Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways fly directly to Coolangatta and Brisbane. This competition has brought about some very cheap airfares.
You will need to book early to secure these cheaper airfares especially if you plan to travel in the school holidays.
Prices to Coolangatta are usually more than to Brisbane, and with this and the larger number of
flights to Brisbane, it may be worth while flying to Brisbane and hiring a car to drive down to the Gold Coast. Work out the price differences and
allow around $50 a day for a car, and it may end up a cheaper alternative, especially when you take into account your transfers to and from the
airport and theme parks.
Booking accommodation online is now the norm, with most resorts offering an online booking facility. There are also numerous online travel companies
where you can check resort facilities and accommodation types, check for availability and price, and book your holiday using a credit card.
resorts offer family friendly accommodation with over 20 properties
to choose from in the Gold Coast area. Mantra also offer a
number of family friendly properties on the Gold Coast.
A Gold Coast family holiday is not complete unless you do the theme parks – especially if you have kids.
You have a choice of Movie World, Sea World, Dreamworld, Wet 'n' Wild and WhiteWater World.
The parks usually open at 9:30am (rides from 10am) and close around 5pm.
For Movie World and Sea World the cost is $89.00/adult and $74.00/child (3-13 years incl). Wet 'n' Wild charges $74.00/adult and $59.00 for kids.
Dreamworld is $100.00 for adults and $90.00 for kids which includes Whitewater World. These prices may change so check with the park in question.
Shop around online for the best deal. If you plan to go to more than one park are go more than once a year there are Superpasses and VIP passes which will work out much cheaper. If you can help it, never
purchase your tickets at the gate.
A day at the theme parks can be a taxing time for the kids (and adults). Plan a day off between parks. Try to avoid the school holidays (which isn't always possible for families) as the theme parks can get very crowded and it's no fun when you have to queue for everything. Avoid public holidays and always take a Saturday over a Sunday.
Everything is easily accessible in the Gold Coast. Trips to the theme parks can be arranged
through your hotel, with a pick up at the door and your choice of return
times. Local buses run regularly around the Gold Coast and there are
plenty of taxis available. You can probably walk to most shopping centres
and malls if you are staying in Surfers or Broadbeach.
The disadvantage of
pre booking travel to the theme parks is the weather. You can't cancel if
you wake up and find it's raining. There are plenty of car hire companies available, some good, some not so good. Stick to the
better known ones and shop around for the best deal. Some offer special
discounts through motoring associations, travel agencies, credit card
companies, airlines, discount books, licensed clubs and other sources.
Budget is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and the absolute best in service; Budget
offers a wide range of cars, 4WDs, and minibuses, as well as Australia's largest fleet of trucks and commercial vehicles.
There are a variety of shopping options for your Gold Coast holiday, from markets and outlet shopping to exclusive boutiques.
Pacific Fair is the Gold Coast's most iconic shopping destination. The centre is positioned in the heart of Broadbeach, just across the road from Jupiter's Casino and contains a
Movie Cinema complex. It is an indoor/outdoor shopping mall with hundreds of stores.
In Surfers Paradise, Elkhorn Avenue is lined with flagship stores for international brands including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Bally and Prada.
At other shopping precincts such as Circle on Cavil, Centro, and Chevron Renaissance you'll discover well-known fashion chains such as Calibre,
Bettina Liano, Billabong, Saba, MNG and Quiksilver, alongside specialty stores, souvenirs and groceries.
Harbour Town has more than 120 outlet stores that are on sale every day. Signature brand fashion outlets include David Jones Warehouse, Nike, French Connection, Polo Ralph Lauren, Table Eight, Cue,
Oroton, Diesel, Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger...the list goes on.
There are also homewares and gift stores and plenty of places to eat. You can get a bargain here for every member of the family.
Gold Coast is famous for its markets where you're sure to pick up a bargain. The Surfers Paradise market is on every Friday and Wednesday evenings at Broadbeach.
Broadbeach art, craft and fresh produce market, Kurrawa Park, is on the first and third Sunday of each month. Coolangatta Art and Craft Market, Queen Elizabeth Park, is on the second Sunday of the month.
On the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month is the Main Beach farmers market at Marina Mirage.
Every Saturday is the Palm Beach Currumbin market at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School.
Carrara Markets is situated a few kilometres west of the Pacific Fair shopping complex and is open every Saturday and Sunday.
Things To Do
There are endless activities available for families in the Gold Coast. Here is a list of the most popular ones:
Warner Bros. Movie World
Meet your favourite stars and enjoy all the behind-the-scenes action, comedy stunts and exhilarating rides, shows and attractions! Rides include the new Batwing Spaceshot, Superman Escape, Scooby-Doo Roller Coaster, Lethal Weapon and the Wild West Falls. There is also the Kids Fun Zone area with rides for younger kids. Located a 40min drive from
Surfers Paradise. Gates open at 9:30am.
