School holiday activities Gold Coast, QLD style are easy to plan when you have our list. Because we live here, we know ALL the besting things to do over the school holidays on the Gold Coast.
We are going to take advantage of the gorgeous weather on the Gold Coast and get into our list of Gold Coast days out – and you should too! For more kid-friendly activities, check out out list of the best things to do on the Gold Coast with kids.
These are the best school holiday ideas of fun things to do in Gold Coast with kids these Summer 2024 school holidays. We have compiled a comprehensive guide of the best kids activities and school holiday activities over the December/January 2023/24 school holidays to help make your life so much easier! If you want to know what’s on at the Gold Coast for Summer school holidays, just keep reading our long list of ideas.
Queensland Summer 2024 school holiday dates: 9 December 2023 – 21 January 2024
Weather gone wrong? Check out our list of the best rainy day activities on the Gold Coast for kids.
Kids activities Gold Coast – free, cheap or GO BIG!
The city of the Gold Coast is in South East Queensland and there is NO shortage of things to do here!
We’ve listed what to do, where to go and what’s on for kids in our Gold Coast school holiday activities guide.
Read our list of kids school holiday activities on the Gold Coast to find all the things to do on the Gold Coast with kids that are going on locally.
Fun things to do on the Gold Coast school holidays:
- Kids activities Gold Coast – free, cheap or GO BIG!
- Fun things to do on the Gold Coast school holidays:
- School holiday activities Gold Coast
- 19 free things to do on the Gold Coast with kids
- Cheap school holiday activities on the Gold Coast
- BIG days out for the Summer school holidays
- Looking for more family friendly Gold Coast information?
We’ve got school holiday ideas Gold Coast style for you in our fun school holidays guide. Add this page to your bookmark bar right now (or share it on Facebook so you can find it later). This article is an ‘at-a-glance’, go to resource for parents listing the best things to do school holidays Gold Coast style!
School holiday activities Gold Coast
Give spelling, punctuation and grammar a miss for a while with these fun school holiday ideas. From Surfers Paradise to the beaches of the Goldie to suburbs of the Gold Coast, our comprehensive school holiday guide has listed a bunch of school holiday ideas. These will ensure the kids are kept happy (which means you are happy, #amiright?!)
19 free things to do on the Gold Coast with kids
The best things in life are free! So these school holiday activities Gold Coast don’t have to break the bank. One of our favourite things to do for free is walk the dog! In fact we have listed our favourite 20 things to do on the Gold Coast for free with kids! YOU. ARE. WELCOME!
1. Broadwater Parklands
Set right on the water, this park boasts a jumping pillow, flying fox and a monorail track. Bring the bikes and scooters because there is a mini traffic course as well. If that’s not enough, they can splash in the water play area or swim in the swimming enclosure.
2. Walk to the Natural Bridge at Springbrook
If you want to see the Gold Coast’s glow worms in their natural habitat for free, then the Natural Bridge at Springbrook National Park is the place to do it. Take a meandering walk down through the rainforest with its dark canopy of murderous strangler figs and abundant local fauna to reach the breathtakingly beautiful rock formation at the bottom: The Natural Bridge. Click here for more information.
The Springbrook National Park offers a wide variety of trips and walks for families.
This is one of our top picks for free family activities Gold Coast style!
3. Burleigh Heads
One of the most beautiful beaches along the Gold Coast, Burleigh Beach is a wonderful place to visit with the kids. Your kids will be safe swimming in the protected waters of the beach, which isn’t as rough as some of the other beaches around the Gold Coast.
BBQ areas are everywhere and with the option of oceanfront dining, you and the kids won’t be going hungry. (They even made our list of top spots for fish and chips!)If you’re lucky, you may even catch a local arts and crafts market going on along the foreshore. So if you’re looking for a great beach to visit, check out Burleigh Heads.
4. Currumbin Rock Pools
One of the Gold Coast’s best-kept secrets for kids, this local swimming spot has an added bonus – it’s also free! If you want to escape the heat, hustle and humidity of the bustling Gold Coast, pack a picnic and head for the hills where you can cool your heels at the Currumbin rock pools. The Currumbin rock pools are one of our favourite Gold Coast activities for families. Read our review about our trip to the Currumbin rock pools here.
5. Cedar Creek Falls, Mt Tamborine
If you want to get out into the hinterland and into a bit of creek swimming, then you cant go past Cedar Creek Falls at Mt Tamborine. Frequented by families with children, Cedar Creek Falls is a great natural outdoor day trip. There are three rock pools in which you are allowed to swim although the water is often very cold. It makes a great place to cool down on a sweltering day. The top rock pool is quite deep and it has a couple of ledge areas which children can sit and paddle their feet quite easily. The two other rock pools are further down the rock face. There are picnic facilities and BBQ’s for us.
