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The 10 best things to do at the Gold Coast Show

Most importantly: buy all of the showbags. 

For a whopping 113 years the Gold Coast Show has been a favourite local event.

From traditional wood chopping to prize cattle, there are plenty of reasons to head the show from August 30th to September 1st but, in the interest of keeping things short and sweet, here are the top 10.

Camel rides
If you have yet to experience the absolutely hilarious thrill that is riding a camel, you’ve been missing out. But miss out no longer because you can now do exactly that at the Gold Coast Show. On the beach no less. How good.

Go on rides all day long
Guys, all day rides. HELLO. Spend the day on as many spinning, dropping and stomach curdling rides as you like, what could be better? Hot tip: don’t eat show food before said stomach curdling rides.

Buy all the showbags
One of the highlights of childhood was undoubtedly choosing a showbag (or five) from the great hall of goodies and participating in a mass sugar high. As is the case with many of the best things in the world (wine), showbags have only improved with age so get in early to nab the best ones.

Container Bar and Rooftop
Because it’s got beer and wine, what more do you need. Maybe after you’ve tested out the rides though.

Watch the pig racing
They may not be fast, but they sure are cute, especially when the little squealers are racing through an obstacle course. Thanks to Noah’s Farm, all proceeds raised will go to Variety.

Eat tasty foods
There’s a HUGE array of food on offer at the show every year but 2019 has upped it’s game. There’s pulled pork burgers and crazy doughnuts to name a few. Arrive hungry.

Try your luck at sideshow alley
You haven’t visited the show unless you’ve attempted to throw a ball into the mouth of a clown to win a giant stuffed toy you definitely don’t need. There’s even more games to try this year so make sure you schedule enough time to try them all.

Marvel at the fireworks
No celebration is complete without them. Watch as the night sky is lit up with one of the Gold Coast’s most impressive firework displays of the year.

Keep an eye out for deep fried lasagne
So word on the street is, there was a competition for best deep fried foods and the prize was the opportunity to sell at the show. The winner, amongst MANY worthy contenders was good old deep fried lasagne (on a stick no less). Let us know how that goes.

Alpacas display
Hilarious little creatures Alpacas aren’t they. Not usually seen so much around these parts but on display for you to ogle over the show weekend. Cute.

Your ultimate winter school holiday survival guide

Surface Festival, Miami (image supplied)
Surface Festival, Miami (image supplied)

School holidays. Two words that can strike fear and dread into the hearts of parents far and wide. But fear not mums, dads, grandies et al, you’re reading this which means you’ve got this (fist pump emoji… and a wine glass emoji for good measure. Maybe two).

Now the next couple of weeks don’t need to be totally heckers – just filled with a good balance of physical, mental, and creative activities to bust boredom and preserve sanity (yours that is). And with the majority of suggestions on this list not costing anything more than the fuel to get there, just shut up and (don’t) take my money!

So, pull up your calendar app, hatch some srsly cool plans, and make some memories with your mini-me’s.

Skate Fest, Pacific Fair (image supplied)
Skate Fest, Pacific Fair (image supplied)

Pacific Fair
School holidays feeling like a grind? Kick board-om to the kerb as skate fever hits Pacific Fair these holidays! Back by popular demand, Skatefest sees the car park (above Target) transformed into a shred-tastic concrete wonderland from June 21st to July 1st. Design your dream skate tee at Design Skool, then build those skills at Skate Skool with sessions for all levels. Plus, watch pro skaters tear it up and compete for a chance to win a share in over $5K in prizes at Demo Night and more. Who’s ready to shred!
Where: 2 Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach Waters

Robina Town Centre (image supplied)
Robina Town Centre (image supplied)

Robina Town Centre
Got kidlets bouncing off the walls? Corral your crew towards Robina Town Centre and let Robina Arena channel that boundless energy into a series of action-packed challenges! They’re throwing down the gauntlet with a Jump Test, Canoe Course and Steady Skater challenge to put those sporting skills to the test. Plus, after conquering the course, little champions can decorate their very own cookie medals at one of the free cookie sessions – running half-hourly from 10 am–1.30 pm, every second day (24 June, 26 June, 28 June, 30 June, 2 July, 4 July) bookings are essential.
Where: Robina Town Centre, Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina

Skate Paradise, Paradise Centre (image supplied)
Skate Paradise, Paradise Centre (image supplied)

