Things To Do In The Gold Coast With Kids | 2020 Edition

Are you looking for things to do with the kids during your stay on the Gold Coast? We have put together a guide made up of our best knowledge concerning activities, family friendly restaurants and playgrounds. Even the toddlers are taken care of. Read on if you want to make your holiday great.

Kids Activities On The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast has been attracting visitors from all over the world for decades.  There are heaps of cool kid’s attractions to choose from, so your biggest problem will be trying to work out how do you fit everything into your holiday.

  • Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to take the kids so they can get up close to kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and lorikeets. Not so close and safely in cages, the kids can marvel at the snakes, lizards, reptiles, spiders and other creepy crawly things.

    Other children’s activities include the Adventure Parc where they can test their limits and climb, swing and zip line through the treetops. Don’t miss feeding the lorikeets. Join the staff each afternoon where the birds will literally eat out of your hand. Just be sure to warn the kids that this can be messy and they could end up with bird poo on them. But what can you expect – there’s a lot of birds eating a lot of food. Just remind them that bird poo is supposedly good luck, and it’s definitely worth the experience. Book here and get an adult ticket for as low as $35 AUD.

  • The whole family will love watching a live bee keeping show at Superbee Honeyworld. After the show, sample different honey varieties and purchase your favourite to take home with you. How sweet!

  • Visit Thunderbird Park where there are heaps of children’s activities such as horse riding, fossicking, taking the tree top challenge and high ropes, laser skirmish, mini golf, bush walking, bird feeding, and swimming. And because there is so much on offer, you just might have to stay the night. You can pitch your own tent, book a bunk, or stay in one of the lodges.

  • Is it a bus? Is it a boat? No, it’s Aquaduck!  Traversing both land and sea, hold on tight as you make a splash and d(r)ive straight into the Broadwater. It’s quacktastic!

  • Stay on par at King Tutts Putt Putt. With three 18 hole mini golf courses available you can choose to play one, two, or all three! Choose from Tutt’s Challenge (outdoor), Ancient Egypt (indoor) and Jurassic Course (indoor).

  • Timezone is a favourite activity for kids of all ages. There’s a timezone in Surfers Paradise and another at Coolangatta (which is at the southern end of the Gold Coast). Both arcades are packed with hundreds of games and attractions, and have everything from bumper cars to bowling. A visit to timezone is hours of family fun and is great for rainy days.

  • If you thought a 4D was good, just wait until you try the 7D Cinema at Surfers Paradise. State of the art simulator technology will have you feeling like you are actually in the movie! There’s no need to book, just turn up, select your movie, and enjoy the ride.

  • Step inside a high-tech world where reality, as you know it, ceases to exist at Infinity. You’ll have an a-MAZE-ing time as you passage through 20 futuristic realms of excitement including, Electron Maze, Magic Zone, Eclipse and more!

  • Lose yourself in a labyrinth of frightening fun at the Haunted House. There are five themed levels designed using optical illusions and special effects will have you questioning your every turn. Up the ante with ‘Dare Doors’ for an even more terrifying experience. (This super cool kids attraction is great for older kids but it is not suitable for very young children).

  • Welcome to the Wax Museum, where the figures are so lifelike you could swear they were real! The museum has two exhibits, the World of Wax and Chamber of Horrors. Rub shoulders with the rich and royal or be horrified at the merciless torture devices on display.

  • Home of the bizarre and unusual, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! will have you scratching your head in disbelief. Could it really be true?! Keep the whole family entertained as you explore through 16 themed galleries featuring relics, illusions and interactive displays.

  • See the Gold Coast as you’ve never seen it before. Skypoint at Q1 gives you panoramic views. Take your experience to an exhilarating new level with a Skypoint Climb (must be 12 years and over). There are morning, daytime and twilight climbs available, and don’t be afraid to look down!


Family Activities On The Gold Coast

Theme parks

A visit to the Gold Coast would not be complete without taking the family to one of the renowned theme parks. There are four theme parks to choose from, Seaworld, Movie World, Dreamworld or Wet’n’Wild.

