We are embarrased to say that we have lived in Australia our whole life and never been to the Gold Coast. Isn't that always the way? I think Ursula may have convinced us to head to Australia and give the kids a taste!
Nothing beats the seaside for family holidays, and on the Gold Coast that’s more true than ever. Replete with activities for kids of all ages, you’ll struggle to get everything done in one trip, with theme parks, hinterland wildlife, and all manner of family activities right under your feet in world class resorts and on beautiful beaches. Besides the activities you can do as a family, with so many distractions for the kids you’ll easily find time for yourself as well.
The resorts in the Gold Coast are expertly geared towards family entertainment - half the time you don’t even need to leave the hotel to have a good time. The council runs seven resorts itself, but if you’re after the best, arguably the most popular is Paradise Resort, in Surfers Paradise. Awarded Best Family Resort in Australia, this place is worth the flight there alone: while the kids are hitting the water-parks and play areas (or the ice rink, for something a bit different!), you can relax in a selection of spas and bistros.
When you’re able to draw yourself away from the resort, the whole family will want to take advantage of the coast’s countless number of beaches. With every watersport imaginable on offer, trips to the beach are an ideal way to keep the children busy and get some downtime for yourself. It’s tempting to book the kids into a surf school while you read a book, but if you’ve made it that far it’s almost rude not to join them out on the waves!
Venturing through the city, there are dozens of regular parks to let your kids run wild in between the shops and beaches. Expect nautical themed play areas with the likes of mermaids, submarines and boats to clamber over. The parks across Gold Coast have mixed activities to suit everyone, from vast walking and cycling areas to adventure playgrounds. Try Laguna Park on Palm Beach for something of a central catch-all, or go further afield to the massive Pacific Pines for more wildlife walks.
Heading out to the country
The Gold Coast is famous for its beaches and surf, but it really comes into its own when you venture outside the hectic city and explore the countryside of the hinterland. Rent a car and take your children on a day trip or two, for some incredible panoramas and hikes of varying difficulty. You can see all sorts of birds and reptiles out there; Springbook Park is home to over 100 bird species, while you can fascinate your kids with the landscape of Tamborine’s ancient dormant volcano.
If your kids get tired of walking, or need a little excitement beyond breathtaking views, Tamborine is particularly well equipped: Thunderbird Park has enough adventure and activity to fill a whole trip, from mini-golf and fossil hunting to laser tag and treetop walking.
When the natural beauty of the beaches and the hinterland aren’t enough, and the frantic parks and resort facilities have all been done, you can rest assured that the demands for theme parks will persist. Do yourself a favor and book into the parks early, rather than resist (you can tire the children down and relax on the beach afterwards).
There are parks to suit all tastes in Gold Coast: try the epic Dreamworld for a mix of family fun and more grown-up thrill-rides, or go to the enormous Seaworld for aquatic and animal attractions. For some movie entertainment, don’t miss Warner Bros Movie World, where the rides and live shows will please your little film enthusiasts.
Ursula Jones is a passionate traveller with many years’ experience writing articles on holidaying abroad. Ursula’s ideal holiday? A far flung tropical island and a good book.