Paradise Centre
Paradise Centre is really ramping up the fun these holidays as Skate Paradise returns from 22 June to 7 July 2024. Roll into Surfers and get the groms around some rad skateboarding action as the beachside precinct transforms into the sickest skate haunt going! Budding boarders will flip out with daily entertainment, free kids skate workshops and daily skate shows from the crew at Rock N Slide. Kick it to live beats with sunset DJ sets on select dates, or catch one of the custom sneaker art sessions with Kiel Tillman from 26 to 28 June. Rad!
Where: 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

NaturallyGC holiday programs (image supplied)
NaturallyGC holiday programs (image supplied)

Naturally GC
NaturallyGC holiday programs are FREE and specifically designed to connect kids with nature and encourage outdoor play and learning. The Totally Wild vibing workshops cater to all interests and ages with a range of nature-based activities on offer across the holidays. There’s Waterbugs Under the Microscope or Creepy Crawly sessions, native Wildlife Encounters, Boomerangs and Rock Art workshops, and more… but get a wriggle on, the popular sessions book fast! Register online here.
Where: Various Gold Coast locations

Magical Circus, SkyPoint (image supplied)
Magical Circus, SkyPoint (image supplied)

SkyPoint
This school holiday season, the wow-factor of SkyPoint’s crowning 77th level destination will ascend to all new heights! Magical Circus combines the stunning 360-degree views with awe-inducing Las Vegas-style performances, complete with high-energy feats of balance, juggling and illusion. Running every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from June 25th to July 18th, the twice-daily shows at 11:30am and 1pm are included with your SkyPoint entry. Talk about levelling up your entertainment!
Where: SkyPoint Observation Deck, Level 77, Q1, Surfers Paradise

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary_Outback Springs_Gemstone Panning (image supplied)
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Outback Springs, Gemstone Panning (image supplied)

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Every-bunny knows Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary’s school holiday programs are the bee’s knees! Now offering Wild Adventurers Junior (5-8 year olds) half-day sessions and the classic full-day experience for kiddos aged 9–12, budding zoologists can walk on the wild side and get up close to some of the Sanctuary’s star residents. For $34.50 and $69.00 per child respectively, they’ll have a blast becoming Zoo Scientists for a Day, Animal Trainers for a Day, Vets for a Day, or Wildlife Keepers for a Day. Smashing! (90’s kids know).

Tickets for holiday programs always fly out the door – so if you don’t land a spot, the park itself is always a hoot! Go wild with animal encounters, shows, a zipline Treetop Challenge, and brekkie with the koalas five days a week. Plus, the classic Rainbow Lorikeet feedings at 8am and 4pm daily are always a hit (unless you’re afraid of birds, in which case, maybe sit this one out).
Where: 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

HOTA
Hosted by HOTA’s Children’s Gallery, multi-disciplinary Australian artist Abdul Abdullah invites you to step into his immersive and whimsical sanctuary, Kingdom of Kindness. A special place of belonging, at this interactive all-ages exhibit audiences are free to explore hands-on activities and make friends with the rock characters, bringing them to life with their creativity. Rock on!

From Wednesday 26 Jun–Wednesday 3 Jul, HOTA is inviting creative minds aged 8-12 years for an awesome ARTCATION – a six-day crash course on all things art and culture! With a different focus every day, the multi-day program is the ultimate vacation care with an artsy twist. For $60 per day, kiddos can catch the whole week or take their pick of topics such as ‘Junior Engineer Coding’ and ‘Music Mashups’.
Where: 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Winterfest, Dreamworld (image supplied)
Winterfest, Dreamworld (image supplied)

Dreamworld
There’s snow chance we’re missing Dreamworld’s coolest Winterfest yet! Don your beanie and head on down between 29 June– 4 July for one brrrr-illiant blizzard of family fun. Have a blast with ice slide tobogganing, interactive winter-inspired activities, scavenger hunts, and some extra special snowy surprises. Glide across the full sized, pop-up ice skating rink, then warm up with some with some satisfying Euro-inspired fare.
Where: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera

Parade at Movie World (image supplied)
Parade at Movie World (image supplied)

Warner Bros. Movie World
Holy smokes, Batman! Get in on the all-star action this winter school holidays as DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains descends upon Warner Bros. Movie World. Main Street will become the ultimate goodies vs baddies battleground, with appearances and shows from all the most legendary havoc-makers and justice-defenders. Keep your eyes peeled as you cruise around your favourite attractions for meet and greets with Batman, Robin, The Joker, Harley Quinn, and more.
Where: Pacific Mwy, Oxenford

