parks will best suit your family.

Dreamworld

Dreamworld

If you have kids under the age of 10 in your family, Dreamworld is a good choice as it has something to suit all ages. Dreamworld is great for toddlers and younger kids, with ABC Kids World and the Dreamworks Experience plus lots of rides and entertainment to suit little ones. The whole family will enjoy Tiger Island, the Native Wildlife Walkthrough, White Water World and the huge certified LEGO store. There’s plenty of thrill rides for older kids as well. Visit the Dreamworld website for more information.

WhiteWater World

WhiteWater World is co-located at Dreamworld and is open during the warmer months. As well as thrill rides, family slides and kids slides it has Wiggle Bay for youngsters under 120cm. To make the most of your entry I’d suggest a whole day at WhiteWater World and a whole day at Dreamworld. You could do both in one day, but you’d be rushing and would probably miss a lot of things at Dreamworld, especially if you have younger kids. Visit the WhiteWater World website for more information.

Sea World

Suitable for all ages and with exhibits, shows and presentations, rides and more, it’s easy to fill in a whole day at Sea World. You can buy a multi-park/multi-day pass if you wanted to visit Sea World for a second or third day to ensure you catch all the shows, to watch your favourite shows again or to fit in some Animal Adventures (extra cost). Visit the Sea World website for more information.

Warner Bros. Movie World

Gold Coast with kids

A good pick if you have teenagers, Warner Bros. Movie World offers plenty of thrill rides plus family rides, shows and entertainment. Minimum rider height for the thrill rides is 155cm and kids under the age of 14 will need to be accompanied by an adult at all times. For younger kids they have WB Kids’ Fun Zone with kids rides for kids 90cm+ and the Looney Tunes Splash Zone, a large splash pad for younger kids with no height restrictions. The whole family will love meeting the Warner Bros. characters, including the DC heroes and villains, and watching the daily star parade. Visit the Warner Bros. Move World website for more information.

Wet ‘n’ Wild

Gold Coast with Kids

Wet ‘n’ Wild is open all year round, excluding ANZAC Day and Christmas Day, although operating hours are seasonal. Besides the thrill slides and rides there’s plenty to keep non-thrill seekers happy including family slides, a giant wave pool, the H2Oasis Splash Zone and a Junior Precinct. The Junior Precinct has eight junior water slides, a large, shallow pool and an adventure play area with a giant tipping bucket. The Junior Precinct is especially for kids under 10 years and 140cm in height. Visit the Wet ‘n’ Wild website for more information.

Paradise Country

Paradise Country is an Aussie farm experience located near Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet’n’Wild in Oxenford. They have unique wildlife, gorgeous farm animals and plenty of shows and presentations the whole family will love. Paradise Country is especially great for younger kids with their Scraps & Taps water play area and Pig’s Playground both based on a Shaun the Sheep theme. With eight exhibits, including a farmyard nursery and meerkats, and a number of different shows including a Stockman’s show and a Billy Tea show, your family can easily fill a day at Paradise Country. They also offer a Farmstay if you’d like to stay overnight – a great option if you want to be close to the major theme parks! Visit the Paradise Country website for more information.

Australian Outback Spectacular

The Australian Outback Spectacular is a unique venue, featuring Australian-themed shows, subject to change throughout the year. The current show is ‘Heartland’, a tale of two struggling farmer’s journey to overcome the harsh realities of life on the land. The shows run for approximately 1 hour 45 minutes and are suitable for the whole family, with kids 3-13 years paying child prices and kids 2 years and under free. They also have Dinner & Show and Dinner, Show & Stay packages. Visit the Australian Outback Spectacular website for more information.

Our tips for getting the most out of a visit to a theme park:

It’s no secret, a day out at a theme park is expensive and strenuous. A bit of pre-planning will not only save you money, but also your sanity!

