Australia Destinations Queensland

Family-Friendly Activities on the Gold Coast: A Guide to Queensland’s Ultimate Playground

It’s easy to find family-friendly activities on the Gold Coast — you just have to know where to look. Make memories with our family-friendly Gold Coast guide.

From the famed gold-sand stretches and sparkling waters to action-packed theme parks and world-class dining, it’s little wonder the Gold Coast has long been a family favourite. The perfect place to create special family memories, it’s almost impossible to run out of things to do with the kids.

Whether it’s your first time or one of many, here’s how to live life large in this sun-kissed city with the best family-friendly activities on the Gold Coast.

1. Hit the Gold Coast’s sun-kissed beaches

Currumbin: Tourism Australia

Boasting year-round sunshine and over 57 kilometres of coastline to explore, the Gold Coast was made for beach holidays. For little bathers and paddlers, throw down a towel at Rainbow Bay – a protected golden crescent of soft sand lapped by crystal-clear waters. Further north, Tallebudgera Beach is another eye-searingly blue estuary renowned for its calm waters, while lesser-known Echo Beach is an ideal place for stand-up paddleboarding with older kids and teens. Our tip: head to Burleigh Heads for a swim in her protected waters. What’s more, the burgeoning oceanfront café culture and undercover playground won’t disappoint beachgoers of all ages. And for those little grommets looking to hang ten, look no further than The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta.

2. A huge range of restaurants keeps everyone happy

Miami Marketta: Tourism Australia

It’s no longer just the beach culture and glitzy nightlife the Gold Coast is known for. With a host of bespoke cafés, down-to-earth restaurants and boutique dining precincts popping up all over the place, the Goldie has fast become a gourmand’s playground, home to seriously good food. While reliable chains and hotel offerings remain key temptations, underestimated culinary venues stay relatively under the radar. Offering a dish for every palate – from burgers to Mexican and sweet desserts – live music and boutique market stalls, Miami Marketta is a fun night out for all ages. For fish so fresh you’ll swear dinner has jumped straight out of the water, Charis Seafoods and its massive inflatable waterpark is a must-visit (if you can make it, their daily pelican feeding starts at 1.30pm). Kids will also love Southport Sharks’ large fish tank (with real sharks) and oversized play area, while adults can enjoy a drink at a selection of great bars.

3. Enjoy adrenaline-fuelled days out at the Gold Coast’s theme parks

Warner Bros Movie World: Tourism Australia

Experience an injection of excitement and buzz at Queensland’s world-class theme parks, the biggest collection in the Southern Hemisphere. Splash around endless waterslides at Wet’n’Wild, meet your heroes at Warner Bros. Movie World, come face-to-face with native marine wildlife at Sea World and forge new (thrilling) memories at Dreamworld. For something more authentic, saddle up for a journey to the high country at the Australian Outback Spectacular or learn about Australian Bush Culture at Paradise Country. Step into a futuristic, interactive maze-like world of wonder at the Infinity Attraction in Surfers Paradise or carve through the heart of Mount Tamborine on Australia’s largest zipline and high ropes adventure at TreeTop Challenge.

4. Feel at home in self-contained apartment accommodation

Aria Apartments

A self-contained apartment is the perfect choice for enjoying a fun family holiday with the kids. Extra room gives everyone personal space, and the money you save self-catering can be reallocated for even more family-friendly activities on the Gold Coast. 

If you long for a carefree escape in the heart of the action, mixed with a little luxury, Aria Apartments at Broadbeach is the place to stay. Located steps from The Star Gold Coast entertainment complex and Broadbeach Surf Life Saving Club, Aria Apartments offers fully equipped, self-contained residences with sweeping views of the ocean and Gold Coast hinterland. Young ones will be kept occupied all day at the resort pool, while at night, enjoy some family bonding with a flick in the private cinema. 

Take in the promise of surf, sun and sand from Arise Ruby Gold Coast, smack-bang in the middle of Surfers Paradise. Ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor, these spacious, self-contained apartments will impress families with high-end facilities and home comforts. Wake to dazzling hinterland or city views, laze in the cool pool peeking through to the bustling street life or spend the day together at the beach, learning to surf. Then, in the evening, raise a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed from your balcony. 

5. Explore beyond the Gold Coast together

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, Tamborine Mountain, QLD: Tourism Australia

Trade golden sandy shores for an oasis of serene emerald landscapes as you recharge the batteries in the heavenly hinterland. Despite its close proximity to the glamourous coastal strip, the Gold Coast Hinterland is Southeast Queensland’s best-kept secret, a natural playground of waterfalls, ancient national parks, fresh-water swimming holes and charming mountain villages diverse enough to entertain any type of traveller. Enjoy a refreshing change of pace, sampling creamy local fudge in Mount Tamborine Village, feeding kangaroos by hand at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, spying glow worms and microbats at Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park or sharing Cedar Creek Falls’ rock pool waters with fish and turtles.