ArtVo Magician 3D Trick Art ArtVo, Robina Town Centre (image supplied)
ArtVo Magician 3D Trick Art ArtVo, Robina Town Centre (image supplied)

ArtVo
Fun-filled school holidays antics are a glow at ArtVo this June! If your mini’s can never resist the chance to clown around, booking a spot at one of the Circus School sessions on Tues 25, Wed 26 or Thur 27 June be a no brainer. For $20 per child (use code CIRCUS), tickets include entry and interactive 45 min class covering all the big top basics – juggling, twirling, ball and balance skills, along with entry to the interactive ArtVo exhibit when you’re done!

The fun doesn’t stop there, with an epic Glow Room Dance Party going down from 10am – 4pm daily (5pm on weekends). Use code FUN to nab kids’ tix for $20 with a paying adult. Talk about having a ball!
Where: Robina Town Centre, Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina

Slick Surfaces, Surface Festival, Miami (image supplied)
Slick Surfaces, Surface Festival, Miami (image supplied)

Slick Surfaces, Surface Festival 
Round up the munchkins and roll on over to Miami Marketta this Sunday June 23rd, to jumpstart the school holidays at Slick Surfaces! An all-ages activity program geared to towards primary schoolers, this one-day event combines DJ workshops, skateboard clinics, urban art activities, brickspert-led LEGO Masterclasses and tonnes more. Bummer, dude – these hot tickets have now been snapped up, but you can still try your luck on the waiting list (note to self: book early next year!)
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

The Strand
Got a budding baker on your hands? Definitely donut miss the The Strand’s free winter-themed treat workshops these school holidays! From Monday 1 July – Wednesday 10 July, they’ll be bringing the (baked) goods with complementary Cookie & Doughnut decorating between 11am – 2pm daily. Let your mini master chef go to town on the icing, sprinkles and snowflakes someplace other than your house, and, if you’re lucky might even let you share in the spoils without having to invoke #MumTax privileges. Plus, you could also score one of 4x $100 Baskin-Robbins vouchers for your trouble. Sweet!
Where: 72-80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Day on the Lawn activities, Farm & Co (image supplied)
Day on the Lawn activities, Farm & Co (image supplied)

Farm & Co
Fun times for the whole fam are on the menu at Farm & Co these winter holidays! With Kids Eat Free Fridays on until 30 August, why load up your crew and hit the road for a day of farm-style frolicking. Make a day of it with a farm pass, then finish with the ultimate family-friendly dining experience at Farm & Co Restaurant. Kiddos can free range on the restaurant lawn with a new kids’ play area to explore, while the parentals are treated to to farm-to-plate dining at its finest.

Can’t get enough of Cudgen’s crisp country air? Pack the picnic blanket and head back on Sunday 30th June for the ‘Day on the Lawn’ festivities. Hosted on the last Sunday of every month, kick back in the sunshine with lawn games, live tunes and crafty activities for the kids. Entry starts at $5 and word to the wise, tickets for this day out sell lickety split!
Where: 529 Cudgen Rd, Cudgen

Words by Kellie Leader

Farm & Co restaurant (image supplied)
Farm & Co restaurant (image supplied)

15 things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

Level Up Arcade Broadbeach (image supplied)
Level Up Arcade Broadbeach (image supplied)

Feels like it’s been five minutes since the kids were on holidays and low and behold, the schools are letting them loose again. Sigh.

Keeping them occupied— and you sane — will need some carefully considered tact. But let’s face facts here: you are on the Gold Coast. That means beachesshopping and theme parks on your doorstep that other people would vacation here for. Nevertheless, what happens when the kids are keen for something a bit more diverse to pass the time?

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of some of our favourite things to do on the Gold Coast when school is out.

