If sandy beaches, exciting theme parks, superb shopping, and fantastic activities, all wrapped up in copious amounts of sunshine is what you dream of in the ideal holiday, then the Gold Coast is the perfect family-friendly destination.
The Gold Coast is just three hours flying time from Auckland, or an extra 15 to 20 minutes from Christchurch, Queenstown or Wellington. In down under terms that’s a short hop, skip and jump across the Tasman. Add to that the fact that the ‘GC’ enjoys warm and sunny weather for a big chunk of the year and you’ve got the recipe for a superb family holiday. To help you plan your own getaway, we asked our readers to share their favourite family things to do on the Gold Coast.
1. Theme parks
There really is no other activity you could start with on the Gold Coast for family fun than the amazing theme parks and these were obviously frequently recommended. The world class theme parks include:
Warner Bros. Movie World
The Warner Bros. Movie World studio theme park is a great hit with the kids, both the older thrillseekers and the younger ones who will love to see their favourite characters, including Loony Tunes, DC Super Heroes (and Super-Villains!), Scooby-Doo and others. There’s a mixture of themed family rides, and adrenalin-rushing thrill rides including half a dozen rollercoasters, a Wild West flume ride, and Batman tower ride, plus a street parade, stunt show and 4D experience.
The biggest of the Gold Coast theme parks, Dreamworld has over 40 rides and attractions. Along with dozens of theme park rides for all ages (and bravery levels!), there’s a huge array of outstanding attractions and experiences. See the crocodiles feeding, get your picture taken with a koala, party at the Trolls Village, meet the DreamWorks characters from Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and more! Then there’s Wiggles World, Tiger Island, plus the ancestral experience, Corroboree. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned WhiteWater World which comes highly recommended with lots of fun water slides and rides.
Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast
Wet’n’Wild is the perfect place to head when the Queensland heat is just too much! Relax on the lazy river, get splashed in the giant wave pool, or take on the thrill slides and rides. The water park includes a junior area for the little kids with waterslides, a shallow pool and interactive water play.
2. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
For nature lovers, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is not to be missed. Highly recommended by several of our readers, this sanctuary is home to a colourful array of Australian animals including kangaroos, koalas, Tasmanian devils, wombats, and lorikeets plus several exotic species including ring-tailed lemur and red pandas. See the vital conservation work being done at the wildlife hospital, watch in amazement at the bird show, and learn more about the enormous salties!
3. Beach time
Surfers Paradise, Main Beach, Broadbeach, Palm Beach, Currumbin Beach … and the list goes on! There are so many great beaches on the Gold Coast that there’s too many to mention here. But according to Trip Advisor, the top family-friendly thing to do on the Gold Coast is Burleigh Heads Beach – a great family beach with plenty of amenities.
Check out this local’s guide to 5 must-see Gold Coast beaches.
4. Skypoint Observation Deck
For the best view in town, SkyPoint Observation Deck is 230 metres up at the top of the Q1 Building on Surfers Paradise Boulevard. Breathtaking views are best enjoyed at sunset.
5. Shop till you drop
Ready to shop? Whether you’re seeking some retail therapy, gift shopping for loved ones back home, or you just need an air-conditioned break from the theme parks (!), the shopping meccas of Pacific Fair, Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre, and Robina Town Centre were the popular spots with our readers to spend, spend, spend.
6. Feeding the family
The Gold Coast has an amazing choice of restaurants, cafes, and eateries. But for a family budget loving tip, reader Shelley S says, “This parent recommends the Surfers Paradise Surf Lifesaving Club all you can eat breakfast – $14 for adults and kids $1 per year age … a few mornings we loaded the kids up so it wasn’t a constant run of snacks and it kept us going most of the day till ice cream time.”
Head to the Optus stand at Brisbane airport, where for $20 you can get an Aussie sim card and 45G of data for a month – great value and the staff will set it all up for you in just minutes. Perfect for sharing your Insta-worthy snaps with friends and family.
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”