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Family-Friendly Fun in Surfers Paradise

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For families vacationing in Surfers Paradise, the decision probably won’t be what to do, but where to begin. On top of unbeatable beaches, the Gold Coast is brimming with theme parks, zoos, and aquariums - a host of family activities packed into one very compact and easy-to-navigate area.

Land and sea creatures


Most little ones dream of getting up close to Australia’s incredible wildlife. Surfers Paradise makes the most of the diverse fauna at its doorstep with a range of well-kept and educational zoos, wildlife parks, and sanctuaries where the animals seem to be having as much fun as the visitors.


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary


Mingle with koalas, observe kangaroos, and marvel at multitudes of colourful lorikeets at this highly respected wildlife park that also includes displays of Aboriginal culture and an adventure playground.


28 Tomewin Street, Currumbin QLD 4223Tel: + 61 7 5534 1266


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary website


Australia’s Sea World


A cross between a zoo, an aquarium, and a theme park, this huge complex offers dolphin and seal shows, polar bear and penguin enclosures, and other assorted, automated attractions.


Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, Gold Coast QLD 4210 . Tel: +61 7 5588 2222


Australia’s Sea World website

Theme and water parks


The Gold Coast is known as Australia’s theme park capital. You’ll find every type of thrill and spill, from adrenaline-producing roller coasters to gentle water chutes and high-tech environments full of awe and wonder.


Movie World


Australia’s “Hollywood on the Gold Coast” offers hair-raising rides, musical shows, and plenty of opportunities to be snapped with a cast of characters from the Warner Brothers cache.


Pacific Motorway, Oxenford QLD 4210. Tel: +61 7 5573 3999


Movie World website


Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast


From “black hole” water chutes to simulated white water rafting and a giant wave pool, this water park pushes the possibilities of H20.


Pacific Motorway, Oxenford QLD 4210. Tel: +61 7 5556 1660


Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast website


Nature lovers


For all of the razzle-dazzle Surfers Paradise offers with its theme parks, night markets, and shops, its natural assets may be what your children remember the most. This luscious coastline offers some of most beguiling beaches in the country, and the hinterland is thick with subtropical rain forests, mountain streams, and rainbow-coloured birds and reptiles.


Lamington National Park


The delightfully named Lamington National Park (“lamington” is also a chocolate-covered cake, famous in Australia) holds some of the most extensive subtropical rain forest on the planet. On O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, you can get a bird's-eye view.


Lamington National Park Road via Canungra, Qld 4275. Tel: +61 7 5502 4911


Lamington National Park website


Burleigh Heads National Park


A short distance from Surfers Paradise, you’ll find bracing coastal paths, rock formations to scramble over, and a chance to spot a whale or dolphin. Pack a lunch, as picnic facilities are available.


Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads QLD, 4220. Burleigh Heads National Park website


Feeding hungry mouths


Being almost entirely geared toward families on vacation, keeping children happy at mealtimes is never a problem in Surfers Paradise. Kid-friendly options such as sushi rolls and fish and chips are everywhere, and most eateries have child menus, or at the very least a good selection of unchallenging favorites, like fried calamari and burgers. Buffets, where they can eat what they want, are also plentiful.


Hard Rock Café


In a funky surf-themed setting, the local branch of this worldwide chain serves up all the burger dishes that have made it famous.


Cnr. Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217. Tel: +61 7 5539 9377


Hard Rock Café website




A family-run institution dishing out pizza, pasta and meat dishes with loads of Italian charm and flavor.


3106 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217. Tel: + 61 7 5539 0884


Nicolinis website