Long known as THE destination for a holiday, cast your mind back to some of the iconic experiences you had a child with your parents and grandparents on the Gold Coast.
Formerly the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary (now Wildlife Sanctuary), the lorikeet feeding has been a staple of many a trip to the iconic animal park. Further south, head to Point Danger and you may have been lucky enough to visit the Jack Evans Pet Porpoise Pool; now just remnants, but still able to be explored through the cracks and crevices below. Perhaps ‘Avocadoland’ rings a bell – it’s now known as Tropical Fruit World just 20 minutes south of the Coolangatta Airport.
Accessible and enjoyable across all kinds of generations, here are 10 experiences across the Gold Coast that can be enjoyed by kids, parents, grandparents and beyond!
Learn to surf or take a dip
Teaching the little ones a must-have skill for when they return to the Gold Coast later on, enrol them in a learn-to-surf lesson on the southern end of the Coast with the team at Walkin’ on Water Surf School.
Operating from the spectacular surrounds of Greenmount Beach in Coolangatta, surf instructors will teach the kids how to paddle, balance and stand up on a surfboard in the whitewash as you cheer on from the sand. After all of the hard work in the ocean, grab a bite to eat for lunch or afternoon tea from the Greenmount Beach Surf Club overlooking the stunning beach.
Alternatively, if you’re up for a quiet dip without the waves, travel back north to Tallebudgera Creek. Here you can enjoy the calm waters of the creek and take in the views of the lush Burleigh Headland.
Some of the most unforgettable of memories can be those that are spontaneous, simple and free. Cue the Gold Coast’s plethora of beautiful coastal walks from the north to the south. In the north, embark on an easy walk beside the rock wall at The Spit in Main Beach for views of South Stradbroke Island to the left, and the iconic Surfers Paradise skyline and sand pumping jetty to the right.
In Surfers Paradise itself, wander along the foreshore and stop in at the Beachfront Markets (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) before stopping in under the Surfers Paradise sign for a photo. If the kids have been good, treat them to a game at Timezone and an ice-cream from the Ben & Jerry’s store!
In Broadbeach, start at Kurrawa Surf Club for a coffee before strolling over to the all-abilities Kurrawa Park. In Mermaid Beach, walk along Hedges Avenue (known by the locals as Millionaire’s Row) down to the Mermaid Beach SLSC and seaside café, Rafiki. Continuing down the stretch of coastline, there’s a paved pathway right from Nobby Beach to Miami and all the way into Burleigh Heads.
On the southern end, start at the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Life Saving Club, well-known and revered for hosting remarkable ANZAC Day Dawn Services, before a 20-minute walk down to the Tugun Surf Club.
Explore after dark
Boasting food stalls from around the world and live music Wednesday and Friday (from 5pm) and Saturday (from 4pm), venture to Miami’s lively industrial estate for a night market the entire family will love, known as Miami Marketta. With street food stalls on either side, think Italian croquettes, Turkish Gozleme, Thai stir-fry and locally-made gelato from Mermaid Beach gelateria, ‘Heven-yah’. For mum, dad, grandma and grandpa there’s a gin parlour with 99 different tipples to choose from before you all rock out to some live local music.
Tropical Fruit World
You may have known it as ‘Avocadoland’ back in the day, but Tropical Fruit World is still an institution over the border and still features one of the original founders. Take a farm tour experience with ‘Bob’ himself and the kids can marvel at touring the area on a tractor while munching on farm-grown chocolate fruit in the process…yum!
Not limited to the tractor, enjoy the waterways on the Wildlife Boat Cruise, meet the friendly farm animals and sample more produce at the Fruit Tasting Session.
Dippy Eggs like Mum and Nan used to make
Remember the cold, miserable days at home where mum or grandma used to whip out a household treasure? We’re talking about dippy eggs, and they’re making a comeback in trendy, local cafés.
Talking about cool, let nan and pop marvel at the old Queenslander that has been transformed into a thriving café in Miami; we’re talking about Paddock Bakery. Along with dippy eggs, taste cruffins (a croissant crossed with a muffin), cinnamon doughnuts and other sweet treats to spoil yourself and the grandkids.
Ranger for a day
Tucked away in the forest of West Burleigh and established in 1952, David Fleay Wildlife Park has long been offering guests the chance to see native wildlife up close. A specialist in zoology, Dr David Fleay successfully bred 48 different species of fauna in captivity, including the platypus, Taipans and Wedge-tailed Eagles among others.
Today the park is open to the public and managed by Queensland National Parks with plenty of things to see and do. Easily accessible with pathways and boardwalks, explore the habitats of animals, hear from rangers and even give kids and grandkids the opportunity to be a ‘Fleay’s Eco Ranger’, going behind the scenes to encounter snakes and furry native friends.
The old and the new at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
No visit to the Gold Coast is complete without a visit to the iconic Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, or as it was previously known, the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. Still, while the same iconic lorikeet feeding and koala photos are available, there have been a few new additions to the park that makes it the ultimate family day out.
Step back in time at the Lost Valley precinct, with its ancient supercontinent Gondwana environment and exotic animals. For the avid bird watchers, there’s the new WildSkies Free Flight bird show, hosted in a custom-built amphitheatre. After all that exploration, the kids (up to 12 years of age) can cool off in the new Wild Island Adventure Splash Zone with water jets, streams and waterfalls.
Forget camera and photos on film, let the little ones set up selfies and have plenty of immersive fun at the newest ‘trick art’ gallery, ArtVo Illusions in Robina Town Centre. Jump into the artwork, with 8 mind-bending and reality-warping zones starring you right alongside sharks, sinking ships, lions and more.
Best of All Lookout
They don’t call it the ‘Best of All’ Lookout for nothing! Set among the pristine and lush surrounds of Springbrook National Park, this Gondwana Rainforest of Australia and World Heritage-Listed area offers a nice short walk down to what has to be one of the best hinterland lookouts in Australia. A mere 600-metres along a paved rainforest path and visitors arrive at a clearing to be met with sweeping views across mountain valleys, all the way through to Northern New South Wales, with the famous Mt. Warning looming in the distance.
A 45-minute drive from the coast, head for Mount Tamborine with the grandkids in the car and explore the attractions of Thunderbird Park. Featuring an adventure park and canyon flyer at Treetop Challenge, horse-riding tours, bird feeding, laser skirmish, minigolf and the Thunderegg Crystal Mine where the family can pan for crystals, this park provides a whole day’s worth of fun in one convenient location.
We’ll see you soon!