The Gold Coast of Australia is a traveler’s playground with something fun and exciting to see around every corner. It is of little surprise to locals that the Gold Coast receives more than 13 million visitors a year as the city is full of diversity from beautiful beaches to World Heritage listed rainforests. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places in Australia.
Our guest contributor, Sharee of Inspire Family Travel, is sharing why they love to share this area with family and friends. They entertain quite a few visitors, but know they need to maximize their time together with an Australia itinerary that includes all the best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!
The Best Gold Coast Itinerary with Kids
Gold Coast Transportation
With the Gold Coast airport, approximately 35 minutes from Surfers Paradise and attractions spread from north to south, the best way to see as much as possible is with a car.
Of course, if you will not have a car for your stay there are various other methods of public transport to travel around the city as follows:
Gold Coast Tram – The new G: light rail system is perfect for holiday makers who are staying in the popular areas of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. Operating from 5 am to midnight every day, the route links from Helensvale to Broadbeach.
The other public transport options are traveling via bus, taxi, train and Uber.
If you are local and plan on driving to the airport and parking your vehicle, consider using Flyparks. Flyparks is an online comparison site for finding low-cost, budget airport parking at airports across Australia and New Zealand. If you’re looking for Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide Airport Parking, then Flyparks is the place for you!
Things to Do in Gold Coast on the first afternoon
For a birds-eye perspective of the Gold Coast visit the SkyPoint observation deck located on the 77th floor in the Q1 building in Surfers Paradise. The 360-degree views of the Gold Coast and surrounds is something you will not achieve anywhere else.
As you wander around the observation deck, you will gain a bearing for where landmarks are situated, read all the facts on the Gold Coast, all while watching the sun descend over the mountains in the west.
After the SkyPoint, head to dinner. For a laidback eatery with a cool vibe and alfresco dining, Longboards in Surfers Paradise is tucked away underneath the Q1 building. They offer a large range of food and drink options, but are well known for their gourmet burgers.
There is also the option to grab take away and head across the road to Surfers Paradise beach if you want to savour the beach lifestyle as much as possible on this trip.
Weekend Itinerary Gold Coast
Day 1 – Morning
Set in the gardens of a charming old Queenslander home is one of the Gold Coast’s most awarded and popular cafes. Paddock Bakery serves up delicious breakfast and great coffee, not to mention some of the most delectable desserts that are baked fresh on the premises.
It would nearly be a sin to travel to the Gold Coast and not visit at least one of the amazing beaches along the coast. One of the most popular beaches is Burleigh Heads beach, situated towards the southern end of the Gold Coast.
The beach is a popular spot for travelers as its protected waters have great waves near the headland for surfers. Welcome the salty air breeze on your face as you sit on top of Burleigh headland watching the surfers catch waves.
The foodie scene is abuzz around this area, with so many choices available for lunch. My suggestion would be to grab some fish and chips, find a grassy area or picnic table in Justins Park, which also has a fabulous playground to entertain the kids during lunch.
Day 1 – Afternoon
Strap on your walking shoes as you stroll through Burleigh Heads National Park, one of the most popular, accessible and picturesque nature trails on the Gold Coast. The easy 1.3 km (one way) ocean view walk curves around the rocky Burleigh headland until you reach Tallebudgera Creek.
Day 1 – Evening
Miami Marketta is well known with the locals and comes alive every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The venue is good for families with food stalls serving cuisine from various parts around the world. Grab a plate of your favourite street food, take a seat under the pavilion and enjoy the atmosphere.
Day 2 – Morning
The Gold Coast restaurants are constantly a draw, and the area is growing with trendy, authentic, family-friendly cafes and restaurants all along the coast. You are bound to find a breakfast venue to suit everyone’s taste buds in your accommodation area. Of course, if you are searching for something sweet to get started, Pancakes in Paradise in Surfers Paradise would be able to satisfy those cravings.
If you have never been to the Gold Coast before you can’t visit without stopping in at one of the biggest theme parks in the southern hemisphere, the only decision (and possibly the hardest) you will have to make is which one will you choose?
There are so many Gold Coast theme parks! Sea World, Movie World, and Wet n’ Wild are all under the Village Roadshow umbrella.
Sea World – Sea World is all about cute, cuddly, slimy, scaly animals offering many educational shows. The addition of the interactive splash zone and upgrade to Nickelodeon Land has it as one of the firm family favorites.
Movie World – A place to meet your favorite Looney Tune character and your favorite superheroes. Watch live performances and a stunt show and experience fun and thrilling rides.
Wet’n’Wild – On a hot day this Gold Coast water park will be a haven for people to visit. Epic water slides for the big kids and a dedicated junior area with miniature versions for the younger kids.
Dream World – Two theme parks for the price of one with you gaining access to Dream World and White Water World next door. The Gold Coast’s biggest theme park contains the most thrill rides and some dedicated kids areas, such as Trolls Village and ABC Kids World.
One of the highlights of today will be the squeals of delight from the young and young at heart while spending a day at one of the most FUN places on the Gold Coast.
If theme parks aren’t your thing, consider taking a day trip to Lady Elliot Island for snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef!
Day 2 – Afternoon
If you don’t want to leave before buying a local souvenir the Surfers Paradise Beachfront markets operating along the Esplanade may be the perfect place to visit in the afternoon.
Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 4 pm to 9 pm there are over 100 market stalls selling everything from clothing, jewelry, artworks, beauty products, housewares and much more. With the beachfront on one side and live entertainment in the background, it is a unique shopping experience that has become one of the most iconic things to do in Surfers Paradise.
Day 2 – Evening
After a mammoth day walking chances are you need to replenish some of those calories lost, and one of the options to do this would be to dine at one of the Gold Coast surf clubs.
Located all along the coast from north to south the iconic surf clubs are one of the places you can go to enjoy the picture-perfect beach and ocean views. Three of the most well known and popular surf clubs are Currumbin Vikings, Kurrawa and Surfers Paradise.
This itinerary only skims the surface of things to do in the Gold Coast. If you are planning on staying a little longer, make time to discover some of the other Gold Coast attractions.
- Choose to visit one of the other theme parks or all of them.
- Visit Mount Tamborine only 30 minutes from the Gold Coast.
- Explore the World Heritage rainforest in one of the nearby national parks.
- Visit the local animals at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Shop till you drop at the biggest shopping centre on the Gold Coast, Pacific Fair.
All photos courtesy of Sharee from Inspire Family Travel with the exception of lead image.
About the author: Sharee is a writer, enjoys outdoor adventures and will never turn down ice cream. She is always searching for a good travel sale, loves quality family time, and is continually looking for inspiration to share with her readers. The aim of her website, Inspire Family Travel is to share insider knowledge from a local and inspiration from other places around Australia.