*Disclaimer: Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, some of the activities listed may be closed or have changed hours. Follow the latest health advice and contact individual businesses for information about their operations.*
Ever wondered what the best family-friendly activities on the Gold Coast are?
Well, we have too, which is why we put together this comprehensive list of 20 activities across two regions, including both free and paid options.
If you’ve got a holiday booked in the Sunshine State, bookmark this page and whip out your itinerary, because we’re pretty sure both you and your kids are going to love what’s on offer.
South Gold Coast
These activities are perfect for families vacationing at Kirra Beach or anywhere else along the south end of the Gold Coast.
Wondering what the locals love? Debbie Meffan, Resort Manager of Club Wyndham Kirra Beach, recommends Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Kirra prides itself on a relaxed and laidback setting while being close to all the wonderful attractions. For nature lovers, Razorback Road will take you to a lookout with beautiful views of Coolangatta. For animal lovers, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is less than 10 minutes from the resort – the great part is we offer discounted tickets!”
How could you stay near some of the Gold Coast’s most beautiful beaches and not take a dip?
Swimming is about as free as it gets – all you need are swimmers, a towel and sunscreen, and you’re good to go.
Some of the south Gold Coast’s top beaches include Burleigh Heads, Kirra Beach, Tallebudgera Creek and Coolangatta Beach.
Burleigh Heads National Park
Popular with Gold Coast locals thanks to its bohemian vibe and beautiful beach, Burleigh Heads is a must-visit if you’re staying nearby.
In addition to its line-up of healthy eateries and boutique coffee shops, it’s also home to Burleigh Heads National Park, which features a number of walking trails and some spectacular lookout points.
You can explore the park as a family, or relax on the grassy slopes of Burleigh Hill as the kids hunt for shells along the rocky shoreline. If you’re in the mood for some Instagram-worthy photography, hang around on the Hill and watch the horizon fade to shades of pastel as the sun sets.
Visit Springbrook National Park
In a state famous for its stunning natural beauty, Springbrook National Park still manages to stand out.
This vast sprawl of rainforest is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area, and is home to an incredible diversity of both plants and animals. There are also a number of rivers, waterfalls and spectacular lookouts.
Springbrook is covered in walking trails, which makes it highly accessible for families. It’s complete with facilities like barbecues, toilets, WiFi and picnic tables, so there’s really no reason not to visit!
Check out the official government site for updates and information.
Currumbin Rock Pools
A local favourite, the Currumbin Rock Pools are a call-back to an earlier era, when camping in the bush and swimming under waterfalls was what everyone did over the summer holidays.
These gorgeous natural pools are perfect for older and younger kids alike – there’s easy access areas for parents with bubs, and small cliffs for the more adventurous to jump off.
The nearby barbecue and toilet facilities mean you can combine a swim with a family lunch, so make sure you add the Pools to your next Gold Coast itinerary!
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
If there’s one thing Currumbin is famous for, it’s the nationally renowned Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. A tourist attraction that doubles as a wildlife hospital and conservation centre, CWS has been helping kids connect with nature for years for over 70 years.
Meet animals ranging from tassie devils and echidnas to dingoes and kangaroos, watch incredible avian displays like WildSkies, soar above crocodiles with the TreeTop Challenge high ropes course, or enjoy an intimate encounter like the Koala “Behind the Scenes” Experience.
If you and your family love Australia’s natural beauty, you’ll love what Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary have to offer.
Visit the CWS site here.
David Fleay Wildlife Park
It might not be quite as famous as its neighbour in Currumbin, but David Fleay Wildlife Park offers a very different experience – less tourist-oriented, but arguably more in tune with nature.
Natural areas of bushland and rainforest are spanned by an intricate network of boardwalks, where you and your family can walk to experience some of Australia’s most iconic animals in their natural habitat.
Wedge-tailed eagles, crocodiles, platypi and cassowaries are just a few of the park’s inhabitants. You can also visit the Nocturnal House, where you get to see shy creatures like gliders and bilbies roaming freely.
Tours are conducted by experienced Queensland Park Rangers; afterwards, relax in the park’s onsite café.
Find out more here.
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Visiting Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a fantastic way to learn about the culture and customs of Australia’s First Nations. Fully owned and operated by the local Indigenous community, Jellurgal offers a number of family-friendly tours and services.
These range from the Jellurgal Walkabout (a guided walking tour of the Burleigh headland) to the Jellurgal Journey, which encompasses an exploration of the ‘Dreaming Mountain’ Jellurgal, First Nations ecological practices, a traditional dance performance and more.
Are your kids afraid of heights? A holiday is the perfect time to push them out of their comfort zone – and teach them valuable lessons about perseverance and conquering fear.
