By Experience Oz

Free things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

By Sian · August 2023 · 5 min read
The Gold Coast, a top tourist spot in Australia, offers numerous activities. Yet, quality accommodations and attractions can quickly add up in cost, especially for families.
Planning a Gold Coast trip with kids during school holidays often means higher prices. To make the most of your family experience without overspending, consider these free activities and attractions.

6. The Currumbin Rock Pools

Location: Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley Nestled in the picturesque Currumbin Valley and located farther from the coast, the Currumbin Rock Pools offer a serene escape favored by locals seeking a tranquil retreat away from more easily accessible areas. Accessed via a scenic 25-minute drive from Palm Beach, these rock pools are a hidden gem. The drive winds through greenery and residences until you reach a parking area near the pools. Although parking spaces are limited, roadside parking is feasible, and reaching the pools requires only a short stroll. The pools are accompanied by a grassy area along the creek, featuring barbeque facilities, covered picnic spots, and natural surroundings. The main attraction is a popular jumping pool, often frequented by both kids and the young at heart. Facilities are minimal, with toilets and basic amenities available. Nearby, a shop sells snacks, though bringing your own picnic lunch is advisable due to potentially high costs. The Currumbin Rock Pools provide a serene alternative to crowded beaches, offering a peaceful getaway with their lesser-known status and uncrowded ambiance.

5. Picnic at Tamborine Mountain

Location: Tamborine Mountain The Gold Coast Hinterland, often overlooked despite its stunning beauty, lies less than an hour's drive from major accommodations and can be easily reached by car or tour bus. The journey offers scenic lookouts and picturesque picnic spots with expansive views. These grassy areas provide ideal settings to relax on picnic rugs while admiring valleys and hang gliders soaring above. A must-stop point is Guanaba Park, situated past the golf course, boasting ample space for outdoor games and a children's playground. Don't miss Cedar Creek Falls, an iconic Hinterland attraction. Along the way to the falls, two picnic areas offer necessary facilities. The first is near the car park, while the second is a short 200m walk from the boardwalk leading to the falls.

4. Carrara Markets

Location: Manchester Rd, Carrara Carrara Markets, one of the Gold Coast's largest and most renowned markets, spans over 10 acres with 500 stalls, offering a wide variety of crafts and shopping experiences. Conveniently located and packed with stalls, it's perfect for a day of browsing and bargain hunting. The market caters to all with entertainment like buskers, pony rides, merry-go-rounds, and face painters to keep kids engaged. With added attractions like mini-rides, a Ferris Wheel, and a bouncing castle, kids can have fun while you enjoy freshly-made food from nearby stalls. Note that peak hours can get crowded, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.

3. Gold Coast Playgrounds

The Gold Coast boasts an exceptional mix of beaches, waterways, and parks, offering fantastic destinations for kids to enjoy. These parks provide a free and active way for children to spend time outdoors and play on the playground equipment. With well-maintained spaces and a variety of activities, there's something for every child at these parks. Some top picks for playground-equipped parks on the Gold Coast include:
Laguna Park in Palm Beach, located on Laguna Avenue, offers a vast selection of enjoyable equipment suitable for children of various ages. This well-fenced park features an expansive adventure playground, complete with exciting attractions such as a Pirate Ship, slides, and rockers. Additionally, the park boasts a pedal power monorail, adding an extra layer of entertainment for kids to enjoy.
Located along Gold Coast Highway, opposite Australia Fair Shopping Centre, Washington Waters in Southport offers adventure and fun for visitors of all ages. With its prime location by the Broadwater, the park features exciting attractions such as a mini bike circuit, a Flying Fox, a pedal-powered monorail, and a safe swimming enclosure. Whether you're looking for thrilling activities or a relaxing swim, Washington Waters provides a range of options to enjoy by the water's edge.
Situated along Old Burleigh Road in central Broadbeach, Pratten Park offers a fantastic recreational spot for both locals and visitors. The park features a spacious shaded playground complete with engaging amenities such as a pedal-powered monorail, slides, and a sandpit. Its convenient location near the beach makes it a great destination for families to enjoy a day of play and relaxation. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit to make the most of the nearby beach access.
Nestled at the corner of the Esplanade and Kelly Avenue in Miami, Ed Hardy Park offers a delightful experience with its nautical-inspired playground. The park boasts an array of pirate-themed playground equipment, providing an exciting and imaginative play space for children to enjoy.
Situated on Hotham Drive in Pacific Pines, Pacific Pines Central Park presents a vast and inviting space for kids to run around and play. The park is fully fenced, ensuring a safe environment for children. It features an expansive adventure playground equipped with spinning poles, slides, rockers, swings, and even a suspension bridge. The highlight of the park is the large flying fox, adding an exciting element that children of all ages can enjoy.

2. Go to the Beach

The Gold Coast's reputation is built on its stunning beaches, and the entire coastline is teeming with them, offering great options for a free and enjoyable day out with kids. With an expansive 57-kilometer stretch of pristine shoreline, visitors are treated to a wealth of options for surf, sun, and sand. The main tourist areas on the Gold Coast are conveniently close to the beaches, ensuring easy access regardless of where you're staying. The variety of beaches available prompts the question: which ones are ideal for families with kids? Check out our comprehensive Gold Coast Family Friendly Beaches Guide for specific recommendations.

1. The Rockpools at Southport

The must-visit free destination on the Gold Coast for kids is undoubtedly the popular Rockpools playground in Southport. Found at Broadwater Parklands, this spot offers a perfect day outdoors, regardless of the weather. Water features, shaded areas, and shallow pools cater to various activities, making it ideal for cooling off. While school holidays can lead to crowds, this remains a budget-friendly option for families seeking water fun. Unlike pricey theme parks, Rockpools' expansive, shallow water pools cater to all ages, while fountains and creature-shaped sprayers add color and playfulness. The playground equipment includes a jumping pillow, bouncy house (for ages 10 and up), and a pedal track. The park offers scenic views of the Broadwater, a small beach area with lifeguard patrols, and convenient proximity to Australia Fair Shopping Centre for food options. Although parking can be a challenge, the nearby shopping center provides 3 hours of free parking. In sum, Rockpools is the top choice for a free and fantastic day out with kids on the Gold Coast.
These are just a few of the best free things to do with kids on the Gold Coast - if you're looking for a full range of activities, attractions and things to do on the Gold Coast, be sure to check out our main region page for full details!
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