Whether you're taking a day trip from Brisbane or are headed there for an exciting family holiday, you'll find a wealth of kid activities in Gold Coast to make memories you'll carry with you for life. You can have animal experiences, zip line over lush forests, ride thrill rides and go-karts, enjoy water zones and even fly through the air on a jetpack. Here you can get soaked at a water park or experience Aboriginal culture and history. You'll find more than enough activities to never experience the same thing twice, and to make decades worth of memories.
Visit theme parks with kids in Gold Coast
1. Visit Australia's premier theme park at Dreamworld
Dreamworld and its sister park, WhiteWater World, may have some of the most action-packed and pulse-pounding experiences along the Gold Coast, as well as being among the largest theme parks in Australia. They're famed for their Big Nine thrill rides including the Buzz Saw and Gold Coaster, Pandamonium, the Giant Drop, the Tail Spin and the Claw. You can also get face to face with predatory cats on Tiger Island. The littlest ones will love meeting Dorothy the Dinosaur or getting wet at the Pipeline Plunge. Speaking of getting wet, you'll want to experience the Super Tubes Hydro Coaster wild water slide for yourself.
2. Swim with the dolphins at Sea World
Sea World is a world-famous attraction with locations all over the globe, and as far as family activities in Gold Coast go, it's got a world of exciting and educational adventures to offer. You can swim with dolphins, kiss a seal or even swim among real sharks. On the Polar Bear Shores, you can see up close the largest carnivore on land and one of the few besides humans that hunts for sport. You'll also want to tackle the thrill rides, explore New Atlantis and visit Penguin Point to see the little penguin show.
3. Discover movie magic at Warner Bros. Movie World
Have you ever wanted to meet your favourite characters from movies and cartoons, while at the same time riding roller coasters and thrill rides themed around those heroes? Then Warner Bros. Movie World should definitely be on your shortlist of places to visit for kids' activities in Gold Coast. You can ride a hypercoaster themed around your favourite DC heroes, meet and greet Superman, have a 4D experience with Yogi Bear or ride the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster. You can even get up close to the Batmobile or visit the New York Film Academy Australia to see actual hot sets from real movies.
4. Thrill, splash and ride at Wet'n'Wild
Wet'n'Wild is a combination water and wet park whose attractions are nothing short of heart pounding. The thrills for adults and older kids like the Constrictor, the Aqualoop, the Super Ripper, Kaboom! and the Tornado are certainly not for the faint-hearted. You can race your family down the Super 8 Aqua Racer slide and careen down the Mammoth Falls raft ride. Of course, the little ones haven't been forgotten either. For them, there's the Junior Zone that includes kid-sized versions of thrill rides and slides. To relax a bit, head for the lazy river at Calypso Beach or the H2Oasis.
Get out in the wilds for a wilderness adventure
5. Explore waterfalls and wildlife at Springbrook National Park
Located in the Hinterland region, Springbrook National Park is among the many enchanting kid activities on the Gold Coast. A mere 45 minutes from the coastal beaches, this site gives you access to a range of UNESCO World Heritage Sites that offer lookouts, wildlife and flora viewing, along with natural waterfalls cascading over rocks into serene, clear pools of water, and rock creeks that flow into natural swimming holes. You'll also witness some of the oldest trees on the continent. Among the biggest attractions is the Natural Bridge that sees nearby caves light up with the bioluminescence of glow worms at night.
6. Leap into a serene swimming hole at Currumbin Rock Pools
Currumbin Rock Pools is a serene and somewhat hidden gem of the Gold Coast and a wonderful place to cool off on a hot day while avoiding the crowds on the beaches. In terms of things to do for kids in Gold Coast, they'll thrill to leap off the ledges and swing on ropes to plunge into the fresh, clean water below and splash and play all day. For parents, you can lounge about in the sunlight or have a meal at the picnic tables using on-site barbecues. A convenience store is right across the road. Best of all, it's a dog-friendly site.
7. Take a guided bird walk at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is a great place for family activities on the Gold Coast. Here you can take a guided bird walk to see dozens upon dozens of species of colourful feathered wildlife, catch a trained-animal show, try an off-road tour on a Segway and traverse their famous Tree Top Walk along bridges suspended high above the forest floor. You can order a packed lunch or picnic hamper to enjoy on-site, and as you explore over 160 kilometres of trails, you can come across any of the 500 roaring waterfalls. You can even rent a rainforest villa to stay in for a day or two.
8. See a live platypus at David Fleay Wildlife Park
David Fleay Wildlife Park is one of the few places on the Gold Coast where you can see a live platypus, but that's just where the fun begins. Here you can also see crocodiles, both the fresh and saltwater varieties, witness snakes and lizards, and see unique animals like koalas, sugar gliders and tree kangaroos. Native birds are also in abundance, from owls to jabiru, brolgas, cassowaries and others. From emus to dingos, water dragons to wallabies and pythons to greater bilbies, the animal experiences to be had here are as endless as they are exciting.
