If you're looking for an entire world of adventure, excitement, and fun that you'll carry with you for years to come, a Gold Coast family holiday is just what you need. You can have wildlife experiences with whale watching, swimming with dolphins and snuggling with koalas, or you can spend days at theme parks with wild thrill rides and water park obstacle courses. You can bounce, climb, slide, run and splash or go shopping at thousands of big box, independent and local vendors producing arts and crafts to take as the ideal souvenir. Check out some of the infinite adventures you can have on Gold Coast holidays for families.

Have a wildlife experience

If you're looking to explore the wild end of the Gold Coast, you'll find plenty of ways to get up close and personal to everything from cuddly kangaroos to scaly crocodiles. You can go whale watching and swim with dolphins, see dingoes and red pandas and get up close to thousands of varieties of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles. Learn all about conservation efforts and why they matter to Australia's ecology. The opportunities to have an unforgettable, thrilling and, of course, educational wildlife experience during your Gold Coast family holiday are nearly endless.

Feed a kangaroo at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a heritage-listed space and zoological garden in Queensland where you can witness a lorikeet feeding and check out exotic and native wildlife from all over. You can see koalas, emus, kangaroos and others, and you can even feed the emus and kangaroos. Throughout the day, you can attend shows where you can see the feeding of eels, snakes and crocodiles, observe sheep shearing and see a wide range of birds that fly so close over your head that you can feel their feathers brush you. It's a thrilling experience, and the park also offers activities specifically for toddlers, so there's something for every age here.

See a crocodile at David Fleay Wildlife Park

At the David Fleay Wildlife Park, you'll see a wide range of Australian species, including salt- and freshwater crocodiles, koalas, bilbies, kangaroos, dunnarts, brolgas and even a platypus, which is a rarity among local zoos and animal parks. Located in the heart of Burleigh Heads, this heritage-listed Queensland conservation park is named for and dedicated to the memory of its founder, David Fleay, who established the park in 1951. While you view local species, you'll learn all about conservation efforts and discover why it's so important for humans to act as stewards of other animal species in the world we all share.

Go whale watching on the ocean

If you're visiting any time from May through October, it's an ideal time to get out on the ocean with a guided tour and do some whale watching. During these months, thousands of humpback whales in hundreds of pods migrate north from Antarctica and pass along the coast. While this is a thrilling and fun experience, be sure to check with your tour guide if you have younger kids, as many tours don't permit kids under 3 on their adventures. You may even be able to book a whale-watching tour from your family resort on the Gold Coast.

Try a safari at Outback Spectacular

Outback Spectacular offers a safari-like experience into the Australian high country, complete with a dinner and show. You'll experience mind-blowing special effects, music and entertainment mixed with an authentic bush experience. During the show, you will get a 3-course meal that includes beer, wine or soft drinks alongside an entree, main dish and dessert. You'll also get an authentic Australian Outback Stockman's hat. Shows change regularly but can include a cattle-herding experience, bird shows and other engaging entertainments. It's an outstanding option for any Gold Coast family holiday and great for adults and kids of any age.

Pet the farm animals at Paradise Country

Paradise Country is a different kind of animal experience. At this one, not only will you see glorious native wildlife from Australia, but you'll also be able to get up close to it. You'll get to feed, pet and cuddle with farm animals and visit the Animal Nursery, where you'll see adorable babies of many different species. It's located on an Australian homestead where you can get an authentic farm experience. See creatures like dingoes, Tasmanian devils, meerkats, marmosets, wallabies and many others, in addition to enjoying tractor rides, costumed characters, wildlife photo opportunities, a horse arena show and the Aussie Adventure Show.

Take on thrills at a theme park

From the coastal beaches to the Gold Coast Hinterlands, this region has a wide range of theme and adventure parks to enjoy. These parks combine the best in pulse-pounding thrill rides with adorable up-close animal experiences that will make your heart go pitter-patter. Whether you're riding a rollercoaster, screaming at a free-fall experience, swimming with dolphins or navigating your way through a wet and wild inflatable splash park obstacle course, you're sure to have laughter, screams and thrills you'll remember for many years, and it will all be just minutes away from your kid-friendly resorts on the Gold Coast.

Swim with dolphins at Sea World

Sea World is a world-famous park with branches all over the globe, and the Gold Coast park is a must-visit on your Gold Coast family holiday. You'll get to see some of the most amazing and unique arctic and marine animals, from stingrays to penguins and even a real, live polar bear. You can also book an experience that lets you swim with the dolphins. When you're done taking in the marine life shows and experiences, you can tackle the thrill rides and hit the splash zone to get wet. The park offers experiences that are custom-tailored to toddlers as well, so you'll have a great time no matter what age your kids might be.

