Man holding a surfboard with a backdrop of the Gold Coast

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Visit We Are Gold Coast

A 48-hour family itinerary (that you'll love too)

Contributed by Narelle Bouveng
August 2017

Did you know kids laugh on average 400 times a day, whereas us parental types manage a measly 15-20? This being said, perhaps it’s time to loosen up mums and dads, release your inner child on the Gold Coast.

The Coast’s kid cred is already world renowned – theme parks rise from the sand and sea; there are cute, cuddly and roaring wildlife encounters; worlds built entirely for those that bounce; and ice-creameries serving up treats from just about every corner…exhausting, right? Wrong! There IS a way for parents to relax on a Gold Coast holiday and, using these simple holiday hacks, your next family visit is guaranteed to be a tribe pleaser.

But first…book your own private concierge. Before you even arrive, consider enlisting the services of a local, with My Holiday Concierge offering everything from transfers, catering, car seat hire and nannies to ensure your holiday meter is spent in the quality time zone. Don’t want to cook? No problem! Order everything from delicious breakfast hampers, gourmet picnic packs, masseuses, beauty therapists, private chefs and even cooking classes in the comfort of your own private holiday apartment – just say YAAAS.


It involves caffeine and the kids running free…

Parents love a café break as much as kids love a playground; so merge the two in one of the Gold Coast’s most picturesque play zones. Start your day with breakfast by the Broadwater at Café Catalina or grab one to go and let the kids loose at Southport’s Broadwater Parklands’ giant playground. If pirating is more your style, head on down to Palm Beach where you’ll find mums sipping coffee and snacking on healthy options from local Dune Café while kids hit the imaginary high seas aboard their full-size pirate ship, complete with treasure map, binoculars and a mutiny plank for any dastardly deserters! And if you are not quite ready to let your yummy mummy slip on hols, jump into the 30 minute boot camp sesh held every Wednesday morning at 9.00 and 9.30am...

Brewing coffee Barista

Beach it

With so many aqua attractions splashed around the Gold Coast, here’s the heads-up on the best beaches for kids. Tallebudgera Creek is where the locals go with littlies in tow, home to crystalline waters, a sandy bottomed lagoon and plenty of shade for afternoon siestas – just don’t forget to pack your picnic or stop on route at creek-side Paddock Bakery for lunch that is guaranteed to hit the right spot. For kids a little older and eager to learn, suit up with Currumbin Alley Surf School for a family-friendly surf sesh on some of the best beginner waves, followed by some much-needed refuelling at the Beach Shack Café ...

Stand up paddleboarding Burleigh Heads

Southern Charms

Make your way down to the southern end of the Coast, which, in local terms, means Tugun , Kirra and Cooly . Kid-friendly cafes dot pretty beachside streets, while an Insta-famous cat can be found smashing skateboard manoeuvres on the sidewalk and pro surfers doing daring aerials out on the break. Take in a postcard-worthy walk around Greenmount Headland , past Rainbow Bay , Snapper and Froggies (look for the green frog painted on the rocks), and when you reach Point Danger , keep a look out for dolphins catching waves and humpback whales cruising on past from June to September. Café D’Bar is high on the hill and a great place for a cheeky vino and cheese plate or a well-earned milkshake and early dinner for the kids, as you watch the sky turn pink on sunset and the first lights twinkle on the skyline...

Southern Charms

Say yes to date night while the kids go wild

Paradise for kids means date time for parents, so stay at one of the many accommodation venues with a kids’ club or that offer babysitting services so you can slip out and into something more adult nearby. Your kids will be happily wiggling or enjoying a famous PJ party at Paradise Resort, while you’re sipping curated cocktails and bingeing on burgers in Brooklyn Depot at The 4217 , an urban village fusing coffee, street style food and local art, with a buzzing side of creativity. Similarly, Turtle Beach Resort in Mermaid Beach offers a holiday kids’ club for 4-12 year olds, plus the lure of some of the Coast’s best contemporary bars, bolt holes and curated cuisine with Hellenika , Etsu , Cambus Wallace , Little Truffle and Sparrow Eating House nearby...