Level Up Arcade
The Arcade is the 80s and 90s incarnate. Found on the first floor of the Oasis Shopping Centre in Broadbeach, Level Up features 62 of the best games from this era. With Lane Master Bowling, pool table, 3D pong, limited edition pinballs, a classic arcade with 40 of your old school games, LA Lakers hoops, big buck hunter, Jurassic Park, down the clown, ring toss and plenty more. Worn out kids by the end of the day are guaranteed.
Where: The Oasis Shopping Centre, 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach

Padlock’d
With 60 minutes on the clock, you and the family are left in a mysterious room to solve puzzles, crack riddles, open locks and escape the madness. It’s a fast-paced hour where you will either come out with big old smiles on your faces — or in need of a big old glass of wine. It’s such a fun time either way though.
Where: 3177 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Ripleys Surfers Paradise (image supplied by Lisa Tucker)
Ripleys Surfers Paradise (image supplied by Lisa Tucker)

Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium is Surfers Paradise’s most unusual and far-fetched attraction. Found in Soul Boardwalk, Ripley’s offers sixteen individually themed galleries of unbelievable artifacts and interactive exhibits where you will come face to face with remarkable relics and rare treasures from around the world. Experience the weird and unbelievable, see shrunken heads, survive a walk through the spinning vortex tunnel, unusual artwork, and things that make you go eww. Get a discount here!
Where: Soul Boardwalk, Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise

Currumbin Boatshed
Found at the edge of Currumbin Creek, Currumbin Boatshed Bait and Tackle offers plenty of choices to ensure you and the kids get to have the best possible time on the water. They’ve got fishing gear, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, surfboards and much more. All are available for purchase or they also have hire options for kayaks, SUPs and fishing gear. Ever seen somebody on a SUP and thought you’d like to give it a go? Well, here’s your chance folks, as they offer regular SUP lessons for beginners!
Where: 1/2-4 Thrower Drive, Currumbin

Lollie Land
It’s the perfect place for big and small kids alike. Spend some time choosing from over 1,000 different sweet treats, American brands like Hershey’s, Reese’s, Trolli, Twizzler and Cheeto’s, to your local favourites like Allen’s and Nestle. There’s also a wide variety of liquorice, rock candy and pick and mix sweets to choose from. From gobsmackers to chocolate fudge, you’re sure to find something to satiate your taste buds.
Where: Shop 1/3179 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Mini Golf
What child doesn’t love a bit of mini-golf? None, as far as we know. Luckily, the Gold Coast is home to a collection of enjoyable putt-putt spots, and they are dotted throughout the city — so you could even make a day of it and visit several of them — should that be your kind of thing! Our favourites are King Tutts and Mini Golf in Surfers Paradise and Putt Putt Mermaid Beach.
Where: Various locations

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied)
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied)

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature-based institution that’s been delighting families for the last 70 years. Check all your favourite Aussie animals, watch the bird show Wild Skies or wander through Lost Valley and gaze at some of the magical creatures that existed when Australia was part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. If you haven’t been before or it’s been a while, it’s about time you went and spent a fun day in Currumbin with some furry and feathered friends.
Where: 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Infinity
It’s an incredible journey through a world of illusion at Infinity. Think futuristic, maze-like world of wonder with unique rooms and sensory overloads that will have you laughing, jumping, and feeling as though you’re in a dream. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Get an exclusive discount here!
Where: Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, G31/3240 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Theme Parks
It goes without saying the Coast’s theme parks are some of our biggest attractions for visitors. From Movie World with its themed rides, wandering movie stars and cartoon characters; to Dreamworld with its big thrill rides; Seaworld; with impressive sea creatures and mind-blowing live shows; Wet n Wild with all of the epic waterslides and a giant wave pool; Outback Spectacular with incredible special effects, a story of outback Australia and some absolutely beautiful animals. All SUCH a good time and the kids will be thrilled to be at any one of them.

Walkin on Water
Walkin On Water Surf School can be found at Greenmount Beach in Coolangatta and uses the town’s beautiful beaches to their full potential — which are the perfect places for all levels of surfer. These guys pride themselves on offering group and private lessons for all ages and surfing abilities, from the age of 4 right through to those in their 80’s. Greenmount is an amazing location for beginners and early intermediates, having a good amount of protection from southerly swells it is renowned, amongst others, as the ideal learn-to-surf location on the Gold Coast. Get $25 OFF here.
Where: Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Infinity, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)
Infinity, Surfers Paradise (image supplied)

FREE ACTIVITIES

Go for a picnic
Relaxation, good views and all of the food. It’s an almost free activity (you have to buy the food we’re afraid) and when choosing the right spot (maybe nearby a playground), can fill up a whole day. Check out our list of the best places to throw down a rug here.

