Often, the whole point of coming to the Gold Coast is because it offers such a diversity of ways to exhaust the kids during the holidays. Swimming, sandcastle building and beach cricket are sure-fire hits but the various theme parks, ranging from straight-up simple fun to enjoyable yet educational, are also guaranteed winners in any Gold Coast family-holiday experience.
Water-lovers (and let’s face it, if you don’t like the water, why are you on holidays at the beach?) should pack the swimmers and head to Wet ‘n’ Wild. Some of the rides have alarming names like Black Hole and Tornado; these are for adrenalin-junkies needing speed and/or heights. Tamer (and more infant-friendly) options include a giant wave pool and a Wet n’ Wild Junior section, which has pint-sized rides perfect for littlies. Equally water-driven but markedly less dizzying is Sea World, a marine animal park where you can get up close to seals, dolphins, sharks, polar bears and more. If extra stimulation is required, there are rides here, too.
Once you’ve had your fill of water, it’s time to hit Warner Bros. Movie World. Featuring characters such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, Superman and Batman, there’s a selection of thrill rides as well as child-friendly attractions and some, like RIO: The 4D Experience, will suit the whole family.
If you need yet more adventure, then head for Dreamworld (and its adjoining partner property Whitewater World) home to a host of rides, plus Wiggles World and experiences that feature characters from Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.
Lesser-known attractions – but equally mesmerising for kiddies – are Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular. The former is an Australian country farm experience, complete with sheep-shearing, cow-milking and boomerang-throwing demonstrations. The latter, as the name suggests, is less a theme park and more a live performance that features stunt riders on horseback. Tickets include dinner and pre-show entertainment.
If you’re going to do more than one of the theme parks, look into a VIP Magic Pass, which gives you single entry to the big three – Wet ‘n’ Wild, Movie World and Sea World. Tickets for Dream World, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular can all be purchased separately.