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8 Gold Coast places with playgrounds

Buckler Park Playground, outside Funnybone (image courtesy of City of Gold Coast)
Buckler Park Playground, outside Funnybone (image courtesy of City of Gold Coast)

Mums and Dads of the GC, we’ve got you. How often have you wanted to head out for a coffee, meal, or a cheeky afternoon vino with the fam bam, but worry the kids will either a) tear the place apart and have you blacklisted for life, or b) tell you they’re bored 1472 times causing you to abort mission before you even take a sip of your latte. Yep, we’ve all been there…but alas, we are blessed with some fabulous local spots which not only offer epic eats and a great atmosphere, but also have play areas to keep the little folk entertained (hoorah!). ‘Happy wife, happy life’ they say and we concur, however let’s be honest, ‘happy kids, happy parentals’ is where it’s really at.

With that in mind, here’s a list of cracking kid-friendly local haunts for a (hopefully) meltdown and boredom-free outing!

Funnybone Coffee
IYKYK. Tucked away in The Surrounds precinct, the super cool Funnybone serves up seriously tasty eats and treats, epic coffee and the best part? It backs on to Buckler Park and we’re yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love this awesome playground. Also, Friday arvos are a vibe with happy hour from 4.30pm til 5.30pm and live music and burgers from 5pm. We. Are. There.
Where: 6 Emerald Drive, Helensvale

Mini-Golf at The Club, Parkwood Village (image supplied)
Mini-Golf at The Club, Parkwood Village (image supplied)

The Club, Parkwood Village
This beautifully renovated venue is a one-stop shop for all things fun – irrespective of age! There’s golf, mini golf or the TopGolf Swing Suite, and dining options galore! Choose from The Terrace, The Lawn, The Pavilion and more, and eat your meal or sip your coffee in The Backyard while your mini-me’s bounce on the jumping castle or play in the games arcade (nostalgia 101).
Where: 76-122 Napper Rd, Parkwood

Southport Sharks
Okay, this place offers child minding (3-12 years) and we need not say more. From $4.50 per child, let them expel some big energy in Wobbygongs Kids Fun Zone with a mini basketball court, rock-climbing wall, kids’ movies, drawing tables and PlayStations, while you enjoy a drink or meal at one of the ever-popular Sharks’ eats and drinks spots.
Where: Corner Olsen Avenue & Musgrave Avenue, Southport

Wobbygong's at Southport Sharks (image supplied)
Wobbygong's at Southport Sharks (image supplied)

Southport Yacht Club
Everyone’s fave Yacht Club will even delight the small people with a playground to run amok in, while mum and dad kick back and take in the beautiful Broadwater views. And the best part is whilst you’re debating which yacht is your fave, you don’t need to worry about sunburn or your kids pulling a Houdini because the playground is shaded and fenced. Winning!
Where: 1 Macarthur Parade, Main Beach

CSI Club Southport
With an extensive menu, indoor or outdoor dining in the sleek and modern space dubbed ‘The Laneway’, free and live entertainment catering to all ages, does it get any better in the heart of the CBD? You bet it does! CSI even has a kids game room and an epic enclosed outdoor playground guaranteed to keep the big and small kids entertained for hours! You’re speaking our language.
Where: 154A Scarborough Street, Southport

Southport Yacht Club (image supplied)
Southport Yacht Club (image supplied)

Burleigh Town Hotel
If you live south and have offspring, you’ve been to the Burleigh Town Tav. Currently undergoing a facelift including a new sports bar, bistro and beer garden, it serves up good pub grub – and a playground for the ankle biters to boot. There’s always something spesh on for the kids like discos and colouring competitions, with cheap and cheerful kids meals to fill little tummies.
Where: Tsipura Drive, Burleigh Heads

Dublin Docks Tavern
Another tavern delivering the goods for the entire fam, Dublin Docks, is literally right next door to Harbour Town so head over to feed the kids and let them run wild after a day at the shops! The warm and cosy pub serves up great value Irish-inspired food, with indoor seating, outdoor dining on the deck, and an indoor playground with cubby house and slide.
Where: Harbour Town Drive, Biggera Waters

Dublin Docks Tavern kids play area (image supplied)
Dublin Docks Tavern kids play area (image supplied)

Lonestar Tavern
Yet another tav, the Lonestar is a GC icon and a family pleaser from way back. The kid’s menu will get the thumbs up from even the fussiest little eaters, before they burn it all off in either the indoor playground, outdoor playground or playroom. There’s always some sort of entertainment and there’s a reason it’s been around for the long haul.
Where: Corner of Markeri Street & Sunshine Boulevard, Mermaid Waters

Words by Bianca Trathen.

Lonestar Tavern outdoor kids area (image supplied)
Lonestar Tavern outdoor kids area (image supplied)

9 kids activities in Surfers Paradise

Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast

If you cannot find fun in Surfers Paradise, then the fun cannot be found. The suburb of extreme good times is not just for school leavers and late-night revellers — oh no, it’s the ultimate place to take the kids on the school holidays.