Get Out with Kids Tip: This place can get PACKED. You may well find that the car park is full by the time you arrive so anticipate a bit of a walk down to the creek. Because we live nearby, we wrote a detailed review (and made a video that shows you much more) with additional tips.
6. Carrara Markets
Centrally located at Carrara on the beautiful Gold Coast, only a short distance from Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, Carrara Markets is the biggest permanent weekend marketplace in Australia. With over 300 stalls covering 24 acres it’s a treasure trove of the curious and the unusual.
Website: Carrara Markets
7. Surfers Paradise Parkrun
If your family loves to exercise, the Surfers Paradise Parkrun is a great way to start your Saturday. The track is 5km long and the run starts at 7:00am. But don’t worry, you don’t have to run, its fine to walk or jog.
8. Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets
Set alongside the famous Surfers Paradise Esplanade, the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets are an iconic shopping and cultural experience since 1995.
Featuring artisan and iconic Australian goods, fresh produce (in season), gourmet provisions, handmade wares and SO much more. This is a market dedicated to supporting and showcasing the best growers, makers, characters, and creators locally and from afar.
Website: Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets
9. Snorkelling at Tallebudgera Creek
Turtles, dolphins, large schools of beautiful fish and even cranky crabs – all of this is on offer in the beautiful crystal clear waters of Tallebudgera creek. Both sides of the creek have beach entry, and it’s not too wide, so at parts you can swim right across.
Be warned – there are occasionally strong currents but if you stick to snorkelling at the top of the tide when the current is minimal, and the water is the clearest you are sure to make some beautiful memories.
10. Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise is a great beach for families to visit at any time, not just during the school holidays, although it may be packed full of people all the time, so why not consider some of these other beaches on the Gold Coast.
11. Main Beach
Main Beach is another popular beach on the Gold Coast, but with fewer people, and the same wonderful beachy atmosphere.
Broadbeach is probably my favourite beach on the Gold Coast, as it offers wonderful waves for boogie boarding, and heaps of sand to spread out on and relax.
13. Mermaid Beach
Mermaid Beach has such a mystical name, and it’s pretty fitting as this beach is such a wonderful place to visit during the Gold Coast school holidays, or any time of year, except when it’s cold (obviously). Kids love this beach, and the parents did too!
14. Rainbow Bay
Rainbow Bay is located at the southern end of Coolangatta and it is a great place to visit. It’s much less popular, and has heaps of waves and sand for everyone to enjoy! The beach is usually patrolled 9:00-17:00.
15. Gold Coast Botanic Gardens
The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens are open year-round, from 5 am to 7 pm each day. It’s free to visit the gardens. We recommend you, go smell and touch plants and flowers at the Sensory Garden, explore the local plants in the Mangroves to Mountains walk, visit the native Butterfly Garden or smell the roses in the Rose Garden.
Website: Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens
16. Pelican feeding
Pelican feeding is daily at 1.30 pm at Ian Dipple Lagoon, 371 Marine Parade Labrador. There are free 2-hour parking spots available too! We recommend you arrive a little early to catch the pelicans gathering before feeding time, It’s not a bad idea to pack your swimmers and a picnic lunch, BBQ supplies or enjoy take away from Charis Seafood nearby.
17. Home of the Arts (HOTA)
For something a little bit more relaxed from the noise of the world outside, the Gold Coast City Art Gallery (HOTA) is a great choice for families. It’s a fantastic place for adults and kids alike, with plenty of fun and interesting things to see and do. And, it’s free!
18. Explore the Esplanade
The Gold Coast Esplanade is a great place to just walk up and down, to explore and see what you can find. Kids can ride their bikes or scooters while parents can walk behind.
19. Cavill Ave during the school holidays
If you’re trying to kill some time before lunch or dinner, why not just take a trip to Cavill Ave. It’s filled with great shops, restaurants and sometimes even live performers on the street!
Cheap school holiday activities on the Gold Coast
School holidays do NOT have to break the bank, so as well as the free things that we listed above, these are some cheap things to do on the Gold Coast with kids these holidays. All the cheap school holiday ideas listed below cost less than $10 per kid.
20. Code Camp – for the best school holidays ever!
Let Code Camp inspire your children to get creative with technology these holidays, learn some valuable new skills, have fun and make new friends. With a wide range of in-person camps and online programs available, there really is something for everyone. Choose from beginner to advanced coding camps, robotics, stop-motion animation, DJing, video production and so much more!
What’s New? Code Camp is launching brand new camps this summer!
Kids can learn to code with DreamWorks Trolls! At Little Coders: Trolls Edition, 5-7 year olds will take their first steps on their coding journey banding together with their favourite characters. At Spark and Ignite, kids 7-12 years can code and create an adventure game with Poppy, Viva, and Branch.
Plus, AI Camp where kids embark on an exciting journey into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the most important technology of a generation. Young minds discover the wonders of AI and its fun and practical applications in our everyday lives and create their own comic book using AI!
