As the self-proclaimed adventure playground of Australia, the Gold Coast is the ultimate family getaway. With more than 70 miles (113 kilometers) of golden sandy beaches, five theme parks, and an endless choice of shopping malls, water sports, and entertainment, there’s something to captivate all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
This 3-day itinerary is bursting with fun, family-friendly activities that will take you from city to beach and beyond. Whether you want to hike through the hinterlands, keep the kids busy at the beach, or bond over a memorable sightseeing experience, the Gold Coast provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable family vacation. Here’s how to do it.
The Aussie sun is strong, so bring UV-protective swimwear, a hat, and sunscreen.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Sea World.
Start the day with kid-friendly sightseeing in Surfers Paradise, the quintessential Gold Coast town. An Aquaduck tour will keep the little ones amused while you admire gleaming skyscrapers and glitzy yachts of Millionaire’s Row and Marina Mirage. Teenagers might enjoy a Segway tour through the coastal forests and dunes.
All will enjoy the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches, whether it's Main Beach, Broadbeach, or Miami Beach. For little ones, try the calmer waters of Ian Dipple Lagoon and Broadwater Parklands. In between sunbathing and sandcastle-building, take a jet boat ride (suitable for kids ages 4 and up) or take a family surf class.
Today is all about big thrills. Start the day with a sunrise hot air balloon ride followed by breakfast (and a glass of Champagne for adults), and then take your pick of the Gold Coast’s five theme parks.
Sea World is a hit with all ages, with rides for younger kids, live shows, and seals, dolphins, penguins, and polar bears. Alternatively, older kids and teenagers will love the roller coasters at Warner Bros Movie World, and with the Wet'n'Wild water park and the Australian Outback Spectacular dinner show next door, you can make a day of it.
No Aussie vacation is complete without spotting kangaroos and koalas, so kick off your final day with a visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Continue into the Gold Coast Hinterlands to explore the natural wonders of the Springbrook National Park—even the most difficult-to-please kids will be impressed by natural wonders such as the Natural Arch, Rainbow Falls, and Goomoolahra Falls.
Stick around for a memorable night safari, including a torch-lit rainforest walk, a visit to the glow worm cave, and a stargazing experience at the Springbrook Research Observatory.