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A family guide to the theme parks of the Gold Coast

While the Gold Coast is home to gorgeous views, thrill-seekers won’t be able to get enough of the theme parks that call the Gold Coast home. Whether you’re visiting the Gold Coast theme parks with younger family members, looking for easy-going fun, or you’re with older kids and grown ups who can’t wait to feel the wind in their hair as they fly through the air, the Gold Coast theme parks have something for everyone.

Theme Park tips & tricks/life hacks

Before you choose which theme park or theme parks you want to visit, make sure you’re prepared with all you need for a fun and safe day. Double check you’ve packed the essentials before you head out.

➔ Wear sunscreen and bring more to re-apply

Put some on before you enter the park and re-apply when you need to—no one wants to be sunburnt on the Gold Coast.

➔ Bring a water bottle

Grab your favourite water bottle and fill it up. Make sure everyone has a bottle of water to stay hydrated.

➔ Grab a big breakfast (at your hotel) so you're satisfied and energised for the day ahead AND bring snacks

Especially important if someone in your group has dietary requirements or if you’re with younger children who are picky about their food.

➔ Look for multi-park tickets and family tickets

Some parks will offer discounted rates for families visiting together. Additionally, Movie World, Sea World, and Wet ‘n’ Wild offer multi-day passes to all three parks. And Dreamworld and WhiteWater World have the same deal together.

➔ Take a photo of your parking spot

No one wants to be wandering around the car park at the end of the day, especially with young ones tired and ready to go back to the comfort of your Gold Coast hotel. Snap a photo of your car and where it’s parked before entering the park to make finding it easier at the end of the day.

➔ Have a meeting spot

If you’re visiting a theme park with a big group—especially if your family includes teens or young adults who would rather ride the rides without the grown ups or the little kids—make sure you have a designated meet-up spot. Perhaps everyone agrees to meet at 12:30 at a specific grassy hill for lunch time together. Plus, if anyone gets lost or separated from the group, they know to go to the meeting spot and wait for you to come to them.

➔ Stroller hire

Look into hiring a stroller for the day if you’re out and about with younger kids. Saves you from bringing your own, which can be challenging if you’re visiting the Gold Coast from afar.

➔ Wear comfortable shoes

There’s a lot of walking involved in a day at a theme park, so make sure you and the kids are all wearing comfortable shoes.

➔ Bring your swimmers

If not a full swimsuit, at least bring a change of clothes and a towel if you want to try the water rides or the aquatic play area for kids.

➔ Check show times ahead

At each Gold Coast theme park, there are shows to watch and enjoy. Check which ones you want to watch ahead of time so that you can plan to get there early and grab a good seat. Getting there a few minutes early is also the perfect opportunity to rest your feet for a moment and enjoy a quick snack.


The Gold Coast Theme Parks

A FAMILY WALKING THROUGH THE STREETS OF WARNER BROS. MOVIE WORLD ON THE GOLD COAST
WARNER BROS. MOVIE WORLD HAS ATTRACTIONS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS OF ALL AGES. IMAGE VIA WARNER BROS. MOVIE WORLD.

Warner Bros. Movie World

With rides and attractions based on various Warner Bros. movies, Movie World is a must-visit for any thrill-seeking movie buff. From the thrilling Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster to the Roadrunner kids’ coaster to the refreshingly cool Wild Wild West log ride, each and every attraction brings the excitement of the movies to life.

Brave family members can tackle the selection of thrill rides, from the Superman Escape coaster, which accelerates from zero to 100 km in two seconds, to the Green Lantern coaster, which boasts the steepest inverted drop in the Southern Hemisphere. While families looking for fun on a calmer scale will love the parade through main street – all your favourite characters strut through the park – and the Looney Tunes carousel ride.

AT SEA WORLD ON THE GOLD COAST, A TRAINER LEADS THE DOLPHINS IN THEIR PERFORMANCE.
THE SKILLFUL TRAINERS AND ANIMALS AT SEA WORLD THEME PARK LOVE TO SHOW OFF FOR AN AUDIENCE. IMAGE VIA SEA WORLD.

Sea World

If marine animals are your thing, Sea World is the ultimate theme park destination. The main attraction of the park are the marine mammals, with bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, New Zealand fur seals, polar bears, and stingrays all on show. The park hosts a sea lion and dolphin show twice daily, showcasing the awe-inspiring strength and beauty of the animals.

Sea World is a great theme park to visit if you or your family love animals. There are some theme park rides at Sea World, but the main attraction is the magnificent marine life.

Sea World is great for younger kids (3-8 years) – there’s Nickelodeon Land with tamer rides for the young ones and a meet & great stage with entertainers. And when they just need to run about and splash in some water, Castaway Bay is an interactive splash zone that’s perfect for helping kids cool down on a warm day.

FOUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN GOING DOWN A THRILLING WATERSLIDE AT WET ‘N’ WILD, THE GOLD COAST WATER THEME PARK.
WET ‘N’ WILD IS FULL OF THRILLING WATER RIDES, RELAXING WATER SLIDES, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. IMAGE VIA WET ‘N’ WILD.