Surfers Paradise is indeed a fun time for families, as demonstrated by the endless kids trailing slowly down Cavill Ave behind mum and dad, eyes wide in awe. There are just so many things to do in this bustling suburb, but we understand it can get a bit overwhelming, so, we have broken it down for you.

Here are the nine family-friendly activities to do in Surfers Paradise.

Padlock’d Escape Rooms
The kids (and you) will LOVE trying to escape from a multitude of immersive themed rooms on a time limit! Work together as a family (or leave the kids to it) to solve the puzzles, crack the codes and escape the madness in a fast-paced hour of fun. Good times.
Where: 3177 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Timezone Hologate (image supplied)
Timezone Hologate (image supplied)

Infinity
It’s an incredible journey through a world of illusion at Infinity. Think futuristic, with a maze-like world of wonder and unique rooms with sensory overloads that will have you laughing, jumping and feeling as though you’re in a dream. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Get an exclusive 15% OFF here using the code: “INFOINSIDEGC”.
Where: Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, G31/3240 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise 

Paradise Centre
The name says it all. From a parent’s point of view, this place has everything covered. You can park the car, amuse the little ones for hours, feed them and even find the time to do a little bit of shopping yourself. They have a Birds of Paradise promotion these holidays with the opportunity for snaps with some rather colourful feathered friends and the chance to win 1 of 5 pairs of Apple AirPods. Count us in!
Where: Paradise Centre, Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Timezone
Well, we can’t suggest Paradise Centre without suggesting Timezone… Obviously. Who doesn’t love Timezone? There are hours of entertainment right here in the one fun-filled space. They’ve just added a new section called Hologate too, where you get to battle dragons and robots in virtual reality. Go head-to-head with your kids or play as a team. How good?!
Where: Paradise Centre, Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium ( image supplied)

Ripley’s Believe it or Not
Known as the Odditorium, Ripley’s is the Coast’s most unusual attraction. There are 16 individually themed galleries filled with unbelievable artifacts and interactive exhibits. You’ll come face to face with remarkable relics and rare treasures from around the world including fun interactive games and life-size figurines of unusual characters. A recently added Candy Shop with American and Australian lollies will really seal the deal for the kidlets. Click here for a special offer!
Where: Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise

King Tutt’s Putt-Putt
What child doesn’t love mini-golf? None as far as we know. Luckily, Surfers Paradise is home to one of the best mini golf spots around, King Tutt’s. They offer three fully themed courses with 18 holes of pure fun. Two of which are indoor-themed (Ancient Egyptian and Jurassic Putt) and one outdoor-themed (African Jungle). There’s LOTS of fun to be had here.
Where: Surfers Paradise Boulevard & Ocean Avenue, Surfers Paradise

The Wax Museum
Bet you didn’t know the Gold Coast’s wax museum is home to the largest collection of authentic wax figures in the Southern hemisphere. Impressive right? From the famous faces we know and love to the gruesome and gory Torture Chamber figures, there’s something to surprise and delight the kiddies (and you too). Here’s a discount voucher to take along with you.
Where: 56 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise 

Paradise Centre Family Fun (image supplied)
Paradise Centre Family Fun (image supplied)

Surfers Paradise River Cruises
Yep, you guessed it, you can cruise the Surfers Paradise waterways on a super relaxing boat, have someone point out famous peoples’ homes and landmarks along the way and also enjoy a buffet lunch on board. The kids will thoroughly enjoy being out on the water, seeing some stunning sights and maybe even a dolphin or two. But the best part? You won’t have to lift a finger (except to snap some pics). Get 10% off your cruise here.
Where: 63 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Quack’r Duck
All aboard the world’s most modern and environmentally friendly amphibious vehicle, the Quack’r Duck. Offering a land and sea experience like no other, the giant moving duck is tons of fun. Travel along the esplanade, past the ocean and splash into the Broadwater for a cruising adventure. It’s the most fun you can have going from land to sea and back! Grab a special offer here.
Where: 7 Elkhorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Kids playing on the beach
Kids playing on the beach

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)

11 family-friendly restaurants in Surfers Paradise

JW Marriott Surfers Paradise Family Restaurants (image supplied)

Hoisting the kids into the back of the car to grab something to eat can be a varied experience. Some venues are without a doubt better at catering for and looking after your little ones in comparison with others, and there is nothing wrong with that; kids need to feel entertained and excited by a setting and the kids menu. When it comes to where to take them to dinner, Surfers Paradise is a great choice with plenty of options. Here’s our rundown on the places we see as your very best choices when eating out with the rug rats.

