Growing up in Brisbane, and now raising my own kids here, the south coast of Queensland has always been a favourite holiday destination. When I grew up, I couldn’t wait to go travelling to see what was out there in the world. Sure, I found amazing history and culture, but no matter where I went all over the world, I could never find beaches worth leaving home for. What we have here is just that good.
So now when it’s time for a beach holiday, I happily pack up the car and head off to somewhere local. Here our my favourite 10 resorts on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
1. Paradise Resort, Surfers Paradise
My kids are mad about this resort, not only for its water park, but also for its vast array of kids’ activities, with ice skating, a massive multi-level playground, and inflatable rock climbing. And as a parent, I love it for its kids club that has a range of age-appropriate activities planned with full supervision every day, so I get to take a break.
The Junior Bunkhouse rooms even have bunk beds, a play desk, TV and Xbox360 right there in the room.
2. Sea World Resort and Water Park, Main Beach
The massive advantage Sea World Resort has is it is part of the incredible Sea World Water Park. So not only have you got a stunning resort with a 50-metre lagoon pool and waterall at a luxurious resort, you’ve also got a fun theme park for the whole family just a short monorail ride away.
The resort boasts the Sponge Bob Splash Bash and Aquaplay for little ones, and a giant tipping bucket, slides and water jets. Plus there is a musical water fountain show each evening, and a kids club for four to twelve year olds.
3. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Main Beach
The Sheraton Grand Mirage is a rare gem, with 100% beachfront access. Perfect for lazing on the sand as the kids run themselves ragged from the massive pool, over to the beach, and then back to the pool again. The luxurious resort is perfect for those wanting a holiday with the finer touches. And from the Sheraton you can easily access the east side of Main Beach for waves, and the west side for calm waters for the tinies.
4. Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, Surfers Paradise
The Marriott at Surfers Paradise is perfect for kids who are curious about snorkelling but not yet ready for the open ocean. They can snorkel safely in the resort’s pool, complete with tropical fish and an artificial coral reef.
The 5-metre deep saltwater lagoon is home to more than 400 fish, including moon wrasse, blue and domino damsel, surgeon and trigger fish. You can also scuba dive, snorkel and swim through artificial waterfalls and rock grottos and spas.
And if you’re ready for regular beach action, Surfers Paradise Beach is just a short stroll away.
5. Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast
If you’re looking for luxury for your family holiday, you can’t go past the 6-star Palazzo Versace. The massive pool will keep the kids happy for hours, and you’re just up the road from Sea World (if you can bear to leave the resort, that is). New mums can recuperate in luxury with the Pindara Hospital’s Palazzo Platinum package.
6. Turtle Beach Resort, Mermaid Beach
This family-friendly resort is only 300 metres from the beach, and has heaps of great facilities to keep the family happy such as putt-putt, a games room, cinema and playground. And there are plenty of activities on offer for 4-12 year olds, from discos to craft activities.
The Splash Zone Waterpark has four slides, two toddler slides, a dumping bucket and water cannons – plus four swimming areas. You won’t need to leave the resort for anything.
7. Tangalooma Island Resort, Moreton Island
While not technically on the Gold Coast, we couldn’t miss out the exceptional Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island – just a 75-minute catamaran ride from Brisbane. We went there as a family last year and it was amazing. Families can book a wild dophin feeding experience or head to the enormous sand dunes for some sand sliding or quad biking.
Older kids will love the beach at Tangalooma – it’s perfect for swimming, kayaking or snorkelling around the wrecks. And for the parents, the sunsets on Moreton Island are spectacular.
8. RACV Noosa Resort, Noosa
The RACV is surrounded by wetlands, meaning you’ll truly feel like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city here. But the good news is you’re only a stone’s throw from the excitement of Hastings St and Noosa’s Main Beach – all via a free shuttle bus.
The resort has pools for all age groups, with a fantastic shaded toddler pool for the littlies. And for the bigger kids, there is a pool complete with water slides and a splash park. A fun kids’ club program runs during school holidays.
9. Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Twin Waters
If you’ve got kids of various ages to take on holiday, the Novotel Twin Waters could be the answer! It has a massive range of activities from segways, jet packing and laser skirmish for the older kids, down to the KidzCove for 2-12 year olds. KidzCove offers plenty of activities to keep the little ones busy, such as sand art, woodcraft, face painting, a climbing wall, a fairy house and beach activities.
The resort also has a great games room, Aqua Fun Park, fish feeding, sailing lessons and pool noodle javelin. Or you can head to the beach for a bit of peace and quiet.
10. Rumba Beach Resort, Caloundra
This brilliant resort caters for families of all sizes, with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments right across the road from the beach. You’ve got easy access to the waterfront boardwalk, which can take you to Bulcock, Golden or Kings beach