Home to more than 40 rides and attractions including the park's famous Big 7 Thrill Rides, Wiggles World, the all new DreamWorks Experience, exciting live shows, a host of characters, Tiger Island plus more than 500 native Australian animals, there is something for everyone at Dreamworld. Opens daily at 10am.
Wet'n'Wild Water World
Enjoy all the fun and excitement of the world's latest water slides, pools and attractions. Rides include Surfrider, Aqua Loop, SkyCoaster and Zipline. The all new Extreme H20 Zone adds a completely new dimension to Wet'n'Wild, offering thrill seekers the ultimate aquatic rush on king-sized slides. Gates open from 9:30am.
WhiteWater World is built around a unique beach and surfing culture. The beach paradise boasts some of the hottest waterslides on the planet. Rides include The Wedgie, Blue Ringed Octopus, Super Tubes HydroCoaster and the Green Room. The Cave of Waves pool has surging waves that travel over 50m.
Wiggle Bay a miniature water park within WhiteWater World is perfect for younger kids. Located next to Dreamworld, 20 min drive north of Surfers. Open from 10am, but hours may be extended in Summer.
Experience awesome rides such as the adrenalin zooming, Sea Viper and Bermuda Triangle coasters. Watch spectacular, ever-popular shows including the famous Imagine Dolphin Show. See, learn, touch, and swim with sea creatures, including friendly dolphins and fearsome sharks. Meet your favourite Sesame Street friends, including Elmo and Big Bird, in their new home at Sea World. Join in the fun with Bert and Ernie on their Island Holiday live stage show.
Located just a 5 min drive north of Surfers Paradise. Gates open from 9:30am.
Located at both the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Thunderbird Park at Tamborine Mountain. Adventure Parc is a treetops ropes course and is designed for family fun and fitness. There is a height restriction and you must wear closed in shoes.
Tour the Gold Coast by both land and water. See the beatiful beaches, resorts, mansions and canals of the Gold Coast. Kids get to have a drive and obtain their Aquaduck License Certificate! Tours depart 7 times a day, costs around $95 for a family ticket.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is the Gold Coast's leading native wildlife, adventure and coastal rainforest experience. With hundreds of native Australian animals on display in natural bushland and rainforest surroundings, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary provides a rare opportunity to get closer to our amazing native wildlife. You can cuddle a koala, experience the wild Lorikeet Feeding, Free-flight Bird Show, Totally Wild and Snakes Alive Show and feed our Kangaroos. Open daily from 8am-5pm.
With over 500 stalls covering 10 acres it's a treasure trove of the curious and the unusual. It's also the original home of discount shopping when it comes to fresh produce, homewares, pots, plants, bric a brac, arts and crafts. There is a Market Tourist Bus that you can catch from Surfers and Broadbeach. Open every weeknd 7am-4pm.
The Haunted House Attraction offers an amazing interactive journey through five creepy levels of thrills, museum oddities and optical illusions. Set in a purpose-built five storey building, it is located in the heart of Surfers.
King Tutt's Putt Putt
Consists of 2 fully themed indoor 18 hole courses and an a fully themed outdoor 18 hole course. Located in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Great option for a rainy day. Open 7 days from 9am.
Kingston Park Raceway
Kingston Park Raceway is Australia's largest and most technically advanced Go-Karting & Amusement venue. The raceway has over 100 karts and 3 great tracks. There is a giant slide, junmping castle and other rides and games. There is also a cafe here for meals and snacks. Located in Kingston, about a 30min drive from Surfers. Open from 10am.
Le Mans Kart Racing
There is a challenging 700m long circuit with 20 corners of non-stop adrenilin pumping fun. There are a range of karts, with dual karts for younger kids. Located 25 min north of Surfers Paradise. There is a cafe for refreshments. Open from 10am.
Zorbing is the world's 'newest & coolest' outdoor adventure activity and OzBall on the Gold Coast is Australia's only location to experience the FUN! Using very large inflatable balls designed for either 'dry rotational' harness rides or 'wet' Hydro rides where up to 3 riders can experience this amazing ride with 40 litres of water in complete safety. Located 10 mins from Dreamworld. For children over 6. You will need to bring a towel. Open from 10am.
Paradise Jet Boating
Combine jetboat thrills and stunning scenery and sightseeing. Experience full 360* spins, high speed drifting, incredible beach buzzing and other exciting manoeuvres in as little as 10cms of water, while exploring the Gold Coast's unique Broadwater. Located 4km north of Surfers. Tours depart every hour from 9am.
SkyPoint Observation Deck
With unrivalled 360 degree views, mini-theatrette and informative feature zones and displays. If you dare, theere is the SkyPoint Climb, Australia's highest external building climb. There is a cafe and bar for meals or snacks. Located on level 77 of Q1 Resort and open from 9am.