Explore the Warner Brothers universe at Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World is a unique amusement park with plenty of thrill rides, rollercoasters, spinners, stunt shows and live music, but it also has a range of unusual attractions. This park, after all, is dedicated to the Warner Brothers movie and TV universe. Here, you can have an experience with Yogi Bear and meet your favourite DC heroes at the superhero parade. Even the thrill rides are themed, from the DC Hypercoaster to the Batwing Spaceshot and the Green Lantern Coaster. You can even tour the haunted halls of Arkham Asylum. For the littlest ones, check out the Looney Tunes 4D show, the Road Runner Coaster and the Scooby-Doo coaster.

Splash and slide at Wet 'n' Wild

Wet 'n' Wild is a fast and furious water park that's ideal to visit when you stay at any kids' resort in the Gold Coast. This park offers some of the most breakneck, high waterslides around, including those that let you race your family to the bottom. If waterslides aren't your thing, you can enjoy the park's wave pool or relax at Calypso Beach. The littlest ones even have a special area all their own at the Wet 'n' Wild Junior space, which features smaller slides that are still exciting and a splash park just for kids aged 5 and under.

Ride the coasters at Dreamworld

Dreamworld consistently makes various lists of the top things to do in the Gold Coast, as well as lists of the top theme parks. This amusement park includes rip-roaring rollercoasters and thrilling circular rides, and it's known for the 'Big 9', a list of thrill rides that includes the Giant Drop, the Tower of Terror II, the Buzzsaw, the Gold Coaster, Pandemonium and the Claw and Tail Spin, among others. The park also includes a range of attractions for little ones, including ABC Kids World and a ton of rides just for kids, including Play School Wheel, Puss N Boots Sword Swing and Dorothy's Rosy Tea Ride.

Race down the Triple Vortex at WhiteWater World

WhiteWater World is a famous water park that offers thrill-seeking slides and water rides like the Triple Vortex, the Pipeline Plunge, the Super Tubes Hydrocoaster and others. Naturally, the park also offers plenty of attractions for younger kids, too, like Fully 6, the Cave of Waves, the Temple of Huey, the Little Rippers and, for the youngest toddlers, Wiggle Bay. When the time comes to relax, grown-ups will enjoy just kicking back at the Cabana. Food and drink are available inside the park for a full-featured experience. Best of all, a single ticket gets you access to both this park and the Dreamworld traditional amusement park.

Navigate an inflatable splash park course at Aqua Splash

Aqua Splash offers a different kind of amusement theme park. It's a wet park, but not one where you just go for waterslides and wave pools. Rather, this water park is filled with inflatables, such as a bouncy castle on the water. Kids will navigate a vast obstacle course of bouncy structures slick with water and dive, swim and splash while they do so. If you're on a Gold Coast family holiday, this park even offers a special Mini Zone that's designed specifically (and solely) for kids from ages 1 to 9 years of age, so they can have all the bounce and splash fun with extra safety.

Explore shopping and outdoor markets

The Gold Coast is a haven for shopping, from private markets in the Hinterlands to outdoor farmers' and craft markets in Surfers Paradise and shopping malls all along the coast. If you're looking to find the perfect souvenir of your Gold Coast family holiday, you're sure to find just the right spot among thousands of stores and vendors here. From locally handcrafted arts and crafts shops to big-box stores where you can find all the beach gear you need, the Gold Coast is an outstanding destination for shopping.

See more than 500 stalls at Carrara Markets

Carrara Markets offers more than 500 individual stalls full of bargains on just about everything you could imagine. It's open every Saturday and Sunday and is among the largest open-air markets on the Gold Coast. Here, you can find homemade fashions, fresh produce and prepared foods, jewellery, souvenirs, arts and crafts from local vendors and a wide range of entertainments. Catch the Dazzle Dance Markets or Car Boot Sundays as well as live music and the occasional classic car show. They even host an annual cat carnival in celebration of the favourite furry, purring friends. It's a world of entertainment just steps from your kids' resort on the Gold Coast.

Find local crafts at Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets

Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets is open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and offers over 100 stalls of local arts and crafts. It's famed for its Christmas in July festival every year but is open year-round, offering great deals and all the local culture you can handle. You can find iconic Australian delicacies here along with fresh produce, gourmet ingredients, handmade crafts and more, all showcasing the top creators, growers, makers and artists from the local area and beyond. It's a fun and welcoming option for your Gold Coast family holiday.

Shop 400 businesses at the Robina Town Centre mall

Robina Town Centre is among the largest shopping centres along the Gold Coast, with more than 400 stores, services, eateries and entertainment options. You can find all of your favourite big names here as well as smaller independent and boutique shops. Pick up everything from electronics to arts and crafts to haute couture clothing and jewellery, then head for the eateries to grab a bite for lunch or dinner. For the kids, they serve up special workshops on school holidays where they can learn to bake, make and create.