Core Climbing is all about bouldering (think rock climbing, but without harnesses). That probably sounds scary, but Core’s climbing walls start at just three metres high, and feature heavily-padded floors that making falling off almost fun!
Each climb varies in difficulty, with options for both tiny beginners and advanced adults. Whether you’re a veteran climber or someone who’s never grabbed a hold, visiting the GC’s largest bouldering gym is a great way to add a dose of adrenaline to your holiday.
Find out more about Core Climbing here.
BOUNCE might not be a uniquely Gold Coast experience (there are centres across Australia) but it’s definitely earned its place on this list by merit of being so much fun!
This adrenaline-powered trampoline playground spans everything from freestyle parkour courses to trampoline pits and dodgeball challenges. Visiting is a great way to get the kids energised and excited in a safe but physically challenging environment.
Learn more about BOUNCE’s Burleigh Waters branch here.
Godfathers of the Ocean Surf School
What would a holiday on the Gold Coast be if you didn’t take the opportunity to enjoy some of the best beaches in the world? Surfing is a great way to experience the awesome power of the ocean, and, even if your kids have never surfed before, learning the basics isn’t hard.
Godfathers of the Ocean Surf School’s lead coach is surfing great Michael ‘Munga’ Barry, whose professional career spanned twelve years. The surf school is also renowned for its elite team of coaching staff, who, along with Munga, share their professional expertise through a variety of surfing lessons, including group lessons, private classes and family sessions.
If you think your family might enjoy a day in the water, learn more about Godfathers here.
North Gold Coast
These activities are perfect for families staying at Surfers Paradise or anywhere else along the north end of the Gold Coast.
Visit Markets in the Meadow
Farmers’ markets are a great way to meet locals and get a feel for a destination, especially if you’re visiting somewhere you’ve never been before. Markets in the Meadow are one of the Gold Coast’s biggest markets, and you can find them seven minutes’ drive from Wyndham Hotel Surfers Paradise every Sunday morning.
What’s on offer? Well, a bit of everything! Explore stalls ranging from Italian baked goods and Japanese cuisine to pony rides and hand-crafted donuts.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re hunting for delicious local produce, finding fun activities to entertain the kids, or just soaking up the beautiful GC sunshine – visiting the Markets is a fantastic way to finish off the week.
Explore the Markets in the Meadow’s full list of vendors here.
Visit Broadwater Parklands
Some mornings, the kids just wake up with too much energy – you’d love to share their enthusiasm, but you need a double shot of caffeine before you can get that excited. It’s times like that when places like the Broadwater Parklands come in handy.
Just 14 minutes’ drive from Wyndham Surfers Paradise, Broadwater Parklands are the perfect place to unleash your children. Playgrounds, water parks and bouncing pillows are bisected by walking paths, and there’s plenty of shaded areas for parents to relax or cook up a barbie.
Find out more about Broadwater Parklands here.
Cycle the Gold Coast Oceanway
The Gold Coast is one of the most beautiful regions in Queensland, and there’s no better way to explore it than by cycling or walking the Gold Coast Oceanway.
This 36-kilometre footpath stretches from The Spit to Point Danger – you can hire a bike from local vendors, or lace up those runners and hit the pavement. Even if you’re not feeling up to a full-day hike, you can go for a wander along part of the Oceanway and turn back when you feel like it.
Learn more about the Gold Coast Oceanway here.
Explore Mount Tamborine Lookouts
The Gold Coast might be famous for its beaches, but Mount Tamborine is a beautiful alternative to the coastline. Its quaint, pseudo-European atmosphere and plethora of stunning lookouts make it a must-see for tourists.
The kids will love places like Gallery Walk (a tourist strip featuring everything from antique clockmakers to gourmet fudge shops) and the ever-popular glow-worm caves, while you and your partner can take family photos at lookouts offering panoramic views of the Queensland interior.
The Gold Coast is indisputably the theme park capital of Australia, boasting four major parks and a host of smaller offerings.
Australia’s largest theme park, Dreamworld, is located roughly half an hour north of Surfers Paradise, and visiting is an experience that the whole family will love.
Scream your lungs out on iconic thrill rides like the Giant Drop (exactly what it sounds like), cool off in Whitewater World’s multitude of slippery-dips and meet the majestic residents of Tiger Island.
Find out more about Dreamworld here.
Even if you’re staying in just one area for the length of your holiday, a hire care can come in handy for exploring nearby attractions. It’s also the perfect vehicle for travelling back in time to the 1950s with Yatala Drive-In.
This hugely popular cinema features an American-style diner with statues of Elvis and Marilyn Munroe, and is perfect for introducing your kids to the magic of drive-in movies.
Yatala Drive-In also close to the dangerously good Yatala Pies, a 130-year-old Gold Coast landmark that delivers truly excellent renditions of the classic Aussie pie.