These parks provide hours of fun for all the family and all the different age groups. Thrill seekers will go wild on the many adrenaline filled rides and rollercoasters, while little kids can have just as much fun on their rides, guaranteeing that no-one misses out.

  • Seaworld rides include the “Storm” rollercoaster, Jet Rescue, Sea Viper, the Flume ride. For the little kids, there’s a cool play area with a mini rollercoaster, express trains, carousel and plenty of other crazy rides. And when the little kids aren’t on rides, they’ll be giggling as they watch Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and other favourite cartoon characters entertain them on stage. Fun for the entire family are the highly entertaining dolphin and sea lion shows. Walk through the aquarium where you’ll get up close with sharks, sting-rays and other marine life of all shapes and sizes.
  • Movie world is jam packed with really cool rides and activities for kids. Dare-devils will love the terrifying but ultra cool and superfast rides and rollercoasters including Superman Escape, Green lantern rollercoaster, the Scooby Doo spooky coaster ride. Don’t miss the daily Movie World parade where all the looney tunes characters march through the streets. 
  • Wet & Wild is the ideal way to stay cool and wet on the Gold Coast. Choose from waterslides and rides guaranteed to keep the kids cool and relaxed on a hot day. The family really will be ‘laughing out loud’ as they ride the Black Hole, Tornado, Mach  5, and Kimakazi. Head to Calypso Bay and enjoy the man-made wave pool, or take the little ones to the whirlpool springs with its mini pools and bubbles.
  • Dreamworld is Australia’s largest theme park and has more than 40 rides to choose from (including 5 rollercoasters.). Thrill seekers will go wild on the Tower of Terror, the Giant Drop, Wipeout, and six other terrifying rides. Little children’s activities include plenty of rides that go up and down and spin around, and are inspired by the Wiggles, Banana’s in Pyjamas and Shrek. Don’t miss activities the whole family can enjoy including live shows and adventures, cinema experiences, and an Aboriginal coroboree. Still hungry for more things to do….visit with the many animals including kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, crocodiles, snakes, sheep and tigers that live at Dreamworld. See the animal shows, have a go at feeding them, or have your photo taken with the zoo family.
  • WhiteWater World is another part of Dreamworld and has waterslides and pools ready to cool you off.
  • Don your R.M Williams and get ready to experience the true spirit of outback Australia in Outback Spectacular. Indulge in a three course Aussie banquet as you immerse yourself in the evening’s live entertainment that is filled with music, drama, animals, stunts and special effects.
  1. Theme park tip #1: Save money

If you’re planning on visiting the Gold Coast theme parks more than once, get yourself a VIP pass so you can go as often as you want. You only have to go twice and you’ve saved money on entry fees.

  1. Theme park tip #2: Save time

Gold Coast theme parks are very popular. Rather than queuing for rides all day, pay a bit extra to get fast tracked through rides. There’s still a waiting time but not near as long. This means you can explore other theme park activities and jump the queue when it’s your turn.

Beaches, rivers and outdoor living.

The Gold Coast hasn’t got its name by accident. It is a golden place to visit, and it is jam-packed with beaches, rivers, creeks and rock pools waiting for your family to explore and enjoy. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love crystal clear water and soft sandy beaches?

The beaches are full of children’s activities and provide some of the best free fun and hours of memories for your family.

So let’s get into the detail:

  • Hire a boogy board or surfboard and catch the waves. There’s heaps of board hire places nearby the beaches.

  • If you fancy calmer waters, head one of the creeks or rivers on the Gold Coast and hire a paddle board or canoe. Stand Up Paddle Board is all the rage and is heaps of fun.

  • Book a Learn to surf lesson – it’s an amazing experience, and they welcome all age groups, from 5 years and up. There’s plenty of surf schools to choose from and lessons are usually 2.5 hours. Once you’re up and riding the waves, you’ll be hooked!

  • Build a sand castle - Little kids love being able to paddle on the water’s edge and build a sand castle.

  • Float and/or body surf in the water. It’s so beautiful.

  • Take the little kids for a play on the swings, slippery slides and other equipment at the many beachside playgrounds.