  • Sit down as a family and decide which theme parks you’d like to visit before you leave home. It will save arguments while you’re on holiday. Do some research and visit each theme park’s website. Each is unique and offers different attractions for different ages. Also consider if you’d like to spend more than one day at any one theme park.
  • Keep in mind that kids under a certain age will need to be accompanied by an adult at all times. This is an important consideration if you have toddlers as well as older kids who are keen to spend part of the day on rides and thrill rides.
  • Once you’ve decided on which parks you’ll visit, pre-purchase your tickets. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to skip the queues at the front gate.
  • Sea World, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Warner Bros. Movie World, the Australian Outback Spectacular and Paradise Country are all part of the Village Group of theme parks which offer multi-park discounts. Visit the Village Roadshow website where you can choose from multi-day/multi-park tickets as well as annual passes.
  • You can purchase one day or multi-day/multi-park tickets for Dreamworld and WhiteWater World. Their 3-day multi-park ticket also includes admission to the SkyPoint Observation Deck.
  • The ExperienceOz website is another good place to purchase discounted multi-day/multi-park tickets.
  • If you’re an NRMA Member, you can receive discounted Gold Coast theme park deals with a variety of discount theme park tickets to choose from. Save on entry to: Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild, with 3-day, 7-day and 14-day passes to choose between. Plus, NRMA Members save on entry to Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.
  • Ensure you download the Village Roadshow Theme Parks App, it has interactive maps and showtimes for the Village Group theme parks. You can also check ride wait times and reserve a ride with Virtual Queue.
  • If you ‘re an Entertainment Book member, there are discounts for the theme parks. You can also use your membership for other local activities, cafes and restaurants.
  • Plan your day before you go. Find out which shows are on and which family members are interested in seeing each show. You might be able to make the most of your time, for example, by one parent staying to watch a show with younger kids, while the other parent takes older kids on the rides. Decide on a meeting point and time.
  • Check each park’s website to find out what food and drinks you’re allowed to take in. Although there are heaps of eateries at all the theme parks, kids will need snacks to keep their energy levels up. Some allow fruit only, which is great for snacks. Wet ‘n’ Wild allows all food (except commercially-prepared food).
  • Before you enter, check out the All-You-Can-Drink bottomless soft drink deals and photo deals on offer. They work out to be good value if you use them between the parks.
  • There’s plenty of ways to spend money after you’ve entered the parks including souvenirs, food, sweets, retails stores located inside the parks and the certified LEGO store at Dreamworld (you have to walk through it to exit the park!) Work out a budget for each park before you go and try and stick with it. You could even encourage kids to bring their own spending money or give each child a budget.
  • It’s worth noting that you are able to enter and exit the Certified LEGO store, located at Dreamworld, without entering Dreamworld itself. There are heaps of amazing life-sized builds and it’s a must-visit for any LEGO fan.
Certified LEGO store Gold Coast
Certified LEGO store Gold Coast

Family Fun on the Gold Coast

There’s so much more to do on the Gold Coast than just theme parks. Here’s our top pick of family-friendly activities you might want to consider. For families travelling on a budget, we’ve included a list of free and low cost activities as well as some more expensive options.

Free & Low Cost Family Fun on the Gold Coast

Located on Marine Parade at Southport, just north of Surfers Paradise, Broadwater Parklands has a huge range of fun and free activities for families. ‘The Rockpools’ water-play area is manned by lifeguards and is a great place for kids to splash and play on a hot day.

Gold coast kids

Further along you’ll find a small, sandy beach with a swimming enclosure and a pontoon that kids can swim out to and jump from. There are also a number of playgrounds to suit all ages and a jumping pillow situated along the Parklands. It’s a great place to bring bikes and scooters and there are plenty of shady spots to enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner.

Enjoy an inexpensive family day out at one of the Gold Coast’s famous sandy beaches. Some kid-friendly choices are Main Beach at the northern end of the Gold Coast and Rainbow Bay at the southern end. The crystal-clear waters of Kirra Beach are another great option, with a playground, BBQ, picnic tables and toilets all close by. A day at Tallebudgera Creek, with its shallow sandy banks and netted swimming area is also great for kids.

Experience the beauty of the Gold Coast hinterland and rainforest and take a drive to Springbrook National Park. There’s an easy, accessible 1km walk to the Natural Bridge, a unique rock formation formed by the force of a waterfall over a basalt cave.

If you go at sundown, you can enter the cave and see glow worms in their natural environment. We also spotted thousands of glow worms on our walk back through the rainforest to the car park.

Go for a wander along the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, they operate every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 4-9pm.

Head into Surfers Paradise and watch people ride the Sling Shot. This is especially fun to do at night when the ride is lit up. If the kids are over 125cm and feeling adventurous, they can have a go. Otherwise, there’s a large kids playground located nearby in the Cavill Circle.

Visit the Currumbin Valley Rock Pools. With waterfalls and rock pools to explore and a larger lagoon to swim in, a drive through the scenic Gold Coast hinterland to the Currumbin Valley Rock Pools is a fantastic, inexpensive day out with kids. The spot is clearly signposted, so you can’t miss it.