Book your drive-in movie session here.
Already visited Dreamworld? Movie World should be next on your list.
This sprawling theme park is a testament to the magic of cinema, with dozens of rollercoasters, family rides and specialised shows paying tribute to some of the greatest movie characters of all time.
Meet your favourite Looney Tunes in the flesh, take the kids on the heart-stopping DC Rivals Hypercoaster and shoot lasers on the interactive Justice League 3D ride – if you’ve seen it on film, you can probably do it at Movie World.
Discover more Movie World attractions here.
If Movie World is adrenaline mixed with a bunch of your favourite movies, Sea World is the spectacular beauty of the natural world put on display.
Introduce your kids to the many creatures of the ocean – penguins, polar bears, seals, rays, sharks and more all call this theme park home. You can get up close and personal with experiences like ray patting and the Tropical Reef Snorkel, or scream with excitement on thrill rides like the stomach-churning Vortex.
Either way, a day at Sea World is an adventure for the whole family, packed with the kind of awesome moments that make a holiday special.
Explore Sea World’s full list of attractions here.
Thunderbird Park isn’t as big as its more popular cousins in Coomera, but this Mount Tamborine theme park is still definitely worth a visit.
Named after the semi-precious ‘thunder egg’ deposits scattered across its grounds, the park features a variety of different attractions, including the Treetop Challeng high ropes course, canyon-crossing ziplines, pony rides, mini golf, thunder egg mining and more.
Because it’s roughly an hour’s drive from Wyndham Surfers Paradise, we recommend visiting as part of a larger Mount Tamborine daytrip.
You can find out more about Thunderbird Park’s full list of activities here.
Holidaying in summer? You picked a good place to do it. The Gold Coast doesn’t just have an incredible line-up of world-class beaches – it’s also the home of Wet’n’Wild.
Imagine terrifyingly steep waterslides, ferociously fast raft rides and a bunch of unique aquatic experiences, and you start to get a picture of why Wet’n’Wild is so popular.
You can find Wet’n’Wild near Movie World, roughly half an hour’s drive from Wyndham Surfers Paradise – check out what’s on offer here.
|Wyndham Kirra Beach|
|Address||Phone||Website||Cost per person||Time From Resort|
|Burleigh Heads National Park||Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220||13 74 68||Click here||Free||19 minutes by car|
|Springbrook National Park||Old School Rd, Springbrook QLD 4213||–||Click here||Free||53 minutes by car|
|Currumbin Rock Pools||Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley QLD 4223||–||Click here||Free||24 minutes by car|
|Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary||28 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD 4223||(07) 5534 1266||Click here||From $39.95||9 minutes by car|
|David Fleay Wildlife Park||Loman Lane, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220||(07) 5669 2051||Click here||From $0||15 minutes by car|
|Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre||1711 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220||(07) 5525 5955||Click here||From $20||20 minutes by car|
|Core Climbing||122 Eastlake St, Carrara QLD 4211||(07) 5530 2323||Click here||From $15||24 minutes by car|
|BOUNCE||5 Sunlight Dr, Burleigh Waters QLD 4220||1300 000 540||Click here||From $11.60||19 minutes by car|
|Godfathers of the Ocean||Lord St, Coolangatta, QLD 4225||+61 0402 911 146||Click here||Family packages from $275||2 minutes by car|
|Wyndham Surfers Paradise|
|Address||Phone||Website||Cost per person||Time From Resort|
|Markets in the Meadow||Gold Coast Turf Club
Racecourse Dr, Bundall QLD 4217, Australia
|–||Click here||Free||7 minutes by car|
|Broadwater Parklands||Marine Parade, Southport QLD 4215||–||Click here||Free||15 minutes by car|
|Gold Coast Oceanway||Varies||–||Click here||Free||Varies|
|Mount Tamborine Lookouts||294-298 Main Western Rd, North Tamborine QLD 4272||–||–||Free||46 minutes by car|
|Dreamworld||Dreamworld Pkwy, Coomera QLD 4209||(07) 5588 1111||Click here||From $60||28 minutes by car|
|Yatala Drive-In||100 Stapylton Jacobs Well Rd, Stapylton QLD 4207||(07) 3287 2930||Click here||From $35 per car||37 minutes by car|
|Movie World||Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210||13 33 86||Click here||From $99||23 minutes by car|
|Sea World||Seaworld Dr, Main Beach QLD 4217||–||Click here||From $89||12 minutes|
|Thunderbird Park||Corner Tamborine Mountain Rd &, Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272||(07) 5545 1468||Click here||Entry is free, activity fees vary||54 minutes by car|
|Wet’n’Wild||Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210||13 33 86||Click here||From $79||25 minutes by car|
Feeling ready for your Gold Coast adventure? Book your family holiday now.