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PLAY ALL DAY

Written by JOSIE SARGENT



We’ve got beautiful beaches, thrilling theme parks and excellent eateries – but the Gold Coast also boasts some of the best playgrounds going. From north to south and east to west, here are some of the best.


Want your kids to develop their imagination, social and emotional abilities and self-confidence while improving their physical fitness and co-ordination at the same time? Look no further than the humble playground.

Convincing children to down their devices in favour of monkey bars can be a challenge – but not when there are the likes of the incredible, imaginatively-designed playgrounds the Gold Coast has to offer. These next-level kid zones boast challenging sky-high rope climbs, exciting jungle-themed treasure hunts and speedy ziplines they can ride over and over.


SOUTH - PALM BEACH PARKLANDS

945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

Ahoy, me hearties! Heave away and set sail at the pirate-themed (and upgraded) playground at the Palm Beach Parklands. Looking as if it’s been left adrift at high tide from Currumbin Creek, a ‘sunken’ ship offers a deck with cannons, rope bridges and hidey-holes. Looming over the mast is a crow’s nest with a long slide for a quick getaway. There is a zipline, a smaller slide for toddlers and a globe-shaped roundabout for plenty of pirates to cling to. Two mini rafts set apart are joined via a talk tube - or, in this case, a kiddie two-way radio.

Amenities: Bubblers, toilets nearby, beach showers, shelters, tables and seats, BBQs, Currumbin Creek, cafe nearby

Fenced: Partial


SOUTH-WEST - SCHUSTER PARK

506 Schusters Road, Tallebudgera

The rebooted Schuster Park is jungle themed and a haven for little monkeys that love to climb. Two tube slides can only be accessed by multiple rope nets and there’s a scaled down version for smaller children at the other end of the park. Don’t miss the treasure hunt - lizards, beetles and butterflies all ‘preserved’ in Perspex and hidden around the playground. Snaking alongside the park is Tallebudgera Creek - perfect for a paddle or to drop a fishing line. Keep a close eye on little ones as there is no fence between the park and the water.

Amenities: Toilets, BBQs, sheltered tables, shade, Tallebudgera Creek, grassy area adjoining perfect for ballgames, bubblers, taps

Fenced: No


CENTRAL - KURRAWA ALL ABILITIES PLAYGROUND

Pratten Park, Old Burleigh Road

From toddlers to tweens, including those with mobility issues, this seaside sea-themed playground is a crowd pleaser. The cement sandcastle with sandpits and the submarine cubby house are both wheelchair accessible and there is plenty of shade. For the adventurous, there’s a towering rubber hill complete with slides and rock climbing grips, and multiple sets of swings (including one on a zip line) to head off bickering.

Amenities: Bubblers, toilets within the playground (including change table and hoist), bench seats

Fenced: Yes


NORTH-WEST - COUNTRY PARADISE PARKLANDS

231 Beaudesert-Nerang Road, Nerang

Not to be confused with the Paradise Country theme park, the Country Paradise Parklands offer Gold Coast kids the chance to release their inner farmer. A giant 11.5m windmill doubles as a slide - but to get there, kids must navigate a water tank tunnel and swing bridge. A creek moat surrounds the park and is dotted with water pumps, troughs and ramps to encourage kids to use a bit of ingenuity and control the course of the water. A concrete path wraps around the park and has inbuilt jumps and ramps for those handy with a scooter.

Amenities: Toilets, bubbler, BBQs, sheltered tables

Fenced: No


NORTH - BROADWATER PARKLANDS

Marine Parade, Southport

Running alongside the stunning Gold Coast Seaway, where boats cruise past and huge luxury yachts can be spied in the marina on the other side, is the Broadwater Parklands. There are three must-dos within the sprawling 3km-long park, from Peninsula Playground in the north to the bouncy pillow in the south.

Peninsula Playground is part abstract art installation, part message about ocean conservation and complete fun. Ropes, platforms and tunnels lead up the spiralling centrepiece and end with a mega tube slide. There are inground trampolines, giant eggs, climbing walls and a water play area to keep everyone entertained.

Just to the south of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is The Rockpools. Beginning with a giant bucket, water runs along the ‘creek’ which is complete with shallow pools, giant marine animals to clamber on and plenty of shade on the artificial grass to spread out a picnic. Perfect for cooling off toddlers through to primary school age.

To the south is the Bouncy Pillow - which is nestled near yet another playground complete with swings, seesaw and a rail ride. A shade-sail protects the vibrant striped pillow from becoming too hot and kids will love the endless jumping, sliding and springing.

The Great Lawn often has free, family friendly events on year-round - check on the Gold Coast City Council website for a What’s On guide.

Amenities: Toilets, BBQs, sheltered tables, benches

Fenced: No

Note: Check opening hours of The Rockpools and Bouncy Pillow as they change seasonally

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