9. Swim, fish and go kayaking at Tallebudgera Creek
If you're into relaxing on a beach or just getting out on the water, a trip to Tallebudgera Creek must be on your list of kid activities on the Gold Coast. Here you can go swimming and lounge in the sun, go windsurfing or kayaking, try your hand at water skiing or go fishing to see if you can catch a big one. The creek is right across from Tallebudgera surf beach where you can ride the waves to your heart's content and just a few minutes from a lush rainforest walk. For a more secluded experience, follow the trails to the hidden rock pools inside the surrounding forests.
10. Hand-feed a kangaroo at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
You can learn all about conservation efforts at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to preserve the indigenous, natural and historic culture and heritage. You can touch a snake, hand-feed a kangaroo, take a walk with a wombat or even cuddle a koala. You can see a pelican and eel show or learn about animals at Blinky Bill's Rookie Ranger Station. You can also climb up to tackle the Tree Top Challenge with its 80 different challenges including, for teens and older, intense zip lines that race you through the treetops at breakneck speed. You'll find challenges, fun and excitement here for kids and adults of every age.
Explore art and cultural activities for kids in Gold Coast
11. Discover the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
If you're interested in learning and teaching your kids about the traditional Aboriginal culture of Australia, be sure to put the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre on your list of things to do in Gold Coast with kids. Here the kids can hear authentic Dreamtime stories, try delicacies of traditional bush food and learn all about the native cultures and traditions of the nation. You can witness dance performances and ceremonies, take a walkabout tour of the bush, visit a gallery of traditional Aboriginal art and crafts, and hit the on-site gift shop for a souvenir of your travels.
12. Challenge your mind at Infinity
Infinity is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind experience for family activities in Gold Coast. Here you'll engage your senses like never before while also challenging your imagination while you walk into a maze of wonder with 20 different environments filled with sound fields, musical soundscapes, intriguing scents, eye-bending optical illusions and more. It takes just 30 minutes to go through the 20 areas, but you'll enter into a whole different dimension of imagination and sense during that time. From unearthly beauty to beats you can't help but dance to, it's a completely immersive experience. It's suitable for adults and kids ages 8 and up.
13. See the unusual at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
If you've never been to a Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum, you must take the time to traverse its halls and galleries. The Gold Coast branch offers 16 themed galleries showcasing more than 400 interactive exhibits, artefacts, photographs and ephemera. You can see genuine shrunken heads, experienced mind-blowing sensory illusions and even tackle the LaseRace as you try to avoid laser beams to get through a trapped room, like in a spy movie. You can take a ride in a 4D moving theatre to experience simulated journeys while you play video games against your family for the highest score.
Try extreme family activities in Gold Coast
14. Have a pulse-pounding ride at Paradise Jet Boating
Riding a jet boat is like being on a thrill ride or roller coaster on the water. At Paradise Jet Boating, you'll find exciting things to do with the family on the Gold Coast that you won't soon forget. You can take a 360-degree spin, buzz the beaches, engage in drifting on the waters and experience a wide range of other manoeuvres, all in just 10 centimetres of water. While you're racing over the waves, you may get to see wallabies, dolphins and other native wildlife playing in the water. Hang on tight for a pulse-pounding ride on one of these exciting boats operated by an experienced driver.
15. Tackle the waves at Walkin' on Water Surf School
Everyone loves to watch surfing, but learning how to do it is even more fun. At Walkin' on Water Surf School, you'll learn how to navigate the waves starting with gentle surf and with experienced, expert instructors guiding you every step of the way, from safety skills to genuine wave-smashing experiences. This surfing school at Coolangatta's Greenmount Beach is also home to the first national junior surfing program for kids as young as 5 years old, so it's one of those kid activities on the Gold Coast that's great even for the little ones. Grown-ups don't have to feel left out here, as adult surfing lessons are offered as well.
16. Have a thrilling adventure at Thunderbird Park
Thunderbird Park is one of the largest adventure outdoor playgrounds in Australia, and it offers everything from laser-tag experiences to horse riding, miniature golf experiences and treasure hunting in a thunderegg mine. The Tree Top Challenge is the spot for daredevils and is one of the best things to do with the family on the Gold Coast if you have older kids. This part of the park has over 100 challenges, including the Canyon Flyer zip line's breakneck, pulse-pounding speeds. The park is full-featured, offering on-site dining and all the amenities you need for days of family adventure. You can even go camping or glamping and spend a few days at the park.