11 Free Activities Perfect For Kids on the Gold Coast
Let’s face it – holidaying with children can get expensive. No matter how hard you try to keep costs down, when you have kids sometimes it can feel like money just flies out the door.
For parents on a budget, finding ways to lower your holiday costs is crucial. And the good news is, whether you live at the Gold Coast or you’re paying visit, lowering costs might not be as hard as you think!
The first step to planning an affordable holiday is to choose your accommodation smartly. Look for an apartment that’s equipped with a good kitchen, as this will allow you to make breakfast and prepare snacks or other meals in your apartment, rather than always eating out.
Your accommodation should also come with enough facilities to keep the kids entertained when you and your partner need some downtime. At Focus Apartments, kids can enjoy a heated pool and spa, huge gardens, a full size tennis court, a basketball shooting area and table tennis. They’ll always be entertained!
The next step is to plan a range of activities outside of your accommodation that don’t cost a thing. The Gold Coast is great for this, with heaps of things on offer that will keep your wallet full and you happy.
Of course we’re going to start this list with the beach – we’re talking about the Gold Coast after all!
The Gold Coast is renowned for its beaches, which stretch from the southern end of Rainbow Bay all the way to South Stradbroke Island in the north. Popular beaches include Surfers Paradise, Main Beach, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach and Kirra Beach, but there’s plenty more to choose from.
The waters of Tallebudgera Creek are renowned for their calm water, and is a popular campground families from all over return to each summer. Framed by the Burleigh Heads National Park on one side and Palm Beach on the other, it offers a picturesque scene and is a relatively safe swimming spot.
The Gold Coast is known as “Australia’s playground”, and maybe that has a little something to do with the actual playgrounds located here! Kurrawa Pratten Park in Broadbeach is a hit with both kids and parents; surrounded by cosmopolitan cafes, parents can sip their lattes in peace knowing the kids are having plenty of fun. Palm Beach is home to both the Pirate Park and Laguna Park, which are also some great, kid-friendly destinations.
However, one of the best spots has to be Southport Broadwater Parklands, which stretches 3 km along the foreshore and offers plenty of play equipment including a bouncy pillow, flying fox and giant seesaw. It’s also home to the Rockpools water playground, which has cool fountains and vibrant marine themed equipment.
A drive out to Mt Tamborine is a must with kids, especially if your holiday plans include exploring all of the best things nature has to offer. Highlights include Cedar Creek Falls, with its easy to access lookout over gorges, a waterfall and rockpools. If you’re not afraid of a bit of walking, zig zag down the hill on a Class 3, 900 metre return track, and enjoy swimming in the magnificent rockpools.
Another excellent bushwalk with kids is the Joalah section of Mt Tamborine National Park, which allows you to immerse yourself in the beautiful rainforest. Alternatively, visit the Mt Tamborine Botanical Gardens and enjoy its spectacular Japanese garden.
The Arts Centre
There’s always something to see and do at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, and most of it is completely free! A quick hop on the website will tell you what’s happening in terms of family entertainment, but even when there’s not a free exhibition or show to enjoy, you can always visit the gallery to feast your eyes on some incredible artworks. Entry is free, however a donation is warmly welcomed.
The Currumbin Rockpools are a secret swimming hole, a mere fifteen minutes from Currumbin Beach. Popular with locals, the drive alone is worth it, following the creek inland through the lovely, lush Currumbin Valley. Your kids will swing on ropes, leap off ledges, and lounge around like lizards on rocks, making lifelong memories they’ll always treasure.
BBQ and water watch
The Gold Coast waterways are full of adventure, and your kids will enjoy sitting back to watch the constant stream of jet skis, fishing boats and jet boats whizzing past. A great place to perch up and enjoy all the action is at Budd’s Beach, just off the Gold Coast Highway at Ferny Avenue. Home to lots of shade, an amenities block and plenty of BBQs and picnic tables, it also offers safe swimming away from big waves and rips.
O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk
O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk allows you to walk through a canopy of flowering and fruiting trees covered by vines, and explore the epiphytic orchids and ferns that are home to many birds and animals. The first of its kind in Australia, it’s 180 metres in length and is made up of nine suspension bridges. Much of the walkway is 15 metres above the ground, and it’s totally free!
Active & Healthy Program
The City of Gold Coast’s Active & Healthy Program is designed to get the whole family active. The program provides activities for young kids, teenagers, parents and even grandparents to do together. Activities include fishing, rock climbing, family fitness fun, drumming, craft and more.
Movies Under the Stars
Running from September through to April, the Movies Under the Stars program offers free family movies in a range of Gold Coast parks. To see which parks are being transformed into outdoor cinemas this weekend, visit the City of Gold Coast website.
BMX and skate parks
The Gold Coast is home to the most skate and BMX parks in Australia. Check out the world-renowned Pizzey Park Bowl, the newly completed Ormeau Skate Park, or Nerang Skate Park, which has floodlights for night time fun. For advanced BMX freestyle riders, you can’t go past the Upper Coomera Adventure Parklands.