The perfect summer holiday includes a good mix of activities and adventures that will keep kids of all ages happy… and some downtime for parents too! Entertain toddlers and keep teens off their screens with this epic list of the best attractions, activities and entertainment for a fun-filled, action packed family holiday on the Gold Coast.
Beach and Water Fun
Family holidays on the Gold Coast mean plenty of beach time! From the calm, clear waters of Tally Creek, to sheltered bays where kids can learn to surf in a safe environment, there are some magical spots to have a splash. Explore the best family-friendly beaches on the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Aqua Park
Located on the banks of the Broadwater in Southport, surrounded by shady parklands and playgrounds, this aquatic inflatable obstacle course is a place to bounce, splash, climb and slide the day away. GC Aqua Park is accessible and affordable, suitable for kids of all ages, and adults too. There’s a mini inflatable playground for the little kids or they can play on the sandy shore while older siblings take on the obstacles. Everyone wears a life jacket and there are lifeguard attendants keeping an eye on things.
Location: Marine Parade, Southport
Animal Encounters and Nature Exploration
Located in beautiful bushland in Tamborine Mountain, Thunderbird park is a natural adventure playground made for exploring. Swim in freshwater creeks, take a short hike to Cedar Creek Falls, take on the challenge of an extensive high ropes and zipline course in the Treetop Challenge, play laser skirmish or mini-golf… or check out the latest attraction - Dig It.
Kids love diggers but it’s not often they get to drive one. At Dig It, they can take the driver's seat (some might need a bit of extra help). They’ll learn to manoeuvre the machine to stack tyres, move rocks and knock things over. All activities are age appropriate and suitable for all skill levels. Your mini construction crew will be talking about their visit to Dig IT for a long time to come. Keep the fun going and book in for a stay at a range of accommodation on site too.
Currumbin Wildlife Santuary Holiday Programs
If you know any budding wildlife warriors, then the school holiday programs at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary are going to be very high on their to-do list this summer. Between January 8th - 12th, choose from being a Vet for a Day, Keeper for a Day Trainer for a Day or Zoo Scientist for a Day. Kids can take a walk in the boots of a wildlife keeper, learn about the rehabilitation and rescue / release techniques for animals or have hands-on experience investigating the local ecology and insect life. During the day, participants will be able to explore the sanctuary and get up close to some animal ambassadors.
Location: 28 Tomewin St, Currumbinn
Animal Care Course at Animal Welfare League
Calling all dog-loving tweens and teens who want to learn more about working in the animal industry in a fun environment. The Animal Welfare League Queensland runs a rehoming centre and animal shelter in Coombabah, and over the holiday you can come and learn the basics of animal care and handling. You’ll gain real life experience and practical skills in dog obedience training, hydrobathing, grooming, cat behaviour and handling and small animal care. The AWLQ Animal Care course is $70, open to students aged 11 - 16 and available on December 14th and January 10th.
Location: 21 Shelter Rd, Coombabah
These brilliant play-based holiday programs connect kids with nature. Held across the holidays around Palm Beach and Tallebudgera the embrace kids' imagination and creativity through child-led projects and unstructured play. Activities include learning to tie knots and use hand tools, building cubbies and rafts, nature art and so much more! Drop off is available for kids over 6 years old - younger children are welcome to join under the supervision of a guardian.
The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Barrier Draw
Head down to Surfers Paradise Foreshore early on the morning of Tuesday January 9th for an exciting spectacle. You’ll witness the beauty and power of thoroughbred horses thundering along the beach in The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Barrier Draw. This free event will take place between 6am and 8.30 and it’s one the kids will love watching!
Theme Parks and Adventure Activities
Little animal lovers are in for a fabulous day at Paradise Country where they’ll get a taste of life on an Australian farm. Kids can pet cute farm animals, watch presentations where stock riders demonstrate their skills on horseback, ride a pony and get a photo with a cuddly koala.
Marvel at the antics of the adorable meerkats and cheeky Marmoset monkeys, as well as native animals like dingoes and Tasmanian devils. To make your visit extra special, book in for a night at Paradise Country Farmstay - you’ll sleep in a beautifully decked out eco-tent and get access to a range of exclusive camping activities including animal feeding, egg collecting and campfire fun.
Location: Production Dr, Oxenford
Dreamworld is getting a makeover with some brilliant new family friendly attractions and park upgrades. Discover Kenny & Belinda’s Dreamland, where rides dedicated to these cute koala characters include a rollercoaster that soars around twists and turns and a two-storey treehouse where kids can fire squidgy balls from air cannons, foam fountains and lookout towers. Visit the brand new Seabed Splash - an interactive ocean-themed water play area where kids can cool off, splash around and play in the spray. There’s also a new parent’s room, fully equipped for convenience, and the classic favourites like Tiger Island, The Shockwave and neighbouring White Water World (the waterslide section of Dreamworld) to fill your day with fun. Stay tuned for more new rides arriving at Dreamworld in 2024.
Location: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera
Cultural and Interactive Experiences
Sneakers Unboxed at HOTA
HOTA stands for Home of the Arts and it’s got to be one of Australia’s most family-friendly galleries. There’s a very cool exhibition showing from November 25th - January 21st - Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street.
We all own a pair, but who would have thought that the humble sneaker would have such an epic story to tell! Explore the evolution of sneakers from athletic footwear to cultural icons at this Australian-exclusive exhibition. Showcasing designs like Converse Chuck Taylor and Nike Air Zoom, and their impact on fashion, subcultures, and performance design, it’s a fascinating look into the history of this iconic shoe. Learn more about the mammoth sneaker industry, influential collaborations and sustainable innovations. With tickets starting at just $10, this limited-time exhibition is not to be missed.
Location: 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
Unleash the creativity in your kids and sign them up to some of the awesome crafty workshops on offer at The Craft Parlour in Miami. This cute venue is housed in an old retro cottage and is a creative haven where little people can try their hand at all sorts of different projects from kids ceramics to teen art classes and craft days for 5 - 10 year olds. Craft classes run all holidays - check the website for details, dates and available activities.
Location: 4 Lemana Lane, Miami
Gold Coast Motor Museum
Cool, classic cars and bikes galore can be found in abundance at this amazing motor museum. There are over 75 models ranging from 1900 -1988 all meticulously restored and you’ll find everything from Holdens and Lamborghinis alongside relics from the past like horse-drawn buggies, old fashioned phones and period fashion. Entry is free for kids under 15 and and just $20 for adults. Gold Coast Motor Museum is set on 12 acres up on a hill overlooking a stunning hinterland location with Stanley’s Barn Restaurant & Bar in a rustic barn right next door - the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch overlooking the Coomera Valley. This is a good one to do with grandparents - an experience that all generations enjoy.
Location: 107 Kriedeman Rd, Upper Coomera
The puppet show at Macintosh Island Theatre has been a holiday tradition for generations of Gold Coast kids. Each year, the Queensland Theatre of Puppetry put on a performance for school kids. The production is run by volunteers and some of them are kids who used to come to the shows themselves. It’s a fun experience that little kids love and it’s only $6 per person. These holidays, there will be two performances a day (9.30am and 11am) on Monday - Friday between January 8th - 19th. There are no bookings - just pay at the door. And pack a picnic as Mackintosh Island is a great spot to enjoy before or after the show with playgrounds, shady picnic spots and BBqs, just a short stroll from Main Beach.
Location: Mackintosh Island Park, Admiralty Drive, Surfers Paradise.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region.
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.