Broadwater Parklands
For a real fun time hit up Broadwater Parklands in Southport. There’s a huge range of free activities including the rockpool water playground, giant bouncy pillow, BBQ areas, eats and a little train that fits big kids (you) and little ones.
Where: Marine Parade, Southport

Miami Marketta
Known as the Gold Coast’s favourite family-friendly nightspot for tasty street food, fun cocktails, boutique shopping and live bands, Miami Marketta is so so good. Save some coins and share a couple of tapas-style plates amongst the whole family. Oh, and make sure you check out the dessert area too.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

Currumbin Rock Pools
If you’re looking for something more adventurous and exciting to do, Currumbin Rock Pools is just the ticket. The beautiful scenic drive through Currumbin Valley is enough of an attraction in itself, taking you straight to the natural swimming pool next to Currumbin Valley Primary School. In utter tranquillity, you may just want to cool down and splash in the water or enjoy some family time over a BBQ at the designated picnic area.
Where: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley

Family Picnic on Currumbin Beach
Family Picnic on Currumbin Beach

Local Markets
Take the family and stroll along one of our many local markets on the coast. There’s everything from fresh locally grown produce to fashion, homewares, souvenirs, arts and crafts. Our top three favourite markets are Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets (4pm-9pm Wednesday, Friday & Sunday nights) and Carrara Markets (7am-4pm every Saturday & Sunday). Check out the rest here.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Warner Bros. Movie World (image from Destination Gold Coast)
Warner Bros. Movie World (image from Destination Gold Coast)

17 family-friendly Gold Coast restaurants

TGI Friday's (image supplied)

At some point during the week (usually Monday for us) you get sick of preparing meals, decide to throw in the tea towel, and round up the rugrats so one of our fine establishments can handle that exhausting little song and dance. Only to be faced with a whole new issue – the prospect of taking the munchkins out for munches #cuepanic

To save you the ‘find-something-everyone-can-eat-without-too-many-tears’ (namely yours) struggle entirely – we’ve collected our very favourite purveyors of good vibes, welcoming atmospheres and of course, bulk ice cream and chippies.

So without further ado, here is a list of family-friendly Gold Coast restaurants to treat you and your cherubs to some chow, so you can have a reprieve from slaving over the stove for a night.

From north to south.

The Wattle Hotel, Upper Coomera (image supplied)
The Wattle Hotel, Upper Coomera (image supplied)

The Wattle Hotel
A hidden gem in Upper Coomera, The Wattle Hotel is the perfect playground for parents and kiddies. The adult menu is filled with all your fave pub-style dishes while the littlies menu has all their favourites for $12 bucks including a drink and dixie cup – a barg and a half, especially when you consider the inbuilt perk of those blissful sounds of serenity (the kind only a Cheeseburger could buy). 10/10 kids also agree the whopper playground is the bees knees (ok, so that stat is more of an educated guess, we hope you can let it ‘slide’…) Gather the kiddies and get down and see for yourself.
Where: 1 Reserve Road, Upper Coomera

Charis Seafoods
Found in Harley Park, Labrador, Charis Seafoods offers a family-friendly atmosphere with a sweet view to boot. Enjoy your fish and chips by the Broadwater while the kids play in the park or swim in the lagoon. There’s a huge variety of seafood on offer and everything is of the freshest and highest quality. This Gold Coast icon is also renowned for its pelican feeding at 1:30pm daily where close to a hundred pelicans gather for their special feed of fish!
Where: 371 Marine Parade, Labrador

Charis Seafoods (image supplied)
Charis Seafoods (image supplied)

Historic Rivermill
Less restaurant, more full-blown adventure day – Historic Rivermill might be an overachiever, but either way a meal at this beaut spot will delight you and your little people. The outlook from the cafe is breathtaking with views to the bushland beyond and plenty of space, including a cute ‘lil playground, for the kids to explore.

This pretty riverside spot boasts its own petting zoo, so the animal encounters are a must-do for the munchkins. Feed the turtles or alpacas, and and don’t sweat it when your little people grow peckish, of course the cafe boasts plenty of yummy goodies for the human-folk too. Including coffee, which we absolutely will require after herding the critters (we’ll let you decide which we’re referring to). Do yourself a favour and take a drive out there with the whole family.
Where: 950 Beaudesert-Nerang Road, Mt Nathan