Family-Friendly Activities on the Gold Coast (that cost a little extra)

Our pick for families with younger kids include a breakfast with the koalas and lorikeet feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a 1 hour City Tour and River Cruise on the Aquaduck, 360 degree views of the Gold Coast from Australia’s tallest building, the SkyPoint Observation Deck or a walk-through of the butterfly house or pony ride at Carrara Markets, Australia’s biggest permanent weekend marketplace. ArtVo Gold Coast is also a unique and fun family activity, open from Wednesday to Sunday and located at Robina Town Centre.

Our pick for older kids include the Gold Coast Aqua Park, 300m of inflatables located on the Broadwater at Southport. Older kids might also like the Museum Heist, or one of the other escape rooms, at Gold Coast Escape Rooms, Infinity Gold Coast or one of the Tree Top Challenges. There’s two challenges to choose from on the Gold Coast, with one located at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the other at Tamborine Mountain.

Tamborine Mountain is also a lovely spot for a day trip from the Gold Coast. You can do a rainforest/waterfall walk through the lush Tamborine National Park, explore the rainforest canopy on the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk or wander and browse the shops and cafes along the Tamborine Mountain Gallery Walk.

For more activities and attractions on the Gold Coast visit the Destination Gold Coast website.

Family-Friendly Accommodation on the Gold Coast

It’s impossible to list all the great accommodation available to families on the Gold Coast, but the following are some of the more popular options you might want to consider. When choosing your accommodation don’t forget to check out the ‘Stay and Play’ packages on offer as there are some great discounts to be had if you combine your accommodation with your theme park entry.

BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

With motel rooms, interconnecting motel rooms, family cabins, villas, caravan and camping sites (including powered, non-powered and ensuite sites) plus dog-friendly accommodation, the BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is a good choice for families. Their amenities include a resort-style pool (heated in winter), water park, gourmet cafe, jumping pillow and outdoor activities for the kids.

BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park
66 Siganto Drive, Helensvale QLD
(07) 5514 4400
Website

NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort

7km north of Surfers Paradise and 70km south of Brisbane, NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort is on the edge of the Gold Coast’s beautiful Broadwater close to theme parks, shops, restaurants and a short drive to beaches and Surfers Paradise. Their Kids Club has activities for the little ones running 364 days a year and their facilities include an outdoor cinema, water park, 3 playgrounds, 4 resort-style pools, a bouncing pillow and more. Accommodation options include caravan sites, villas and family cabins.

NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort
117 Brisbane Road, Biggera Waters QLD
1800 339 966
Website

Paradise Country Farmstay

Paradise Country offer Camp and Van sites, Family Eco Tents (with or without ensuite) and Farmstay & Play packages. You can’t get any closer to the theme parks as Paradise Country Farmstay is located metres from the theme parks at Oxenford.

Paradise Country
Farmstay Production Drive, Oxenford QLD
13 33 86
Website

Paradise Resort Gold Coast

Paradise Resort is one of Australia’s best family resorts with a Kids Club, Teens Club (for 13-17yo), Pamper Parlour, Laser Tag, Adventure Playground, Giant Water Park, Rock Climbing, Planet Chill Ice Skating Rink and more. Paradise Resort also have an Onsite Resort Shop and Mini Mart plus a Burger Bar, Cafe and Restaurant. They offer a range of accommodation to suit families of up to 8 plus deluxe accessible rooms.

Paradise Resort Gold Coast
122 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise QLD
(07) 5691 0000
Website

Sea World Resort

Gold Coast kids activities

Sea World Resort, located right next door to Sea World Marine Park, Main Beach offers a family-friendly, fun-filled oasis. Kids will love the aquatic adventure playground, Nickelodeon character meet and greets and their exciting Kid’s Club. Sea World Resort has resort rooms, deluxe rooms and premium suites overlooking the Broadwater, spa suites with garden views and a selection of rooms with a kitchenette and lounge. Interconnecting rooms are available upon request.

Sea World Resort
Seaworld Drive
Main Beach QLD 13 33 86
Website

More Information


The Gold Coast is an approximately 7-hour drive from Newcastle via Highway 1.

Jetstar and Qantas offer direct flights from Newcastle Airport to Gold Coast (Coolangatta) Airport.

For more information, visit the Destination Gold Coast website.


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