Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane and Gold Coast to Experience This Year

Welcome to sunny Queensland! Located in the North-Eastern half of the Australian continent, beautiful Brisbane and glorious Gold Coast enjoy a tropical climate most of the year and mild winters. Therefore, they are the perfect destinations for some fun and sun! The sheer number of attractions in Brisbane and Gold Coast will attest to that.

We’ve taken some of the hard work out of planning your next holiday to Queensland by narrowing that immense list down to the top attractions in each city. Thus ensuring your brood has the ultimate family holiday. So, pack your sun hat, sunscreen, and sunnies because you’ll be wanting to surf on down after this.

International Travel Regulations to Australia

At the time of publishing, there are no requirements for vaccinated travellers from Singapore to perform a pre-departure Covid-test for entry into Queensland Australia.

Travellers should head to their accommodation immediately and take a rapid antigen test (ART) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 24 hours of arrival. Only a positive rapid antigen test result should be registered. You can find out more on international regulations to Australia here.

Attractions in Brisbane

South Bank

Brisbane’s South Bank is known for its beautiful parks, inner-city beach, playgrounds, restaurants and galleries. There truly is something for everyone at this all-rounded destination and best of all, most of them are free.

Kids will love spending the day at Brisbane South bank Boat Pool and Streets Beach - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Brisbane South Bank Boat Pool and Streets Beach via Visit Brisbane website

First, let’s start with the pools. The first is the iconic Streets Beach, Australia’s only inner-city man-made beach. Second is the Boat Pool, a lagoon of inviting sparkling blue water on a warm Queensland day. And third, Aquativity, an educational water-play park for young and old. The pools have lifeguard patrols and are free to the public.

Parklands and Architecture
Sightsee and stroll along the parklands at South Bank Brisbane - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
The Nepalese Pergola and Wheel of Brisbane at South Bank Brisbane via Visit Brisbane website

Then, we move on to the parklands and architecture. South Bank is the home of the beloved Nepalese Pagoda, a three-story high structure built in 1988 for the World Expo. There is the award-winning The Arbour as well, which is a one-kilometre-long walkway under curved steel posts covered in vibrant bougainvillea. The Epicurious Garden which boasts exotic plants, herbs and many other vegetable plants is equally interesting. These are also free for the public to explore.

Kids will love playing at the Riverside Green Playground at South Bank Brisbane - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Riverside Green Playground via Visit Brisbane website

Focusing on the kids, South Bank has two well-equipped playgrounds ensuring they leave tired and entertained. The ever-popular Riverside Green Playground boasts two levels of fun. These are the Skywalk, towers connected by bridges and slides, and the ground-level interactive play area. There are spinning rings, climbing nets and even a giant hamster wheel! Yes, hamster wheel. Toddlers are not forgotten though, with a dedicated smaller toddler-zoned pirate ship play area.

Contrastingly, Picnic Island Green playground is a hidden gem, located amongst giant Ficus trees, would thrill the nature-loving child. There are spinning saucers, rope-basket swings, climbing mountains, and talking tubes. What’s more, the pond right next door is home to a variety of fishes and water dragons too!

Galleries and Museums
Immerse yourself in art and bring out your inner creative self at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art via QAGOMA website

Lastly, South Bank is a cultural hub with galleries, museums and restaurants galore.

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) brings art to the masses with its various exhibits, focusing on Australian Art. Most of their exhibits have free admission and this includes their interactive Children’s Art Centre.

Not to be outdone, the Queensland Museum and Sciencenter is a wonderland of learning disguised in fun. While most of their exhibits are free, some of their paid activities might just be worth the price of admission.

Equally informative, the Queensland Maritime Museum welcomes you aboard HMAS Diamantina, a Royal Australian Navy frigate from 1945. In addition to their displays of other boats, a lighthouse and other nautical equipment. General admission is AUD $42-$50 per family (2A + up to 3C).

