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The 10 best things to do at the Gold Coast Show

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 school holiday survival guide

It’s that time again people who are responsible for smaller peoples’ daily entertainment. First let us say, may you have strength during this time and second let us say, we’ve done out very best to help you out right here.

Starting with this list of kids things to do on the Gold Coast (including FREE coupons) for the kids and ending with the below – winter school holiday-specific activities across the Coast.

Enjoy yourselves and if you need a margarita at the end of any day, we’ll be at the nearest bar, sans children.

Australia Fair
Head to Australia Fair and for a good time in conjunction with Southport Library with FREE interactive story times and craft sessions for the little ones. Suited for ages two to six years. From 10am every second Wednesday opposite Best & Less.
Where: 42 Marine Parade, Southport

QT Gold Coast
Less of an activity and more of a lifesaver, Bazaar at QT Gold Coast is offering a Kids Eat Free deal throughout June and July. The interactive, fancy buffet-style venue is absolutely packed with delicious dishes including a dessert station that will change your (and your kids) life with anything and everything sweet you can possible think of on offer. Make sure you get into Bazaar this school holidays for a family feast.
Where: 7 Staghorn Ave, Surfers Paradise

Home of the Arts
The Coast’s favourite art and culture precinct are hosting Little Artlab: Our bodies Our languages this school holidays. Children will learn a local Indigenous language and share their own words and artworks, in a life-size cut and paste workshop. It’s on July 10th at 10am.
Where: 135 Bundall Rd, Bundall

Sugar Republic, Pacific Fair

Pacific Fair
Sugar Republic (an Insta-museum packed with selfie rooms, neon lights, ball pits and the like) is popping up at Pacific Fair these school holidays and you know what that means… all of the sweet, sweet activities (and treats) for the kids. From 30 June – 14 July kids can enjoy giant lolly crafting, candy jewellery making, Wizz Fizz bow-tie and hair bow making and more. Bookings aren’t required – workshops are running from 10am until 3pm daily.
Where: Pacific Fair, Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach

Robina Town Centre
Robina Town Centre is offering tons of fun this school holidays with interactive botanical adventures, Kids in the Kitchen workshops, decorating their own magic bean kits and plenty more. It’s all good old educational fun and we would like to get involved in the big kids section please. Time and locations vary, workshops run throughout the school holidays.
Where: 19 Robina Town Centre Dr, Robina

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Our delightful animal sanctuary has plenty of fun on offer for the kids this school holidays including the recently opened Gruffalo Trail where kiddies (and you) can follow clues to find the big guy himself. There are of course, plenty of regular there are a variety of shows on offer, including WildSkies – a free flight bird show – Blinky Bill’s Studio Adventure, the Australiana Show, the Big Fang Theory Show and Aboriginal Culture explained by the Yugambeh Aboriginal Dancers. All amazing and well worth visiting the sanctuary.
Where: 28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin

Rainy day activities
Although our pretty city is known for sunshine, on rare occasions, we do get some wet weather. To avoid an dreary weather moods, check out our list of things to do indoors when it’s raining and cold on the Coast.

Words by Kirra Smith

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (image supplied)
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (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), The Village Markets Burleigh Heads (8am-1pm, 1st & 3rd Sundays) 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)

16 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 dinner, so you pack up the fam and head out on the town. In a frantic, find-something-everyone-can-eat without too many tears kind of way though.

So without further adieu, here is a list of family-friendly Gold Coast restaurants next time you’re in need of a reprieve from slaving over the stove for a night.

From north to south.

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 and they’re all only $8, which is pretty much unheard of. There’s also a sweet playroom and the whole place is quite lovely to spend an evening in. Everyone will agree.
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

Southport Sharks
Not only is there a buffet so everyone can eat pretty much anything they like and go back for more, there is also a kids area filled with play things where you can let the small ones frolic while you enjoy a frosty beverage. Plus there’s a stunning fish tank (with real sharks) the kiddies can stare at for awhile. Frenzy Food Court boasts lots of tasty dishes and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Where: Olsen Ave and Musgrave Ave, Southport

Southport Sharks (image supplied)

Café Catalina
Found in Southport, overlooking the Broadwater is Café Catalina; now 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

Historic Rivermill
Experience Gold Coast dining at its’ finest at Historic Rivermill. The outlook from the Cafe is breathtaking with views to the bushland beyond and plenty of spots for the kids to explore. Visit the animal farm, check out the wild turtles and explore the beautiful landscape surrounding the cafe. Of course, you’ll want something to nibble on and the cafe boasts plenty of yummy goodies. There’s coffee too. Do yourself a favour and take a drive out there with the whole family.
Where: 950 Beaudesert-Nerang Road, Mt Nathan

CHOP CHOP
The market-style foodie precinct is the perfect place to take the family for a laidback night out. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, all of the Asian street food variety, so every fussy little palette is catered for. From sushi to dumplings and tiny little sweet pancakes, we recommend sampling a bit of everything to make your night out worthwhile. There’s even a table tennis table to work some of that energy off before bedtime.
Where: 3113 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Cowch
A dessert bar with a difference, Cowch in Pacific Fair boasts a menu absolutely packed with decadent goodies. From a Nutella Waffle Sandwich to super shakes that will blow your mind, a Party Pizza absolutely stacked with goodies and plenty more sugary delights to indulge in.
Where: Shop 1606, Pacific Fair, Hooker Boulevard, Broadbeach

Cowch (image supplied)

Outback Steakhouse
Outback Steakhouse has a casual atmosphere and plenty of good vibes for everyone to enjoy. Steaks, grilled chicken and ribs make up much of the adults menu but there’s also plenty chicken fingers, mac & cheese, grilled chesse toasties, sliced sirloin and mini ribs for the little eaters. All the kids meals are just $10 and include a side and unlimited beverage refill too!
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 if you go on Thursday it’s Parmy night and you can choose from Parmy’s such as Mexican, Indian and Aussie to name a few. They’re very tasty.
Where: 172 Hedges Avenue, Mermaid Beach

BSKT
Beachside in Nobby’s is BSKT, mostly a breakfast and lunch venue but open for delightful family dinners on Friday and Saturday nights. All the food there is healthy and nourishing which is GREAT for everyone involved but there is also a gated play area so the kids can shovel in their dinner and then go run around with their new friends while you kick back and enjoy yourselves. Not to mention the balmy ocean breeze floating across from the very nearby ocean.
Where: 4 Lavarack Road, Nobby Beach

Miami Marketta
Less a restaurant, more a market-style dining situation is Miami Marketta. 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)
Miami Marketta (image supplied)

TGI Friday’s
With all of the epic US-style eats you could hope to demolish in the one sitting, TGI Friday’s at Robina Town Centre 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

Woodchoppers Inn Mudgeeraba
Family owned since 1995, Woodchoppers Inn launched a reimagined menu in 2017 to bring North American BBQ to the Gold Coast. With a dedicated kids play area and special kids menu, think BBQ Wings and Junior Steaks, just like Mum & Dad’s but mini. All kids meals come with a kids drink and ice cream with topping for dessert too. The entire family will love the locally prepared dishes and there are plenty of beers on tap for the oldies.
Where: 64 Railway Street, Mudgeeraba

The Barn
Found in the idyllic foothills of Springbrook, The Barn boasts paddock to plate dining, a beautiful rustic vibe and their own sustainable gardens. The menu is filled with Japanese slash Italian delights and there’s a pen with baby animals and the resident dog to keep the kids entertained.
Where: 5 Boomerang Road, Mudgeeraba

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

Words by Kirra Smith

The Barn baby animal pen (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
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