People in a busy bar Etsu at night


To market, to market…

For early risers, the Gold Coast’s bustling markets serve up delicious paddock-to-plate inspired breakfasts from 6.00am at Palm Beach , Bundall and Helensvale . Think freshly ground local coffee, just-baked treats, free range bacon and egg butties, and healthy cold pressed juices fresh from carts, cooktops and caravans. For families that prefer a little more jam, The Village Markets, held every second Sunday at Burleigh State School, is where you’ll find the locals mixing chilled-out tracks alongside emerging designers and up-and-coming artists.

Of a night time, Miami Marketta pumps out three sessions a week, complete with food trucks, live entertainment and good times, including a dance stage that will have your kids boogying on down...

Two women picnic on blanket at The Village Markets

Choose your own adventure…

Adulting is hard, you complain about it most days, so don’t pretend you are not itching to ditch the demure ‘I’ll hold the bags, you go along and play,’ persona and strap in for a ride that will make you forget about slow cookers, lunch boxes and picking up your parents’ prescriptions. Theme Parks, my weary friend, are just what you need.

Kids love when Mum and Dad are genuinely stoked to play with them, and at theme parks, you don’t even have to fake it.

Head to Movie World where your eyes will grow as big as saucers. With so much activity as soon as you enter the gate you will want to have already lathered up the kids with sunscreen at the car because there’s no way you’ll get them to focus with Batman and Bugs beckoning them into the land of make believe. Lock in your meet up time to make the Parade at 3.30pm and take on the Superman Escape early to avoid queues and score a hit that is a gazillion times more effective than caffeine. They say to fit your own oxygen mask before assisting others, we think it’s the same with rides. Watching the littlies on a merry go round will seem a lot more enticing when you’re catching your breath from just going zero to 100km in two seconds flat.

If the biggest thrill you need today is the excitement of scoring a car park close to the entry then you’ll feel right at home taking your little angels to  ABC KIDS World at Dreamworld. This colourful, larger than life scene from Play School will have you reminiscing about Benita and David making jokes you didn’t understand with a somehow knowing Big Ted. There is a Giggle and Hoot mini Giant Drop, a Bananas in Pyjamas fun maze, a chill out zone to rival red frogs at schoolies and Wiggles themed rides all in close vicinity to toilets, shade, shopping and an air-conditioned restaurant. Heaven.

Edu-tainment at Sea World is a whole other kettle of fish (pun intended). Think less OHS induction, more Healthy Harold. The wonders that await are enough to have you bubbling with excitement before you realise your eyebrows are encroaching on your hairline. Get giddy about touching sea slugs and check out the sting rays. Book in to play with curious dolphins or prepare to take to the skies in the Sea World helicopter. You’ll be amazed at how long you can stare at a polar bear or stand at the underwater aquarium then reminisce about it for hours back home. Be sure to grab a seafood buffet lunch at Dockside Tavern or Lakeside Terrace too, because irony.

Water parks bring water perks making summer bearable and winter a fast paced fun land with barely any queues and big heated wave pools. Take advantage of WhiteWater World's luxury Cabanas for your own private deck chairs, shade, fridge, couch, music, lockers and even an on call staff member to tend to your every need. Yas kween, a day out over the resort pool is not looking so bad. A flurry of extreme slides throughout the parks ensure everyone is focussed on holding on for dear life rather than looking for hot bods, so relax and run free as you make your way to Wet'n'Wild's aptly named Kamikaze, in your beautiful life-giving cocoon...

2017 Movie World, Gold Coast, Australia

Staying in

Downtime should be celebrated and with so many gorgeous hotels, apartments and villas on the Gold Coast to choose from, why not put the kids to bed early (they should be exhausted by now) and enjoy a night in. 

Grab a six pack from one of our local brew houses or a bottle of wine, order in room service or peruse the menus of the very best restaurants in town and order Uber Eats directly to your door. Our Gold Coast lifestyle celebrates the good times, so put your feet up, get cosy on the couch and enjoy this little slice of paradise all to yourselves – you’ve earned it.

Narelle Bouveng

Author:   Narelle Bouveng
Narelle is a travel-writing mum of three (two teens and a tot) with a passion for photography and a relentless inclination to wander. Her home is the glorious Gold Coast, but her wandering takes her to many shores. Narelle often takes her family along for the ride in a pursuit to build a collection of memories, over things. You can find Narelle on Instagram @alittleatlarge.