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
People holding a Koala - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Koala exhibit via Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Facebook page

Located just 20 minutes outside the Brisbane CBD, you can be forgiven thinking you’ve left the city behind and stepped into the Australian bush. The Lone Pine Koala sanctuary is the oldest and largest Koala sanctuary in the world. Additionally, it houses many more native Australian animals such as Dingos, Wombats, Wallabies, Platypi and even Australian Brush Turkey. So hop, skip, and jump over to the Lone Pine Sanctuary to cuddle a Koala, dance with a Dingo, and ogle and owl!

Fee: General Admission is AUD $49 for adult and for AUD $35 for child (3-13).

SparkLab at Sciencenter
Watch and participate in live experiments at SparkLab at the Sciencenter Brisbane - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Live Experiment at Sparklab in the Sciencenter Brisbane via SparkLab website

SparkLab at the Sciencenter deserves an honourable mention as one of coolest attractions in Brisbane in its own right. A highly interactive space aimed at six- to thirteen-year-olds, SparkLab invites kids to see how STEM learning can be fun. Watch live experiments performed right before your eyes, navigate space, and design and build solutions to challenges. These are just some of the activities that await you at SparkLab!

Pro tip: Visits are arranged in sessions and sorted into morning or afternoon sessions. In order to get more lab time, book an early session in either block as all morning sessions end at 12:30pm and afternoon sessions end at 4pm.

Fee: General admission for families (2A + 2C or 1A + 3C) is AUD $46

Wheel of Brisbane
View of the wheel - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
View of the wheel via the Wheel of Brisbane Facebook page

Would a visit to Brisbane truly be complete without a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane? Take in the sights of the city and beyond with a bird’s eye view from the air-conditioned comfort of your own gondola. Alternatively, enjoy the gorgeous sunset or the city lights at night from 60m in the air. It is fitting that one of the most iconic attractions in Brisbane also provides the best view of the city.

Fee: General admission for families (2A + 2C) is AUD $61.75.

Cruise around Brisbane in a Citycat - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Citycat in operation via website

Why would we recommend a form of public transport as one of the attractions in Brisbane? Because, simply, Citycat operates on the river which runs right through Brisbane. It takes you right across Brisbane while your hair blows in the wind. So take in the sights, bundle up, and hold on to your hats (literally); you’re in for a spray-y ride!

Fee: Public transport fares are calculated based on distance travelled. However, the great news is that all Brisbane City Council ferry services are in zone 1 hence fares are AUD$2.70 off-peak and AUD $3.37 peak on a go card.

Attractions in Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Beach
Enjoying the beach on Surfers Paradise Beach - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Surfers Paradise Beach via Destination Gold Coast website

Surfers Paradise Beach is just as its name suggests, a surfer’s paradise. Nonetheless, this well-known beach is enjoyed by many for its soft golden sand, rolling surf and energetic atmosphere. Spend the day at the lifeguard-patrolled beach and the evening beachside shopping and choosing from the wide range of dining options. Meanwhile, you can stroll the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets and nab a souvenir or two. Undeniably, you must see Surfers Paradise Beach if you are in Gold Coast.

Theme Parks Galore

We all know that no family holiday is complete without a visit to a theme park, so why not five? Of course, it is common knowledge that there is no such thing as too many theme parks! So if you’re ready, here’s the list of the best theme park attractions in Brisbane:

Warner Brothers Movie World
Gorgeous day for rides via Movie World Facebook page - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Gorgeous day for rides via Movie World Facebook page

Is there a movie buff in the family or how about a little one who loves cartoons? Do you have a need for speed and a desire to feel your stomach in your throat? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, you absolutely must take your tribe to Warner Brothers Movie World, the first theme park in our list. It is an amusement park chock full of thrilling rides, live movie characters, behind the scenes shows, and interactive experiences. A day spent here is indeed a day well spent.

Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast
Get on the rides at Wet n Wild - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast to Experience This Year
Get on the rides at Wet n Wild via Wet n Wild Facebook page

Second in line is a theme park known for its water slides, wave pools, splash zones, and water rides. Wet and Wild is more than just a day at the pool. In fact, the combination of exciting rides with cool, clear water makes it the perfect day out in gorgeous Gold Coast. Furthermore, Wet and Wild Junior contains the kid-friendly version of Wet and Wild’s more popular rides. Hence the young ones can experience the same fan-splash-tic day as everyone else. Getting wet has never been this fun!

