Home to Australia’s adventure capital and awe-inspiring stretch of beaches, the northern region of our beautiful city of Gold Coast should be at the top of the list for your next trip away. A mere half an hour drive from Surfers Paradise and full of family-friendly activities from animal encounters, walking trails, foodie delights and adrenaline activities, we guarantee you’ll leave with nothing but good vibes.
SANCTUARY COVE | Hope Island
With a short drive up the M1, in the suburb of Hope Island, you’ll find the hidden gem Sanctuary Cove. Bustling with an array of activities and experiences for the whole family, and home to over 80 bespoke owner-operated specialty stores, one day is certainly not enough to see (and do) it all at the Cove.
Get the family up early and head out on the water with Duffy Down Under Boat Hire, Cruises and Tours for some fun in the sun. Boarding directly from the Marine Village, choose from a skippered or self-drive boat for hire (up to 5 hours) to set sail around the beautiful marina and Coomera River. You can even BYO snacks and beverages!
Enjoy lunch with a view? Head to the local favourite George’s Paragon for an all-day half price menu from 11am to 10pm or to the newly refurbished Cove Tavern for a delicious pub feed where mains start from $20, and kids meals from just $10. Why not even extend your stay and check the family into the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, where Mums and Dads can relax by the saltwater beach lagoon pool and your little travellers can enjoy themselves at the Plant Trekkers Kid’s Club.
PARADISE COUNTRY | Oxenford
If your kids love animals, this authentic Aussie farm experience is a must-do. Just a short 15-minute drive on the Pacific Highway from Surfers Paradise and a 40-minute drive from Brisbane airport, Paradise Country has a lot to offer for an epic day of family fun.
From precious cuddles and a photo with a Koala or Kangaroo to a number of spectator shows like the sheep shearing and ram parade throughout the day, your kids will leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Did we mention that the widely popular Shaun the Sheep is also a resident at the homestead? Yep, with 2 debut shows a day, personal meet and greet photo ops and a themed tractor ride to boot. Better still; a number of these attractions are accessibility friendly too, so no one has to miss out!
In between all the shows and the excitement, be sure to also make a pit stop at the Farmhouse Restaurant – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to refuel the foodie tanks. Then keep the good times rolling and sign the fam up for an overnight stay in a family eco-tent, for a true farmstay experience (toasted campfire marshmallows and all), from just $150 per night twin share including breakfast. #yee-ha
DREAMWORLD | Coomera
Many great childhood memories of the sunny Gold Coast often involve a theme park or two – from the thrill of the rides to the smell of fresh popcorn and fairy floss, there’s always a great day to be had.
Dreamworld in particular makes the new and noteworthy list for Gold Coast family attractions, with their 3 adorable new tiger cub additions at the park’s signature wildlife attraction, Tiger Island. Get up close and personal on Tiger Island from $139 per person, and while the kids are keen to take a walk on the wild side, try out the parks other winning one-on-one experiences like the tree kangaroo and dingo encounters and croc feeding in the summer, from just $25.
Rides more your thing? Well, stay tuned as Dreamworld takes to the skies in late 2019 for the release of the highly anticipated new virtual reality ride, Sky Voyager. Head online to book your admission tickets today and prepare to be blown away.
WHALE WATCHING | Main Beach
The weather on the Gold Coast is arguably even more beautiful in winter than it is in the summer, and with the cooler months brings many pods of Humpback Whales right to the Coast’s doorstep.
For a half-day cruise with a difference, gather the family and jump on board for an unforgettable whale watching experience. Whales In Paradise, Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching and Sea World Whale Watching are all stellar cruise providers at the Northern end of the GC to admire these graceful mammals of the deep. If you’re lucky, you may even spot Australia’s most well-known white whale, Migaloo – remarkably just one of the estimated 35,000+ humpback whales that migrate along Australia’s east coast each year. You won’t want to forget the trusty ol’ camera!
The Gold Coast whale-watching season starts from the 1st of June and runs until late November.
THE SPIT FEDERATION WALK | Main Beach to the Seaway
If experiencing the outdoors at a slower pace is your holy grail, the Federation Walk is another Northern Gold Coast must. Starting from Philip Park opposite the Sea World entrance carpark, this easy 3.5km designated trail will lead you all the way through the Coastal Reserve and to the seaway, where you’ll be able to take in the spectacular vistas of the coastline and even Wave Break Island. Although if you intend to do the walk back, the 7km round trip may be best suited on bicycles to accommodate for little legs.
Can’t lug the family bikes to your Gold Coast vay (or stay)-cay? No worries! As TripAdvisor’s number #1 choice for bicycle hire on the GC, Bike Hire on the Gold Coast will bring the hire bikes straight to you, with free drop-off and pickup services for an all-round smooth and enjoyable riding experience. For the daring and coordinated, Tandem bikes are also available at just $50 flat rate for the day.
However, before you ditch the bikes, pedal over the road to Fisherman’s Co-operative at Seaworld Drive to source some fresh seafood directly off the Prawn Trawlers and Spanner Crab Vessels, from the local fisherman. The kids will love the experience of handling their own prawns whilst strolling the marina to see the impressive collection of docked superyachts and fishing boats, and a pelican or two. Fish and Chips for dinner anyone?
GAME OVER | Helensvale
Release your inner child and head to one of Australia’s hottest indoor adventure destinations, Game Over. After a few hot laps at this thrilling electric powered track – the fastest indoor karting experience in Australia – you’ll feel like a true Michael Schumacher. Take aim at beating the record single lap time this year (00:25:354); play parents verse kids, or strap in for the clip ‘n climb rock wall, apocalyptic themed laser tag, zip coaster ride or virtual reality attractions to keep the hearts racing.
Single race laps start from $39, with a range of multiple circuit packages available and a minimum restriction of 150cm in height and 13 years of age to ride the larger karts. Junior karts for 7 to 12 year olds are also on offer, as well as duo 2-seater karts for side saddlers over 4 years old and 90cm tall. #ItsGameOn
BUGGIES ON SOUTH STRADBROKE ISLAND | Via Main Beach
As seen on the Queensland Weekender, this power cruise of the great outdoors will keep the whole family smiling from ear-to-ear for the entire adventure. For a half-day Island experience with Gold Coast Island Buggy Tours, you’ll get a luxury boat cruise ride from Marinas Cove, Main Beach to the picturesque South Stradbroke Island. Watching pods of dolphins play on your way to the dreamland, you’ll be welcomed to jump on your single, twin or family share 4WD beach buggy when you touchdown at Couran Cove.
Picture yourself and the fam trekking through the bushland with the wind in your hair, over naturally built obstacles, sand dunes and back along the beach for some of South Stradbroke Island’s and the Coast’s most spectacular views. However, to drive into the sunset you mustn’t forget your current driver’s license.
We’ll see you soon!
destinationgoldcoast.com – The official city guide for Australia’s favourite playground.
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