Surfers Paradise ten best family holiday activities
Are you headed to Queensland these school holidays? Don’t leave until you’ve read our go-to list of top-ten Surfers Paradise family activities!
Surfers Paradise is overflowing with family entertainment and fun – but what activities should you choose to spend your hard-earned holiday dollars on – particularly if your holiday stay is only for a few days?
We decided to save you some time and money, and test-run all of the best Gold Coast family fun activities. Several of these activities are short and sweet, so if your family is super-energetic you can probably fit most of them into just a few days. Best of all, everything is within walking distance of all the big Surfers Paradise hotels.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the Let’s Go Mum! top 10 Surfers Paradise attractions and activities for families!
1. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
A must-see for families, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not is a fascinating museum of the remarkable, unusual and sometimes even macabre. Situated right in the centre of Surfers, here you can see genuine artefacts, historical recreations, gory tortures, optical illusions, and even the odd shrunken head or two! With a laser room for the kids to try-out their spy creeping skills, and even a disco room to bust-a-move, the whole family is going to really love navigating the windy, intriguing passages of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Take a virtual walk-through with our video here
2. Surfers Paradise Beach
If you visit Surfers Paradise and don’t take the kids to the beach – well, you really haven’t been to Surfers Paradise! The sand is pristine white, groomed every morning. The surf, whilst sometimes rough, is crystal clear blue. During whale season you can often watch Humpback Whales leaping and flapping about off-shore. Buy buckets and spades for the kids from any of the beach shops along Cavill Avenue, grab your swimsuits and head for the iconic Surfers Paradise beach arch sign. The beach is straight-ahead, and stretches for miles! An hour will do, or better-still, give yourself a morning or afternoon to play, swim, eat and chill on the scattered bench-lounges along the boardwalk – it’s the best Surfers Paradise family entertainment around!
3. Aquaduck Safaris
This hour long land and water tour in an amphibious bus is a fabulous family activity, and it leaves right from the centre of Surfers Paradise. The kids will love boarding this enormous duck bus which tours through Surfers Paradise, along the Esplanade and makes its way to the Broadwater. Here it summarily plunges right on in to the waterway to become a boat! Every child gets to steer the Aquaduck, which they just adore, and makes for a brilliant photo moment! During the cruise you get to sticky-beak at rows of millionaire’s water-front homes. Eventually you once-again emerge out of the water via a boat ramp, and voila – you’re in a bus again to take you back to Surfers Paradise! You can see our YouTube video of the Aquaduck going from water to land here. This experience is easy to fit in to any schedule, and heaps of fun to boot. Tours depart regularly from 10am to 5:30pm. Departure location: 36 Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise
4. The Night Markets
The Night Markets are held three times a week – Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, open from 4pm to 9pm – so you really have no excuse to miss them! Strung along the beach esplanade, overlapping the Surfers Paradise beach arch sign, you’ll find all kinds of souvenirs, snacks and knick-knacks for sale. But it’s not the market stalls that you come for – even though they are great. It’s the fabulous atmosphere. Here’s a short video clip to give you a taste of the Night Markets – buskers play, tourists and locals mingle and the Surfers Paradise Beach waves tumble and roar in the background, lit up bright as day. What’s not to love about the Surfers Paradise Night Markets?!
5. Surfers Paradise Timezone
Upstairs from Cavill Mall in the middle of Surfers Paradise you’ll find the largest Timezone fun-parlour in Australia. It’s absolutely massive, chock-full of Dogems, video games, mini golf and indoor entertainment of all types – most ages are going to find something really fun here, and you can spend quite a lot of time having a go of everything. Timezone is the perfect activity for a rainy day or evening out with the family in Surfers Paradise. Here’s a walkthrough video to show you just how big it is!
6. Skypoint Q1 Observation Deck
At the top of the Q1 building, 77 Floors high above the Gold Coast you’ll find a an observation floor with amazing views up and down the Gold Coast. Board the super-fast lift to get to Skypoint – check out our video of the fun lift-ride here! At the top there’s a great relaxed atmosphere, with bands playing, a café and bar and a small theatre with videos all about Surfers Paradise playing. A great time to go is just prior to sunset so you get the best of both views – day and night. You can even do a climb up the spire outside (additional cost) if you are over 13 years of age.
Skypoint is around six minutes walk from the Surfers Paradise beach sign, and a great way to fill in an hour or two.
7. Cavill Mall
The Cavill Mall is the true centre of Surfers Paradise. This is where you’ll find the crowds at any given time of day or night. Buskers put on great displays of magic, music, acrobatics and more. Restaurants line the way, along with gaudy boutiques, souvenir stores and tour guides touting their specials (don’t buy them – they’re usually an attempt to get you out to look at Time-Share condos or some-such). Running along one side of Cavill Mall is the Paradise Centre, an indoor shopping mall with some great boutiques. Downstairs you’ll find a full-sized Woolworths supermarket – this is the best value place around to stock up on your holiday grocery needs, or just grab a barbeque chicken for dinner! You haven’t soaked up the Surfers atmosphere until you sit down on one of the benches in Cavill Mall and people-watch. Here’s a little video clip of Cavill Mall at night.
8. 7D Cinema
This 7D Cinema is located right in the middle of Surfers Paradise. This virtual ride has you seated in sports-car-type seats on a moving platform in front of a screen which takes you on a fun “ride”, whilst adding other dimensions to the experience such as sprays of water and air. The chair movement can get a little vigorous and jerky, so very young children or people not normally suited to theme park rides should perhaps avoid this one. It’s certainly a laugh, and my kids loved it, but considering the experience only runs for around 6 minutes, it’s a little on the expensive side. If you have holiday money to burn, it’s definitely worth a whirl!
Open Every Day & Night 9.30am – 10pm, including all public holidays
Location: Cnr Cavill and Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise
(2nd Surfers Paradise location 6/34 Trickett Street)
9. Draculas Horror House
Two minutes walk away from the centre of Surfers Paradise you’ll find Draculas Haunted House. This walk-through fun house of scary sounds and sights is not for the youngest kids in the family – I say this, because both of my kids chickened out about twenty seconds after walking in – two days running! You can see them talking about why they wanted out, here! Later I returned alone to film inside so that you can decide on the fear-factor for yourself, but this activity is probably best-suited to families of teens. So be warned, it is quite nerve-wracking, but it’s all scary-good fun for those old and brave enough to handle it! You can watch my video walk-through of the Haunted House here.
10. Go Whale or Dolphin Watching (Seasonal)
One Gold Coast whale watching business operates literally out of a wharf at the opposite end of Cavill Avenue – only five minutes walk from Cavill Mall, and even closer from many of the Surfers Paradise hotels. Whales in Paradise offer 2 hour whale tours during the months of May-November that are a fabulous way to fill in a couple of hours. Their boat is new, modern and fast, and you get a river cruise to boot. It’s one of the more expensive, longer options, but it’s so, so worth it when you see a Humpback Whale up close. You can watch our video of a whale surfacing next to our boat here! If you’ve missed whale season, this company operate Dolphins in Paradise for a trip to Morten Island.
Of course there are many more great Surfers Paradise attractions for families in addition to the ones we’ve listed here – but these are our top-ten picks – we hope your family has as much fun trying them out as ours did!
Have you visited any of these attractions? Perhaps you’ve had a great family experience elsewhere in Surfers Paradise? We’d love to know! Tell us about it in the comments below…
All opinions are our own – Let’s Go Mum! were invited guests of Ripleys Believe It Or Not, Aquaduck, Whales in Paradise and Skypoint.