Top 5 family-friendly experiences on the Gold Coast

For an amazing Gold Coast holiday with kids, these are the best things to do for the whole family in and around Surfers Paradise.

Families swim at Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast.
  • Celeste Mitchell
  • October 2019

The Gold Coast opens in new window is known for its perfect weather and tourist attractions but if you are looking for lesser-known delights, family travel writer and local Narelle Bouveng reveals its hidden gems for families.

Bask in lagoon vibes at Tallebudgera Creek

There are more than 50 kilometres of beaches to choose from but Tallebudgera Creek is the best bet when you have little waders in tow. It’s not so secret anymore but if you continue a little further down, past the playground and the flags, you can still find an uncrowded sandy spot, nestled in a shady grove of pandanus palms. Neptune Kiosk opens in new window, the little sister of the iconic Bam Bam Bakehouse opens in new window, resides creek-side too, with good coffee, famous almond croissants and the obligatory ice-cream that I use as a bribe to get the kids back past the playground.

Water play + stay at The Ruby Collection

In Surfers Paradise, the Ruby Collection opens in new window delivers the best of both worlds for families. Sharing facilities with Paradise Resort, it merges a water park and kids’ club with apartment-style rooms that parents will appreciate too. Keep costs down by self-catering in the generous kitchen, with full-size fridge, plus there’s a washer and dryer in-room and great ocean views (especially from the Sky Suites). A convenience store (more like a fancy pantry) can be found downstairs, along with a gourmet deli. And if the kids don’t want to get out of the water, you can order poolside pizzas (plus cocktails) and just stay in.

A boy rides a quad bike at Ruby Collection on the Gold Coast.
The water park and kids' club make the Ruby Collection perfect for families.

Enjoy alfresco entertainment at Movies Under the Stars

Skip the cinema queues and overpriced popcorn. From September 28 to around March, the City of Gold Coast hosts regular free Movies Under the Stars opens in new window family events. Held at a range of venues (usually local state school ovals), you can pack your own picnic and rug or feast from food trucks, while the kids meet new friends and enjoy a play before settling down to watch the family-rated movie.

Eat treats at Paddock Bakery

Paddock Bakery opens in new window is our go-to for family dining – mostly because of the cookie monster milkshake, an old-school vanilla shake with whipped cream, your choice of home-baked cookie and crumbly cookie sprinkles. At AUD $12, it’s not cheap (although it can be shared between two or three) but as a monthly treat it always delivers. Other staples include the dippy eggs, teen fave avo on toast and mum fave – a revolving array of sweet treats, from pavlova cruffins to Lindt chocolate and cheesecake brownies. This place does nothing for the waistline but everyone leaves extremely happy.

An eggs benedict bagel from Paddock Bakery on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
Paddock Bakery's menu has something to keep every family member happy.

Have animal adventures at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Meet Pooh Bear the puggle (a baby short-beaked echidna) at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary opens in new window. This park is our all-time favourite for its mix of education, wildlife encounters, train rides and the see-through slippery dip. Add another dimension to your visit and download The Gruffalo Spotter app before you go (the Wi-Fi in the park can be patchy) so tech-savvy kids can find and snap selfies with animated characters as they explore The Gruffalo Trail.