Wet 'N' Wild

If you choose to take a holiday during the hot summer months, Wet 'N' Wild simply has to have a place on your to-do list. This theme park provides the most fun way to cool down, with slides and pools galore to take a dip in.
Young family members will love Buccaneer Bay, a pirate themed pool complete with pirate playground, or accompanying Mum or Dad into the giant wave pool.
For older family members, twisting and turning slides such as the Constrictor and Blackhole will test the nerves and provide plenty of family thrills!
PEOPLE ENJOYING A THRILLING RIDE AT DREAMWORLD, GOLD COAST.
FROM THRILL RIDES, SERENE TRACK RIDES FOR THE LITTLE ONES, DREAMWORLD AIMS TO DELIVER THE GOLD COAST THEME PARK OF YOUR DREAMS. IMAGE VIA DREAMWORLD.

Dreamworld

If you haven’t had your fill of classic rides and rollercoasters on the Gold Coast, Dreamworld is there to help. Giant Drops, the Gold Coaster rollercoaster, the infamous Steel Taipan, and more will get your adrenaline up. And family rides like the bumper cars and a ride on the 1920s Vintage Car rides are perfect for a calmer moment while taking in some of the impressive natural scenery.

But if you want to visit a water park on the Gold Coast as well, Dreamworld is right next to WhiteWater World, and you can buy a one-day entry to both parks if you want to experience all the fun you can in one day.

KIDS PLAYING IN THE WATER PARK IN WHITEWATER WORLD, GOLD COAST.
WHITEWATER WORLD IS ANOTHER GOLD COAST WATER PARK WITH PLENTY OF ATTRACTIONS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY. IMAGE VIA WHITEWATER WORLD.

Whitewater World

Another watery destination, WhiteWater World has a wave pool, hydrocoasters, waterslides, and more. Visit the Pipeline Plunge – a water playground and fort all rolled into one – with the younger ones. Or step onto the trap door and plummet feet first down Australia’s only human half coil before splashing into the pool below – and learn why they call that slide “the Wedgie”.

Treat yourself and the family to one of the 22 luxury cabanas located throughout the park. Deck chairs, a dedicated locker, and a mini-fridge are included in all the cabanas. Storage and a meet-up spot are both instantly sorted.

Hotels near the Gold Coast theme parks

If you’re planning on visiting a few theme parks while you stay at the Gold Coast, why not choose accommodation with easy access to multiple theme parks and the fantastic beaches that the Gold Coast is known for?

There are a lot of great Gold Coast hotels near the theme parks, you can choose which one works for you.

Getting around the Gold Coast

Getting to each destination is simple, as shuttles run to and from Surfers Paradise daily. All you need to worry about is choosing which park to visit!
A HOTEL ROOM IN PEPPERS SOUL SURFERS PARADISE ON THE GOLD COAST.
STAYING IN SURFERS PARADISE MEANS ENJOYING THE SCENERY OF THE BEACH WHILE STAYING NEAR ALL THE THEME PARKS.

Surfers Paradise Hotels

Staying in a Surfers Paradise hotel means having easy access to the theme park shuttles and the iconic Surfers Paradise beaches. While the theme parks are a major attraction on the Gold Coast, there’s plenty more to explore. Unique, local shops, quirky cafes, and world-class beaches are all seconds from your doorstep in Surfers Paradise. Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise is especially popular, with expansive views looking out over the Pacific Ocean – perfect for a serene morning when the kids are still asleep, exhausted from their theme park adventures.

A ROOM IN PEPPERS BROADBEACH HOTEL ON THE GOLD COAST.
BROADBEACH IS HOME TO GREAT VIEWS, FANTASTIC DINING, AND SHUTTLES TO TAKE YOU TO THE GOLD COAST THEME PARKS.

Broadbeach Hotels

Home to plenty of parks, weekend markets, and interconnected streets decorated with alfresco dining options, Broadbeach is the oft-overlooked sibling to Surfers Paradise. Staying in a Broadbeach hotel may not mean staying right next door to some of the region’s most iconic beaches, but instead you can take in the lesser-known but no less beautiful beaches. Take the Peppers Broadbeach Hotel and it’s ideal location – close to town and amenities, the beach, and just minutes away from a shuttle bus stop that can deliver straight to whichever theme parks you want to visit.

THE POOL AT THE MERCURE GOLD COAST RESORT.
SERENITY AND PEACE AT A RESORT IS THE PERFECT ENVIRONMENT AFTER A BUSY DAY AT THE GOLD COAST THEME PARKS.

Gold Coast Resorts

If you want a retreat away from the excitement of the theme parks after a busy day of fun, a Gold Coast resort stay might be a smart option. Indulge with delicious food and poolside relaxation and maybe even a trip to the resort’s spa. With plenty of on-sight parking, you can take your time and drive yourself to the theme parks you want to visit. 


Planning your Gold Coast Theme Park Holiday

Now that you know your Gold Coast accommodation options, what to expect from each theme park, and the essential theme park life hacks, you’re ready to go! Start planning your Gold Coast holiday by booking the right Gold Coast hotel for you and your family.

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