Paradise Country
The crowd enjoying the Australian Stock Horse Show at Paradis Country Gold Coast - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Stock Horse Show at Paradise Country via Paradise Country website

The third theme park on the list is not one with rides, but a unique twist to the many animal sanctuaries found in Australia. Paradise Country combines an animal sanctuary with a farming experience and a little bit more, such as gold panning and opal mining. There are pony rides, farmyard play and nursery, a playground, and an adventure camp for the children. This is over and above the exhibits, presentations and shows for the family. You even get to ride a tractor! Paradise Country is an experience like no other and will create fond memories which will last a lifetime.

Sea World Gold Coast
once in a lifetime meeting a seal experience at Sea World Gold Coast - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Seal meeting experience via Sea World website

Coming in fourth and in no way lacking, is Sea World, and what a world it is! There is something for everyone from beloved live characters such as Paw Patrol and Ninja Turtles to exhibits and interactions with our favourite marine animals. Moreover, there are thrill rides aplenty for the young and old. Your family is guaranteed to have a great time at this theme park attraction.

ride on the Titan at Dreamworld - KKDay Top 10 Family Attractions in Brisbane and Gold Coast to Experience This Year
Titan ride via Dreamworld Facebook page

Our last theme park is Dreamworld and they are truly attempting to make your theme park dreams come true. The park has rides, wildlife (They have tigers!), a water park called WhiteWater World, and Dreamworks character appearances. Unfortunately, WhiteWater World is closed for the cooler season at time of publishing and will reopen again in September. A kid can’t ask for more in a theme park which makes this a must-see attraction in Gold Coast.

Fee: Apart from Dreamworld, all the other theme parks admissions can be purchased together as a bundle which saves you a neat sum. A combo admission ticket for Movie World, Wet and Wild, Paradise Country, and Sea World for starts from AUD $169 to be used over 7 days. General admission to Dreamworld starts from AUD $109.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Are you brave enough to take the Tree Top Challenge at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary - KKDay Top 15 Family Attractions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Cairns to Experience This Year
Tree Top Challenge at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary via Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary website

Have you had breakfast with Koalas or tea with Kangaroos? Did you ever a vet hospital or look behind the curtain at a wildlife conservation centre? Gear up for these experiences and more at the well-known Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the more unique attractions in Brisbane.

Notwithstanding their abundance of Australian native animals, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary offers adventurous visitors the opportunity to climb amongst the trees in their Tree Top Challenge. Similarly, if you are keen on an escapade closer to the ground, their Extinction Trail takes you back in time to the Mesozoic Era to visit the dinosaurs.

Alternatively, you can follow the Art Trail, which takes you to the various sculptures, paintings and even a Lego® water dragon dotted throughout the park. Visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to experience the animals, go on adventures and a little bit more.

Fee: General admission is AUD $45 for adult and AUD $38 for child.

Getting Around Brisbane and Gold Coast

Translink, Brisbane’s efficient public transport system, includes buses, trains and ferries (also known as CityCat), makes getting around Brisbane city quick and affordable. Simply purchase a go or a goseeQ card at most 7-Elevens or newagents and hit the town! There are even a few free services to facilitate your exploration of Brisbane city!

Once you get to the Gold Coast, their buses and tram service called G:link will take you around. Conveniently, this service uses the go card payment system as well. However, you might want to consider purchasing a go explore card which caps public transport expenditure around Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to AUD $10 a day.

Brisbane to Gold Coast

Getting from Brisbane to Gold Coast is quite straight forward as it is only about an hour’s car’s journey away. You can choose to rent one as it does make visiting the various attractions in Brisbane much more convenient.

Alternatively, a budget-friendly option would be to take the train (also Translink) straight down to the Gold Coast. The journey is only a short one hour and fifteen minutes. Just enough time to put your feet up (not literally, you will get scolded) and enjoy the view.

To Note

Due to the recent 2022 flooding event, certain attractions in Brisbane might not be operating per usual. Please check the latest update on their website prior to booking.

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