Gold Coast Paradise

Madagascar characters at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast

When you have a wide range of kids’ ages in our family like we do, it’s not always easy to cater to everyone’s needs when planning a family holiday. My 3-year-old would usually need a completely different type of holiday from my 12-year-old. However, the magic of Paradise Resort on the Gold Coast was that it catered to us all.

There was so much for all three of the kids to do, either separately or together, which made our holiday on the Gold Coast so much more relaxing and fun. It’s a spot-on holiday destination for families, with plenty to offer and we’ll certainly be back!

Paradise Resort

Zagame’s Paradise Resort is multi award-winning for many reasons. Not least being that they truly cater 100% for families. For those of you with kids 12 and under, in particular, this place is paradise. From the early pool opening times of 7.30am (a blessing for those of us with kids who stay on NZ time!) along with early breakfast (continental buffet opens at 6.30am), to the Z4K Kids’ Club and the multitude of kids’ activities on offer, you really don’t need to go anywhere else.

The Z4K Waterpark is a huge drawcard. With two fantastic, bucket-tipping areas (one for under-5s and one for 12 and under), with a lovely great lagoon pool and a warmer spa pool as well, we spent hours here. Plenty of loungers are placed around the whole of the fenced pool area, with the bar and verandah overlooking it.

As for other activities on offer, there are poolside movie nights, family bingo, face painting, balloon twisting, trivia nights, live character shows, big screen wii challenges, the list is endless. Plus for a little extra, the kids can do rock climbing, art & crafts and get their hair braided.

The Z4K Kids’ Club with 9 themed play areas is another fantastic family-friendly feature. The night before, you simply book (using the self-service booking system) one of five session times. These sessions often come free with your accommodation packages, and each session is a 2- or 4-hour block where your child is looked after by the friendly and qualified Resort staff, who will even feed your child lunch or dinner for an additional $8 (free for under-2s).

The expansive and delicious continental breakfast (included in all accommodation packages) set us up for the day. You can upgrade to a fully cooked breakfast for only a few dollars. And, for those families with intolerances/allergies, there is a separate bench area with gluten-free toast and cereals. And with two wonderfully family-friendly restaurants (Bistro Zagame’s and Poolside Bar & Cafe) to choose from, where kids eat for only $8, dinner is easy and convenient. I can highly recommend the gluten-free vegetarian pizza, great value and loaded with yummy toppings.

We loved staying in the newly renovated Superior Family Room which was the ideal size for our family of 5 (this room can sleep up to 7 in total). We had a spacious bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette in the main area, and the kids had their own room with two sets of bunks and a television (plus Xbox 360)

Dreamworld/White Water World

No trip to the Gold Coast with kids would be complete without visiting a theme park or two! We decided on Dreamworld and White Water World, which are particularly handy since they are right next door to each other and with a World Pass, you can go between the two. It takes about an hour via the shuttle bus to get there from the Resort.

If the Resort was paradise, then Dreamworld was heaven for my kids. Being adrenalin-junkies, my older two loved all the Big 8 Thrill rides, and even convinced me to go on some of them. Our absolute faves were the Tower of Terror II and the Motocoaster. Sienna (3) spent most of the day in Wiggles World, and must have gone on the Big Red Car ride about 20 times in a row. We had a ball.

must-visit eateries

If you want to venture outside the resort, here are our picks:

  • A 2-minute walk from the Resort, tucked away at the back of Crown Towers, is Chiang Mai, an authentic, award-winning restaurant with delicious food, accommodating staff and very reasonably-priced.
  • Bar Italia (on the corner of Elkhorn Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard) is an authentic, busy Italian restaurant with an outside seating area and a kids’ menu with a selection of Italian food that my kids liked (and that I approved of).
  • Of course, you simply can’t go past the oh-so-tempting Chocolateria San Churro (at Circle on Cavill) and Gelatissimo, with over 32 mouth-watering flavours of gelato (on Cavill Avenue). Dellisimo!

getting there

The best way to get to the Gold Coast is to fly direct. And, according to the Gold Coast locals, booking direct through Virgin Airlines can get you the best deals. A word of warning: don’t do what we did and fly into Brisbane. We had to get the Airtrain to the Gold Coast (90 mins) and then still had a further 40 minute taxi ride to our Resort in Surfers Paradise. Doing it this way added on an unnecessary 2+ hours and turned our journey into an extremely long, hot day.

shuttle buses

Because we were only on the Gold Coast for five nights and weren’t planning on any major sightseeing out of our area, we decided to simply use the Shuttle Buses that can be booked and paid for through the Resort the day before (there is also a public bus stop right outside). This is a convenient and stress-free way of travelling together.

handy tips

  • Just bear in mind that you cannot bring your own food into Dreamworld and we noticed that the healthier options such as rolls and wraps were sold out early, leaving mainly fried foods such as chips, hot dogs, burgers, etc. (We can highly recommend the boxes of freshly baked donuts for morning tea, they were yummy!) You can however bring food into White Water World and there are plenty of places to have a picnic there, so this is what we did on both days.
  • The resort has an affordable mini-mart located onsite where you can pick up basic grocery items at reasonable prices. They even sell freshly made lunch packs and hampers for you to take to the beach or on your journey home.
  • The central location of the Resort means that Surfers Paradise beach itself is only a 5 minute walk away, and the main shopping and restaurant area is only about 10 minutes.
  • With having so many activities and great facilities at the Resort, you probably can get away with visiting just one theme park during your stay, or at least only going every second/third day (especially for families with younger children).

More on family travel from Tots to Teens:

A Northland Family Road Trip

Intrepid Oz

Loving Raro

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