Are you planning a Gold Coast family holiday? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Gold Coast with kids.
Located just an hour south of Brisbane – the capital of Queensland – this stunning region is known for terrific beaches, vibrant culture, and world-class attractions. Subsequently, it offers plenty to keep you relaxed, busy, and entertained.
From thrilling theme parks and beautiful nature reserves to fantastic shopping and excellent restaurants, you’ll find plenty of things for families to do in the Gold Coast.
So let us help you make the most of your trip, by reading all the way until the end – we’ve packed a lot into this guide!
Best Time to Visit Gold Coast
As it is a popular year-round destination, both with Australians and tourists from overseas, you can take a family trip to the Gold Coast at any time.
However, some parts of the year are busier than others, so if you are planning a visit to this part of Queensland, there are a few factors you should bear in mind.
The Gold Coast enjoys a subtropical climate, making it suitable for a visit year-round. However, the most pleasant weather occurs during the Australian spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).
These seasons offer mild temperatures, less humidity, and plenty of sunshine – making outdoor activities and beach outings very enjoyable.
If you’re travelling with school-age children, you’ll probably have to time your trip during the school holidays.
These typically occur in December – January, April, July, and September – October. Keep in mind that popular attractions can be busier during these times, and accommodation prices will be higher.
Subsequently, you may consider visiting the Gold Coast either a week before or after the school holidays to secure better hotel deals.
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you go there; the Gold Coast will always be busy.
However, to avoid the peak holiday crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of late autumn (May) or early spring (September-October). These months usually offer a good balance between pleasant weather and fewer tourists.
Travelling during the off-peak season (winter, from June to August) can lead to cost savings on accommodation and attractions.
That said, keep in mind that some water-based activities might be less appealing during the cooler winter months.
Events and Festivals
When planning your trip, check the Gold Coast’s local event calendar to see if any festivals, sporting events, or special occasions are scheduled for when you will be there.
If there are, attending them can enhance your holiday experience.
Ultimately, the best time to visit the Gold Coast with kids depends on what you want to experience.
However, whenever you go there on holiday, you are sure to have a wonderful time in this premier Queensland tourist destination.
Getting Around in Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is a sprawling region that comprises about 5,000 square kilometres, so navigating it – especially with kids – can seem like a daunting proposition if you have not been there before.
But thankfully, it’s fairly easy to get around the Gold Coast area once you know how. Here are some of the options available to you.
The Gold Coast has a well-developed public transport system that includes buses, trams, and trains. The G:link tram service runs along the coast, providing you with straightforward access to major attractions, shopping areas, and popular beaches.
Overall, the bus and train services cover pretty much the whole Gold Coast area, including routes to the hinterland. Therefore, public transport is a convenient and cost-effective option – especially if you’re staying in or near the central areas of Surfers Paradise or Broadbeach.
Hiring a Car
While public transport can cover much of the Gold Coast, you are tied to their timetables. Subsequently, renting a car can offer more flexibility and convenience, particularly if you plan to explore the major theme parks and surrounding hinterland or if you have young children and prefer to have easy access to car seats and strollers.
Car rentals are readily available at the Gold Coast Airport and throughout the city. The great thing about hiring one is that it allows you to explore the region at your own pace and venture off the beaten path – even into the Tweed Heads region of New South Wales or up to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
Walking, Scoots & Cycling
Many areas of the Gold Coast are pedestrian-friendly, especially in beachfront areas like Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
You can also rent bicycles or use shared electric scooters for short trips within these areas. It’s a great way to soak in the scenery and enjoy leisurely walks along the beachfront.
Taxis and Rideshare Services
Taxis and rideshare services like Uber are readily available on the Gold Coast and can be useful for getting around – especially if you’re travelling with children and have a lot of luggage or gear.
Where To Stay on the Gold Coast with Kids
Those planning a family trip to the Gold Coast are spoilt for choice when it comes to where they can base themselves. Here is a selection of the most popular family-friendly destinations in which you can stay.
1. Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise is the heart of the Gold Coast and offers a bustling atmosphere with a wide range of family activities, restaurants, and shops. The iconic beachfront and Surfers Paradise Esplanade are perfect for families.
Marriott Resort: This luxury resort offers spacious rooms, a lagoon-style pool with a sandy beach, kids’ activities, and an on-site spa.
