When cabin fever strikes and the kids are at each other’s throats, there’s only one thing to do – pack some snacks, fill those water bottles, and hit the road. From gliding through treetops in the forest to getting your craft on, these are the best ways to adventure as a family on the Gold Coast.
By Josie Sargent
GLOW WORM CAVES (Mt Tamborine)
Usually glow worms can only be admired in the dark of night when the sun goes down and their abdomens light up. But at Cedar Creek Estate at Mt Tamborine, you can wander through man-made caves during the day to see these incredible insects up close. A guided tour takes you from the rainforest boardwalk and through the cool, underground network to see these tiny animals and their sticky strands and includes an explanation – and a cheeky poem – about how the glow worm’s glow.
CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY (Currumbin)
The little sister of the Gold Coast’s glamorous theme parks further up the M1, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary offers less thrills, but more opportunity to get up close to Australia’s wildlife. Wander through the dark tunnels to see rare nocturnal animals (including the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them hopping mice) before taking the mini train past sleeping koalas and into the heart of the sanctuary. At the hospital, you can watch injured wildlife being treated, take in a reptile or bird show and meet Blinky Bill. There are kangaroos to feed, Tassie Devils and crocodiles to admire, and, if the legs are still able, visit the Lost Valley, which feels like stepping back in time to Gondwana. There are curious lemurs, chattery cotton-topped tamarins and exotic birds too. Don’t forget your swimmers to cool off in the Wild Island Adventure Splash Zone complete with a giant platypus.
THUNDERBIRD PARK (Mt Tamborine)
Hidden away on the side of leafy Tamborine Mountain is a kid’s adventure wonderland. From a treetop adventure course – catering from toddlers to teenagers – laser skirmish and mini golf, to swimming in the cascading Cedar Creek rock pools, there is too much here to jam into one day. Full of hope and excitement, kids can get their hands dirty trying to strike gold fossicking – well, in thunderegg form. Armed with a pick and a bucket, these ball-sized geodes can be found within prehistoric volcanic lava in the world’s largest thunderegg mine. And, if you don’t get lucky, there are plenty of gems to buy in the gift shop, so no one goes home empty handed.
HOTA CHILDREN’S GALLERY (Bundall)
When the rain makes outdoor adventures unappealing, or if you’re in need of some culture away from a screen, head to Bundall where the ever-changing and always colourful Children’s Gallery beckons from within the vibrant HOTA Gallery. Featuring themed installations, from local and award-winning artists, there are activities, immersive workshops and often light and sound displays. Outside, there is a rock-hopping walk that takes you over the top of the outdoor stage where, on hot days, you can take a dip in Evandale Lake.
MOUNTVIEW ALPACA FARM (Canungra)
If you’ve ever fancied taking an alpaca for a walk, like a tall, glamorous puppy, then you’ll be able to pop a halter on the fuzzy face of one at Canungra. With names like Diesel, Crumpet and Alice, you’ll find them just a 30-minute drive west of Nerang at the Mountview Alpaca Farm, which is, conveniently for parents, on the same property as the O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards (top tip: they offer pre-packed gourmet picnic hampers paired with wine and a picnic rug to enjoy by the creek). If you don’t feel confident stepping out with your new friend, there are pellets that you can feed them instead – but they are greedy and pushy! If you visit in summer, you’ll see them sporting the season’s trendiest styles, from the “bobble head” to the “messy fringe”. They are at peak fluff from June until September.