Southport Sharks
For families, the beloved Frenzy’s buffet will be the first (and second, and third…) port of call as a sacred eats place adored by all – but especially our mini salad dodgers. There’s also a stacked kids zone – including a rock climbing wall, mini basketball court and theatrette – that will be a slam dunk among all, as the small ones frolic supervised, and you kick back and enjoy a frosty beverage. Plus there’s a stunning fish tank (with real sharks) which is always a winner among the little ones. Frenzy’s is open breakfast, lunch and dinner, with à la carte and buffet options seven days a week.. aka any old time you’re struck by the urge to escape the kitchen.
Where: Olsen Ave and Musgrave Ave, Southport

Father's Day at Southport Sharks (image supplied)
Southport Sharks (image supplied)

Café Catalina
Found in Southport, overlooking the Broadwater is Café Catalina, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pop in for a bit to eat, treat yourself to some tapas and a wine or two, let the kids enjoy some tasty Spaghetti Bolognaise off their designated kids menu and then wander down to the giant playground and let them run rampant before bedtime. It’s win win.
Where: Broadwater Parklands, 10/11 Gold Coast Highway, Southport

TGI Friday’s
With all of the epic US-style eats you could hope to demolish in one sitting, TGI Friday’s at Robina Town Centre, and overlooking the ocean in the refreshed Paradise Centre at Surfers – is the perfect place to take the family for a night out. With everything from their famous ribs and burgers plus a kids menu packed with goodies like Macaroni Cheese, Chicken Fingers and a Cheeseburger to name a few, everyone will leave happy and very satisfied.
Where: Robina Town Centre, Robina and Level 1, Paradise Centre Beachfront Dining, 2 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Outback Steakhouse (image supplied)
Outback Steakhouse (image supplied)

Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse has a casual atmosphere and plenty of good vibes for everyone to enjoy. Meaty morsels like Perfectly seared steaks, Burgers and Ribs make up much of the adult’s menu, but for your mini-me’s there’s also plenty of kid-endorsed options like Chicken fingers, Mac & Cheese and Mini ribs, 2,4,6,8.. bog in, don’t wait! All the kid’s meals start from just $9 and include a drink, pretty sweet ‘eh?
Where: Pacific Fair, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach

Mermaid Beach Surf Club
Surf clubs are family friendly on principle but the Mermaid Beach Surf Club in particular has got the goods in the form of a playroom that will keep the kids entertained for hours. Some of us here have been in there and can attest it’s a good time. Of course, they have lots of child-friendly menu options AND on Monday nights kids eat free with any main meal purchased. How good.
Where: 172 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach

Mermaid Beach Tavern, Mermaid Beach (image supplied)
Mermaid Beach Tavern, Mermaid Beach (image supplied)

Mermaid Beach Tavern
These days we’re treated to some next level Tavs, Pavs and Clubs, having broken free of the former beer dungeon status we once associated with our friendly local – and we only need to look as far as Exhibit A: Mermaid Beach Tavern to prove our point. This stunner of a spot is 10’s all round – easy on the eyes, plenty of space and classic pub-style eats that appeal to the whole family.

Putt wait, there’s more… the Putt Putt Meal deal takes this outing from good to great. Enjoy a round of Putt Putt and grab an adult main meal for just $15 and a kids meal for $10.
Where: 2500 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach

Miami Marketta
Less a restaurant, more a market-style dining situation is Miami Marketta – and relaxed eats is kind of the whole objective when we’re talking feeding the oft-rambunctious rugrats. Open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights with food stalls and (often) live music, kids absolutely adore running around, dancing and eating all the things. Same. There’s a ridiculous array of next-level desserts and a bar so that’s pretty much all your bases covered we think. Always a fun time.
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

Miami Marketta (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
Miami Marketta (image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

Robina Pavilion
Anyone else sensing a theme here? Key to chillaxed eats with kids in tow = proximity for perambulating outside a must. And Robina Pav has this in spades – you and your rowdy rascals can revel on the lakeside lawn or on the sun drenched deck – rain, hail or shine – thanks to the retractable roof. Good news if you also ‘like piña coladas’ (we do) but not so much ‘getting caught in the rain’ (hard pass).