Mantra Crown Towers: A family-friendly apartment-style hotel with multiple pools, waterslides, a children’s play area, and self-contained apartments.
Broadbeach is known for its beautiful beach, dining precincts like Broadbeach Mall, and proximity to Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and The Star Casino.
Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach: A 5-star hotel with stunning ocean views, a heated pool, and kids’ club activities.
Peppers Broadbeach: Spacious, modern apartments with fully-equipped kitchens and easy access to the beach and dining options.
3. Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Heads offers a more relaxed atmosphere with beautiful beaches, parks, plenty of coffee shops, and a family-friendly ambience.
Gemini Court Holiday Apartments: Self-contained apartments with ocean views, a heated pool and barbecue facilities.
Burleigh Mediterranean Resort: Beachfront accommodation with an outdoor pool, spa and family-friendly atmosphere.
Currumbin has a terrific beach and some lovely cafes. It is also home to the famous Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – one of the best family things to do in Gold Coast – making it an excellent choice for those interested in wildlife encounters.
Sanctuary Lake Apartments: Self-contained apartments within walking distance of the sanctuary, with a heated pool and spa.
Currumbin Sands on the Beach: Beachfront apartments with direct access to the sand and family-friendly amenities.
Coolangatta offers a more laid-back vibe, a beautiful beach, and proximity to the Gold Coast Airport.
Oaks Gold Coast Calypso Plaza Suites: Beachfront accommodation with a lagoon-style pool, waterslide, and children’s wading pool.
The Sebel Coolangatta: An apartment-style accommodation with kitchen facilities and ocean views.
Caravans and Campervans
For those travelling with a caravan or campervan, the Gold Coast region has several caravan parks and camping grounds to choose from:
Gold Coast Holiday Park (Helensvale): This park offers powered and unpowered sites and cabins. It counts a waterpark and swimming pools among its most notable recreational facilities.
Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park (Palm Beach): Located on the scenic Tallebudgera Creek, this site provides powered sites, cabins, and direct access to the creek and beach.
Kirra Beach Tourist Park (Coolangatta): If you stay here, you will be near the beach and have a choice of powered sites or cabins.
Overall, whether you want to stay in a hotel or at a caravan park, the region offers plenty of family-friendly options to make your Gold Coast family holiday experience an enjoyable and memorable one.
Best Things To Do in Gold Coast For Families
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit the region, the Gold Coast is a fantastic destination for families – offering a wide range of attractions and activities for all ages to enjoy.
Given the sheer breadth of options available, it can be difficult to know which ones to visit or partake in. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our recommendations of 15 fun things for families to do during your holiday on the Gold Coast in Queensland:
Surfers Paradise Beach
Start your family adventure with a visit to the iconic Surfers Paradise Beach.
The golden sands and rolling waves are perfect for swimming, building sandcastles, and beachcombing. Though lifeguards are on duty, you should always swim between the flags.
Don’t forget to slip, slap, slop too!
One of the best kids’ activities in Gold Coast is visiting its world-renowned theme parks.
To save money, consider the ‘Multi-Park Pass’, which provides entry to multiple parks for a discounted rate. Additionally, check online for special promotions and combo passes that offer further savings.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are interested in seeing some genuine Australian wildlife, a terrific place to visit is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
This beloved attraction among animal lovers offers unique experiences, including feeding kangaroos, cuddling koalas, and attending wildlife shows.
The sanctuary also runs conservation efforts which you can find out more about to gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s native fauna.
SkyPoint Observation Deck
During your Gold Coast family holiday, the SkyPoint Observation Deck is a must-visit!
Situated atop the Q1 Building in Surfers Paradise, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and hinterland from a vantage point 230 metres above sea level.
Visitors can enjoy both day and night vistas from the observation deck, making it a perfect spot for Insta-worthy photos. There’s also a cafe and bar there available for refreshments, should you get hungry during your visit.
Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk
For a change of scene from the ocean, consider a visit to the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk.
Providing an enchanting eco-adventure in the lush Gold Coast hinterland, this scenic walk takes you through the canopy of a pristine rainforest via elevated walkways and suspension bridges.
It allows you to discover the diverse flora and fauna of the Tamborine rainforest while enjoying the serenity of the area.