Your favourites are also back this season including Minecraft Engineers (for kids 7-12), Minecraft Minis (for kids 5-7), and Roblox Legends (for kids 7-10). Robotics Camp and Drone Camp are also running this summer, offering the coolest few days of STEM learning and fun.
21. Gold Coast Butterflies
Gold Coast Butterflies enable city inhabitants to experience close encounters with nature without the need of going into the wild. Their all-weather butterfly house boasts numerous species that live in a purpose-built tropical surrounding. Gold Coast Butterflies also help expand their guests’ knowledge on how to save butterflies by planting their very own habitat.
22. Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Southport
Head to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at the Broadwater Parklands and take advantage of their (heated to 27 degrees) public swimming pools. There is a great freeform splash pool with water play features that is perfect or little kids. Find out more.
23. Mini Golf at King Tutt’s Putt Putt
King Tutt’s Putt Putt is a mini golf experience with a difference. If you’re fast running out of options for all-weather activities on the Gold Coast for kids, challenge your kids to a golf-off. There’s three courses all up: Two are uniquely-themed Jurassic Putt and the Egyptian Course with its psychedelic, glow in the dark caves. There’s also a third, more challenging 18-hole outdoor course.
24. David Fleay Wildlife Park
You almost feel like you’re out in the wild yourself when you stroll through the natural habitats of this wildlife park with a difference. Their philosophy is that animals should be kept in similar conditions to their natural environment, so take your time spotting Queensland’s native animals as they roam around loving life in their naturalistic enclosures.
Check out Australia’s largest collection of surfboards and learn about the evolution of design and technology from the early 1930s to today. There’s also amazing photography depicting early surf scenes and the changing beach culture, as well as surfing memorabilia and artworks on show.
BIG days out for the Summer school holidays
One or two BIG days out are sometimes a fun school holiday activity to create special memories with your kids. Here are our picks:
When you think of the Gold Coast, you think of theme parks. And one of the best theme parks on the Gold Coast has to be Dreamworld! Together with its water park, Whitewater World, Dreamworld is suitable for toddlers, kids, tweens. teens and adults! It really does have something for everything.
We love, love LOVE Dreamworld, so much that we write a whole article about what is there and how to get the cheapest Dreamworld entry tickets. If you are a local, get yourself the annual pass and if you are a visitor, you are going to need 2 or 3 days here to really enjoy everything they have to offer. Roller-coasters, rides, shows, waterslides, Australian animals as well as food and shopping. Get amongst this by reading our article linked above!
27. Mt Tamborine Glow Worm Caves
The Gold Coast’s stunning hinterland is well-placed to deliver some incredible natural surprises. The Mt Tamborine Glow Worm Caves are purpose-built, realistic caves where your kids can get up close to, and learn about these fascinating local insects without the long hike through the bush at night time. Cleverly designed as two chambers connected by tunnels, the Mt Tamborine Glow Worm Caves are open from 10am to 4pm daily and provide easy access to one of this area’s most unique and family-friendly attractions. Click here.
28. Hot air balloon experience
What about an incredible hot air balloon experience for your family for a special treat for the kids to see the view from ‘upon high’. Take to the skies on a majestic hot air balloon journey over the Gold Coast and its lush hinterland!
I did this recently and you can read my review here. I got a good deal through the link below.
29. Horse riding with kids on the Gold Coast
Who doesn’t love a bit of a gallop or trot? Horse riding can be an awesome day out and may places cater for all ages and abilities. You can find our list of horse riding places on the Gold Coast right here.
(and made a video that shows you much more) with additional tips.
30. Indoor skydiving Gold Coast, iFLY
We’ve got a discount voucher here for indoor skydiving on the Gold Coast! When you skydive indoors you can twist and turn, spin and enjoy all kinds of fun, without the months and months of training involved with outdoor skydiving. AND your family and friends can watch all the action from an all-glass viewing platform just a few feet away! What a super fun way to spin the day away!
Powered by multiple fans located at the top of the flight chamber, the vertical wind tunnel produces a wall-to-wall air flow that is indistinguishable from free falling during a 14,000ft skydive. Professional instructors assist you to make the most of the air flow so you can truly experience the closest thing to human flight. This is the perfect experience for all ages – from the young to the young at heart.
These school holidays you can see:
- Sky Diving Parties
31. Skypoint Observation Deck and the Skypoint Climb
The Skypoint Observation Deck is the perfect location for your kids to experience breathtaking, 360 degree views of the Gold Coast and its stunning hinterland.
At just $27 for an adults, $19 for a child or $74 for a family, this Skypoint Observation Deck admission discount is good value for money.
Looking for more family friendly Gold Coast information?
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- Road trip from Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast
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- Things to do with Teenagers on the Gold Coast
- Rainy day activities on the Gold Coast
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You can find all our Queensland content here