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10 FREE things to do on the Gold Coast with kids

Visiting the Gold Coast on a budget? These free activities will keep the kids so busy, they won’t even notice you haven’t spent a cent!

A family walking along the beach on the Gold Coast. Image Tourism and Events Queensland ext

While the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks are a huge drawcard, there’s no doubt they can hurt the hip pocket. Luckily there are loads of other ways for families to spend their days in the region that don’t cost a cent. 

Our top tip for visiting the Gold Coast on a budget? Choose your accommodation wisely – and we don’t just mean snagging a great deal! Staying at a family-friendly hotspot like BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park means the kids can enjoy stacks of fun activities at no extra cost. With a giant water park, eco-friendly playground, pedal karts, kids’ club and more, it’s the best-value way to experience the Gold Coast. 

And that’s just the beginning – read on for more wallet-friendly highlights! 

10 fun (and free!) family activities on the Gold Coast

Visiting the Goldie on a shoestring? Here are ten fantastic ways to fill an afternoon without spending a cent:

A family on Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

1. Enjoy the Gold Coast’s stunning beaches

The Gold Coast isn’t called the Gold Coast for nothing – there are more than 70 kilometres of beautiful beaches stretching along the coastline. The iconic Surfers Paradise Beach offers the quintessential Queensland experience, with gentle rolling waves for surfing or bodyboarding. Kirra Beach and Rainbow Bay are also great for families.  

A little girl at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

2. Lorikeet feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Wild lorikeets descend on Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary every day at 8am and 4pm for a fun feeding frenzy. No entry to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is required and the experience is free to watch, with a gold coin donation requested if you want to join in the action.

Kids on the slippery dip at Palm Beach Parklands. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

3. Get active on these local playgrounds

The Gold Coast boasts some epic kids’ playgrounds – many with water views. Palm Beach Parklands has a pirate-themed playground, with a café where parents can get that all-important coffee fix. The fully fenced playground at Laguna Park, also at Palm Beach, is another winner, with slides and a pedal-powered monorail. Washington Waters Park at Broadbeach Parklands also has a monorail, as well as a flying fox and a jumping pillow.

A whale breaching off the Gold Coast. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

4. Go whale watching (on dry land)

Around 35,000 whales make their way past the Gold Coast on their annual migration, from May to October. There are some great vantage points along the coast, including Tumgun Lookout at Burleigh Heads, Elephant Rock at Currumbin and Point Danger Lookout at Coolangatta.

Fishing at Currumbin. Image Destination Gold Coast

5. Take the kids fishing

If fishing is your thing, then you are in luck, as there are some top spots in this part of the world. Tallebudgera Creek, Gold Coast Seaway and Snapper Rocks are among the best places to drop in a line. Think how satisfied you’ll feel barbecuing the bream for dinner that night.

Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre

6. Visit Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre

See Aboriginal art and artefacts such as boomerangs, digeridoos and shields during a visit to Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre, which is located next to Tallebudgera Creek in Burleigh Heads. While you have to pay for guided tours, entry to the centre is free, and the friendly staff are happy to answer questions.

Currumbin Rock Pools. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

7. Paddle at Currumbin Creek & Rock Pools

Take a dip in this natural swimming hole, around 15 minutes’ drive inland in the Currumbin Valley. There are pools of varying depths suitable for kids of different ages. Pack lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables, fire up the barbecue or grab a bite from the Aum Yoga Café across the road.

A family at Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

8. Swim at Tallebudgera Creek

This tranquil waterway between Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach is extremely popular with young families, thanks to its calm, shallow waters and sandy beach. There is a patrolled area on the southern side of the estuary, while novice surfers head to the section closest to the river mouth.

A family entering Miami Marketta. Image Tourism and Events Queensland

9. Visit the Gold Coast’s Markets

The Gold Coast boasts some fabulous markets where you can while away your time. Browse the wares at Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, which are held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night, enjoy the live music at the eclectic Miami Marketta night markets, which are held from Wednesday to Saturday, or check out Burleigh Heads Art and Craft Market.

Pelicans. Image Destination Gold Coast

10. Pelican feeding at Ian Dipple Lagoon

Every day at 1.30pm, hundreds of pelicans gather at Ian Dipple Lagoon at Labrador to devour the leftover fish from Charis Seafoods. Witnessing this daily ritual is quite a sight and well worth including in your itinerary – just don’t get too close!

The water park at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

Where to stay

BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park is the place to stay for family fun on the Gold Coast! The closest holiday park to Dreamworld theme park, it has an eco-friendly playground made from recycled materials, a huge water park with slides for all ages, a heated pool and spa, a modern camp kitchen with barbecues, ovens, microwaves, fridges and freezers, and an off-leash dog park split into sections for small and large dogs. Nibbles Café is open all day, and there are loads of free activities for kids, plus others available for a small fee.

Check out their great-value holiday packages here!

More information

In partnership with BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park

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