Best Things to Do on a Gold Coast Family Holiday

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.

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.

Gold Coast

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!

Gold Coast

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.

Gold Coast

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.

Gold Coast

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. For an affordable, family-friendly option with a stellar view, the Surfers Paradise Surf Lifesaving Club is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bonus Tip!

Grab an Aussie sim card from retailers with plenty of data – perfect for sharing your Insta-worthy snaps with friends and family as well as helping you to get out and about.

her world julieWritten 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”


  1. Stephanie Brown 13/05/2019 at 5:42 pm

    Just been to the Gold Coast with an almost 3 year old. Definitely need a day trip up to Australia zoo, and wet’n’wild was great. Little one loved the slides just for under 10’s. Only decided to go as under 3yrs are free and found out they do free entry if you’re pregnant (need a medical cert to verify tho) so turned out to be a cheapish 4 hrs. Little one loved seaworld to

  2. kymmage 31/03/2019 at 10:21 pm

    We are heading to Brisbane this year. Definitely thinking about the theme parks. Seaworld is amazing, as is Dreamworld. Currumbin we have been to before, but would love to go back. This will be my youngest’s first time there and she is very keen to feed some kangaroos.

  3. dawnblyth 31/03/2019 at 10:10 pm

    I’ve never been to Australia before but if I went I think the wildlife sanctuary would be high on the list of things to do. Both my boys would love the theme parks and hubby would love the wildlife sanctuary with me.

  4. felicity beets 29/03/2019 at 7:50 am

    I think our boys would love the wildlife sanctuary as they love animals and there would be so many different ones to see. They are a bit young for the other theme parks but maybe in the future.

  5. Alezandra 27/03/2019 at 11:11 pm

    Could be included in the family’s travel bucket list. Haven’t been to Australia at all so this is just a great place to start.

  6. MuddledUpMolly 26/03/2019 at 12:06 pm

    My husband and son will be attending a wedding in Brisbane in October so there are plenty of great ideas here for them to do together as he is now a great age to enjoy the theme parks etc.

  7. SarahBlair 23/03/2019 at 3:31 pm

    My high school best friend lives on the Gold Coast and is often asking me to come for a holiday, this article has made it more tempting than ever, I think I might have to start a saving plan…

  8. Mands1980 18/03/2019 at 8:24 pm

    We love the Gold Coast we have been twice with the 3 kids and done all the themes parks. Last time we got a free ticket up the sky observation deck it was great views but very very high the kids were just a bit scared. The beach is great too as the sand is so different to home the kids just live it. Getting an Aussie SIM card sounds a bonus for all that data I have not heard of that before.

Leave A Comment