  • Pack a picnic or have an Aussie BBQ at the beach. Most beaches have free BBQs for you to cook up a feast.


Toddler Activities On The Gold Coast

In addition to the theme parks and the beaches, we all know that toddlers love a good playground. And they can spend hours and hours swinging, spinning, and sliding down a slippery dip. So below highlights some of the popular parks and playgrounds that will have your toddler squealing in delight.

  • The Kurrawa Pratten Park - All Abilities Playground at Broadbeach is the first of its kind at the Gold Coast. This fully fenced park offers children of all ages and abilities with a safe and interactive play environment. Themed areas include: the Sandcastle Zone, Undersea Zone and Hill Zone.

  • Families just love Pacific Pines Central Park, with plenty of little children’s activities to have everyone smiling. There are swings, a suspension bridge, climbing nets, flying fox and much more. Enjoy a walk around the lake or take time out to feed the ducks. Quack quack!

  • Head to the tranquil Cascade Gardens at Broadbeach. These beautifully spacious gardens have BBQ facilities, a children’s playground, a water bird sanctuary, and a tropical rainforest for the whole family to explore.

  • Ahoy me matey and welcome to Treasure Island Playground at the award winning Palm Beach Parklands. Let your little pirates and scallywags run wild as they search for buried treasure, walk the plank and have a swashbuckling good time! Aye, it’s a fun day out for ye all! Arrr!

  • And don’t forget, there are playgrounds at most beaches so be sure to explore them as well.

Kid Friendly Restaurants On The Gold Coast 

The great thing about restaurants and cafes on the Gold Coast is that there’s an endless choice of family friendly options. There’s a smorgasboard of cuisines, plus you can take the kids to most pubs, clubs and RSLs for a meal.

My advice is to check out the menu on the window and see what appeals to your family (and budget).

So just a few recommendations to tempt your tastebuds:

  • Earth and sea pizza restaurant is right across from the beach making it a tough decision to either eat in or take your pizza across the road for an alfresco dining experience on the beach.

          Location: Coolangatta 

  • The Jungle Mexican restaurant is a local favourite. This cheap and cheerful restaurant was started years ago by some local chefs and surfers, and people continue to flock to it for the fresh, simple flavours they serve up.

          Location: Coolangatta

  • Montezumas is a great family restaurant chain serving up kid-friendly favourites such as tacos, nachos, and burritos. There’s also free colouring in books, and activities such as maraca crafts to keep the kids entertained. Another bonus - kid’s eat FREE on Tuesdays!

          Location: Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise

  • Oh Sushi serves up mouth-watering Japanese dishes. Watch the sushi masters at work, and have them make your own special request if it’s not on the train.

          Location: Coolangatta and Broadbeach

  • sushi train is a popular chain of restaurants that can be found all along the Gold Coast. You can grab a seat at the sushi train and eat in, but they are a great healthy fast food alternative.

          Location: Coolangatta, Miama, Nerang, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, Southport

  • Hatsuhana Restaurant has delicious Japanese food including sushi, sashimi, and noodles. The kids will be in awe at the Teppanyaki experience where fresh meat and seafood cooked in front of your eyes. If you have small kids, check out the early bird menu and be sure to ask about their discounted meal packages for families.

          Location: Seaworld Resort, Main Beach

  • Surf life saving clubs – are all along the Gold Coast and most have children’s menus and a great family atmosphere.

          Location: anywhere there’s a beach, there’s a surf club waiting for you to sample their food.

  • Cedar Creek Estate Winery is a cool place to hang out for lunch. The restaurant overlooks Mount Tambourine and serves modern Australian food. Try the caramelised ginger pork and apple salad. Let the kids run wild among the gardens and vineyards before and after lunch….it’s all about relaxing.

          Location: North Tamborine

  • Dine Alfresco at the beach! Pack a picnic, a picnic rug, and the family and head to one of the many parks or beaches for the best  outdoor dining experience ever. If you feel creative, cook up a BBQ dinner using the free beachside BBQs. If you want someone else to do the cooking, then grab some takeway from one of the many nearby restaurants or cafes, and enjoy! Bon appetite!

         The location: anywhere you choose.