If you visit between May and November, consider going on a whale-watching tour. They offer exhilarating experiences that allow visitors to witness the awe-inspiring journey of humpback whales as they migrate along the coast.
Various tours depart from the Gold Coast’s marinas, offering families the chance to see these majestic creatures breaching and tail-slapping in their natural habitat.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
One of the most popular things to do for families who visit the Gold Coast is to check out the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum.
Taking you into a world of strange, bizarre, and downright astonishing phenomena, families can explore an eclectic collection of oddities and curiosities. They include everything from shrunken heads to interactive exhibits that challenge the boundaries of belief and reality.
Overall, it’s a fun and educational experience that sparks curiosity and wonder in visitors of all ages.
One of the coolest ways to explore the Gold Coast is on the Aquaduck Safari.
This vehicle, which is part bus and part boat, takes you on an entertaining and informative tour of the Gold Coast’s most notable landmarks – providing a fun way for first-time visitors to the area to get their bearings.
Your kids are sure to love Infinity Attraction, a mind-bending and sensory adventure in Surfers Paradise that takes them on a journey through a maze of futuristic illusions and special effects.
It’s a unique experience that challenges perception, with its dazzling lights, mirrors, and mind-boggling optical illusions.
Families can explore this immersive world of wonder, where reality seems to warp and twist at every turn. Overall, it’s a fun and intriguing activity that offers a thrilling escape from the ordinary.
Mermaid Beach Putt Putt
Who doesn’t love mini-golf? Well, at Mermaid Beach Putt Putt, they have one of the best courses on the Gold Coast.
Best of all, it’s really affordable. So you can have lots of family fun without breaking the bank.
This fabulous waterfront park in Southport offers a range of family amenities – including a playground, water park, and picnic areas.
Overall, it’s a great place for kids to burn off energy while you relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Lamington National Park
Lamington National Park is the place to go for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.
Nestled in the lush Gold Coast Hinterland, this World Heritage-listed rainforest reserve offers diverse experiences, from scenic walking trails like the Border Track and Toolona Creek Circuit to stunning waterfalls like the famed Elabana Falls.
The park is also renowned for its abundant birdlife and unique flora, including ancient Antarctic beech trees, which encapsulate the breathtaking beauty of Australia’s natural world.
If you fancy a bit of shopping, why not take the opportunity to stroll through the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets?
They are held on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings. At them, you’ll find a terrific selection of local arts, crafts, souvenirs, and street food – the latter of which provides an excellent dinner option as they run from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Jet Ski Safari
Families with older kids can embark on a jet ski safari.
Guided tours take you through the picturesque waterways of the Gold Coast, offering a thrilling adventure on the waves that you otherwise may not experience.
Australian Outback Spectacular
One of the best family things to do in Gold Coast – especially in terms of evening entertainment – is to watch the famous Australian Outback Spectacular.
This captivating live entertainment show is an immersive experience that celebrates the spirit of the Outback through a blend of stunning horsemanship, special effects, and live music.
Families are transported into the world of the outback, where they can enjoy a hearty Aussie meal and witness incredible performances that showcase the unique culture, history, and landscape of Australia’s rugged interior.
Overall, it’s an exhilarating show that offers a taste of the country’s iconic outback heritage.
More Tips For Visiting Gold Coast
- It is advisable to avoid going to the beach between 11 am and 3 pm – this is when the sun is at its strongest, and the risk of sunburn is greatest.
- If you want to go explore beyond the Gold Coast on day trips, consider a visit to Brisbane, Australia Zoo, and the Sunshine Coast, which are between 1 – 2 hours’ driving distance north. Alternatively, head south to Byron Bay – a 90-minute drive or out west to Toowoomba and Warwick for a taste of country life.
- Whilst on the beach, don’t be tempted to drink alcohol – It is illegal to do so anywhere in Queensland (except in licensed premises with wet areas) and can result in you being arrested and receiving a heavy fine.
Where to Next? More Aussie Road Trip Ideas
While the Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most popular family holiday destinations, many will use it simply as a launching pad for greater adventures around the country. Here are some more itinerary ideas you could tag on to your Gold Coast trip:
- If you’d prefer to see more of the southern states, take this Melbourne to the Gold Coast itinerary in reverse order.
© Family Road Trip