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If you’re searching for a family-friendly holiday destination, look no further than the Gold Coast!

Perfect for all ages, there won’t be a dull moment, whether you’re travelling with toddlers or teens. Here, we bring you the very best of family-friendly activities on the beautiful Gold Coast.

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast

Beaches

One of the Gold Coast’s biggest drawcards are undoubtedly its beaches. Top of the list is tourist hub Surfers Paradise. Palms line the generous stretch of sand, while the paved boulevard is perfect for cycling and walking. There’s even free outdoor gym equipment for the active.

If you’re travelling with older kids, Main Beach is a quieter option. The 36km-long Gold Coast Oceanway also starts here, a fantastic trail for family bike rides.

If your family is into surfing, head to Burleigh Heads to catch a wave. This beach is patrolled by the city’s dedicated surf lifesavers and is usually well protected from southerly wind or swell.

Those with very young kids can visit the Currumbin Creek Inlet between Palm Beach and Currumbin Beach. A mixture of sand and shallow water makes it perfect for paddling and building sandcastles, with nearby parking usually available.

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast

Theme Parks

Nothing keeps kids happy like a theme park and the Gold Coast is filled with them!

As Australia’s biggest theme park, there is something for everyone at Dreamworld . Gain the ultimate thrill as you take on the iconic Big9 Thrill Rides including the iconic Giant Drop and Tower of Terror. Meanwhile, young families will have a wiggly wonderful time at ABC KIDS WORLD and Wiggles World.

Splash into a world of fun at WhiteWater World, located right next door to Dreamworld and included in your Dreamworld ticket! Ride the giant waterslides or the world’s most exciting simulated wave on FlowRider, or simply cool off in the wave pool. A hot tip for parents: hire a cabana and sit back and relax while the kids splash around for the ultimate luxury!

Warner Bros. Movie World is Hollywood on the Gold Coast! Guests can meet their favourite stars and superheroes and experience the exhilaration of world-class adventure rides and movie attractions. Thrillseekers can ride the DC Rivals HyperCoaster, the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest, longest and fastest HyperCoaster, with guests facing a menacing 89-degree drop and reaching speeds of up to 115km/s on a 1.4km-long track. Don’t miss the new Aquaman Exhibition, featuring signature set-pieces, props and weapons, Atlantean Statues of the heroic characters and large-scale vessels such as ships and submarines from the smash-hit movie.

Experience Sea World, Australia’s number-one marine park. From playful dolphin shows to fun rides and one-on-one animal encounters, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained. Sea World’s Rescue Team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has been involved in thousands of strandings or entanglements of whales, dolphins and other sea creatures. Through their Neptune Oceanic Foundation, Sea World has also supported over 180 marine science research projects. Good to know: portions of the money you spend at Sea World funds these programs and services.

Image credit: Sea World

Animal Encounters

The Gold Coast is paradise for animal lovers of all ages.

At Sea World, you can experience an interactive Animal Encounter with everything from sharks to penguins, and come face to face with Australia’s only polar bears. You can also enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience swimming with dolphins in deep water and snorkelling in a tropical reef lagoon with rays, fish and reef sharks. Or enter the frozen world of the King and Gentoo penguin for a one-on-one encounter.

Dreamworld’s Tiger Island is one of the only interactive tiger exhibits on the planet. There are less than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, so this is likely your only way to come face-to-face with one of the Earth’s rarest creatures, while also helping to save them. Your money for these experiences goes towards the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation (DWF), which collaborates with wildlife conservation groups all around the world to help save those tigers left in the wild, and is the largest zoological donor-to-tiger conservation in the world. Just by watching the two daily tiger presentations (at noon and 3.30pm) you are spreading awareness. By buying certain merchandise, booking up-close encounters, or adopting one of the Dreamworld tigers, you’re helping fund their survival. Dreamworld is also actively engaged in the protection and conservation of our own native Australian endangered species. DWF supports research, habitat conservation and education for wildlife including koalas, bilbies, tree kangaroos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, frogs and bristlebirds.

Image credit: Surfers Paradise Kids Week

Kids Week

Surfers Paradise Kids Week is an annual family-friendly event that takes place in the September school holidays. The activities change yearly but 2018 featured lifelike dinosaurs, dancing, virtual reality experiences, face painting and more. Best of all: it’s completely free!

Escape Rooms

If you’re travelling with older kids, escape rooms are a clever way to keep them entertained while also offering a challenge. Escape Hunt runs a variety of scenarios which rely on you solving puzzles to unlock the escape route. From the gritty Murder in a Cellar mystery to the magical Rising Alchemist experiment, it’s a challenging and fun day out (players must be aged seven or older and under-15s accompanied by an adult).

An alternative option is Padlock’d, which runs a variety of games including the eerie Nightfall, which sees you trying to escape a dream world, and Daybreak, a strictly 14+ adventure involving a mad scientist. Besides Daybreak, all games are open to children aged seven and over, with at least one person aged 15+ required in the room at all times.

Image credit: Destination Gold Coast

Walks

The Gold Coast Hinterland is perfect for active families who enjoy hiking. Springbrook National Park makes up a quarter of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforest and is home to some of the oldest trees in Australia. Walks include the 4km Twin Falls Circuit, rewarding walkers with rock pools and two waterfalls, and the very popular and accessible Natural Bridge walk, which only takes around an hour and finishes with a beautiful Basalt cave.

If you want a walking track with stunning coastal views, head to Burleigh Head National Park. The upper circuit is a good cardio workout, while the lower wraps around the shoreline and is much gentler.

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