There are few family holiday destinations that are more popular with the kids than the Gold Coast. After all, with the region’s abundance of gorgeous beaches, theme parks, and world-renowned natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest to take in, there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied along Australia’s northeastern coast.
In fact, some might say that the Gold Coast and its surrounding regions offer a bit too much to see and do. As a result, it can be tricky to put together an itinerary that makes space for all the different attractions you and your family may like to see during your time in Queensland.
So how do you go about planning the perfect Gold Coast family holiday? Today we’ll be outlining all the items you’ll want to add to your family trip itinerary to keep the kids not just entertained, but enriched!
Explore the islands of the Coral Sea
A trip to Queensland would be incomplete without exploring all the breathtaking views, waters, and wildlife that can be found upon the Coral Sea. We recommend securing Hamilton Island accommodation when seeking to explore the Coral Sea for a few notable reasons.
As one of the largest and busiest islands across the Coral Sea, Hamilton Island is incredibly accessible, with water transport services available to a handful of other neighbouring islands within and around the Whitsundays. Keep in mind, however, that Hamilton Island is totally car-free. This means that families with younger children are advised to map out their island exploration plan well in advance, just to make sure your little travel party stays fully focused when travelling across walking or hiking trails and visiting all the many lookout points that can be found on all corners of the island.
There’s also a great variety of both adult and family-friendly accommodation options to choose from across the length of Hamilton Island. For families who want to stay close to the Hamilton Island Reef, we highly recommend placing a booking at the Beach Club on Hamilton Island. Alongside boasting second-to-none beachside rooms with impeccable views of the wider Coral Sea, the Beach Club is also packed with modern, family-friendly amenities like an outdoor freshwater swimming pool, a laundry service for washing swimmers, and a restaurant for family-friendly fine dining after a full day of island exploration.
Catch some waves at Australia’s favourite surfing spots
Hands down, one of the best things to do during a trip to the Gold Coast is to experience the region’s consistently top tier surfing conditions. The Coral Sea is able to produce an even swell virtually year-round, which is exactly why the Gold Coast has become a premier surfing destination beloved by pro surfers from all corners of the world.
You can experience world-class surfing conditions regardless of where you’re staying during your trip, as there are great surf spots all over Queensland. For families staying up north around Noosa, experiencing the superb swell at Double Island Point is an absolute must. For families staying along the Sunshine Coast, you’ll find that you’re spoilt for choice, with Mudjimba Beach, Mooloolaba, and the excellent surf conditions along the eastern coast of Fraser Island just a hop, skip, and jump away.
If you’re travelling with younger kids who may not have a lot of surfing experience, then all of these beaches are perfectly suited for bodyboarding, kayaking, and other watersports that may be attractive alternatives to surfing. Although, your kids may argue that being in one of the world’s most popular surfing destinations calls for a few surfing lessons of their own. If they’re absolutely keen to learn, then we highly recommend booking a lesson with any of the many established surf schools that call the Gold Coast home.
Enjoy educational and ecotourism experiences
With all the magnificent natural attractions that dot the length of Queensland’s coastline, families travelling with younger children should feel encouraged to seek out opportunities for enrichment wherever possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of educational ecotourism experiences all over Queensland for the whole family to enjoy, including scheduling a trip to the Australia Zoo, otherwise known as the ‘Home of the Crocodile Hunter’! Housing a variety of native and exotic birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, with a full events calendar of tours and special shows, Australia Zoo is an absolute must-add to your trip itinerary, especially if you’re travelling with some of your own avid ‘wildlife warriors’.
But there are so many other places to visit if you’d like your kids to interact with the rich natural world surrounding all of Brisbane’s skyscrapers and theme parks. Taking a boat tour of the Great Barrier Reef is likely to bring a lot of wonder and awe into your family trip. There are plenty of scientific and even Indigenous tours of the Great Barrier Reef to choose from, so you can be rest assured that a guided tour will provide you with plenty to ponder on over the rest of your time in Australia’s northeast.
Similarly, we highly recommend making the drive up to Cairns if you have time, just to witness the majesty of the Daintree Rainforest. Walk under the rainforest’s towering canopies, or see this world heritage-listed national park from a bird’s eye view from the Daintree Rainforests’s aerial walkway, a mid-canopy walkway that’s 11 metres above the forest floor.
Hit up all your favourite theme parks
Last but not least, your kids will never forgive you if you plan a trip to Queensland but fail to allocate a few days to visiting all their favourite Gold Coast theme parks. From Dreamworld and Wet ‘n’ Wild, to Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and more, there’s a lot of excitement to be had when exploring all the rides and attractions that can be found at all of Queensland’s superb theme parks.
Roller coasters like Superman Escape at Movie World are likely to please all the thrill seekers in your party. And as for kids who may sadly be under height limits, there are still plenty of rides that can offer a fair amount of screams, including the Road Runner Rollercoaster and the 3D Justice League ride.
We recommend that families pre-purchase a theme park pass in preparation for their Queensland getaway. Not only will purchasing your pass online help you save time by removing the need to purchase on entry, but your pass may also come with some additional benefits, such as free Hop On Hop Off (Hopo) ferry access for accessing Sea World from select locations around Surfers Paradise.
Just make sure that your kids have saved up enough pocket money to shop to their heart’s content when visiting any of these Queensland theme parks. Food stalls and gift shops offer a cornucopia of fun souvenirs, soft toys, collectible figurines, clothing, and an array of other fun trinkets that are sure to become the pride and joy of your children’s rooms once you return back home.
Exploring the Gold Coast as a family can include visiting any number of beaches, hiking trails, or even bustling coastal cities and townships. So long as your trip itinerary includes a little something to please everyone, chances are your family holiday to the Gold Coast is sure to be a trip for the albums indeed.