With a list of amusement parks almost as long as its string of white-sand beaches, it's no small wonder why the Gold Coast is one of Australia's leading holiday destinations. While it may be a well-known haven for surfers and party animals, this laidback stretch of coast is a hidden gem when it comes to all-age adventures. Whether you’re embarking on a full-blown family trip or have a lone toddler in tow, we’ve got your Gold Coast itinerary covered.
Want to treat your little ones to a big adventure? Pick up a car hire in the Gold Coast and see why the Sunshine State is Australia's epicentre of family fun.
The only stop you’ll need for a no-fuss family holiday, this award-winning resort is the perfect launch point for all of the Gold Coast’s activities – if you ever decide to leave. Boasting its own state-of-the-art ice-skating rink and a fully-equipped water park, you can rest assured the kids will be well looked after while you enjoy everything the 4-star accommodation has to offer, from the on-site bistro and bar to the lagoon style pool and spa.
Parents who want to sneak an informative outing into their kids’ school holidays can’t go past Sea World – one of the Gold Coast’s most popular attractions and a can’t miss destination on any family-friendly itinerary. Dedicated to protecting marine wildlife through conservation and education, this world-class aquarium brings kids (and kids-at-heart) on an unforgettable journey below the surface, from the world's largest man-made shark lagoon to whale watching tours on the open ocean.
If Sea World's seals, sharks and polar bears leave you feeling left out of the fun, dive into the rides at Wet’n’Wild. Only 30-minutes further north from Sea World, this crowd favourite has 14 adrenaline pumping waterslides to keep thrill-seeking teens occupied while parents and toddlers spend the day at Wet'n'Wild Junior – a kid-friendly zone where pint-sized versions of the park's most popular rides await.
For all the excitement of the Gold Coast’s amusement parks without the hefty price tag, take the 70-kilometre detour inland to Lamington National Park, where O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk brings travellers 15-metres above the forest floor, free of charge. Open to all ages, families can scale the nine suspension bridges for uninterrupted views of the Gondwana Rainforest – a World Heritage Site with more species of snakes, birds, frogs and marsupials than anywhere else in Australia.
A quaint stretch of sand just 15-kilometres from the Gold Coast's main drag, Currumbin is one of the area's most coveted beaches – but that’s far from its biggest drawcard. Home to a bounty of surf schools suited to all ages and skill levels, savvy parents can treat themselves to a day of sunshine, sand (and most importantly, silence) while the little ones learn how to catch a wave.
The only place on the Gold Coast where you'll be able to glimpse an elusive platypus, the David Fleay Wildlife Park plays host to one of the country's widest collections of native animals. Founded by the father of Australian wildlife conservation, David Fleay, this lush expanse of bushland sees some of the country's most fascinating critters in their natural habitat, from the koala-like tree kangaroo to the dinosaur-descended cassowary.
Once you’ve had your fill of animal encounters, take the short walk across the Tallebudgera Creek Boardwalk to arrive at Burleigh Head National Park, where plenty more easy and accessible walking trails await. Only 10-kilometres south of the Gold Coast's city centre, this locally-loved picnic spot is an ideal place to catch one last sunset before your holiday's end.
Ready to spoil your kids with a school holiday they'll never forget? Pick up a car rental on the Gold Coast and see why this sunny destination is "Famous for Fun".