The Gold Coast is sold as that bright sunny happy holiday of everyone’s dreams. I have visited numerous times with Surf Life Saving Championships but that’s a very different holiday to one with kids. Needless to say, I was skeptical about it being a good holiday for kids based of my knowledge of the bars and clubs and not really understanding that there was more to the coast than my previous visits (a distant memory now!) It was a great delight to find not only an alternative to the night life but also an area of Australia with an envious lifestyle.
The Gold Coast attracts over 10 million visitors a year. Phew! That’s a lot. It is because of this large number that they have loads to do. The Gold Coast organisers know how to run things on a large scale. They’re used to large numbers and theirs facilities are built to handle them.
The area is divided into Burleigh Heads and the southern beach areas, Tamborine Mountain and Lamington National Park, and then the two jewels Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. You name it. It’s here on the coast to do. There are adventure activities, nature activities, theme parks, water activities, shopping, dining, and animal parks and zoo’s. We visited on the cusp of spring and summer and the weather was delightful.
As I have written before in blogs about other locations, I will include what I think you can’t miss. From here you can expand based on how much additional time you have and personal interests.
Must do on the Gold Coast.
- Swim. The best beaches for kids are south. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. I recommend Broadwater for families or Currimbin.
- Go to one of many amazing parks. The Gold Coast might be famous for Theme Parks but they do community parks really well. Broadwater Parklands are my pick. Be sure to visit the Rockpools. I found myself questioning why Sydney councils can’t do the same. Such a simple idea- water play. Kids love it. The Gold Coast council have invested well when it comes to maintaining and developing their parks. They are not manufactured plastic boxes that are the same in suburbs throughout the world but interactive play and innovative. They ignite imaginations and they are well planned. The world should look at the Gold Coast as an example on how to plan a city. (just my opinion)
- Take a walk along the shore line. The Queensland Government have invested heavily in footpaths and boardwalks stretching from Surfers Paradise south. In fact there’s 70 kilometres of coastline to explore. Broadbeach has a great park for kids just behind the beach front. Tarrabora Reserve would be my pick with kids. Or hit the pavement from Broadbeach south using the various exercise equipment on route.
- Visit the hinterland areas. There’s no point just getting a feel for the beach areas, as you’ll discover there is more to the area than that. The hinterlands will also give you a break from the crowds. I recommend Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk for a family outing.
- Visit one of many theme parks. My favourite is Wet ‘n Wild world. If you’re not into water parks I think Dreamworld is the best for broad range appeal. SeaWorld is not on my list simply because I don’t like watching animals performing. If you do, then you may enjoy this park.
- Palm Beach Parklands are fabulous for any little pirates. Pick up some fish and chips and enjoy the kids playing and swimming as the sun sets.
- Burleigh National Park where volcanic columns meet the sea. It is the type of place where postcards are made.
Most of the cafes at Broadbeach are so used to families that they cater for kids. Surfers Paradise less so, but the areas south and inland expect you to arrive with kids and potentially a dog too! A list of my favs below.
- Gemelli Italian Broadbeach- hard to go past Italian when eating with the family. You’ll love the vibes if this centrally located bust restaurant.
- Dune Cafe at Palm Beach (before or after the pirate park) the menu is exciting, fresh and delicious. The menu has a great choice and you won’t be dissapointed.
- Mike’s Kitchen for a night out with kids – don’t let the highway address put you off. Burgers, ribs and steaks. They have a kids menu that extends beyond nuggets and bolognaise.
- Elk Espresso at Broadbeach for an amazing breakfast burger.
- Koi at Broadbeach you’ve never seen a kids menu like this! Amazing. This restaurant will fascinate the kids by night with all the lights, by day you’ll enjoy the buzz.
- Platation House Cafe – West Burleigh, you might think this is a little far away but it’s well worth the drive. A great rainy day activity but that’s not to say when the sun in shining you will not love it truly madly and deeply!
- Surf clubs in Queensland are usually a safe bet for families meals. BMD Northcliffe SLSC or North Burleigh SLSC aren’t picks. The later bring stroller friendly.
Q1 Resort and Spa – with a choice of 1,2 or 3 bedroom apartments this very tall tower has s great choice of accomodation. There are 3 pools in the complex and easy access to the beachfront walks and Surfers Paradise. The photos within this blog were taken from our room at Q1.
Peppers Broadbeach with 1 or 2 bedroom suites you will have space for the family. The views from here are great and you couldn’t be more accessible to the great shops and cafes of Broadbeach. The park across the road is a great bonus.
RACV Royal Pines Resort – kids club, water slides, jumping pillow and other facilities will not disappoint. The twin and king rooms are spacious and rooms have a balcony to enjoy the view.
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove – with a kids club and inflatable pool toys, this hotel is not mucking around when the say they cater to families. The architecture of this resort has truly stood up well and the rooms have parquetry floors with a choice of garden or water views.
Will I visit again? It’s hard not too… The Gold Coast is hard to go past for a mini break or even a family holiday destination. It’s buzzing with activities but it’s also lovely to enjoy the quieter life the locals have all year round. All people considering or think they may consider a sea change- beware as this neighborhood hooks into you and its hard not to daydream about this idealistic lifestyle.