Gold Coast: Bring the kids

Gold Coast Insider
Book theme-park tickets. (Photo: Richard I'Anson / Lonely Planet Images)
Book theme-park tickets.
Holidays with the family don't need to be stressful; the Gold Coast has some great options for kids. Check out our family-friendly suggestions.

Kid-friendly accommodation

When looking for places to stay, check out the many holiday parks, often with cabins right on the beach. The Gold Coast City Council runs seven of them, and they are all fab!

Sea World Nara is also good — check for specials.

But one of the most popular resorts for kids is Paradise Resort in Surfers. OMG, your kids will love this place. And if your idea of a holiday is sitting next to the pool reading the latest Booker winner while the kids run themselves ragged with anyone but you for a change, this is just the spot for you.

Relaxing — you and the kids!

First up, book theme-park tickets. The kids won't stop nagging until you have, and that's probably half the reason you're here in the first place. But rest assured, they are totally fun.

Then you can relax!

Stage One of the new Southport Broadwater Parklands (or SBP) will be opening October 2009 — and for budget conscious families this will be a huge hit. Water parks, playgrounds, outdoor cinemas — and all for nix!

Also, spend some time down at the beach. Stock up on cheap boogie boards, buckets, spades and an umbrella before hitting the sand.

And why not take some surfing lessons as a family? They're available at most major beaches. You might even keep the habit and become a surfer back home; the family that surfs together holidays well together!

In case of bad weather, get arted

If the weather turns blah, get on the train to Brisbane. From the South Brisbane stop, go to the museum, State Library and both Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA. If you happen to be there during school holidays, this precinct is likely to be brimming with kid's activities, classes, art courses etc, many of which are free. GOMA has a dedicated kid's section — always free — so you can spark an interest in Warhol to Picasso. My eight-year-old stepson loves it!

Head for the Hills

If your kids are little hippies, get the family up to the divine Binna Burra for a bush walk through the rainforest. There are a few places to stay, and when the coast is baking in the summer, these forests are just perfect. Part of the gorgeous Lamington National Park, this is nice bit of ssshhhhh after a hectic week.

Now for something completely different

One last bit of fun comes in July in the shape of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon — fit mums and dads can do the full, half or 10km run, while other's can do the walk. Best of all, kids can do a couple of runs designed just for them. I ran in the 10km, our eight-year-old son Jack did the 2.25km dash, Grandma took photos, and Dad perved on chicks along the way — everyone was happy! Attracting some 21,000 competitors, this is one of the area's major events. It's a great excuse to come to the coast in winter. Winter here is divine, less crowded, underrated and cheap!

Know any other places that are fun for kids? Have your say using the comments form below.

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User comments
I took my 4 kids & my mum on holiday to the Sea World Resort & they loved every second of it I had a week of me time, I would recommend to anyone with kids ages from 16-5 stay at the Resort & attend their theme park it was great best holiday I had in 16yrs we also had included with our accomodation unlimited passes to all the theme parkes such as Warner Bros Movie World,Wet n Wild, Outback Adventure just to name a few so if you get the chance to go on holiday I highly recommend you go to da Gold Coast. Honey.
Regarding no.5 " Now for something completely different" and the comment - and Dad perved on chicks along the way .. it should say "and dad lusted on girls along the way" VERY unprofessional and VERY tacky,, makes this place sound very redneck.
We visited the Paradise Resort and stayed for a week in 2006. It was fabulous and the kids had fun in the kids club which has two sessions per day for four hous each. You can pick any two sessions out of the three available. I preferred the 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm session as you can go to dinner and squeeze in a movie as well while the kids are entertained. The resort is close to McDonald's and the beach. My only wish is that the rooms would accommodate two adults and four children. The rooms are for small families and if you want to accommodate a larger family you have to get adjoining rooms which can be expensive. Otherwise, it has a few pools, the one for the little kids is great, and they have a hawaiian night with fire eating and polynesian dancers, once a week, I think it's a Friday night. Plus the cafe serves great food and it overlooks the pool. Definitely a great place for busy mums and dads to take a break.