Glorious Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Mariott on the Gold Coast

Lisa Flynn packs her bags for paradise – Surfers Paradise, that is, and the gorgeous Gold Coast of Australia.

Only a short three-hour flight from Auckland, the Gold Coast has so much for the whole family to do and see. We flew direct with Jetstar, which was extremely convenient and cost-effective. After arriving, we hired a car from Budget Car Rentals, and it was very easy to collect the car from the airport when we flew in, and drop it back there on our return.

If you want to enter our competition to win your own family holiday to the Gold Coast, click here.


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Animal lovers will enjoy getting up close and personal with many different Australian species, from koalas to snakes, to hand-fed kangaroos and wallabies. The animal shows were wonderful, and we especially enjoyed checking out many species at feeding time. There are also awesome playgrounds and a train ride onsite.

Currumbin is also home to a Wildlife Hospital where the team treats, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. The Hospital has grown to be one of the busiest wildlife hospitals in the world, admitting over 11,000 animals a year – a service that is provided free of charge to the community. A visit to the Sanctuary is not complete without a visit to the hospital where you can witness the amazing team operate on sick and injured animals.


From character appearances to animal and cultural shows, thrilling adventure rides and the ABC Kids World and Wiggles World, we had a fantastic family day out. Our favourite things were Tiger Island, partying with Poppy at Trolls Village, Dorothy’s Tea Cup Ride, and the Escape from Madagascar Coaster. To finish off the day, we took a dip at Whitewater World, which was right next door. With slides, pools, and play areas, you’re guaranteed a great time.

Sea World

Shows, sea life animal encounters, a ride on the glass-bottom boat in the shark tank, and neat rides around the park – our favourites were the Storm Coaster, Jet Rescue Coaster, and Donatello’s Ninja Flyers! Nickelodeon Land was awesome for our youngest daughter, with Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Let the kids cool down at the interactive splash pad at The Reef at Castaway Bay.

Movie World

Nextlevel adventure for roller-coaster aficionados, with massive G-force rides as well as small thrills for the littlies at the Junior Driving School, Sylvester’s Pounce ‘n’ Bounce, the Roadrunner Roller Coaster, and the Looney Tunes Carousel. Big kids will enjoy the Superman Escape, DC Rivals Hyper Coaster, Green Lantern Coaster, and Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster with its unexpected twists and turns.

As a family, we loved the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride, which was like a log flume but far superior – I think we went on this five times, we thought it was so treat. Character appearances, shops on Main Street, and the Looney Tunes Dance Party were great fun.


Great to visit on hot days, with plenty of thrilling slides and rides, as well as a lazy river, family slides, and wave pool. Kids 10 and under will love the Wet’n’Wild Junior area, with shallow pools, an interactive play area, and smaller slides. If you’re into adventure, get your adrenalin pumping with the Aqua Loop, Kamikaze, and Tornado.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

SO much weird and wonderful to see here! Over 350 genuine artefacts, funky arcade games, and lots of little facts and figures to learn. The kids’ favourites were the piano staircase, dance room, laser race, a giant Operation game, and standing next to an animatronic figure of the world’s tallest man (who grew to an impressive 2.72m). The kids loved the interactive activities here.

Capri Boat Hire

Located right by the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, we hired a Bowrider boat for two hours and took our children on a little adventure through the waterways. The self-drive option meant we had the boat to ourselves, so we could explore wherever took our fancy! We even stopped along the way and let the kids have a turn at fishing.


The Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa

Is right on the edge of waterways, with amazing views out to the Hinterlands and also across Surfers Paradise Beach, and only a short drive into the central city. Our family of four stayed in Hinterland Twin room. The resort was super family-friendly, with several eatery options. The Kids Activities Centre (for children 4+), basketball court, tennis court, and pools kept our children very entertained. Swimming at the resort was a real highlight for the kids, and for the adults, who enjoyed relaxing by the pool with a cocktail in hand! There were also sand toys and outdoor games for the kids.


Misono Japanese Steak House

Located on the third floor of the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, it’s the largest teppanyaki restaurant in Australia.

Miami Marketta

A funky street food night market held Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights.


Also located at the resort, the breakfast spreads in the morning and seafood spread for dinner were amazing.

Hard Rock Café

A fun family restaurant with meal options for everyone, plus great photo ops.

Seascape Restaurant & Bar

Again, right across from the beach, offering delicious meal options, including seafood and sashimi platters.

Cheap for families on jetstar

Jetstar flies direct to the Gold Coast from Auckland six to seven times a week. With plenty of flights to choose from, it’s easy and convenient to find one that suits your family’s needs. Onboard staff were friendly and accommodating, and offered light refreshments which the kids preferred to the snacks we had packed! We also brought along books and portable DVD players to keep the kids entertained for this relatively short flight.

If you want to enter our competition to win your own family holiday to the Gold Coast, click here.

Scroll to Top