Nine totally awesome things to put on your family’s GC to-do list.
1. Horse riding in the Hinterland
The Gold Coast hinterland is far removed from the GC’s iconic shoreline, but drive 45 minutes from Surfers Paradise and you’ll find a wild and rugged landscape. Explore the beautiful Numinbah Valley with a two-hour horse ride across 2500 acres of cattle property. A genuine working farm, you’ll trot across a spellbinding terrain of rainforest and rivers. The horses have a very placid nature so it's perfect for children and beginners, while the included tea and damper break (Aussie cake traditionally baked in wood ashes) adds an authentic Australian twist to the experience.
HOT TIP: Suitable for complete beginners to riding pros, the staff will customise the ride to suit the rider.
2. Freeman’s Organic Farm tours
Take a scenic drive across the captivating landscape of Currumbin Valley and head to Freeman’s Organic Farm for a farm tour. Family run since 1915, all the produce is fresh, seasonal and organic. Better yet, Farmer David runs a one-hour farm tour every Sunday morning. Pick your own seasonal vegetables, learn the history and discover how to run a successful fruit and veggie empire - then nip into the farm’s Tomewin Platform Café for organic coffee and homemade cake.
HOT TIP: The children’s farm tour is free whereas adult tickets are $15AUD. No booking required, simply turn up a little before 10am.
3. Tallebudgera Creek kayaking
With calm, crystal-clear water and miles of clean beach, Tallebudgera Creek is an ideal place to kayak. Water-fronting hire rentals will provide you with all the necessary equipment, while the tranquil water, often warm, is great for beginners. Nestled between Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach, there is plenty of flora and fauna to spy as you paddle. You can choose to forge your own route, or join an experienced guide from one of the nearby kayak companies.
HOT TIP: Tallebudgera Creek also boasts on-site barbecue facilities, so pack up some burgers and buns, and enjoy a post-kayak munch.
4. Go Karting at Game Over
For the Gold Coast’s murkier days, head indoors and enjoy the extensive range of activities at Game Over. There’s a Grand Prix Karting track, rock climbing wall, laser tag and zipline, all housed inside an enormous complex. Kids can’t get enough of racing one another around the track, testing their skills on the arcade machines and battling it out – army style – on a military style laser conquest.
HOT TIP: Game Over is approximately 25-minutes by car from Surfers Paradise. It's open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays so you can easily tire them out for bedtime.
5. The Village Markets at Burleigh
Gold Coast weekends call for Burleigh’s much raved about The Village Markets. A collaboration of small businesses, foodies, artisans and creatives, their famous “positive Sunday vibes” can be absorbed on the first and third Sunday of every month at Burleigh Head State School. Better known as “The TVM”, enjoy a collection of fashion stalls, blossoming designers and food truck goodies between 8.30am and 1pm.
HOT TIP: Pack a blanket so you can sit on the green, with a medley of food while listening to local live music.
6. South Stradbroke Island
It’s just 500 metres from the mainland, but the eternally peaceful South Stradbroke Island boasts a stillness which Surfers Paradise doesn’t. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, with plenty of swimming, surfing, fishing, bushwalking and hiking, while the beaches offer fine white sand and very few people. As an 1800-hectare conservation park, you're in the realm of roaming wallabies and forest that dates back to prehistoric times. Take a break from the babble of the mainland and escape to ‘South Straddie’, as the locals call it.
HOT TIP: This makes a great day trip. Getting there takes approximately 40 minutes from Hope Island, or ask us about a water taxi, ferry, charter boat or private boat.
7. SUP board hire
Currumbin Boatshed is on the very edge of Currumbin Creek and the perfect place to hire SUP boards. Compared to the ocean, the creek water is placid, and companies such as Currumbin Boatshed launch straight onto the water, so there’s no need for heavy board lifting. The team will set you up and can even provide a quick run-through for the rookies, and more extensive lessons for first-timers.
HOT TIP: Currumbin Boatshed is open seven days a week, with 90 minutes costing approx. $20.00AUD or two hours for $25AUD (as of November 2018).
8. David Fleay’s Wildlife Park
David Fleay was a pioneer of his time, even some 70 years ago he was campaigning for animal conservation. Today, his namesake wildlife park strives for conditions similar to that of an animal’s natural environment. With wide boardwalks and birds free to fly in and out as they please, it’s a sanctuary of peace. You’ll see many of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, such as crocodiles, koalas, emus, dingoes and kangaroos, including a platypus called Wally. Meander through natural habitats and the nocturnal house, or sit down for an animal show with one of the park’s rangers.
HOT TIP: Open daily from 9am - 5pm, David Fleay’s Wildlife Park is less chaotic than other larger animal attractions, but it’s the rustic charm which makes it so appealing.
9. The Kitchens
Dubbed Australia’s “City of Food”, The Kitchens is a two-storey emporium stocked with more than 50 eateries. From chocolatiers and bakeries to delicatessens and street food, there’s a taste to suit even the most discerning palette. Parents might want to head straight for the micro-breweries, but children will no doubt pull towards the flashy burger joints and pizza stalls. On any given day, there are pop-up food stores and informal cooking classes, so arrive hungry and get stuck in.
HOT TIP: Located all under one roof in Robina Town Centre, this beautiful food bazaar is just a 20-minute drive from Surfers Paradise.
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