So regardless of whatever whack weather our trusty BoM app is advising – gather your boisterous brood, chow down on some classic pub nosh and throw back a couple’a bomb Pavilion Coladas while the dishes do themselves… ah, life’s goooood.
Where: 229 Ron Penhaligon Way, Robina

Robina Pavilion (image supplied)
Robina Pavilion (image supplied)

Woodchoppers Inn
Family owned since 1995, Woodchoppers Inn launched a reimagined menu in 2017 to bring North American BBQ to the Gold Coast. Complete with a dedicated kids play area and kids menu, including the likes of Spaghetti and Meatballs and Margherita Pizza – we’d be envious, but we’re too busy tucking in to a 6hr BBQ pork short rib stack, tbh. All kids meals can be upgraded with a drink and ice cream for $2, which we think you’ll agree is pretty good bang for your buck. The entire family will love the perfectly smoked and seared dishes, and the plethora of beers and hand-crafted spirits will go down a treat with the grown ups.
Where: 64 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

Burleigh Town Hotel (image supplied)
Burleigh Town Hotel (image supplied)

Burleigh Town Hotel
We here on the GC sure do love getting around an all-rounder, and not that we’re superficial or anything – but a tidy $4.5 mil revamp has skyrocketed this spot in the popularity stakes (though the steaks are top notch, also) among locals – and *especially* parents.

Of the sprawling space – a perk particularly favoured among families is the spacious open-air area, with plenty of space for the kids to roam (run wild). With a bistro, beer garden x2, patios and pergola’s aplenty, you can basically take your pick – then promptly perch up and partake in one of the favourite past times of parents everywhere: sit-ervising (or sip-ervising, as the case may be). This is livin’.
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads

The Collective, Palm Beach (image supplied)
The Collective, Palm Beach (image supplied)

The Collective
A well known family-friendly spot on the highway in Palm Beach, The Collective has a HUGE menu for the kids with five types of cuisine on offer including Mexican, Greek, Asian, American and Italian eats. Everything is reasonably priced and the bar is pumping out some of the tastiest cocktails around for Mum and Dad’s enjoyment. Highly recommend for a night out with the team.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Dune Cafe
Enjoy everything the Gold Coast stands for at Dune Cafe. There’s beautiful views, a laidback atmosphere, top quality local produce and delicious coffee plus it’s found right at Palm Beach Parklands where there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, Currumbin Creek for a quick dip and the huge Pirate Park playground will provide hours of entertainment while Mum and Dad kick back.
Where: 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Pirate Park, opposite Dune Cafe, Palm Beach (image supplied)
Pirate Park, opposite Dune Cafe, Palm Beach (image supplied)

Currumbin RSL
Sitting pretty (and we do mean pretty – she’s not like a regular RSL, she’s a cool RSL) right on the banks of Currumbin’s beloved Creek, families flock to this spot in droves. It’s hard to determine if the bigger draw card is the stunner of a creekside outlook or the mix of contemporary and crowd-pleasing bites (the ice cold beers surely don’t hurt either).

Treat the raucous ones to a bambino meal upgrade, and even the fussy eaters will be rapt with a Cheeseburger or Chicken nugs, soft drink and gelati cup or cone (+ obligatory fries and tom sauce, of course – anything less would be unhinged). To appeal to the adults (and it really, really does) – Sticky Chilli Koji Chicken Wings, Hawker Style Bao Buns, and, if you wanna keep it classic, Chicken Parmigiana. With a fully-fenced park adjacent, you’re on to a winner here.
Where: 165 Duringan St, Currumbin

Currumbin RSL, Currumbin (image supplied)
Currumbin RSL, Currumbin (image supplied)

Pasture & Co
Parents, carers, and all other wranglers of tiny humans, add Pasture & Co to the rolling list of – and, we defy any millennial that can resist channelling their inner Dixie Chicks as they read this – *wide open spaaaces*-adjacent havens that have it all. And by that we mean, delicious food and satisfying sips that we can savour (a) at a leisurely pace (b) at their intended temperature and (c) in relative peace while the cherubs burn off some of that circus-vibing energy (aka the holy grail).

While this one is technically more of a café–restaurant hybrid, every Friday & Saturday arvo the fully licensed weekend menu and extended 7pm trade kick in, which certainly lends itself to the latter as far as kid-friendly dinners are concerned (bc while we love them inexplicably – we also want them fed, and in bed no later than 7.31pm, thankyouverymuch). Perch up with Pizzas and Milkshakes for them, House buffalo wings and Chilli marg for you – happy days.
Where: 639 Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley

Words by Kellie Leader.

Pasture & Co, Currumbin Valley (image: ©2022 Inside Gold Coast)
Pasture & Co, Currumbin Valley (image: ©2022 Inside Gold Coast)
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