Citrique at JW Marriott Gold Coast
We don’t mind saying that if you decide to take the family to Citrique, the kids best know they have a variety of options at this fantastic buffet. Located within the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, the recently refurbished venue is perfect for a sophisticated family get-together. The kids’ menu includes decadent inclusions like the Bees Knees Burger or the Hide & Seek Pizza (with a hidden five veggies pizza sauce), and to finish it all off, a make it yourself ice cream cart with all of the toppings! They will go bananas for this – in a good way!
Where: JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa, 158 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Alfresco Italian Restaurant
Italian food has our hearts and especially when it comes fresh out of Alfresco Italian Restaurant. The good people of the Gold Coast — and tourists — have been frequenting the family-owned venue for over 30 years, namely because the food and the welcoming vibes are some of the best around. Why not get the kids the best spag bol they’ve ever had? Apart from yours, of course…
Where: 2/3 3018 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. (image supplied)
Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co. (image supplied)

Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co.
It’s a burger shack with a difference because, let’s face it, there are burgers, and then there are burgers. When they are good, they are one of the tastiest treats around. Not only do Betty’s Burgers excel in their juicy burgers (including kids sized one’s), Betty’s house speciality is a thing called Concretes. Which, if you aren’t aware, is frozen custard – and we IDOLISE this because in our eyes there’s nothing better than a big ol’ burger, followed by an epic dessert, we know the kids love it too!
Where: Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, 12-14/3240 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise

Pancakes on the Rocks
There is no mistaking; pancakes are a good time — period. And most notably, when they’re being pumped out of specialty restaurant, Pancakes on the Rocks, in the heart of Surfers Paradise. This chain of venues is ALL about family dining, plus there are pizzas, salads, crepes, pancakes and the now famous beef and pork ribs. Children will adore the creative pancakes. Smiley faces included.
Where: Shop T1.31, The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Hogs Breath Café
The very pinnacle of family-orientated eating venues has to be the original and much-loved Hogs Breath Café. You’ll find consistently yummy and unassuming food served up in a friendly atmosphere — setting the benchmark high for other family restaurants to follow. Your little ones are completely taken care of with their own sizeable Hogster’s Kids Menu, which offers uncompromised value for money, as each dish comes with its own drink and even dessert! Sorted!
Where: Soul, Building T2/9 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Hogs Breath Restaurant (image supplied)
Hogs Breath Restaurant (image supplied)

Surfers Paradise Surf Club
Not far off celebrating their centenarian year, this humble surf club was recently brought into the present day with a fresh refurbishment enhancing the already prime location. Wander in on any given evening with the family, and there is a plethora of options for the kids for just $9.50 for all kids meals ages 12 and under. Taking the littlies out has never been easier.
Where: Corner of Hanlan Street and The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

Crazy Cat Café
This cute setup is the purrfect place to drop by for an afternoon pit stop and, of course, to mingle with some feline personalities. Apart from a mob of the friendliest cats you’ve ever met, with a hefty café style menu of appetising treats to boot. Worth noting is the setup also has a separate section if you just want to witness the cats from paws length – which is a great option for the kiddies who need a slow introduction to the furry cuties.
Where: 3131 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

MOS Burger
Imagine yourself strolling off the beach just as the sun dips and the evening shadows are beginning to creep their way across the sand — and finding yourself slap bang right in front of MOS Burger. With centre stage views of Surfers Paradise beach and being just moments away from the hustle and bustle of everything else, the venue is truly in a prime spot to grab a quick bite to eat and get the kids fed asap! Japanese infused burgers offer a family dining experience like no other. The kids won’t be disappointed.
Where: 4 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise

San Churro (image supplied)
San Churro (image supplied)

San Churro
Fresh hot churros slathered with rich chocolate sauce are the type of treatment only well-behaved littlies deserve, so San Churro could very well be your bargaining tool next time someone refuses to do their chores! The vegan-friendly house recipe is impeccable for all the family, with various flavours and even some savoury dishes thrown in there for good measure.
Where: Circle on Cavill South Tower, 47/48, 3184 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

Longboards Laidback Eatery and Bar
After an afternoon with your head in the clouds, why not hit the elevator down a few floors (77 to be precise) and drop into Longboards at the base of the Gold Coast’s most famous building, the Q1. It’s fair to say this unique venue might just be the Coast’s most renowned surf-themed restaurant and bar, with memorabilia and photos everywhere you turn. Little ones are taken care of with a selection of kid’s meals that even coming with a drink…. plus the option to upgrade them to a classic milkshake.
Where: Q1 Resort & Spa, Corner of Hamilton Avenue & Northcliffe Terrace, Surfers Paradise

Hard Rock Café
Who doesn’t love a Hard Rock Café? All over the world, they are known for their tasty, affordable eats and live music all underlined by an upbeat, fun vibe. We’re happy to preach our love for their baby back ribs and chicken wings in a choice of Buffalo or BBQ sauce. As far as the kids are concerned, they have an entirely devoted menu: no brainer!
Where: Surfers Paradise Boulevard & Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Hard Rock Cafe (image supplied)
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