As the sun sets behind the Gold Coast skyline and the city flickers into life, a vibrant family friendly nightlife awaits. Venture out with these fun Gold Coast activities after dark:
Enjoy the view from the top
Ascend 270 metres to the top of Q1 at twilight for panoramic views of Gold Coast's hinterland, waterways and coastline, bathed in hues of pinks and purples, and linger on the SkyPoint Observation Deck to watch the city sparkle from 77 floors up.
The best time to catch the spectacular nightly views can be any time up to 9pm Monday to Thursday, or 8pm on Friday and Saturday – before SkyPoint becomes an over 18s' venue.
Start the night right at Longboards
At the base of Q1 Resort and Spa is Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar, known for the best burgers in town. Pull up a deckchair overlooking the Q1 Resort pool and dine alfresco in a relaxed setting where kids can be kids.
Try the Mini Phat Burger, a more manageable version of its 1.8-kilogram cousin, and wash it down with one of the 20 craft beers. The affordable Little Grommets menu offers fish and chips, mini sliders and popcorn chicken, served with salad or chips and drink.
Explore the NightQuarter
Visit the newly-opened NightQuarter in Helensvale and discover a whimsical shipping-container community. Stroll through the romantically-lit laneways to see handmade toys, children's new fashion labels, delicious sweet treats and local arts and crafts, presented beautifully in upcycled storefronts.
An astounding variety of quick, tasty street food and tapas will delight even the fussiest of eaters. Kids can grab a soft serve from a fully-restored Mr Whippy van and enjoy it on an oversized bean bag listening to tunes from local performers.
Don't miss Sparky's Carnival, a fenced-off interactive play space, with supervised activities including face-painting, acrobats, ski ball and arts and crafts. Children are charged a flat fee of $15 to come and go as they please, though parents are required to be nearby. Adjacent is a jumping castle, which charges $5 for 15 minutes or $10 for an all-night pass.
NightQuarter entry is $3 per adult, kids under 12 free, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Starlight Children's Foundation. These night markets are open every Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 10pm.
Dine and play at Cav's Steakhouse
Cav's Steakhouse is a simple idea executed perfectly – choose your cut of premium-aged Aussie steak from the display and have it cooked to your liking, served with sides of jacket potato, coleslaw and fluffy bread rolls.
Junior carnivores can choose from a small steak, nuggets or ribs, which come with a generous helping of fries and ice cream. A hit with the kids were the retro plastic cocktail animals that dangle from their drink.
Parents can enjoy a stress-free family dinner in the hacienda-style restaurant. Kids are entertained in the playroom, complete with table football, mini play gym, movies and skill-tester amusements.
Cav's is open 6pm to 9pm daily.
Take a putt at King Tutts
The biggest decision kids need to make at King Tutts Putt Putt is which 18-hole mini golf course to play on. There's a more challenging outdoor garden course or two themed indoor courses. The Egyptian course glows in the dark, but the kids favoured the Jurassic-themed course with dinosaurs suspended from the rooftop, perched above caves and hatching from eggs.
Play one course for $15 per person, two for $20 or three for $23. King Tutts is open daily from 9am to 9pm.
Have loads of fun at Timezone
The kids quickly learnt that Timezone means hours of family fun. In the heart of Surfers Paradise, the biggest Timezone in the world offers over 300 arcade games, including dodgems, mini golf course, laser skirmish, ride simulators and a six-lane mini bowling alley. Little ones don't miss out, with an indoor play centre, carousels and mechanical animal rides.
The $25 per person combo deal offers two hours of unlimited play on standard games as well as 12 ticketed games and an entry to mini golf, ride simulator, laser skirmish and dodgems.
Timezone now has a second location on the Gold Coast, in Coolangatta, which is packed with over 200 game choices and a full-size seven-lane bowling alley.
Timezone is open daily 9am to midnight.
Salt Meats Cheese
The Italian providore originating from Sydney has set up store in The 4217 in Surfers Paradise. While children may not be enamoured by the market stall setup, with chic industrial country décor, shelves of imported Italian products and a dedicated deli meat and cheese cool room, they will love the wood-fired pizzas and delicious pastas in a casual family-friendly setting.
Salt Meats Cheese is open daily from 11am until late. Wood-fired pizzas are available noon to 3pm and 5pm till late.